MOTZA, Israel: Art rather than ostentation is the rationale behind the world's most expensive coronavirus mask, say the Israeli jewellers who are crafting the US$1.5 million object for an unnamed US-based client.
Made out of 18 carat gold and studded with 3,600 black and white diamonds, the mask will be fitted with an N99 filter to offer a high level of protection, said Isaac Levy, owner of the Yvel jewellery brand.
"I don't think (the customer is) going to use it going to the supermarket but he is going to use it here and there, I'm sure," said Levy.
He described the client as a Chinese art collector living in the United States.
"He is a young-old customer of ours, very charming, very outgoing, very wealthy and he likes to stand out," Levy said. The jeweller plans to deliver the mask personally when it is completed, in October.
The mask, which a team of around 25 artisans is working on, might be viewed a vulgar display of wealth during hard economic times, but for Levy it is above all a work of art.
"For a lot of people around the world it may be the most expensive mask in the world and maybe that's a really big thing," he said.
"For us, it's a way to protect the positions of the people in the factory in order for them to be able to support their families."