The priciest holiday purchases are generally placed under a Christmas tree — not hung from its branches. But for people whose budget has no limits, ultra-opulent ornaments that cost up to six figures are an exceptional case. Here are four of the most covetted:
1. 1970 Biedermann brass commemorative ornament, $4,000
In 1970, artisans from the town of Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany began making limited edition Biedermann & Sons ornaments — simple, flat, pressed brass discs or stars that have become highly collectible. The inaugural piece, depicting the steeples of the town square, fetches $4,000 today.
2. Antique Dresden horse and carriage, $5,700
Made in the 1890's in the German city of Dresden, this intricate and rather ghostly three inch-tall piece depicts a man driving a two-horse sleigh. Though neither the horses nor the man appear very merry, it was recently posted on ebay with a "buy it now" price of $5,700.
3. Krebs Glas gold and diamond bauble, $31,400
This German-made glass globe is encased in a filagree gold cage studded with 120 diamonds with a total weight of more than five carats. Priced at over $30,000, it was sufficiently over the top to hold the title of "world's most expensive Christmas ornament," until a new, even more aggressively grand contender arrived this year...
4. Hallmark Jewelers diamond and ruby bauble, $135,000
Mark Hussey of Hallmark jewelers — a shop and studio in Titchfield Village, Hampshire, UK — decided to make the world's most expensive Christmas ornament. The result: An 18-carat white gold bauble encrusted in 500 diamonds. Two rings made from 188 rubies orbit the gaudy globe. The piece took 130 hours to produce, costs just over $130K — and is currenty unsold. The owner runs a slight risk of tempting Santa to begin a life of crime.