India has long had a love affair with gold. But one businessman there is so infatuated with the precious metal, he dropped about $230,000 on solid gold shirt.
More than two dozen goldsmiths toiled for 15 days for lender Datta Phuge, who custom ordered the seven-pound top to wear for New Year's festivities, according to the Pune Mirror. The shirt is crafted from 14,000 22-karat gold rings linked together and comes with six Swarovski crystal buttons and a belt also made of gold.
Phuge said he considers the shirt “an investment which will keep appreciating.”
“People buy cars and go on holidays abroad,” he told the Mirror. “For me, gold is the ultimate passion. That is the reason I have spent a whopping amount of money on the shirt.”
That kind of thinking isn’t unique in India, where gold represents wealth and financial security in much the way that owning a home does in the United States. HSBC recently predicted that gold prices would jump this year thanks in part to demand from Indian customers like Phuge.
To ring in 2013, Phuge planned to trot out the shirt along with 11 pounds of gold accessories including chains, bracelets and rings, the Mirror reported.
He just custom ordered a gold case to suitably dress up his Nokia phone as well, it said.
As for any potential thieves or muggers out there, he doesn't seem to be worried.
“I have my own security system in place,” he told the Mirror. “I always move around with bodyguards.”