Forget the fast cars and flashy jewelry.
If you really want to distinguish yourself as a one-percenter, you can't leave the house these days without a gold plated cell phone.
"They’re more apt to invite you to your own table or give you an extra bottle or something like that.”
“It is an extreme luxury,” said Alex Wiley, founder and owner of Las Vegas-based Ademov Luxury Electronics, a company that specializes in pimping ordinary electronic devises with precious metals and stones.
The options for adornments are endless: phones, tablets and computers plated in fine metals like 24 carat gold, platinum and even diamonds.
“We cater to the guys that want something that’s so unique that nobody else is going to have it,” Wiley said.
In cities like Las Vegas-- where people go to flash their cash-- the decadent devices can set you apart from the rest—getting you free upgrades, VIP service and a spot in the hottest restaurants.
“Whenever I carry a gold iPod with me I definitely get noticed more, I get treated better,” said Sarah Cox, manager at Ademov. “I think that the VIP people definitely pick up on that, they’re more apt to invite you to your own table or give you an extra bottle -- or something like that.”
The gold-plated phones start at $3,000, but add in some custom features and the cost can easily skyrocket. Some custom precious metal designs go for upwards of $50,000, while tablets with diamonds and engravings sell for a whopping $100,000.
Ademov sold over 500 pieces last year, bringing in sales of over $1M. Most of its items were sold overseas—especially in Asia where a phone can be as big a status symbol as a car.
“It’s something where it shows your wealth,” Wiley said. “People like to flaunt their wealth over there and that has been a big customer of ours.”
And as demand grows for these glitzy devises, so does the competition. The Chinese-based NavJack now offers Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with 24K gold plating, and Microsoft offers a gold version of the Lumia 930 and the Lumia 830 in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Now that everyone's jumping on the bandwagon looking to make a buck, there are more fake devices out there that look astonishingly like the real thing.
Ademov says the quality metals, smooth and free of imperfections, sets its products a part from the rest.
“You can definitely notice the real from the fakes,” Cox said.