RIYADH: A face mask decorated with gold and 3,608 black and white diamonds, reportedly the world’s most expensive, is currently on show at Riyadh Season’s Jewelry Salon, billed as the Middle East’s largest jewelry exhibition.
Isaac Levy, president and designer at US jewelry brand Yvel — the company behind the mask — told Arab News, “I am proud to present the most expensive COVID mask in the world. It was commissioned by one of my very good customers from Los Angeles.” The customer paid $1.5 million for the mask, which Yvel has loaned to the Jewelry Salon for Riyadh Season.
The mask consists of three sections. The front piece is the jeweled cover, which weighs 280 grams, and inside that is an N99 mask. The third layer is a disposable filter. It is, Levy stressed, ““100 percent a COVID mask approved by the (US Food and Drug Administration).”
We are proud to announce our participation at the @JewellerySalon3 exhibition on November 2-6 in Saudi Arabia! The exhibition will present Yvel's 2022 ART TO WEAR Collection and recent designs! We look forward to serving the Royal families! pic.twitter.com/DIvMvfFVBa— YVEL (@Yvel_Jewelry) October 24, 2021
Levy described creating a fully operational face mask that highlights the beauty of diamonds and gold but also complies with global health standards as “a really interesting challenge” for his company.
“At the end of the day, we are jewelers, not face mask manufacturers,” he said, adding that the commission “really helped the company get through those tough times” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The owner was kind enough to support the company last year when things were a little bit challenging,” Levy explained, adding that the 210-carat mask took more than nine months to make, with 25 jewelers, 16 diamond setters and nine goldsmiths working on it. “It really is a masterpiece,” he said.
The mask’s owner specified three conditions when he commissioned the piece, Levy told Arab News: “His conditions were that it would be the most expensive COVID mask in the world, that it had to be delivered before December 31, and that he would remain anonymous.”
To this day, despite global media attention, only a select few from the design team know who actually owns the mask.
“This gentleman is not a jeweler or a jewelry collector,” Levy said. “He is an art collector and he looks at it from an artistic point of view.”
He added that the mask will likely be put up for auction by the owner later this year, with bids starting at $2.5 million.