Original image
Getty Images

13 Unusual Objects Covered in Crystals and Diamonds

Original image
Getty Images

It's not surprising to see extravagant pieces of jewelry or clothing covered with precious gems on the red carpet. Even “bejeweled” phone cases and other accessories are commonplace these days (though those typically aren't real gems). But some objects covered in crystals and jewels are decidedly more unusual. Here are 13 of them. 

1. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

NYC, Style and a little Cannoli

You certainly wouldn’t give this version of these classic toys to your children to play with. These Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads were hand-jeweled with Swarovski crystals by Jay Strongwater, maker of jewelry and jewel-encrusted figurines. These toys and their accessories are covered with more than 50,000 crystals and were sold for $8000 apiece.

2. A Hot Wheels car

Hot Wheel Collectors

This diamond-covered car was created by Hot Wheels to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary and is valued at well over $100,000. The car is cast in 18-carat white gold and covered with more than 2700 blue diamonds. The car’s tiny engine is also adorned in black and white diamonds and the tail lights are red rubies.

3. A Coffee Machine

Tech Digest

This Nespresso Crystal coffee machine is covered with 3100 Swarovski crystals, taking its price from around $250 to upwards of $3000. Apparently, some people take their coffee this seriously!

4. A KitchenAid Mixer

Bling Diva Designs

This mixer was given its crystal coating by Bling Diva Designs. The original was made as a bridal shower gift for Katherine Kallinis, co-owner of Georgetown Cupcake. The mixer is covered by more than 8000 crystals. Melissa at Bling Diva Designs continues to decorate mixers in this way—it'll only cost you $2000 to have a shiny mixer in a color of your choice.

5. A Dog Bowl

The Rich Times

Someone seemed to think that flashy kitchen appliances might make the family pet a bit jealous. This bowl is made by BB Simon and is encrusted by hand with Swarovski crystals, complete with a skull and crossbones design. Its price is currently set around $1300.

6. Eggs

Etsy/The Glittered Squirrel

On Etsy, you can find a real egg encrusted with Swarovski crystals, along with some other shiny egg designs. The eggs are blown out and silver leafed, and the crystals are applied by hand. The listed price of the pictured egg is $550 and, at least at this point, it seems to be a one-of-a-kind creation.

7. A Toilet


Several crystal encrusted toilets have been created to add bling to otherwise drab bathrooms. The toilet pictured above has a price tag of $75,000; some other crystal toilet creations are valued above $100,000. This design comes from the same maker as an extravagant gold plated toilet priced well above $300,000.

8. A Vacuum Cleaner

Piece of Cake PR

Although this isn’t covered from handle to floor in jewels like most of these other items, it is one of the more unusual object choices to make decorative with diamonds. This vacuum was created by GoVacuum after the popularity of their million-dollar gold plated vacuum cleaner. This device features a silver plated handle, a powernozzle sprinkled with diamond dust, and an outer filter bag that is decorated with 1000 Swarovski crystals. GoVacuum has not given this item a price tag, but has instead dubbed it “priceless” and decided to give away the one and only model as part of a contest.

9. A Fishing lure

The Most Expensive Journal

This diamond-studded fishing lure would definitely allow a fisherman to pull in that big one in style. That is, if they can afford it. Made by MacDaddy’s, this so-called Million-Dollar Lure is encrusted with 100 carats of diamonds and rubies. This lure may seem a bit too ridiculous to be functional, but it has actually been used in a fishing tournament in California.

10. Luggage


This member of the Samsonite Black Label—a revamped version of a 1920s trunk adorned with Swarovski crystals—is sure to catch everyone’s attention in the airport, but is very exclusive.  Only 30 were made and sold in 2008 when the line came out. While no price is listed, you can be sure these went for a considerable sum.

11. Staircases

Sydney Morning Herald

There are two crystal staircases in the reception area of the MSC Splendida, purportedly the “world’s most beautiful ship.” Each step features about $40,000 worth of Swarovski crystals, making the staircases, with 72 steps between them, worth $2.8 million.

12. A Car

Getty Images

To be specific, a Mercedes Benz. This car was decorated by Garson USA and is adorned with more than 300,000 Swarovski crystals. It is estimated to be valued at around $1 million and would certainly make a statement on the road. The crystal Mercedes has been exhibited at several auto shows over the past few years.

13. A Skull

Oh Gizmo!

This is a piece by British artist Damien Hirst that is entitled "For the Love of God." The underlying skull is real, and from the 18th century. The entire skull—except for the teeth—was covered in platinum before being smothered in 8601 flawless diamonds that have a combined weight of over 1,100 carats. The large pink diamond on the forehead alone is 52 carats and worth millions of dollars. All of the diamonds used cost a total of over $22 million, which is only a fraction of the sales price Hirst could ask for his creation.

Original image
Heritage Auctions
10 Vintage Canes With Amazing Hidden Features
Original image
Heritage Auctions

Sometimes a vintage walking stick is more than a dapper statement piece. It can also be a men’s grooming kit, a croquet set, a microscope, or even a projector. Multipurpose canes were all the rage at the turn of the 19th century, and now some of the most unique examples of the trend are going up for auction.

The Gentleman Collector auction from Heritage Auctions will feature dozens of canes, many of which offer bonus features beyond what meets the eye. Check out these useful, sneaky, and oddly specific specialty canes, which hit the auction block on September 22.


Cane with a weight in the handle.

Can’t decide if you identify more as a rabologist (someone who collects canes) or a numismatist (someone who collects coins)? This artifact will appeal to both halves of your heart. Inside the ebonized wood handle of this late 19th-century cane is a space for weighing and storing coins. Just push a button to reveal the tiny brass scale.

Estimated price: $7000 - $10,000


Cane with hidden projector.

Who needs a bulky iPhone taking up space in your pocket when you can carry a miniature movie theater in your walking stick? The top of the "magic lantern" cane slides up and acts as a portable projector. Point it at the nearest wall to view the hand-painted illustrations housed within the shaft. A tiny torch brings the full-color slideshow to life.

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000


Cane that makes cider.

There's nothing like a long walk to work up a thirst for a glass of cider. With this walking stick in hand, you can get to work making one immediately. The interior wood rod of this device doubles as an apple press. Along the the tin shaft is a siphon and spout for collecting juice.

Estimated price: $1000 - $1500


Cane with hidden architect's tools.

With a mahogany shaft and a leather-wrapped handle, this walking stick is a piece of art on its own. Architects can twist it open and use the supplies inside to draw up something equally exquisite. The handle has two secret compartments containing a compass, graphite, and drafting tools. Inside the lower part of the cane is a level, straightedge, letter opener, an elevation drawing, and a plumb-line (a pendulum with a rope-suspended weight).

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000


Cane with hidden grooming kit.

The original owner of this grooming kit/walking stick combo was likely the envy of every fancy gentleman in town. Inside the cane’s segmented oak shaft are vials, brushes, a sponge, a button hook, and shaving supplies—everything necessary to look fresh and fine on the go.

Estimated price: $4000 - $6000


Chrome handle of a cane.

The hidden camera is the quintessential spy accessory. This circa 1980 cane, based on a patent from 1904, holds its camera and film winder inside the chrome handle. Snap it closed and the device transforms back into an inconspicuous, black walking stick.

Estimated price: $6000 -$8000


Cane handle shaped like a face.

The handle on this item portrays a man’s face scrunched up into a nasty expression. What it does is even nastier: Push a button on the top and liquid comes shooting out the mouth. The trick cane could possibly be used for good, like refilling people’s drinks at parties. Or you could just fill it with water and spray anyone who invades your personal space.

Estimated price: $1500 - $2500


Cane with miniature croquet set.

You wouldn’t think that a mallet, a ball, and a full set of wickets would fit easily inside a cane, but a 19th-century inventor found a way to make it work. Of course, this croquet set is much smaller than one you'd find on a lawn. Luckily a desktop makes a fine alternative to a playing field.

Estimated price: $800 - $1200


Cane with hidden microscope.

A botanist going on a stroll through the woods would be fortunate to have this walking stick with them. Upon spotting an interesting specimen, they could pause their journey and use the cane as their miniature laboratory. The ebonized wood shaft contains a compartment with glass slides and vials, and the detailed silver handle holds an actual brass microscope.

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000


Cane with wooden eagle handle.

If you’re still not convinced that canes can be hardcore, take this specimen from the late 1800s. The carved eagle-head handle is intimidating on its own, but pop it off and you have all the components necessary to put together a crossbow. Brandishing a dangerous weapon never looked so classy.

Estimated price: $1500 - $2500

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Original image
11 Ridiculously Overdue Library Books (That Were Finally Returned)
Original image

Last week, Massachusetts's Attleboro Public Library received a big surprise when one of its regular patrons returned a copy of T.S. Arthur's The Young Lady at Home ... more than 78 years after it had been checked out. 

The man, whose name was not revealed, was reportedly helping a friend clean out his basement when he came across the tome. He recognized the library's stamp, then noticed its original due date: November 21, 1938. “We were amazed,” said Amy Rhilinger, the library’s assistant director. “I’ve worked here for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Because the library charges $.10 per day for overdue books, the total bill for this dusty read would come to about $2800—but the library isn't planning to cash in. “We’re not the library police," Rhilinger said. "We’re not tracking everyone’s things. Everyone returns things a few [days] late, and it’s one thing we joke about here.”

Though it's rare, the decades-overdue book's return is not unprecedented. Here are 11 more tardy returns.

1. The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean: A Celebration of the World’s Most Healthful Foods by Sheryl and Mel London

LOANED FROM: The Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas

In 2014, someone anonymously returned this fitness-friendly cookbook, which had been missing since September 24, 1992. The volume, published that April, contains over 300 recipes—and it’s probably safe to assume that the culprit had plenty of time to try out every single one of them.

2. The Real Book About Snakes by Jane Sherman

LOANED FROM: The Champaign County Library in Urbana, Ohio 

Like the previous entry, whoever turned in this musty old field guide declined to reveal his name. But lest anyone question the man’s honesty, he also left the following note: “Sorry I’ve kept this book so long, but I’m a really slow reader! I’ve enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies!”

3. Days and Deeds: A Book of Verse for Children’s Reading and Speaking compiled by Burton and Elizabeth Stevenson

LOANED FROM: The Kewanee Public Library in Kewanee, Illinois

According to Guinness World Records, the $345.14 fee paid by the borrower of this lyrical compilation stands as the highest library fine ever paid.

4. The Fire of Francis Xavier by Arthur R. McGratty

LOANED FROM: The New York Public Library, Fort Washington Branch, in New York, New York

In 2013, this one was discreetly mailed in and the perpetrator was never brought to justice (be on guard, Big Apple bibliophiles).

5. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

LOANED FROM: The Rugby Library in Warwick, England 

The item found its way home during an eight-day “fines amnesty period,” which shielded the guilty patron from a £4000 penalty. “It’s amazing to think how much the library has changed since that book was taken out in 1950,” said librarian Joanna Girdle. 

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

LOANED FROM: The Chicago Public Library in Chicago, Illinois 

Harlean Hoffman Vision found a rare edition of this novel nestled amongst her late mother’s personal effects and vowed to set things right. “She kept saying, ‘You’re not going to arrest me?’” recalled marketing director Ruth Lednicer, “and we said, ‘No, we’re so happy you brought it back.’”

7. Master of Men by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Amazon, Public Domain

LOANED FROM: The Leicester County Library in Leicester, England

Oppenheim was born in the surrounding region and, hence, the Leicestershire County Council was thrilled to reclaim this piece of their literary heritage after it turned up in a nearby house—even though the library branch it originally belonged to had shut down decades earlier.

8. Facts I Ought to Know About the Government of My Country by William H. Bartlett

Amazon, Public Domain

LOANED FROM: The New Bedford Public Library in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Stanley Dudek of Mansfield, Massachusetts claims that his mother—a Polish immigrant—decided to brush up on American politics by borrowing this volume from the New Bedford Library in 1910. “For a person who was just becoming a citizen, it was the perfect book for her,” says Dudek.

9. Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin

LOANED FROM: The Camden School of Arts Lending Library in Sydney, Australia

An Australian copy of Darwin’s treatise on bug-eating flora was borrowed in 1889. After two World Wars, Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, and the birth of the internet, it was finally returned on July 22, 2011.

10. The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians, and Grecians (volume II) by Charles Rollin

LOANED FROM: The Grace Doherty Library in Danville, Kentucky
YEARS OVERDUE: 150 (approximately)

In 2013, this tome was discovered at a neighboring school for the deaf, where it had presumably been stored since 1854 (as evidenced by a note written inside dating to that year). The library owns no records from this period, so exactly how long it was gone is anybody’s guess, but, said librarian Stan Campbell, “It’s been out of the library for at least 150 years."

11. The Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel

LOANED FROM: The New York Society Library in New York City

Five months into his first presidential term, George Washington borrowed this legal manifesto from the historic New York Society Library. For the next 221 years, it remained stowed away at his Virginia home, and organization officials wondered if they’d ever see it again. “We’re not actively pursuing overdue fines,” joked head librarian Mark Bartlett. “But we would be very happy to see the book returned.” His wish was granted when Mount Vernon staff finally sent it back in 2010 (luckily, they dodged a whopping $300,000 late fee).

An earlier version of this post appeared in 2014.


More from mental floss studios