Big in Japan: The $15,000 diamond martini and other choice bling

Think you’ve got the hottest rims on the block? Can’t stop sporting your brand new Coach bag? Enamored by the diamond carrot ring on your pinky finger?

Trust me. Your hottest luxury items are already blasé in Japan…

Don’t believe me? Wait until you hear about the choicest bling from the Land of the Rising Sun.

For starters, anybody who is anybody knows that the best ride on the block is a custom-made Rolls-Royce.

Although your typical Rolls has a retail price of about US$390,000, in Japan you can choose a custom color combination for another US$20,000.

(Particularly popular in Japan is exotic light grey and tomato red combination!)

Or, how about fitting your ride with a refrigerator, wet bar, entertainment system and DJ booth for another US$140,000?

One client in Japan even went as far as putting his initials in the headrests using Gothic script – or, as he put it, ‘Harry Potter writing’ – for US$5,000!

Think Japanese bling is a bit extravagant? Wait until you hear about the US$15,000 diamond martini!


In the West, Gucci or Louis Vuitton handbags ranging from US$600 to US$900 are highly coveted luxury items, though in Japan the super-rich have moved on.

On Omotesando Boulevard in Tokyo, somewhat akin to Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive or New York City’s 5th Avenue, Bottega Veneta handbags start at US$1,500, and can run as high as a small house in the suburbs.

And of course, if you’re sporting a luxury handbag, you should have an easy time forking over cash for the hottest and latest bling.

Last year, the rich and beautiful embraced a number of mind-blowing trends including:

– the $600 volcanic body scrub at a trendy spa in the Armani Tower in Tokyo

– the $130,000-a-night Christmas suite with jewel-studded tree in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo

– the $100 Swarovski crystal-studded box tissue box


– the $15,000 martini with a diamond at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Tokyo

Absurd. Truly freakin’ absurd.

So why do the Japanese love spending ungodly sums of money on disposable goods?

According to one ultra-rich Tokyo elite, Japanese people love to hang around Ginza, Tokyo’s most status-conscious neighbourhood, and show off what they got.

“Those people hanging around Ginza, they are just showing off. If someone has it, other people want it. That’s Japanese. The group mentality.”

He continues:

“The process of getting it, or just before getting it, is interesting. Keeping it is not so interesting,” he concludes.

So you see, there is no shortage of bling in America, be it diamond-encrusted grills or chrome spinners, but clearly the Japanese are masters in their own right.

Although I can assure you that hyper-consumption in Japan is anything but the norm, Tokyo does remain one of the world’s greatest shopping cities.

(Assuming of course that you’ve got the cash to burn!)

On the that note, I’m going to see if I can convince my local watering hole to make a somewhat more affordable cubic zirconia martini…

(Special thanks to my roommate Tac for reminding me once again why we both like to steer clear of Ginza)

**Note that the content in this article was originally reported by the Asia division of Reuters **