Apple’s wireless AirPods earphones have been one of the company’s most surprising hits over the past few years, helping its wearables category grow beyond the Apple Watch. But one Los Angeles-based designer thinks the white plastic earbuds could stand to be fancier, so he’s blinging them out with a few upgrades: 1,000 tiny diamonds, white gold coating, and a custom marble stand for display and charging. The cost: a cool $20,000.
Ian DeLucca’s Object No. 1 AirPods are part of his “New Materialism” series, focused on spotlighting the intersection of art and commerce. Twenty-five pairs of the earphones are being made with diamonds that are said to be VVS1-quality, and naturally mined rather than manufactured. Each white gold pair gets inscribed with its creation date and an edition number.
Given how polarizing diamond-encrusted electronics can be, the Object No. 1 AirPods are surprisingly classy. Their silver metallic tops look like they’ll fit in users’ ears as well as standard AirPods, while their stems are almost completely covered in precisely aligned columns of little diamonds. Even the white and black marble stand looks museum-worthy.
DeLucca is offering the 25 pairs first through direct message inquiries to his Instagram account. It remains to be seen whether they’ll prove as irresistible as the original AirPods, which experienced major shortages for months, becoming objects of desire even without any gold, diamonds, or marble. But despite the price tag, it’s easy to imagine the first round selling out to celebrities in Los Angeles, where $20,000 might be seen as a business expense for drawing attention — or a fairly small investment in pop art.