Today in Reasons to Tax the Rich: A Billionaire Art Collector Is Commissioning a $1.5 Million Diamond-Studded Face Mask

The anonymous buyer has been described as "a billionaire from Shanghai."

An 18 carat gold, diamond-encrusted mask. Courtesy of Yvel.

Imagine you have a cool $1.5 million sitting in your bank account right now, just waiting to be spent. 

Then imagine dropping that money on a bespoke, bedazzled face mask at the height of a global recession and a pandemic that’s laid painfully bare what the stratification of wealth means for those on the lower end of the spectrum.

Well, that’s exactly what one art collector is doing. He’s commissioned what Isaac Levy, owner of the Yvel jewelry company, is calling the most expensive face mask in the world. 

The mask, which is currently being worked on by 25 Yvel jewelers in Israel, is constructed from 250 grams of 18-carat gold, boasts 3,600 black and white diamonds, and features an N99 filter. It’s expected to be delivered by the end of this year. 

A prototype of the mask. Courtesy of Yvel.

A prototype of the mask. Courtesy of Yvel.

“Money maybe doesn’t buy everything, but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that,” Levy told The Independent.

Levy has not disclosed the name of his client, but has called him, in various reports, a “Chinese art collector living in the United States” and an “anonymous billionaire from Shanghai.” 

“He is a young-old customer of ours, very charming, very outgoing, very wealthy and he likes to stand out,” the jeweler told the AP.

Sources tell us that if you ever meet a man with, say, a roll of gold leaf toilet paper or disposable toothpicks made from rhinoceros horns, or if you ever see someone using a small child as an umbrella—that’s probably your guy.  

“For a lot of people around the world it may be the most expensive mask in the world and maybe that’s a really big thing,” Levy added. “For us, it’s a way to protect the positions of the people in the factory in order for them to be able to support their families.”

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