From fallen empires to immortalising friendships, giving gifts has been instrumental in some of history’s key moments. We take a look at three gifts that have made their mark on the tapestry of history. One we think you’d politely decline, another might not fit on the mantlepiece and if you’re a man, you may just turn down the third despite its overwhelming value.
THE TROJAN HORSE — MEN’S GIFTS YOU DON’T WANT TO HORSE AROUND WITH
After a decade of idle attempts by the Greeks to defeat the Trojans, the Hellenes sought a more underhand means of entering the city of Troy. They constructed a gigantic hollow horse — the symbol of Troy — and hid some 23 to 40 elite soldiers within its core before wheeling it to the entrance of the city they had desired to infiltrate for the best part of ten years.
Once safely within the confines of the city, the elite soldiers sprung from the equine trap to slaughter and take it for their own. The story of the gift horse has clung to the tapestry of history like a fable or myth, even to this day and age where the term ‘trojan horse’ still refers to a gift with questionable intentions.
The story has even carried into computing terminology where it describes a computer virus that lures you into thinking you are being gifted so as to lull the user into downloading it.
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY — A MIGHTY GIFT BETWEEN MEN OF TWO NATIONS
The statue of liberty, or to call it by the name its French designer and and builder gave it — La liberté éclairant le monde — was a gift conceived and created by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Eiffel tower’s namesake: Gustave Eiffel.
A gift to the United States of America from the people of France, the copper statue depicting a robed female figure embodying freedom. The flame torch held high in her right hand represents progress and the power of enlightenment. At the statue’s feet lies broken chains to further reinforce the idea of moving onward from oppression.
354 steps to the top. A shoe size of 879. A 10m waistline. America’s great Lady Liberty is the personification of its most important value: freedom. Interestingly, another of America’s ideals, that of the American Dream, has been represented within the statue since 1986 when the old flame was replaced with a 24k gold one.
THE KOH-I-NOOR — THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF GIFTS THAT COSTS A PRETTY PENNY
Although HOMMAGE’s 30,000 USD straight-edge Damascene razor has been widely cited as one of the most expensive gifts by publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The Robb Report, its pricetag is a drop in the ocean when compared to a gift given to Queen Victoria in 1850.
Proceeding the British conquest of the Punjab in 1848, the British governor-general presented the then-monarch with the Koh-i-Noor diamond, the largest known in existence at 186 carats, and arguably one of the most expensive gifts ever to have been given. Although its real value isn’t known, the British crown, in which the stone sits, is valued between £10bn and £12.7bn.
Although the diamond’s glint is pure and clear, its history certainly isn’t. Since its discovery in Guntur, India in its uncut state of 793 carats, possibly during the 13th century, the diamond passed hands several times as a result of conflict. The much-sought diamond represents a significant amount of bloodshed between men and acquired a murky reputation within the British Royal Family. Many of the royal men considered it bad luck to wear the diamond and since its arrival within the United Kingdom, the diamond has only ever been worn by female members of the royal family.