Though full to bursting with showy and expensive luxury wearables, the Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show is not usually the kind of venue where you'd expect to find guitar maker Gibson displaying one of its custom instruments. This year, however, saw a US$2 million diamond-encrusted SG called the Eden of Coronet verified as the world's most valuable guitar by Guinness World Records.
Given the emphasis on the arty nature of the showpiece, it comes as no surprise that little information on the guitar part of the equation has been released. The white Gibson SG that's now home to more than 400 carat of diamonds embedded in 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) of 18 K gold is reported to be the first collaboration between Gibson Brands, jewelry designer Aaron Shum of Coronet and musician/designer Mark Lui, and is said to be a reflection of the latter's passion for both music and jewelry.
It features two covered humbucking pickups and chrome (not gold) hardware, with a Mark Lui Design Works nameplate to the right of the neck pickup and a "Coronet" plate between the pickups. Though the three-way pickup selector and the instrument jack are visible, the two volume knobs and two tone knobs appear to be hidden underneath the layer of diamond decoration. But as you can see from this video, the instrument is playable.
The Eden of Coronet is the result of 700 man-days of work from a 68 person team and was confirmed by Guinness World Records as the most valuable guitar in the world at a ceremony in the prestigious Hall 1 at Baselworld on March 20.
When describing the sparkly guitar as a masterpiece, Gibson Brand's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz also indicated that the collaboration was "definitely an important milestone for what we target to achieve." Could this be the first of many over-the-top, ostentatious and, quite honestly, pretty ugly one-offs from one of rock music's primary innovative forces? Let's hope not.
As Baselworld comes to a close later this week, the Eden of Coronet will begin a tour of China's major cities. It's not clear what will happen to the instrument after that, though we can say with some certainty that this is one guitar that we won't get to review.