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$11 Million Christmas Tree

Lars Plougmann, Flickr

Even Christmas is an opportunity for opulence in the United Arab Emirates.

A gold, diamond and sapphire-studded bejeweled Christmas tree standing 43 feet tall now decorates a lobby rotunda at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, according to several news reports.

While the tree is worth an estimated $10,000, the 131 precious stones and metals add more than $11 million to its dollar value, the hotel’s general manager Hans Oblertz told the BBC.

The tree is, of course, not the only over-the-top feature of the Emirates Palace. The hotel web site describes the luxury resort as an “enchanging landmark” with “a majestic experience fit for a king and deserving of an emperor” and lists amenities like a private beach, fountains, chandeliers, marble imported from 13 countries around the world and “5 kilograms of pure edible gold” used each year to decorate desserts.

The Christmas tree is believed to be the most valuable in the world. It could land the hotel a spot in the Guinness World Records. The Guinness web site lists a previous record-breaking $10.8 million tree – with 83 pieces of jewelry – set up in Tokyo in 2002, according to an Associated Press article.

Security is on guard at the Emirates hotel, which also encrusted its Christmas  tree with pearls and emeralds, and jewelry in the form of necklaces and earrings.

Though the official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic, the country is also home to a large population of foreigners. The Associated Press reports plenty of Santas and Christmas carolers roam local malls.

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