The 13-metre (40-foot) faux evergreen, located in the gold leaf-bedecked rotunda of the hotel, is decorated with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments and small white lights.
But the necklaces, earrings and other jewellery draped around the tree’s branches are what give it a record value.
It holds a total of 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones, said Khalifa Khouri, owner of Style Gallery, which provided the jewellery.
“The tree itself is about 10,000 dollars,” Olbertz said. “The jewellery has a value of over 11 million dollars — I think 11.4, 11.5.”
There are two notable things about this story: First, it should be pointed out that the United Arab Emirates is chock full of Muslims, and that the mere presence of any Christmas tree–nonetheless a high-profile, record-setting Christmas tree–in that country is remarkable, no matter what people say about how liberal it is. Second, it should be pointed out that the excess we see all so often in the UAE is funded by what the world pays for oil harvested from that region — if the United States of America could get its political act together and become a dealer of energy rather than a consumer, we too could put up million-dollar Christmas decorations.
Mostly, though, I just wanted to highlight this story so I could put up a headline like “The Eleven-Million-Dollar Erection” [in a piece not about the priapic Bill Clinton].