Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What is Luxury?

Do you image a life of luxury like this?

Over the centuries the definition of luxury and what it means has changed. Things that we now take for granted were once considered luxuries. Take the electric light, indoor plumbing and even glass windows. These were all items for the wealthy to own and enjoy when they first came out. Now we wouldn’t consider buying or living in a home without these simple amenities. Part of the reason these items are not considered luxuries today is because they have become commonplace.

Money has never gone out of style, but what money can buy to symbolize wealth has changed. Edward Cecil Guinness, the first Earl of Iveagh was an art collector. The purpose was to decorate his mansion in Mayfair. When society came calling they could gaze upon a substantial art collection. This collection symbolized wealth. His wealthiest neighbors knew the Earl was the wealthiest among them. Although vast art collections are still considered a luxury today.

A beautiful sunset can be a luxury

Wallis Simpson who later became the Duchess of Winsor claimed that platinum was the only jewelry that could be worn in the evenings. This created a fashion trend that many wealthy women indulged in. I’m sure that others in the socioeconomic scale tried to follow suit. Platinum, an extremely rare metal has always commanded high prices. Platinum jewelry was therefore a luxury.

Now that gold is topping the scales, it can be claimed as a luxury. Gold is relatively commonplace, but its high price makes it a luxury. As tastes change and prices go up and down, we will also reevaluate what we consider to be a luxury. For some, vacations to exotic lands or designer clothing and jewelry are a luxury. For others, an expensive bottle of perfume is all the luxury they can afford. Personally, luxury is that little something that makes me feel special, whether it’s rare, high priced or not.

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