Published: 20 Feb 2018

Shirts of gold

Stories about famous golden shirts

Shirts made of golden brocade, or zardozi or golden fabric, yes. But shirts made entirely of gold?

In the 21st century, not one, but two Indians, both from Maharashtra, are the proud owners of shirts made of gold. Solid gold.

Indian businessman Dattatray Phuge, who was killed in 2016, had 15 goldsmiths working for as many days to create a shirt made of gold. Solid, pure, glittering gold. His shirt survived the murder as it was in the safekeeping of a jeweller.

The other person is businessman turned politician, Pankaj Parakh, who earned a place in the Guinness World Records (2014 records) as the man who owns the most expensive gold shirt in the world. In 2014, the shirt, made of pure gold, cost Rs 98, 35,099, and would be worth well over a crore now.

Phuge’s shirt is patterned around an armour and is embellished with 14,000 gold flowers interwoven with 100,000 spangles and is closed by Swarvoski buttons. The man has often been pictured wearing this gold shirt and at least 10 thick gold chains, half a dozen bracelets and at least two rings in each finger.

As for Parakh’s shirt, it weighs over four kilos and is valued at over Rs 1.30 crore. Apart from the gold shirt, Parakh wears much like Phuge, several gold chains, large gold rings, carries a gold mobile cover and golden-framed spectacles.

It took a team of 20 master craftsmen over 3,200 manhours to craft the pure gold strands into thread and put the shirt together for Parakh. Moreover, Parakh’s shirt is washable (hand washed, of course), and can be put out on the clothesline to dry. In the unlikely event that it is torn or damaged, it can be repaired and even altered to accommodate girth.

Parakh’s family does not share his love for gold, but have now come to accept it, since they can hardly ignore it.

Both Phuge and Parakh would travel with an entourage of armed security guards to keep them safe and keep curious onlookers at bay.

Both the gold shirts are flexible, come with an inner lining to prevent chafing and yes, a lifetime guarantee.