herald

Friday 24 October 2014

The 24-carat gold iPhone setting the new bling tone

It might not be the best idea when you're walking down the streets of the capital, but that hasn't stopped gold-plated mobile phones becoming the latest craze.

A Dublin shop has been transforming smartphones and mobiles into shiny gold-plated status symbols.

Over 100 have so far paid €300 to give their handsets given the Midas touch.







Thefts

"It's very popular with some people, in December alone around four people a week have been using our gold-plating service," said Alan Donohoe, manager of the GSM Solutions store in Upper Abbey Street.

The thefts of smartphones remains high in Dublin, with gangs stealing some phones to order.

While some may dismiss the craze as a complete waste of money, demand shows others clearly like to 'dazzle as they dial' and 'glisten as they listen,' according to Mr Donohoe.

"As well as 24-carat gold, we have a platinum option which isn't popular because its silvery colour doesn't stand out," he said.

The process is carried out on the premises with an electro-plating technique involving several layers of liquid gold being brushed onto the steel chassis, outer-rims and backs of the phones.

Cobalt is then used to harden the substance in a chemical process.

For those wanting extra bling, the gold plating can be lacquered for extra shine.

A less expensive option is to fit a new gold-plated back for the iphone for €129.

"About a gram of gold is used in the process," he said.

The gold-plating is quite thin and can be worn off, depending on usage.

But Mr Donohoe said the plating can last "up to three years".

More than 100 people have had phones gold-plated in the past year.







Birthday

"People usually get it done as a Christmas or a birthday gift or for Valentine's Day.

"We get people in from all over Ireland. I think it looks very well, people like gold," added Mr Donohue.

"For some the recession is bottoming out and retail sales are going up. Some are spending more but it's not across the board," he added.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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