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Circuit Breaker

The king of bling: hands on with Onkyo’s $100,000 diamond headphones

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‘The headphones are now diamonds!’

The Onkyo Diamond Headphones are pair of headphones meant for the truly elite that the audio company unveiled at CES 2017. And as might be apparent from the fact that they are made out of diamonds, the driving design philosophy here is one of “making a statement.” Specifically, a statement about the fact that you can afford a truly spectacular pair of $100,000 diamond-covered headphones.

To get it out of the way, yes, those are real diamonds, not Swarovski crystal or glass. Each pair is built by hand with the specific buyer in mind, with a cost ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 depending on certain customization choices (including the size of the individual diamonds used.) Each pair contains 20 karats of diamonds, which are rated between G-H on GIA’s color scale (nearly colorless) and between VVS-VS for clarity.

As is common on most over-ear headphones, the Onkyo Diamonds mark the right ear with a red ring. In keeping with the over-the-top design scheme, that ring is made of rubies. Taking a brief break from the king’s ransom in precious gems for a moment, the other components of the Diamond Headphones are made of stainless steel and what was described as “ostrich look-alike leather.” And even the included 3.5mm headphone chord has diamonds that serve as the buttons for the in-line controls.

At this point in a post, I'd talk about the audio hardware for the headphones. Things like driver size, sound tuning, or impedance levels. But I can't because Onkyo isn't disclosing that kind of information about the Diamond Headphones — we couldn’t even listen to anything on them. And while Onkyo is still committed to offering the kind of high-quality audio the brand is known for, for this particular set of diamond-encrusted cans, as a representative put it, "the specs don't matter."

If you're recently inherited a fortune or discovered the lost treasure of Atlantis and are therefore interested in picking up a pair, I regret to inform you that the Onyko Diamond Headphones will be available on an invitation-only basis, with a wait list for the first pairs already forming.

And while I can’t tell you how they sound beyond the fact that putting them on did deaden some noise in the room, I will say that wearing them makes you feel like a million bucks. Or, at the very least, a tenth of that.

Photography by James Bareham.