Diamond iPad Makes a Splash

It was featured everywhere from Business Week to CNN. At press time, Google news said there were nearly 1,000 stories about it.

Not bad for a product that, its creator admits, doesn’t yet exist.

Mervis Diamond Importers’ Diamond iPad was born when Jonathan Mervis, digital strategist for the five-store Washington, D.C., chain, was trying to brainstorm “something special and really spectacular.”

“I’d been wanting to get into the celebrity market,” he says. “I thought, we are not putting ourselves out there as a place for real extravagance.”

The company had previously gotten attention with a diamond driedel and diamond cupcake. So, with Apple’s new iPad in the news, Mervis loaded up Photoshop, added some diamonds to an iPad prototype, and put it on his store’s site. “It literally took me 10 minutes,” he says.

Copy below the image read: “This gorgeous diamond-studded iPad features 11.43 cts. of diamonds, hand-set in a micropavé styling. The diamonds are graded G/H in color and VS2/SI1 in clarity. …Price tag: $19,999. Very limited quantities available.”

Some tech blogs picked up the story, and from there it mushroomed, so much so that Mervis says a large part of his job has become handling media inquiries. One blog wrote that a diamond iPad is “a rich geek’s best friend,” while another sneered, “If you happen to be one of those people who often call money ‘toilet paper’ then perhaps Mervis Diamond’s iPad case is something you’d be interested in purchasing.”

Despite the attention, Mervis admits he hasn’t actually sold any diamond iPads. Of course, the store hasn’t produced any, either, since, at press time, the iPad hadn’t been released.

“I don’t really know the legalities of it, and I would have to consult a lawyer,” he says. “I don’t really expect to sell any, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some celebrity called me up and wanted a few. It could happen.”

Till then, he’s gratified knowing that the store set out to make a splash—and did.

“You have to strike when the iron is hot,” Mervis says. “And right now, Apple is hot.”