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Tiffany sparkles; gold exfoliates?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, May 28, 2010
Posted: 11 am ET

Tiffany & Co., that purveyor of little-black-dressed cultural icons and simple but devastatingly expensive jewelry, announced that earnings for the first quarter more than doubled. "So what," you say, while browsing the aisles at Sears?

Well, when consumer spending loosens up, it's a sign our economy is improving, and in many cases, it trickles down in the form of jobs.

I've written about the return to luxury buying in past blogs, as an indicator of overall economic health. Although some luxury-sellers are reluctant to report a full-scale recovery just yet, maybe it's the nearly nonsensical extravagance that truly reveals the state of mind of those who have been spending prisoners for too long and are itching to liberate some cash.

A gold facial mask

A gold facial mask

So if you're feeling fiscally whimsical, here's an idea. With gold at a high of $1,200 an ounce, forget traipsing off to Tiffany for a bauble you can flash to less-fortunate friends. Instead, consider absorbing some gold-flecked cream in your skin. No-one will ever see it, and hey, if you break out in a rash, it's a well-earned one.

Several high-end skincare manufacturers, led by La Prairie in 2006, have been peddling creams that promise to give you a golden glow, decrease wrinkles and banish acne. They cost upward of $1,000 for an ounce, or you can go to a spa for a gold facial. The rub, so to speak, is that dermatologists mostly believe these gold-infused creams have no beneficial properties, and may actually irritate the skin. Nevertheless, they're increasing in popularity.

So what would you rather do: buy gold for your portfolio, adorn your fingers and wrists with gold jewelry, or luxuriate in a 24-karat facial?

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