If you thought embossed business cards were the height of luxury, think again.
Black Astrum, a British company founded as a result of a one-off request from a Middle Eastern family, can make you something a little more exclusive.
Signature business cards produced by the company are engraved, coated in an abrasion-resistant finish and include either diamonds or Swarovski crystals.
"Unlike most other business or membership cards where the recipients soon forget or discard it, our diamond or Swarovski-encrusted Signature cards are not something to be dismissed easily; even for the most wealthy of clients," says Sufian Khawaja, the founder and concept director of Black Astrum.
"Looking beyond the diamonds, however, when developing the Signature card we spent more than six months searching for the perfect material. We tested the material's scratch resistance, how much it weighed, how it looked and felt in the hand, even how it sounded when it was dropped."
Needless to say, the cards do not come cheap, starting at £159 (Dh938) minus taxes for diamond-encrusted cards and rising to about £1,000, although the average price per diamond signature card is £500. But if you are on a budget, the Swarovski-encrusted Signature cards are a relative snip at £99, minus taxes, per card.
Each card is customised to client requirements, according to Mr Khawaja. A recent set produced for a client in Brunei featured an all-black design with matt-black engraving surrounded by black diamonds."It was a stunning design and we were happy to accommodate the client's request," he says. The service is typically offered to new clients by invitation, according to the company, which tries to limit invites to about 30 a year.
"Our clients like to make an impression and we believe keeping our cards as exclusive as possible allows this," Mr Khawaja says.
"We do occasionally consider expressions of interest from individuals or organisations that contact us. However, our goal is not to sell as many cards as possible, but rather create a product that is unique and special to the client."
Black Astrum is said to produce the most expensive business cards in the world. Sufian Khawaja, the founder and concept director of the company, discusses the cards.
How big is a typical order?
We have a minimum order of 10 cards. However, most clients order in sets of 50 to 100 at a time.
Does anyone really hand them out? Or are they just for show?
Although we do not question clients about what they intend to do with our cards, we believe for many of them wealth is no longer a distinguishing factor in the circles in which they associate. In an ever-increasing digital world, people still like to leave a lasting personal impression and our cards allow our clients to do just that. It's likely a very high percentage who purchase them give them out.
How many customers do you have from the UAE and the Middle East region generally?
Black Astrum has a policy of not divulging information relating to clients and orders. We can, however, disclose that the majority of our customers are based in and around the Middle East and China.