Excesses of the Rich and Wealthy Jackie and Aristotle Onassis Part 2

About the excesses of the rich Jackie and Aristotle Onassis, biography and history of their extravagent spending.



The Christina was more or less up to Jackie's standards, and to satisfy these high standards Ari was indulgent with his bride. For a wedding ring he gave her a cabochon ruby "the size of an Easter egg," according to one biographer. Matching earrings were made of heart-shaped rubies surrounded by diamonds. This set cost $1.2 million, not counting a gold bracelet also studded with rubies. A later set of earrings from Ari cost $300,000. For Jackie's 40th birthday, he gave her a 40-carat diamond valued at $1 million. He also gave her a diamond necklace and bracelet costing another million.

Jackie received a set of earrings as a birthday present to commemorate the Apollo 11 mission. Variously reported as a gift from Onassis's jeweler and a gift from Onassis himself, the earrings were unique. In Jackie Oh! by Kitty Kelley, they are described for posterity: "...a sapphire-studded earth at the ear and a large ruby moon hanging from a chain. The Apollo ship was attached to a thin gold thread which circled the sapphire earth and then dropped to the ruby moon." This trifle cost $150,000. In the first year of their marriage Ari gave Jackie $5 million worth of jewelry. Unfortunately, Jackie could not wear her jewels in the U.S. Since she was an American citizen, bringing them in from Greece would have cost her $1.2 million in duty.

An attentive and adoring husband for the first years of their marriage, Ari made a habit of leaving a little surprise for Jackie on her breakfast tray each morning, even if he was thousands of miles away. Sometimes it was a poem, but more often it was a gold or diamond bracelet. Once she found a string of Japanese cultured pearls wrapped around a roll.

Besides his gifts, Ari happily indulged his wife's spending sprees all over the world. These were no ordinary spending sprees. Free of Jack Kennedy's disapproving glare, Jackie's really heavy binges have been averaged at $300 dollars a minute. Author Fred Sparks has meticulously detailed both Jackie's and Ari's spending in his book The $20,000,000 Honeymoon: Jackie and Ari's First Year, which title speaks for itself. Sparks has calculated that this breaks down to $384,615.33 a week. Jackie spent an average of $300,000 a year on clothes, in contrast to the $30,000 a year she spent as First Lady. Neither she nor Ari ever needed to use cash, checks, or credit cards. Their faces sufficed, and Ari received the bills in the mail.

Said Ari, "Jackie can have anything she wants if it makes her happy." Of himself he said, "It's not a question of money. After you reach a certain point, money becomes unimportant. What matters is success. The sensible thing would be for me to stop now. But I can't. I have to keep aiming higher and higher--just for the thrill." And finally, Jackie on Ari: "Ari never stops working. He dreams in millions."

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