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Stuart Hughes Is Tabloid Gold: How Big Media Laps Up One Man’s 24 Carat PR

by | 5th, November 2011

BRIAN Whelan has caught up with Stuart Hughes. Whelan describes Hughes thus:

This is the man who has tricked some of the biggest global news organisations into running fake stories about the world’s most expensive homes, yachts and cars.

Hughes is a tabloid gold mine, literally. As for “tricking”, well, Hughes just makes statements that media can either take or leave.

The world’s most unique yacht “ HISTORY SUPREME “ probably the most expensive. This project was commissioned for Stuart Hughes of Liverpool U.K. from an anonymous leading Malaysian business man. At 100ft the yacht took 3 years to complete , a circa of 100,000 kilograms of solid gold and platinum were added to make this an exciting project. All features inc deck , dinning area , rails , anchor , made from precious metals. The base of the vessel was wrapped in gold , a thin layer was formed to embrace this huge section. The main sleeping quarter was adorned with platinum accents of which included , wall feature , made from meteoric stone , with genuine Dinosaur bone shaved in from the raptor T – REX. A cost of £3 billion , the most exclusive yacht was born ! Similar unique designs can be found on our other site www.goldstriker.co.uk
The story was picked up by such organs as:
Daily Mail, Ted Thornhill: “One hull of a price tag: Luxury yacht that would make even Roman Abramovich jealous sells for £3bn:
Metro:The was built for a Malaysian businessman by British designer Stuart Hughes. It is 30.5m (100ft) long and is claimed to feature around 100,000kg of solid gold and platinum – making it worth a reported £3billion”
The Sun: “The History Supreme — designed by Liverpool jeweller Stuart Hughes — puts even Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s swanky yacht in the shade”
Or as Motor Boat & Yachting’s Stewart Campbell reported:

But something about the story didn’t sit right with MBY. Perhaps it was because the buyer was named only as an “anonymous Malaysian businessman”. Or maybe it was because, according to Forbes, only three people in Malaysia have the kind of cash to buy such a boat, and one of them is discounted because she’s a woman.

The two remaining could have been the buyer, both being “businessmen”, but to do so they would have had to depart with such a massive chunk of their wealth as to make the purchase of a 100ft, golden-hulled, diamond-encrusted motor boat a very strange decision, especially for men aged 72 and 87 – hardly ages where bling is your priority.

Then there’s the fact that by adding 100 metric tons to the craft’s original 80-ton weight, it would be sitting so low in the water (or more likely under it) so as to make it unusable. Renowned motor boat designer Bernard Olesinski even went as far as to say there was only a “1% chance” of the boat being viable.

But Stuart Hughes said the boat was commissioned for display purposes, and will be kept in dry dock – so we suppose that does away with any doubts about the boat’s seakeeping.

The images sent round to show off the boat troubled us as well – primarily because they’ve been taken from the Baia Yachts website and photoshopped to look gold. More dubious still was the claim that the boat housed a statue made from the bone of a T Rex, but perhaps such items are readily available to “anonymous Malaysian businessmen”.

Other niggling doubts concern the fact that it’s not that easy to buy 100 tons of gold and diamonds, and that if you do, someone will notice, as well as the fact that this single boat supposedly contains three times as much gold as sits in the vaults of Malaysia’s central bank.

One day on and Campbell reports:

..Baia Yachts of Italy have confirmed this morning that the story about the £3 billion golden superyacht is fake… Mario Borselli, sales manager at Baia, told MBY: “Who would believe that a boat would have 100 tons of gold on board? They took some pictures from our website without our permission.

“We will write him a letter asking him to take them down, but we are not thinking to go legal. It’s such a stupid story it’s not worth it.”

The story about the golden-hulled, diamond-encrusted Baia 100 broke five days ago, and since then has been reported all over the world.

Might it be that the tabloids want to believe the story and know that one phone call will prove it to be not quite true and scupper a funny page filler? The other explanation – that hacks just churn our press releases without bothering to check facts – is too painful to consider. Do we prefer cynicism over laziness?

So, then, to November’s story in the Daily Mail:

The £5,000,000 iPad 2 is crusted with dinosaur bones and gold – and someone actually bought one

Rob Waugh reported:

The iPad 2 Gold History is probably the most extreme gadget you can buy. Not only is it covered head to gleaming toe in two kilos of 24-carat gold and 12.5 carats of diamonds – the precious stone round the bezel is mixed with crushed-up shavings from a fossilised T-Rex.

Only two of the £5,000,000 gadgets will be made, and if you’ve got the cash, you should hurry, as one has already sold to an undisclosed customer.

A T-Rex, eh?

Stuart Hughes is no stranger to mad indulgence, of course. The British designer has created a series of ‘ultra-luxury’ gadgets ever since he started his business by ‘blinging’ his own bike 12 years ago – with gold-coated Apple products a particular speciality.

That would be the same Stuart Hughes who issued the press release:

Undoubtably [sic] the world’s most unique gadget is the Ipad 2 Gold History Edition. Encrusted with 12.5 cts of ‘I’F’ Flawless diamonds, a magnificent total of 53 individually set sparkling gems dwell beautifully in solid 24ct Apple logo with rear section formed again in 24ct gold weighing an immense 2,000 grams. The unrivalled imagination towards the craftmanship of the iapd is down to its main front frame which is made from the oldest rock the world has to offer in the form of Ammolite , sourced from Canada this stone is over 75 million years old. However to make this masterpiece even more individual, sections of a 65 million year old T-REX Dinosaur’s thigh bone was splintered and then shaved into the Ammolite , then finished off with ultimate jewel , as single cut 8.5ct flawless diamond inlaid in its own platinum surround with 12 outer flawless diamonds. A magnificent combination of top of the industry technology and unique thought were involved in creating this piece of History !. Material spec, 16.5 ct diamonds & 8.5ct single diamond, 57 grams of T-REX bone, 750 grams of Ammolite stone and 2000 grams of solid 24ct Gold. This item is of a limited edition of only 2 units to be made. You can also find other variations of this at

Engadget reported: “iPad 2 gets an $8 million Cretaceous makeover with dino bones, diamonds and gold”

Sky News: ” Golden iPad With T-Rex Bone: Yours For £5m”

Mashable, Stan Shrtoeder: “Dress Your iPad 2 in Dinosaur Bones and Diamonds for $8 Million”

Press releases travel.

And what of that £12.2bn house? The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sally Howes reported:

The mystery mansion took 5 1/2 years to build in its undisclosed location, “somewhere in Switzerland near the Italian border”, according to the designers’ website. The extraordinary claims keep coming. The home features “over 200,000 kilograms of solid gold and platinum fixtures and fittings”. King of Bling indeed. If all those precious metals weren’t enough …  the specially designed flooring is made from “meteoric stone with shavings of original dinosaur bone from the 65 million year of Raptor, the T-REX! embedded in each tile.”

Hughes tells Brian Whelan:

I can now reveal that the supposed international gold and diamond dealer Stuart Hughes is a father of two who lives alone in a modest apartment in Merseyside, Liverpool and regularly moans about the state of his finances.

Stuart runs two websites filled with gold and diamond plated tat costing millions of pounds with pages and pages of international news clippings featuring his fantastic products going back over 4 years. However, almost all of the images are computer generated and Photoshopped, with few actual pictures of the real life products – something many media outlets have failed to notice.

Last night when confronted with information I had gathered about the real state of his finances Stuart confessed that he had made up the stories about selling the world’s most expensive house and yacht.

However, he insists the gold iPad with T-rex bones is real and is being kept somewhere in Russia so is unable to show it to me. His story appeared to fall down when asked about the source of his T-rex bones. He explained: “(I source them in) Arizona…they’re not rare, well they are rare but you can pick these fossils off Southport beach, you know what I mean?”

More recently Stuart has claimed to have entered a business partnership with minor celeb Jo-Emma Larvin, following difficulties with his former partner.

However, last night Stuart confessed the pair had never met but swore she had agreed to have her name and image associated with his products.

Asked why he would bother to place such obviously fake stories in the press he claimed “I’m just trying to make a wage here” – although he failed to explain what part of his business he was making money from.

When asked why a man who carries out some of the biggest gold and diamond transactions in the world has trouble paying his car insurance and needs to return pegs to the shop for a refund he proved evasive.

He swears his business is legitimate but was unwilling to discuss how much money it generates.

It’s all cracking stuff.

He claims the media are often aware that he is telling tall tales but are more interested in getting a good story.

“This is how I work…I keep things real, I buy second hand, I drive a Bentley,” he explains.

“I was on NBC last night, its just a wow factor, they don’t believe it but guess what – it sells their…I get personally on average about 20-25 requests from all the glossy magazines.”

“It sells their gear, that’s what it does.”

Stuart was equally evasive about the source of the pictures on his website and when asked to produce some real pictures emailed me a picture of a bmx spraypainted gold.

Can you be certain it’s spraypainted by looking at a photo?

Stuart Hughes might well be flogging madly expensive bling. He says he is and we should not doubt that this is how he makes a living. The real question arises over the media’s move to churn everything a press release claims into a story presented as researched fact.

One thing is for sure: Mr Hughes understands how the news media works…



Posted: 5th, November 2011 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink