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The new limited-edition contact lenses by Shekhar Eye Research feature 18 diamonds.
Shekhar Eye Research
By
TODAY.com
updated 8/4/2011 12:31:29 PM ET 2011-08-04T16:31:29

That twinkle in her eye? It might have cost $15,000.

Beauty addicts are eyeing a new trend — custom-made, gold-plated contact lenses featuring 18 twinkling diamonds. The eerie and alluring new jewelry line from Shekhar Eye Research satisfies those who aren’t content to simply boast bling on their skin.

Creator Chandrashekhar Chawan tried his hand at gold-dust contact lenses, but they lacked the “sparkle effect” he was looking for. He found his inspiration, oddly, through cosmetic dentistry: Chawan’s wife had diamonds planted on her teeth at her last dentist visit, and he realized that people loved jewels anywhere and everywhere.

“I got mixed responses — some said its looks scary, but most of the people loved it,” said Chawan in a TODAY.com interview. “Bollywood personalities loved the concept, that it’s going to be ‘in thing’ in fashion soon.

“Look at Lady Gaga and her followers,” Chawan added. “People take time to digest [new fashion], until some celebrity starts using it.”

Chawan claims its “only matter of time” before his creation is a hit, but the public may disagree.  Internet critics called the product everything from cringeworthy to “freaky ugly” to downright demonic-looking. “It’s as if someone saw the Swarovski crystal contacts and thought those weren’t extravagantly dumb enough” wrote tech site Gizmodo.

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While it may be the most extravagant trend in eyewear, it’s not exactly the first of its kind. TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas recalls hubbub after the release of such products as designer lenses from Christian Dior, colored eye sprays, or Anthony Malliar’s crystal infused lenses. “Some will likely spend to stand out in a crowd. After all, style is all about expression and our eyes may be our most expressive assets,” said Thomas. “Personally, I say leave the sci-fi style to Gaga and Nicki Minaj — except for Halloween, of course!”

Image: Diamond eye contact lenses by Shekhar Eye Research.
Shekhar Eye Research
Diamond contact lenses from Shekhar Eye Research

Chawan uses Chandra Boston Scleral lenses, a product generally used to treat eye illnesses, to hold the jewelry part of the lenses in such a way that it does not touch on the cornea. He claims the method is “very safe,” but some experts warn that the use of medical lenses for vanity is not without concern.

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“We should not introduce harmful foreign objects, however shiny they may be, into our eyes,” said Dr. Rajesh Khanna, a cornea and refractive surgeon, who worries that such lenses require substantial maintenance. Khanna says Boston Scleral lenses are generally prescribed for people with severe eye disease who have no other option.

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“It’s a cumbersome, bulky lens, which has to be filled with saline solution and then inserted in the eye,” he said. “People are forced to tolerate these lenses. The risk benefit ratio is vastly different than a person with healthy eyesight.”

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But Chawan sees no harm, while acknowledging that the sparkly lenses are a luxury – not a necessity – for those who want to “show off” and attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.” In fact, Chawan imagines a future in which his prized lenses replace our dependency on traditional jewelry.

“Instead of offering a diamond ring to propose, people will use diamond-studded contact lenses,” he predicted.

Eye do?

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: Whimsical and swim-sical

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  1. The Red Carter swimwear collection is modeled during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2012 in Miami Beach, Fla. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A model rocks a 1960s go-go dancer's look at the Swimwear Association of Florida SwimShow Cocktail Party and Fashion Show. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Metal accessories accent this model's look during the Have Faith Swimwear show at The Raleigh. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A flirty skirt adds sass to this swimsuit during the A.Z. Araujo swimwear presentation. (Gary I Rothstein / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A see-through poncho is part of the ensemble during the Red Carter swimwear collection showing. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Magenta makes a magnetic color splash during the Sonia Vera Swimwear show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Whimsical headgear is part of the look as the Red Carter swimwear collection is modeled. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A model appears to be thinking pink as she walks the runway at the Shinvan and Nareesh show. (Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Strategic cutouts are part of the appeal as a model walks the runway at the Luli Fama show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rainbow-colored pants draw the eye as a model walks the runway at the Luli Fama show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Renaissance-style art adorns these swimsuits during the Lisa Blue show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Macrame makes a comeback during the Swimwear Association of Florida SwimShow Cocktail Party and Fashion Show. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. It was waist not, want not as a model showcased a high-waisted look during the Mara Hoffman Swim show. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Intricate webwork adds allure to this swimsuit during the Mara Hoffman Swim show. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A whimsical Native American look was part of the Lisa Blue swimwear collection show. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Fringes add visual appeal to this swimsuit during the Cia Maritima show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. It's a cinch that a waist-cincher adds attitude to this offering at the Red Carter presentation. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Lattice work catches the eye at the Dolores Cortes swim show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Multicolored animal prints add visual zing to this swimsuit at the Dolores Cortes swim show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. It was a bold, rainbow-bright look for this model during the Dolores Cortes swim show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Kristin Cavallari presented a creation incorporating glass shards during the Diesel swim suits presentation. (Gary I Rothstein / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Kate Upton made a bikini-clad bride during the Beach Bunny Swimwear show. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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