When Prussia was at war with France in the 19th century, the Princess appealed to all wealthy and aristocratic women to donate their gold ornaments to fund the war effort. In return, they were given iron replicas that were stamped with “Gold gab ich für Eisen” (“I gave gold for iron”).
At social events, thereafter, wearing these iron replicas became a bigger signal of status than gold jewelry. Not only did they signal that the wearer was rich, they were now also identified as patriotic and noble.
Gold and precious metals, more money, more new features in that product, are all valuable and, at least on the surface, logical things to try and pursue.
But, so is meaning – the addition of which tends to be far less expensive and, generally, far more memorable.
(H/T Alchemy by Rory Sutherland, Photo credit: Wikipedia)