So, you're a badass warrior and have some money to burn. What do you do?
Why, gold plate your gun of course! Or maybe add diamonds and all sorts of valuable crap just to show people you mean business. Or otherwise personalize your gun. Thankfully, most shows don't assume Viewers Are Morons by stating that a weapon is solid gold, as this would not be a very good idea due to the metal's relative weakness. Gold has many useful properties, but hardness definitely isn't one of them.
This trope is usually used to show that either the guy is so good he can spend the money he earns killing people, or he likes to add a "personal touch" to his weaponry.
Or maybe that he's just lame.
This appears to be a growing trend within shooter games as of the late.
Compare Bling of War, Gold Makes Everything Shiny.
A Sub-Trope of Cool, but Inefficient, Conspicuous Consumption.
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Anime and Manga
The Five Star Stories by Mamoru Nagano takes this trope all the way. Everything used by the Schizo TechKnight in Shining Armor characters, from guns, to swords to Humongous Mecha (especially the mecha) are ridiculously elaborate works of art, displaying exquisitely detailed frescoes & reliefs & covered in jewels & precious metals, in an attempt to intimidate the enemy with an outrageous display of their nation's wealth & craftsmanship. The fact that the series' most recognizable mech, pictured above, is known as the Knight Of Gold (KOG to his friends) should tell you something right there.
Mobile Suit Gundam's MSV include Dozle Zabi's Zaku II and M'Quve's Gouf, both of which are covered in gold filigree. The What If? video game Gihren's Greed also introduces a Zabi Family Custom Big Zam, which is similarly adorned.
The most famous case is Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam's Hyaku Shiki, a gold-plated mech designed by, who else but Mamoru Nagano. In this case, the gold is both practical (anti-beam coating) and symbolic (a thumb in the eye to the Titans, showing that the heroes can make new MS right under their noses).
Likewise the Delta Gundam (the Hyaku Shiki's original form), which remained unseen until 2011's Gundam Unicorn MSV line.
In Crossbone Gundam: Ghost manga we see a certain Zanscare Empire Andrastea class battleship. Every mobile suit on board is completely golden. It's never explained if it's gold plating, golden paint or beam coating, but considering that all the officers on board wear powdered wigs ...
Gundam SEED Frame Astrays introduces an extreme version of this; Rudolf Wittgenstein's custom GOUF Ignited is covered with real gold, held on the armor by a special nano-treatment. This, unlike the Hyaku Shiki and Akatsuki, is purely for show.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00's Alvatore and its core MS, Alvaaron. Since its pilot also has a golden gun and wears a gold-colored pilot suit, this is more a case of egotism.
00 also has the Suille Palace Guard Type Enact, customized with a brilliant white paint job with gold trim. They can't do jack against a giant beam of death from space.
Black Lagoon has one gold-plated example and two lesser ones. Yolanda from the Church of Violence has a gold-plated Desert Eagle as her weapon of choice, Revy has customized her twin Beretta 92Fs with pirate flag decals and refer to them as "cutlasses", and Mr. Chang (who is also one of Revy's idols) has dragon decals and the kanji "天帝" (pronounced "tentei" and meaning "god" or "heavenly king") on his twin Beretta 76s. There's also the big-ass golden custom Luger Hand Cannon that The Brute Fritz Stanford never got to use in the Nazi arc due to Revy spending his rant reloading her gun and then shooting him mid-sentence.
Magnamon from Digimon Adventure 02. Quoth his Digimon Analyzer profile: "I am Magnamon, a golden armor Digimon that attacks with my Magna Blaster; and I look so good doing it too."
The third Digimon movie has both Terriermon and Veemon Golden Armor Digivolve, turning them into Rapidmon (Golden Armor) and Magnamon.
OmegaShoutmon and ZekeGreymon Digimon Xros Wars, and by extension Shoutmon DX and X7 also do this.
All the Royal Knights, actually qualify. Or at least the majority. Omegamon X and Dukemon X both have golden weapons and shields, with silver armor, Alphamon has black armor with golden sections and a huge golden double-edged, double-bladed sword that doubles as a boomerang (somehow), Ulforce Veedramon has Azure Digizoid armor for protection, that weighs absolutely nothing. Magnamon, well, see above.
This trope becomes a plot point for a chapter in Lone Wolf and Cub. One character, a gunsmith, finds that the trope is in full effect among his peers, who all make high quality matchlock rifles with excessive decoration, and that they forget that guns are weapons of war and death and need to be developed to be more efficient. His response to this? A "multiple-fire rifle" - a multiple-barreled volley gun whose demonstration shames and terrifies the other gunmakers into trying to make better weapons.
Quite a few Knightmare Frames in Code Geass have lots of gold parts or trim, primarily those used by elites like the Knights of the Round and leaders like Zero and Cornelia.
Oarai Academy's novice tank teams isn't big on camouflage and paint their tanks pink and golden and red for their first practice match in Girls und Panzer.
Goldenba in Yatterman Animation Movie but without ANY weapon, only with rockets to traveller into Toy Kingdom....oops!
Gaiking, Vulking and Raiking can be considered with golden parts in the body and the horns , include Gaiking The Great.
Deadpool: Hey, y'know what money can buy? A solid gold gun. That shoots diamond bullets. I call it "The Compensator". Whatta ya think?
Another fun one during a team-up with Wolverine against some werewolves. Wolverine grabs one of Deadpool's katana and uses it to skewer a werewolf, which starts laughing...
Wolverine: 'Pool, your swords?
Deadpool: Hey, silver's expensive! Chrome looks just as good!
Subverted in an issue of ElfQuest during the "Siege of Blue Mountain" arc: the golden knife Dewshine acquires in one scene is a kitchen utensil she only picks up for lack of anything better, even musing on the poor suitability of the metal for a weapon.
Subverted in ¡Three Amigos!!. Ned has to outdraw the enemy (who is also, incidentally, his biggest fan) in a shootout. Like the other Amigos, he has a gun designed to be used in a movie, pearl handle and silver inlay. The Dragon comes up and removes it from his holster, replacing it with a regular gun that is almost too heavy for him to lift. "You want to die with a man's gun. Not a sissy gun like this." Ned proceeds to win the shootout.
In Team America, Kim Jong Il shoots one of his employees with a Nickel-plated Desert Eagle, it's referenced in the DVD commentary that they did this because they more-or-less hoped that Kim Jong Il secretly wishes he was an LA gangsta.
In 3000 Miles to Graceland Kevin Costner's "golden rule" is "fuck gold: whoever has the nickel-plated pistol makes the rules".
In William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, The guns were a nickel and gold plated, with other decorations, including religious icongraphy. Plus the Theme Naming used to make the dialogue work; the "Sword", "Rapier" and "Dagger" handguns and "Longsword" shotgun.
Bill has a shiny revolver with either an ivory or pearl grip. He also has a nice, white leather holster for it. You only see it for a few moments when he shoots a bowl of fruit after the Bride tries to get to the katana on the coffee table.
Hatori Hanzo usually makes an engraving on his swords such as a lion (the Bride's sword) or a birthday message (Budd's sword).
O-Ren's sword has an ornate shirasaya mounting, which makes it look like a decorated wooden stick when it is sheathed. In real life, this type of blade mounting was not intended for combat, since it has no guard or handle wrappings.
In Star Wars, some high-ranking Council members such as Mace Windu plate their lightsabers with electrum, which is a gold-like precious metal, as part of their perks. Darth Sidious, the Big Bad, also has an electrum saber of his own.
In Ladyhawke, Captain Navarre shows off his gem-encrusted zweihander. Each gem was placed by an ancestor who previously wielded the blade.
Chicago begins with Roxie Hart shooting Fred Casely to death with a pearl-handled .32 revolver.
The titular character from Killer Bean Forever shoots golden bullets. His guns also have some parts which are golden.
In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, the Grey Knights give Uriel and Pasanius ornate bolters etched with gold. Then, they had just subjected them to ordeals to investigate them for Chaos taint and found them untainted; this was the ceremony to acknowledge that.
In one of the old Battletech novels featuring Camacho's Cabelleros, one of the mechwarriors, Vanity, painted her Warhammer mech gold. It reflected sunlight so well that she originally called it "Vanity's Mirror" but later rechristened it to "Golden Vanity" after it was pointed out that if the mech was her reflection then she had thunder thighs and weighed 85 tons.
A popular trope in A Song of Ice and Fire, where the lords of the Seven Kingdoms compete to out-bling each other in their arms and armor. Jaime Lannister is noted for fighting in armor that is gilded from head to toe. Loras Tyrell gives him a run for his money with a sapphire-encrusted suit of armor and a cape made of fresh woven roses.
In some cases, the blinged out weapons are Requisite Royal Regalia. The Haldane Sword has gold, jewels (rubies, because the family colour is red) and a relic encased in the hilt. At his investiture, Liam-Lajos is girded with a diamond-encrusted belt and takes up a gorgeous scimitar. "Its scabbard was inlaid with turquoise and lapis lazuli, and studded here and there with pearls and more precious stones: ruby and emerald and sapphire."
In keeping with his ready-for-anything wardrobe, Morgan favours plain-but-serviceable weapons in his early years, and he retains some of them, including his stiletto in its wrist-sheath. Later he is shown to have a scabbard set with cairngorms, and he disguises the gold of his sword grip with black leather when going to Dhassa incognito. There's a tension between the demands of his ducal status and more practical considerations.
In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel For the Emperor, Colonel Kasteen is carrying a gilt chain sword, engraved with the images of devotional scenes, a striking contrast to Cain's heavily used sword. Then again, she's going to a banquet.
At one point in The Wheel of Time, Rand Al'Thor is presented with a sword with a hilt encrusted with so many jewels it was impossible to hold. He keeps the sword but insists on having a new hilt made, and he gives the jewels back to the person who gave him the sword.
In the Vorkosigan Saga, some Vor Lords made use of solid gold bullets in their muzzle-loading weapons, during Barrayar's period of isolation. Mark sees some in a display case, including one with a card saying it was recovered from the brain of its target. He muses that at close range, they must have hit like bricks, but at long range, they likely missed.
In Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus book The Mark of Athena, Chrysaor is quite annoyed that he's not the most famous hero, because he was the first to have a golden sword.
More a practical than vain variant, railguns in the Hammer's Slammers 'verse have diamond barrels, required to withstand the hellish conditions created inside the barrel when firing.
Community: In "Modern Warfare", Senor Chang carries 2 gold-painted paintball guns (possibly in reference to Face/Off).
Sledge Hammer!: Inspector Hammer's .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver is customized with a white ivory handle and an etched drawing of a sledgehammer.
Parks and Recreation: The government of Venezuela gives Ron Swanson a gold revolver as a gift early in season 2. It has since found its way into the opening credits.
An episode of the Dicovery Channel series American Guns had Rick make a custom 1911 pistol for his wife for their anniversary; silver-plated finish, mother of pearl grips, custom engraved slide, and diamonds on the grips and sights.
A customer wanted to buy a gold-plated Desert Eagle, simply to "have something to drool on now and then".
In Once Upon a Time, King Midas gives James (Prince Charming) a golden sword when he's sent off to slay a dragon. The sword actually was originally intended for show, with some knights on hand to slay the dragon, but because the knights get attacked unexpectedly, Charming has to use the golden sword himself. Against all the laws of physics, it works.
Table Top Games
In Warhammer 40,000, the warriors of the Imperium of Man often carry very ornate firearms. This is most pronounced with certain Space Marine Chapters and the Ordos of the Inquisition. The Games Workshop website has an article on custom painting Black Templar Marines to show their crusader honors, and one of the models has a gold-plated bolter. The finish is supposed to "reflect the Emperor's light," and is also anointed with "holy unguents."
The Chaos approach, which starts with screaming faces, arrows and spikes ... and ends with binding a Daemon into the weapon.
The Grey Knights customise their otherwise undecorated armour with various wards and prayers in gold and silver, among other things to show their faith such as purity seals, and a holy book in a case on their breast plate. Their armour is plain polished ceramite, but with all their Bling of War all over their wargear, they end up being one of the most highly decorated chapters.
Ork weapons tend to get more and more decorative. Lootas get decorative "teef", skulls, and Orky glyphs, on guns so large it would take two Guardsmen and a tripod for anyone else to field. Justified because "Bling" does, in fact, make their guns more powerful, due to their subconscious psychic abilities.
Any time you see something with "Master Crafted" or "Artificer" in the front of the name, it falls into this. Artificer Armor gets double-bonus points for the fact that it started out like normal quality armor, but over millenea of use it's been fixed, tweaked, enhanced, embroidered and modified so many times it's as much a work of art by the technology worshipping Tech Priests as it is war gear, often with gold plates bearing magnificent murals, benedictions and prayer runes engraved on a microscopic level, shining lights and/or open flames for... No clear reason... You'd think that all this would make someone nothing but a moving target, but if you've earned the right to even TOUCH the stuff - nevermind wear/wield it - having a battlefield focusing on you is standard.
In the 3rd-edition Shadowrun supplement, Cannon Companion, there are rules for a custom finish on your guns. It is stated to be purely cosmetic. The companion illustration shows an Ork holding a semi-auto with a baby gator head screwed to the slide (so the muzzle is emerging from the mouth) and two magnum revolvers in his belt with "Meat" and "Potatoes" engraved on the grips, respectively. In the 4th Editon supplement Arsenal, you can get the "Custom Look" mod which improves imtimidation and reputation rolls, with the downside that people are more likely to remember what the gun looked like, and who was waving it around...
Worth mentioning if not completely in the law of the trope. In Fourth Edition during one of the conversation in-universe between Shadowrunners one of the Runners talks about saving a Corps kid that had a gun. The gun was a Saturday Night special .22 caliber pistol that had a cartoon character on the grip. The runner had a minor Heroic BSOD at the fact that the gun was next to worthless yet cost more then his gun.
Deadlands includes rules for doing this to guns. It is purely cosmetic and notes that some modifications actually reduce your accuracy (such as silvering your gun because this reflects light into your eyes when you're trying to aim).
GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy has an artifact weapon called the Flashing Sunblade made entirely of silver and jewels.
There is also a rule on decorating regular weapons. This makes a weapon much costlier and gives a bonus to impress people.
Exalted gives us the Prayer Piece- an orichalcum weapon that fires bullets carved with prayers to the Unconquered Sun. The bullets can be made of any soft metal. Naturally, everyone uses gold.
Artifact weapons in general, especially jade alloys and orichalcum, are also this trope. Jade is used as money in many places, so jade alloy weapons are partially made out of money, and orichalcum looks like gold, except shinier and possessed of an inner fire, so orichalcum weapons go beyond gold-plated and are purely made out of a purer form of gold.
In d20 Modern, there is a rule stating that you can increase the purchase DC (i.e. cost) of an item by 1 in order to get luxury features on it. It is clearly stated that it carries no benefits apart from knowing you have bought the very best. So any character who has the money can buy a gold plated gun.
In the post apocalyptic game Degenesis, the Neolybians are an organization of fantastically rich hypercapitslitic merchants who basically finance Africa - that is, everything that happens in Africa, by themselves. One piece of equipment every self respecting Neolybians must carry is the Neolybian Hunting Rifle... But of course, since the Neolybians themselves are by and large not exactly the most fighty of bunches (they'd rather buy the ground from under you while they sit on their gold plated throne snorting diamond dust off a dead elephant) their guns are much more show pieces than weapons. Common features include exotic fur, exotic feathers, gold, silver, platinum, diamond, ivory, and priceless artifacts of a bygone age nobody knows what to otherwise do with. They are not bad rifles, mind you (the very best of the best gunsmiths in Africa are paid very generously to make them), but they can't hold a candle to more practical weapons and would've been a lot more useful in a hypothetical fight if they weren't so hysterically blingy.
In BLACK, after completing the game you can unlock silver versions of your weapons that cause more damage.
Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 3: Ocelot gets an engraved revolver and Naked Snake mocks him for this claiming it serves no tactical advantage. Ocelot later gets a regular revolver. Nicely contrasted with a gun that EVA gave Snake that actually had been modified for tactical purposes (a better line-sight, altered grip to make it easier to switch from knife to gun, etc.)
In John Woo Presents Stranglehold, the most powerful gun you can get is the Golden Pistol, a gold-plated Desert Eagle that can kill a mook with one shot and isn't half-bad against bosses either. You can use them Guns Akimbo just like your regular Berettas.
In most James Bond games, you can acquire a Golden Gun (as per the aforementioned film). This is usually hard to do, but the Golden Gun is a One-Hit Kill. Goldeneye 007 also gives you the Gold PP7, a special version of your regular gun that can one-shot bad guys just like the Golden Gun, and the Silver PP7, which does as much damage as the Cougar Magnum, as unlockable cheats.
Total Overdose has a special that grants a Golden Gun with 6 instantly lethal shots, in homage to James Bond. Each shot is tracked with a speeding camera closely following the bullets' trajectory to their target.
The final weapon in Killer7 is the Golden Gun, which is instant death to Heaven's Smiles. Curtis Blackburn's twin gold-inlaid pistols are quite nice, as well.
The Demon Gun eventually given to Dan also seems a bit qualified, looking fairly ornate and being a revolver that holds 13 rounds.
Donators to the dev team of the Half-Life mod, Sven-Coop can get golden Uzi's that do additional damage, among other bonuses.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary had silver Uzis and a golden Shotgun as unlockable weapons, which were actually more useful than their regular counterparts. The silver Uzis held more ammo than the regular version and fired at a much faster rate while the golden Shotgun also held more bullets and fired faster, but also killed anything with just a single shot, bosses included!
Saints Row has gold and platinum weapons for completing the Hitman activities - a gold plated pistol, a platinum SMG, and a platinum shotgun. It culminates in a platinum rocket-propelled grenade. They generally have larger magazines and do more damage than their regular equivalents.
Gears 3 has both Gold and Chrome plated skins for all of the starting guns. However the Gold Retro Lancer could only be unlocked by playing the beta, and the Chrome Sawed-Off Shotgun could only be unlocked by having any achievement from Gears 1 on the PC. There is also the Liquid Metal skin for all starting guns, which comes with purchase of the Season Pass.
City of Heroes: While there is no shiny plating effect, you can select any color you want on most weapons, whether it be a pistol, rifle, longbow, knife, sword, and axes. You can also choose the color of the beam on weapons with laser sights.
In Call Of Duty 4, the player can earn different camo finishes for his weapons by racking up headshots in multiplayer. Starting with a realistic urban digital job, the second and third rank finishes are blue and red tiger stripe.
If all challenges for every weapon in a category are completed, the player earns a gold finish on one of the guns — AK-47 for the assault rifles, Mini-Uzi for the submachine guns, etc. All of these finishes are purely cosmetic, intended for multiplayer bragging rights. Upon reaching level 55, players are also rewarded with a gold-plated Desert Eagle.
Lampshaded in Modern Warfare 2: players can unlock a new perk called "Bling" which allows them to use two add-ons to their regular weapon. With enough kills with a Blinged weapon, you can also do the same for your secondary fiream.
Call Of Duty: World At War : In Nazi Zombies mode, the "Pack-A-Punch" machine can be found on Der Riese. By activating it (a process that requires lots of money and opening plenty of doors, which attracts more zombies) the player can trade their current weapon for an upgraded version, one that's silver, has myriad engravings all over it, and is more powerful to boot.
Modern Warfare 3 has gun camo patterns unlocked in the same manner as attachments (that is, via the new weapon level system), again starting with realistic digital, woodland, and desert patterns, and again ending with gold-plating if the player manages to reach the highest level possible.
Far Cry 2 has a few gold plated AK-47s hidden in remote shacks. The game's huge maps make them very easy to miss. In addition, they degrade even slower than the regular AK-47. Considering how long it takes to break a normal AK-47, it gives you a weapon that won't break or even jam for a large portion of the game.
Mass Effect mostly avoids this, but the shiny black and blood red Colossus series armor in the first game and your ability to give Shepard gold armor with the appearance customization system in the second certainly look somewhat impractically showy.
The first Ratchet & Clank game had more powerful Gold versions of each weapon. The second game onwards had a more practical Upgrade system.
Deer Hunter: In some versions, killing ten bucks with the same type of weapon will unlock a gold skin for custom weapons of that type. (It's purely cosmetic, though.)
In Perfect Dark, a bad guy by the name of Trent Easton is never seen without his custom made DY-357 LX, a pimped out revolver boasting gold plating and a leopard-skin grip, and also kills in a single shot.
Team Fortress 2, the Spy's unlockable gun The Ambassador. To quote the official description: "With its rosewood grip and likeness of your enemy's mother (please send photo) engraved on the barrel" it definitely fits quite nicely in the Bling Bling Bang category.
The Ambassador has a golden trigger as well.
Another Spy unlockable gun, L'Etranger, has an engraved ivory grip and polished steel. The Enforcer has a pearl grip. In addition all of the other Spy "weapons" apart from his sapper and Spy-cicle look to be of high quality, especially the Your Eternal Reward and his various watches (which are usually gold).
The Heavy has the Brass Beast, an ornate brass minigun. It's by far the most beautiful of his guns, as the others were implied to be home made.
The Engineer got the Golden Wrench, made of pure australium. It can turn anything it kills into more australium. Similarly, the Saxy awards can be considered this as well, especially since they're actual awards.
The Two Cities update introduced Australium weapons, which are reskins of regular weapons with most of the metal bits replaced with very shiny gold.
The Amarr from EVE Online love the "gold plated" version of this trope - every Amarrian ship and station is covered in shiny golden armour.
Subverted in Dwarf Fortress. You can make weapons out of silver, resulting in something pretty, valuable and bloody awful as a weapon. In older versions, they were often used for training, as dwarfs sparring with silver weapons were much less likely to hurt each other.
In the current version, though, blunt weapon damage comes mostly from the weapon's mass, meaning silver warhammers are one of, if not THE MOST, effective weapons (and mithril hammers, not so much). And in Dwarf Fortress, silver and gold tend to be abundant while not having much use...
Also played straight, since you can decorate weapons with lots of stuff, like gems, precious metals or the bones of your enemies. Artifacts, weapons or not, tend to be notoriously overkill in this regard.
There's also been reports of intentionally derailing minecarts full of gold bars, grapeshotting invaders with them. Gold being as heavy as it is, it works wonders.
Kanbei's unit's in the Advance Wars games aren't really covered in gold, but their high defense, high cost, and yellow coloring suggest that they are.
In the Grand Theft Auto IV expansion The Ballad Of Gay Tony, Yusef Amir adores tacky bling, which extends to owning a solid gold submachine gun. Either he's getting carried away with his boasting, and its really just gold-plated, or it's merely an instance of the Rule of Cool. A solid-gold SMG would be impractically heavy, and the firing chamber impractically soft. He later gives the player one such gun as a gift, claiming he's got three more. And he gold plates an attack helicopter that he had the player steal.
It could be made of gold rather than gold plated. In an earlier mission, Yusef hands a golden phone to Luis who visibly reacts to its unexpected weight.
The level 3 "Saturday Night Special" upgrade for the .38 snubnose revolver in The Godfather: The Game, as well as the level 3 "Python" upgrade for the Magnum, has gold plating and ivory handles.
With photoshop and some knowledge of where the game stores its texture files, you can do this in most PC games. Because S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is more fun with a nickel plated Deagle.
In Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, Steve will trade you the plot-important Gold Lugers for a pair of submachine guns. They're not usable by Claire in the main game as weapons (they're empty and presumably chambered in .30 Luger instead of 9mm), but Steve wields the Lugers in the battle mode, and can put them to good use by pulling off manual headshots with careful aiming.
Dr. Peace's weapon in No More Heroes is a pair of gold plated revolvers.
Million Gunman in the sequel takes it further; he uses a pair of gold-plated C96 Mausers that actually shoot money.
In the PC version of Max Payne 2, the Desert Eagles are you average chrome .50AE model... but with gold controls and ivory/mother of pearl grips. Qualifies also as Rare Guns in a way, even though Mona has two, and they are carried by countless gangsters. In the X-Box version, they're a puke-ish olive drab, and the slides don't even move when fired.
In Max Payne 3 you can turn your weapons into golden guns by collecting their respective parts scattered around the levels. Collecting them all grants you the "License to Kill" achievement.
Link's strongest sword in Link to the Past is a golden sword to compliment his silver arrows. Majora's Mask also includes the Gilded Sword, which is made by forging the Razor Sword with some gold powder.
A weapon dropped by General Knoxx in the third DLC for Borderlands, Knoxx's Gold, fits this trope to a T. While the repeater pistol will occasionally be decent in its own right, the main draw of the drop is that it sells for a ridiculous amount of cash.
Rarer/more powerful versions of weapons in Borderlands 2 will general be much fancier and ornate than drabber common ones. In particular, common Vladof weapons are made of dingy metal and cheap wood while rare ones have bright, often gold finishes, parodying the stereotypical party leader who lives in the exact excess he claims to fight against.
Weapons and armor in Might and Magic can be made of twenty different materials, and more bling generally means a higher bonus. A crystal weapon gets +1 damage, gold +8, and diamond +30. Unfortunately, if your diamond sword breaks, repairing it will cost an arm and a leg.
Assassin's Creed II and its sequels feature some rather extravagant designs for the Hidden Blades Ezio use, especially the bracers used for blocking opponents attacks.
In Fallout: New Vegas, unique weapons get a custom design. While lots of them look either rusty, dirty, or unfinished, some of them fit this trope. Lucky and Maria are two good examples.
As well, the player has the option to craft 12-gauge shotgun shells loaded with Legion Denarii. Amusingly, killing someone with said shell gives you a chance to recover either a denarius or a mangled denarius (worth half as much.)
Dead Rising or Dead Rising 2 literally has a leaf blower you can combine with jewelry to blow out gems at high speed, giving you the most bling for your bang and vice-versa.
Gold bits are the most obvious sign of Orokin technology in Warframe.
Nuclear Throne has golden variations on all of their basic weapons. They have minor improvements over their regular counterparts, such as a faster rate of fire, and as long as a character is holding one when they die, it replaces their starter weapon the next time they play.
Age of Mythology has human units getting better-looking equipment as they are upgraded. When upgraded to champion level, they are clad in golden armor. This is specially funny with the norse ulfsarks, as the only armor they wear are wolf skins.
When Charles Guiteau assassinated President James Garfield, he wanted to buy an ivory-handled gun over a plain one so it would make a more attractive museum piece, but he decided not to spend the extra money. The Smithsonian ended up losing the gun anyway.
Nickel plating was a standard feature on many antique revolvers, due to its high resistance to wear and corrosion. In modern times it has been supplanted by stainless steel.
A variant on this trope is a "Rooney" gun - one that's been encumbered with an excessive amount of gadgetry. For examples see "Rooney Guns" at The Gun Zone. This is also referred to as a "Tacti-Cool" setup.
In days past ceremonial firearms were very beautiful. In the days when all firearms were hand built and unique, they were subject to the same level of ornate craftsmanship as swords.
Jewel-encrusted Ottoman guns.
Intricately carved and decorated Japanese arquebuses fit for a shogun.
There's some very fancy 19th-century American guns incorporating gems and gold at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Fowlers", long hand-built early sporting shotguns used for bird hunting by the European nobility.
Even today, Beretta operates a custom shop in Italy to make high-end artistic versions of their sporting arms for wealthy clientèle.
If you read the Mexican news, you'll see how narcos are quite often arrested with gold and diamond-encrusted guns. Here is an example of such guns. A bust of the notorious Sinaloa gang in Costa Rica captured, among other things, gold-plated and diamond-studded AK-47s.
At one point, Elvis Presley presented Richard Nixon a gift — a gold plated Colt 45 with gold plated bullets. Secret Service men gave it to Nixon — Elvis did not present the gift directly.
Muammar Gaddafi was allegedly carrying a gold-plated Browning Hi-Power◊ when he was captured and killed by rebels. A golden AK-47 and a golden Dragunov had been discovered earlier when his secret compounds were raided.
Quite common on hand to hand weapons for those who could afford it, though one wonders if they ever had problems cleaning off the blood. Naturally a warrior who desired to continue his earthly existance would make proper concessions to functionality. The blade, for instance, was not where you put a lot of that sort of thing.
Chechnya's president and one of the richest men in Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov, had this◊ photo of him taken during a press conference.