Saturday, November 07, 2009

All that glitters...

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a gold jewellery shop and the experience was just boring. Yet, as I looked all around me, I saw people, specially women, buying different articles of jewellery having different designs. Some of them were even ordering jewellery, suggesting their own designs, not being satisfied with what was being shown to them. Seeing all the fuss, a series of questions gradually came to my mind.

First of all, I thought, why do people buy gold jewellery? That's because gold is an asset.
What is an asset? Well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is a property having money value. But then, other things can also be assets. Even after that, why do people buy gold jewellery? Ah, it is required in weddings, to be gifted to the bride and bridegroom. As soon as I got this answer, I suddenly started hating this Indian custom of presenting gold in weddings. I slowly realized the demerits of this custom. No matter how much is gifted at the time of the wedding by the bride's parents, if the amount of gold is less, the bridegroom's family will be dissatisfied. Their dissatisfaction will be visible even if the dowry included a bed, an almirah, other expensive furniture, clothes for everyone in the bridegroom's family and so on, but there was just an article of gold less. I just don't understand the reasons behind this kind of attitude. The rest of the things given at the time of Indian weddings are assets as well. In spite of that, people in India just seem greedy for gold. In South India, there's even a custom of giving gold to the bridegroom's family equal to the weight of the bride! And, to think that we talk about our 'rich' culture!

So, I don't think that Indians are bothered about assets when they demand gold in weddings. Its just a tradition, which has become dirty and harmful over the years. If I had some sort of ultimate power, I would just ban it. The price of gold is rising every day and with the advent of costume jewellery, gold jewellery just remains securely in bank lockers. One fine day, when people find that they are too short of money and the last resort for them to keep on feeding themselves, is to sell the gold, they do it. They actually sell all those glittering articles they had once longed for. True, it brings them immediate money and helps them in one way but on how many occasions could they adorn themselves with the jewellery? That was the real purpose, wasn't it? Selling it all off some day couldn't have been the real purpose!

So, after writing so much, my main point is that gold jewellery has no utility in the long run and therefore, the custom of presenting gold in Indian marriages shouldn't continue. But, unfortunately, it will because there's no one to protest...


Swetank Gupta said...

So true. I think we should gift DVDs, iPods, books etc. in weddings. If it has to be jewellery, ti should be platinum. I don't like gold anyway!

newsgroups said...

According to your description - and surely because of the dowry-tradition - there must be a lot of gold circling around in India! I agree that it is a waste of man's craftwork when all those jewelry is just put away. But on the other hand, it does give people a feeling of security. And I think that the effects of this feeling must not be underestimated. When people know that they have a treasure in reserve, they spent their money more freely. Thereby giving the economy a boost. So those put-away-jewelry just gives India the necessary feel of freedom to be economically active.
I agree that simple bars of gold would suffice too. But people like beauty, so I think they rather have jewelry.

Subhadip said...

I think there are several parts in this post of yours. I couldn't agree more to the points you make about the dowry system - I am personally against any form of dowry and is quite vocal about it.

The other point about gold jewelery having no utility in the long run - I am not so sure about it. People, at least in middle class families in India, still think thrice about selling gold. If they had cash or other easily sold assets, they would probably sell them much earlier.

Butterfly said...

Yeah,I like platinum too. :-)

But,you know, that's one of the points I wanted to put forward here. If people make jewels because they like beauty, why don't they use them? Even if I agree about the security matter, I simply can't digest the fact that all the jewels made with such a lot of money is almost never worn!

Glad you agree...:-)
Hmmm, somehow I have this idea that people sell gold first...Anyway,your view must be more appropriate, considering your age and mine!
Btw, you aren't writing now-a-days...What's wrong?

R said...

Hmm, not sure about this. Most people I know invest in gold for the security factor and nothing else.

Butterfly said...

I knew there would be oppositions to this view...But, I still feel that people don't seem to think about security before investing, or that's not the primary reason,at least.I maybe very wrong though!