Sunday, January 17, 2010

22 karat

I finally did it. I went ahead and bought one. A 22k ring from one of the local Indian jewelry stores.

I first saw one on the finger of my Indian teacher about 25 years ago. It was beautiful. Bright yellow gold, with filigrees and swirls. I've been wanting one ever since. I had no intention of buying one but I ended up with one that fit my middle finger on my right hand.

It only contains about 3.54 grams of gold. Making charges were $18 USD. But they took 2% off, and I bought it for about $142 USD instead of $147. A difference of $5 isn't a lot. But you have to consider the relative difference given the India cost of living and standard of pay. For the laborers, $5 is a week's salary for the whole family in many instances. The first rule of bargaining is that both sides must come out with dignity. And my second rule is to never upset the local economy and disrespect the cultural mores.

In most of Asia, gold jewelry is based on the current price of gold per ounce with making charges (the artisan labor that goes into making the piece) layered on top. You can't negotiate the cost of the grams of gold in a piece but you can bargain with the making charges. And it is almost exclusively 22k gold, not 10k or 14k or 18k.

Jewelry is an investment. It is passed down from mother to daughter for generations. It is the rainy day fund, the dowry for the daughter when she gets married, and often buys security for the whole family. And yes, even in today's modern day, the practice of dowry isn't spoken of as such but it is what it is and it still exists, even in the most educated and highest levels of society. Anyway...

In America, gold jewelry is based on style and fashion. I rarely see anyone asking the grams of gold in a piece. And when I ask, I get a surprised look and they have to go and research the item. Annoying.

In one store today, we saw a girl who looked to be about 16 years old with her parents, trying in diamond encrusted necklaces. Wow. She is a very lucky girl. I hope she has a good heart and a deep soul to merit such privilege in her life.

I also saw a lot of gems. Diamonds here are very expensive but Emeralds and Sapphires can be bought at a bargain. I am going to do some research on emeralds for the next trip, along with measurements for curtains for the rest of the house, mnaybe a run (but with the Dingle Dog and HorriBoris, maybe not).

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Blogger Chris Hughes said...

I bought a sapphire on my last trip there.

6:52 PM  

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