Why I no longer wish to invest in gold

Through the lens, lightly


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 21 Jul 2022, 5:58 PM

A lot of people look at me suspiciously whenever I say gold means precious little to me, and the only reason I look at gold, and check gold rates regularly, is because I want to keep selling whatever I had been foolish enough to purchase. “You mean gold bonds, surely?” they ask. “No, I mean gold jewellery [I have zero understanding of bonds and stocks] — I realise now they have no other use other than mercenary ones,” I respond, and there are little gasps of disapproval all round.

“Family jewellery means nothing to you? You don’t have any sense of attachment for them?” they persist.

“Well, yes, for little things — like a bracelet or a pair of non-conspicuous earrings — that I can wear on a regular basis. What’s the point in being attached to something that’s lying in a locker far away?”

There’s a reason why I said earlier I had been ‘foolish enough’ to buy gold jewellery. Soon after I moved to Dubai in 2008, a friend convinced me buying gold jewellery is a great investment. I didn’t need much convincing because I had also been fed stories by those who claimed that the value of the jewellery they bought exactly a decade ago has multiplied like crazy, they were now worth five or six times (or maybe even more) the original value.

I decided to buy jewellery from time to time, wait for a decade — and then make a killing. I spent a substantial amount of money — by my standards that is — to buy jewellery, focusing mostly on bangles since I had been told bangles, especially no-fuss ones with minimum making charges, fetch you the maximum bang for the buck.

Ten years passed, and kept passing, and I found gold prices continued to hover around the same price points. Yes, there have been fluctuations, but, sadly, whenever I bought jewellery, I’ve always caught the peak phase, never the trough. If you factor in making charges — even no-fuss bangles have some making charge — and the strange phenomenon that one always sells gold for lesser than the day’s going rates, I’m going to get back less than what I paid for.

Despite all the grudge I bear against gold, each time I go to a gold jewellery shop, I absolutely love the experience. First of all, there are those humongous amounts of gold slathered all over the place — some of which are actually quite beautiful. I like asking the getting-increasingly-frustrated counter guys to show me stuff that I stroke lovingly for some time before telling them to put it all away.

And then, there are those people who are busy buying stuff that they will probably wear — maximum — a dozen times in their lifetimes, but while they purchase the glittering ornaments they behave like their life depends on them. I love studying their faces.

Last week, I went to Gold and Diamond Park to sell some jewellery. “Don’t sell now,” a shop salesperson pleaded. “Prices are low.”

“But what if the prices fall even more? What if the value of gold becomes like steel? With fuel prices going up and the dollar strengthening, who’s to know?”

“No, no, that will never happen,” she giggled, and got her senior manager to convince me I was engaging in a bad bargain. He proceeded to give me a really boring talk on the cyclical nature of gold, how it goes up and down, when I stopped him midway and said, “Can I just sell?”


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