Gold and Asia
Westerners visiting Asian countries are often fascinated by
the amount of gold on display, and its place of importance within society.
Indians in particular have a penchant for the glimmering precious metal.
In the Daily Telegraph, 5 June 2002 we read: 'Rallying
to the gold standard'
"Watch Ajit Mulji smile. He sits, writing down the price
that gold has been fixed at for the day. Tensions in Kashmir, as well as the
weak dollar, have propelled the price of gold to $330 an ounce, a five-year
high, in Asia over the jubilee holiday....
Indians always wait for the gold price to go up before they
buy. When the price goes down, they keep waiting until they think it has hit
My Mulji, 45, is the owner of Kenya Jewellery, a gold
emporium he has run for the past 22 years with his two brothers, Kamlesh, 35,
and Rasik, 40. The shop is on Ealing Road, near Wembley in north-west London....
The Indian appetite for gold is legendary. Each year, the
average Indian family has to buy a certain amount of gold to keep face. The gold
is given away at festivals such as Diwali, at birthdays and other notable
events. For an average family, with no weddings scheduled, roughly £4,000 worth
of gold a year is needed. But it is when wedding season hits that Mr Mulji
"The season runs from the beginning of June to November.
Our biggest sellers at this time of year are what we call full sets," says Mr
Mulji, holding up a box containing a thick gold necklace and two delicate
earrings. "Brides need to buy an average of five or six of these sets, one for
each function of the wedding. The heaviest and most expensive is reserved for
the big day itself." Each lightweight set costs around £500, and the price
ranges up to £2,800. The average bride spends £4,000 on these adornments....
Mr Mulji claims the business is under threat from foreign
"The trade from the Middle East is crippling us. Because
they don't have to pay tax, they can offer much more competitive rates."
Each year, thousands of Asians fly to the gold souks of
Dubai, where up to 400 gold merchants compete against each other. Shoppers then
smuggle their purchases back under the noses of the customs officers, complains
"Each year 1,200 tonnes of gold are smuggled into India and
this is all unaccounted for; women wear it in bangles all the way up their arms."
These bangles, which are cheap to make, are the international
currency of the gold world. Called "tickets", because each one is the same
price as a single airline ticket to Bombay, they are easy to move, or "liquid"
as Mr Mulji says. "A lot of Ugandan Asians coming out of that country arrived
in England, just with their tickets up their arms," he says.
"This is why Asians are so fond of gold. It is the only
thing you can take with you when times are unstable...."...
Some 50pc to 60pc of Kenya Jewellery's trade comes from its
core clients. "We look after them, and they look after us," says Mr Mulji.
"And at the end of the day, Indians buy a lot of gold. The average family will
have roughly £40,000 worth."
"The other day, one of my old customers came in and asked
for some gold to be valued. He had kept it for 40 years. When he bought it, it
was worth £140, and I valued it at £3,800. So it was a good investment."" (emphasis
James 5:1-3 outlines the futility of putting ones security in
gold and not God. (1) "Go to now ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries
that shall come upon you. (2) Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are
moth eaten. (3) Your gold and silver is cankered and the rust of them shall be a
witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire...". Gold is
temporal and will pass away.
It is good to remember that everything God made was good,
gold is part of God's good creation. In Scripture gold is often mentioned in
the context of 'the most valuable earthly commodity'. It's nice to read
also that gold features in the next life. In the context of earth God compares
the value of gold with the vastly more valuable virtues He would have His people
develop. Not that gold in itself is evil, we just can't take any with us when
we leave this earth -– so we need to view it in the light of its temporal
Job 28 mentions silver coming out of veins, and gold being
found in its place... in fact all of the precious things found in the earth have
been established by God. The passage goes on to say (verse 12) "But where
shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? (13) Man
knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
(14) The depth sayeth, it is not in me: the sea sayeth, it is not with me. It
cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price
thereof. (28) And unto man He said, behold the fear of the Lord, that is
wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."