In South Asia and the Middle East, gold donations are commonplace. For generations, mothers have passed heirlooms to their daughters on birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.
Indian households own around 22,000 tonnes of gold worth about $ 1.5 billion (£ 1.1 billion), according to estimates from the World Gold Council, an industry group. Over the years, these collections grow – and for some, become obsolete.
For Riya Patel *, a 23-year-old marketing executive from London, carrying her legacy, which has been in the family for three generations, was almost unimaginable. A Cartier necklace, however, was not.
“My family’s collection was so extravagant. My sisters and I would never dare to wear it – so we decided to sell it, ”she said.
“Jewelry has been passed down for generations. In India, everyone wears it to their wedding and then keeps it as a bargaining chip. ”
But after reviewing her finances in the first foreclosure, Ms Patel realized she could put in the gold, which was worth £ 60,000, to work better. “It was just sitting there at the house, doing nothing for us.”
His mother, Alisha Patel *, shared the same opinion. “Nobody wears this type of gold,” she said. “It was given to me as financial support, in case something happens and I need it for security.”
There are more urgent uses for this money. “My daughters want to buy a property, and gold could help them instead,” she said.
However, the lack of a hallmark – an official hallmark that marks the purity of gold – meant that it was difficult to sell.
“None of it was marked, which made it difficult to assess. We had to visit a family friend who works as a jeweler or else we couldn’t have gotten a good price for it, ”said Riya, who used some of the money to buy a Cartier necklace.
“Although I don’t have any jewelry that will be passed on to me, my Cartier necklace will last a lifetime. It’s hallmarked so I could sell it easily if I ever needed to. One day, I might instead pass this on to future generations. “