When one says Kerala, there are only but a few things that immediately pop to mind. The ever present coconut, be it the abundant trees or its use in cooking, the consumption of liquor which has seen a consistently increasing curve but above all else is gold. Gold is deeply entwined into the cultural and historical roots of Kerala. Gold forms an integral part of almost every Malayalee's life and is sought after to the extent of being hoarded with great zeal either as a form of investment or a show of prosperity and social status.
History of Gold
The history of gold as a currency and investment can be dated back to the time when global trading of spices first began. During the Roman Empire, Cochin was among the many key ports that were visited for trade of spices. In fact such was the importance given to pepper, cinnamon and cardamom that Greeks, Jews, Arabs and even the Chinese had no qualms with parting increasing amounts of gold to obtain the spices. Any native of Kerala in possession of gold in those days were bound to have had trade relations with the foreigners. The prestige that came from owning the precious yellow metal has since then remained and is still a sought after form of establishing social status and standing
Gold for Social Ceremonies
With the advent of the following millennia came the social ceremonies and rituals involving marriage particularly dowry. Dowry was set based on the family’s social and economic conditions. In today’s world, the meaning of social standing has come to include a vast many things under its umbrella. Be it beach facing property, parents whose children have secured jobs outside the country but it will forever contain the amount of gold owned by a person.
Gold Jewellers and Retailers
Gold is so sought after in Kerala that they have their own chain of gold jewellers and retailers. In fact some of the country’s largest jewellery retailers such as Josco, Joyalukkas and Bhima all hail from Kerala. These retailers cater to a growing market and since there is an ample supply to match the high demands people often enjoy attractive and competitive rates on gold. In fact Kerala is well on its way to having a Gold Souk Grande in Cochin along the likes of the gold souks of Dubai.
Due to their deep history with gold, the people of Kerala value gold so highly that regardless of crippling debt, people would rather own gold than remain debt free and ass such Kerala is a state that will always be high on gold consumption.
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