12/08/2005

The Real Price of Gold


Speaking of jewelry again, it seems:
Are you thinking about gold this holiday season? Did you know about this?
I can admit to having way more jewelry than I could ever need, and typically don't wear it very often. Nowadays I prefer to buy the wares of area artists, to support them in their efforts to keep art alive in a world of mass production and big box stores.
Anyway, this is what their
online petition website states :

The production of just one gold ring produces 20 tons of mine waste.

Toxic chemicals such as cyanide and mercury that are used in producing gold have polluted drinking water supplies, contaminated farmland, and harmed the health of workers and communities. Gold mining operations can also leave a trail of social destruction, displacing communities from their homelands against their will and destroying traditional livelihoods.

This is the real price of gold.

Jewelers may not operate heavy equipment at mine sites, but more than 80 percent of gold mined each year is used to make jewelry. Jewelry firms are thus uniquely positioned to help make real change in gold mining practices.


11 comments:

Polly Jones said...

There is also a lot of controversy around diamonds.

I barely wear jewellery, but not because of ethics; it's just not me.

I love jewellery on other people - dangling earings, wide silver rings, pearls,...I'm not a fan of engagement rings though because, in my view, they have so much to do with status...I don't like it when someone announces they're engaged and the first thing they do is show off the ring...Here's the proof that I am loved!!!

Lily said...

Polly,
Great to see you over here! I totally agree with the bling-ring-thing. I admit I have one, being an old fashioned kinda gal.
As an aside, do you know how many little newborns get cut on their mommy's precious rock? I know, I know. I'm a crazy momma. But did you ever feel the sharp little prongs, or the corners of those damned marquis style stones?? Ouch!
I had my ring made to be inset with no edges whatsoever, all smooth. it never catches onto things, it never cuts children, and so far nobody has called me nuts because of it!People tell me its unique and lovely and I agree. I tell them about the baby cutting thing and they invariably tell me about some chick that caught her ring on a baby's cheek. How they never thought of it. Now I had the benefit of having a previous marriage and previous ring, and I learned!
I suggest this to women who plan on having kids. Look at rings and actually FEEL the things. Then you will see what I mean!
Seems crazy to have a symbol of love that slashes people....

Polly Jones said...

Well, maybe I shoudn't wait for a husband, and just get my own slasher ring. I never knew what sort of power I was giving up!

Also, there's nothing wrong with the bling. But, tell me honestly, do people get to you when they're all about the ring, the wedding cake, etc.?

rivermomma said...

Well, yeah, It does get on my nerves. More than I let on, actually.
But probably because I am hopelessly NOT romantic either. At least not in a traditional sense. I did not have a wedding at all, we bought a house and our families helped us in doing that instead of blowing twenty thousand or more on a one time party- I got an actual house in my twenties with furniture and lots of stuff that we needed instead, and I will never regret that decision. People were suprised but I told them that the time to celebrate will be our tenth anniversary, when we have actually accomplished something. And we have- kids, grad school, home, and we have survived. THAT is what deserves the bling! LOL
We are pretty simple people, for Valentine's Day we give money to a charity instead of giving silly predictable gifts ,and we enjoy that little game of trying to decide what obscure thing to support. Last year we gave in honor of a radio personality we both listen to but in different places. I listen to what he listens to on his way to work,so we gave in honor of the station (a non profit) Silly, simple, but we have no need for more gold, more junk, and more 'stuff'.
Sadly, I think some girls like the idea of the wedding more than marriage...perhaps they have not had many opportunities to express themselves or to decide things. Maybe an event represents a first taste of power? I guess its harsh to say that I wouldn't want my brain's coming out ball to be about picking colors for a centerpiece!!Maybe I should feel sorry for those that place such a premium on material things.
By all means: Have a party, sure, with some friends,family. Honor one another. Treat it as an important event if you want to, but don't miss the forest for the trees.
Most of my big wedding friends were divorced a few years later. And some of their parents took out second mortgages to pay for these things. How do they feel now? One freind I know threw away her wedding album that cost hundreds...but what use was it? Life's like that maybe. But we can do without the high price of a mistake!!!

Polly Jones said...

"Sadly, I think some girls like the idea of the wedding more than marriage..."

That's exactly it...also the way you describe your relationship, it does sound romantic to me. It's nice to think that their are alternatives to highly traditional roles!

Lew Scannon said...

I cringe every time I hear a jewelry ad on the radio, especially as they make it seem normal for females to be greedy and demand their man spend far too much money on something as totally useless and pointless as jewelry. Just more product that Americans have been conned into wanting that loses half it's value the minute it walks out the store. Perhaps that's why I'll never get married again, I'll never spend the money on a ring that I would lose in a divorce anyway.I know, I'm a hopeless romantic!

Lily said...

Well, its a two way thing. The rule is two months salary or something, right?
You know these things have a formula! So men are conditioned to be defensive about their salaries and buy expensive cars and homes to prove they are successful. The woman is often conditioned to think that the more financially stable the man is, the better the 'catch' and reflects on her quality as a homemaker, entertainer, and potential sex toy. Now I am simplifying and making generalizations and I am not trying to say we all live or think this way, but this is ONE view. A too-common view.
The ring therefore means "I make money" to the man and "I'm worth money" to the woman. Both are sad ways of viewing a relationship, but it is a sign of our culture generally despite being an archaic view of gender roles- the deal now is that you must also factor in the American tendency to buy things that we really cannot afford. At least there was a time where the man actually had to have the money which perhaps kept him sensible.
Jewelers will tell the men "Your girlfriend might SAY she doesn't care about the ring, but can you imagine her face if you give her this little quarter carat??"
Credit makes this possible. NOW a man can spend two years paying for that ring, plus interest, and appease wifey who can shove her hand in everyone's general direction and feel proud. I'm loved! I'm valid! Someone cares enough to spend this on my bling!!
But why does this make her proud? Thats the sad part of the story. Why does it make somebody proud to drive a nice car making twelve bucks an hour when everyone knows they don't make that kind of money? Why do people making minimum wage buy Coach bags and designer shit?
Because of credit and because of the disproportionate amount of money being spent on INSTANT GRATIFICATION versus planning and saving. That has a lot to do with all this damned bling. It all makes me sick sometimes, truth be told.
And people with real money laugh at the silliness of people like that anyway, with their knock off bags. Who does it impress? People financially in the same boat, and that doesn't make sense at all.
Lew- I don't blame you. But perhaps the key is in finding somebody compatible with your beleifs and values in the first place, same for Polly. Same for us all. When one person is greedy and shallow, how can it work? They will always have distorted priorities for your money, raise the kids in their greedy image... A big reason for my divorce pertained to such matters, he was always worried about the car, the house, what I was wearing.
We can all do betteer than that.

Lily said...

Geez, sorry for the fast bad typing!

Lily said...

The cost of weddings and bling seems to keep going up- and so does the divorce rate. Whats the point of it all? Its an industry. I would be offended by a really gargantuous ring because I would question the priorities. I would not want a man that would spend so much on such frivolity. A modest token, something plain. Whats so wrong with that? I don't measure myself by what I own. Its also a matter of proportion, a person with high income spending ten grand is different than a person trying to make ends meet, forcing that man to take on debt and stress to buy something to show he cares. I would not want that for a person I love.

Anonymous said...

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