All that glitters IS Gold in Kerala.

(Photo credit: the Hindu)

The shiny yellow metal that never tarnishes-Gold. From thousands of years, gold has attracted man to it like bees to honey. From Midas, the greedy king who wanted to turn everything he touched into gold to countless rulers who accepted and gave away gold as gifts, from the common man who treated gold as treasure to the millions of traders who used it as a form of exchange for other goods, gold has always seen a steady rise in its value, as well as price.

In a country like India where the traditional attire itself demands a minimum of gold pieces on the body, each and every man and woman has a burning desire to possess gold in some form or the other, be it jewellery, coins or other artefacts. In Kerala,  gold will always be on the top of the list of extremely essential and demanded commodities.

Kerala’s love for gold dates back to ancient times when Kerala, a rich, thriving land full of spices was frequented by traders from all over the world. These traders and merchants were fascinated by the Indian pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices and discovered that their customers back in their own countries were ready to shell out substantial amounts of money or goods in exchange for these spices. This fascination increased so much so that Kerala began to be known as the Land of Black Gold amongst these traders. Black Gold, a name they gave Indian pepper, was literally worth its weight in gold and merchants readily paid Indian traders and cultivators in gold in return for the spices. If a local trader in Kerala owned gold, he automatically acquired a higher status than his colleagues for having done business dealings with foreign traders and merchants. As a result, more and more people looked for chances to earn gold and uplift their status in the ancient times. Royal families also used a lot of this metal in their daily lives, from jewellery to plates to even furniture and clothes (women’s outfits often had gold embroidery on them).

As time passed, traditions and rituals changed but the love and need for gold didn’t. Gold became an important dowry asset and girls whose father owned a lot of gold and who could gift the same to his daughter’s in-laws, were more in demand as brides than girls whose families were poor. Poor men trudged through hell and high water to acquire gold without any sense of regrets, only for status and respect.

Kerala now accounts for nearly 20% of India’s gold consumption, according to a popular news report and is also home to the largest number of gold jewellers in India. It is very easy to acquire gold here, since there are a variety of stores all over the State. With easy payment options, buying gold has now indeed become a lot simpler. Kochi, in Kerala is slowly yet steadily becoming the gold capital of the State with several gold stores in existence and new ones rapidly coming up. Gold is an unavoidable part of weddings, festivals and other auspicious occasions. Recession or boom, the economy makes no difference to the demand of gold. As history has wonderfully shown us, the demand and the value for gold can only go on increasing.

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