New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, February 26, 2007

Indian Gold

This photo of filigreed necklace sets was taken on 74th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. The shop is one among many gold dealers in this neighborhood, where a proliferation has made it a gold district, visited by customers from around the country. Gold is big in the Indian community - it is purchased for the birth of a child, various holidays and is an important part of weddings. Of the Solah Shringar (sixteen adornments) that complete an Indian bride, many are gold jewelry. In Indian culture there is jewelry for nearly every part of the body: anklets, bracelets and bangles, panja (which covers the back of the hand and held in place by an attached bracelet and rings), rings for fingers, toes, noses (nathni) and ears, tiaras and tikkas (a piece of gold jewelry that hangs over the forehead and hooks into the hair). In India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the bride's jewelry is an important aspect of the wedding process and is part of the dowry which the bride gets to keep in the event of divorce. However, traditions are changing and as more young people in Asian communities in the US marry here rather than in their home country, gold is becoming a less important part of the marriage. All the gold is 22 karat (91.6% pure) and pieces are sold by weight. When I asked the price of a necklace, the clerk promptly tossed the piece on a scale and took out a calculator ...

7 comments:

Gaurav said...

Brian, keep up the good work.

come check out a fellow new yorker's photoblog when you get a chance!

cheers,
gs

Lucy said...

Nice wedding present. I wonder if they ever get to wear it again after the wedding. Seems like you should...or maybe it's like the dress, you spend a fortune and never get to wear it again...

Brian said...

Gaurav - Thanks and I'll check out your NYC site.
Lucy - I seem to recall seeing the wearing of panja. But the rest I only recall seeing in films or photos. It would make sense to wear jewelry after the wedding.
Brian

Gaurav said...

it usually just gets passed down to the kin :)

Jean said...

Fabulous photo and jewelry.

Bangalore Photo Blog said...

India is probably the largest consumer of gold in the world.

Nirmik said...

It's Realy Needed to world market.