I’m in ‘Chains

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In days gone by, gold held a fascination for many, men in particular, since it started to be used as a way of paying for goods and services. Imagine having your own gold coins - complete with your profile engraved - so you would be recognized even far away from your usual surroundings.

Indeed, gold used to be worn, much as it is today, not only to be fashionable, but to show the world that you have monetary worth etc. These chains, rings and other gold ornaments were made to the highest standard and were unique to the owner. No mass production in those days!

Men soon discovered that ladies loved gold too, and to show their intentions, showered the ladies of their choice with gold nose studs, ear-rings, chains etc to curry favor with them. Even wedding rings were made from gold before the advent of platinum and the like.

Sometimes gold bracelets were used to barter for goods so when you went shopping, it was not unusual to see someone with an armful of solid gold bangles to pay for their goods! Of course you were not going to buy a pound of carrots with a gold bangle but you understand the concept!

These days, naturally, we don't do this but never-the-less we do like and covet gold probably more than any other precious or semi-precious material. Countries keep their cash reserves in gold ‘bullion' - that is bars of gold - because it retains its value much better than other forms of cash. In fact, countries can sometimes manipulate the price of gold by holding back reserves so that it is in scarce supply. Imagine having so much gold that you can affect world prices?

Through the latter part of the last century it became very fashionable to wear multiple gold chains, one on top of the other. Unfortunately, this also spawned the crime called ‘chain snatching' and some people have been killed in the process of having their chains ripped from their necks. Even in affluent areas there will always be someone who wants what you have.

In today's ‘hip-hop' fashion world chains have become huge in size; waist length heavy chains with enormous medallions hanging from them in an ostentatious show of wealth and prosperity. This style has even spurred its own name of ‘bling' and no up and coming or established ‘rapper' would be seen without it! This fashion, thankfully, has passed most of us by and you are much more likely to see a delicate, tasteful chain rather than these ‘monsters' adorning most people's necks.

Bracelets, too, have become fashionable, even for men. Women, of course, have been wearing them for years but men have caught the bug too. You are likely to see a hint of gold at the shirt cuff of even the most respected of business men, and maybe a delicate ear stud too!

Of course, ladies have taken the bracelet idea a step further with ankle chains or ‘anklets' as they are sometimes called. Isn't it strange how fashion changes? Some years ago this fashion of ankle chains was considered to be an advertisement for ‘services offered' and no self-respecting woman would wear such an item. Nowadays fashionable young women like nothing better than to wear a beautiful gold ankle chain, with high heels, on a well turned leg!

Chains, of course, used to be made by hand and were therefore very expensive. But today's ‘super' machines turn out literally miles upon miles of solid, strong and perfect chains. This has brought down the price to ‘street' level and most people own at least one or two pieces of gold jewelry.

For a change, some have tried hanging pendants or charms from bracelets to make them just that little bit different. Some like to fill the bracelet with ‘memories'. That is a different charm for every birthday or special occasion which is added as the years go by. These tend to become family heirlooms and you would be amazed at the stories surrounding each and every charm. This is a great way to record family history too.

Men have also got in on this act but you are more likely to see a neat, subtle bracelet - perhaps and identity bracelet type - with either his name or the name of his beloved engraved on it. Some like one tasteful pendant hanging from it - perhaps a St. Christopher (patron saint of travelers) or his birthstone which looks very tasteful.

Some ladies weargold bracelets
studded with several different stones. These can sometimes be secret messages with the initial of the stones spelling out his/her name or have a hidden meaning like ‘ITALY'. You may be hard pressed to work this one out so the explanation follows: It actually means I Trust And Love You. Each stone attached in the correct order will give the initials of the phrase; turquoise for T, amethyst for A etc.

The solid type bracelet has also made a splash in the fashion world of late too. Even arm bands can be found in solid gold but of course these types of bracelets rmbands tend to be much more expensive than the chains because they use up much more gold.

The Indian continent has gone a step further by attaching chains between ear-ring and nose stud. These chains have fine, tiny pendants hanging from them and are usually worn at important ceremonies like weddings - for the bride etc. This fashion did catch on briefly in the western world but faded out soon after.

So it would seem then that gold has a part to play in most corners of the earth. Some countries and cultures use it for religious occasions whereas other countries have embraced it for daily fashion. One interesting fact is that all the wedding rings produced for the British royal family contain Welsh gold. Wales, a part of the British Isles, produces very little gold thereby making it extremely rare. Thus the royal family, by tradition, has been using it to make their wedding rings a little extra special!

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