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Julie McCarthy – NPR – Monday, 21 April 2014 (originally published 14 Apr)

Woman working in a jewerly store

The R.C. Jewelry Store in New Delhi. Indian women have always treasured gold for its beauty and for providing a measure of social security. Today it is also being used to give them a larger say in the family’s finances. Image: Julie McCarthy/NPR

It’s indestructible. It’s fungible. It’s beautiful. And for Indians, gold – whether it’s 18-, 22- or 24-carat — is semi-sacred.

No marriage takes place without gold ornaments presented to the bride. Even the poorest Indian outfits girls in the family with a simple nose ring of gold.

For Indian women who were not formally educated, gifting them gold was their social security. Today, whether Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim, bedecking the bride in gold invests her with good fortune, according to anthropologist Nilika Mehrotra . . .

. . . read complete article . . .

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