Anyway, after having Benji, my interest in jewellery has skyrocketed into full-blown lust. It didn’t help that I got my hands on an issue of Indian Vogue that was dripping with jewellery ads.
You know how pregnant women are supposed to develop a nesting instinct closer to their delivery date, and begin cleaning the house? Ok, if you didn’t know that’s what’s supposed to happen. I, of course, felt no such instinct but I did feel very “crafty” – I started knitting (the result is a pair of booties that Benji never wores, a sweater for Benji that everyone laughed at and a scarf for myself that turned out a little… short) and making scrapbooks (better results here), which I shall blame on pregnancy hormones though actually I still feel the itch to do this stuff.
Anyway, post-pregnancy I felt this urgent desire to own jewellery (which I’m blaming on post-pregnancy hormones that are mysteriously still lingering). I found myself checking out other people’s jewellery and getting transfixed by the enormous stone on my boss’s boss hand during a couple of meetings. I began thinking that since I am now a bigger girl, I need a bigger rock too.
I was never that interested in proper jewellery before. As a child, my sister and I made it a point to reject gold – at a cost to my sister’s earlobes which would not tolerate anything else – mainly because adults seemed to want to force it on us so much. My father-in-law was kind of appalled by my propensity to wear threads with beads on them around my neck. Before my wedding, I made it a point to tell my in-laws I wasn’t fond of gold and to choose the thinnest non-gold looking thing when they were buying me stuff.
Stupid stupid me.
First, I have suddenly realised that gold suits Indian skin and can look very pretty, if you remove it from the context of being the metal of choice for aunties (or if one acknowledges that one is now part of the aunty brigade but nevermind that). Second, I have discovered a love of saris and I like the traditional ones and many of those have gold details. Finally and most importantly, the price of gold has shot up. If only I had bought five years ago seems to be a mantra that people are constantly muttering. Even during my wedding, my mum was saying how expensive gold is compared to before, and now it’s climbed even higher and I find myself saying the same thing.
Luckily, my in-laws did buy me some gold during my wedding, my parents bought me some and my own relatives ignored all my protests and gifted me gold. Nevertheless, I still ended up borrowing bangles from my mother-in-law every time I wore a sari (it started when we made a trip to Kerala and she beseeched me to wear her bangles for fear that tongues would wag at my bare arms, and then I sort of realised they looked nice).
I finally decided that it was time to get some bangles of my own, and I thought while I was at it, I should pick up a few pretty things as well – such as a bigger diamond ring. Basically, I don’t seem to be doing anything sensible with my money (like investing in mutual funds) so I figured I might as well do something fun with it, but which still somewhat retains value. Win-win and all that, except (hopefully) temporarily for my bank balance.
The plan was to do this in India. Unfortunately, V ended up getting fed up with the negotiations at the jeweler we went to – I left the bargaining part to him – and we stomped out without anything! And he had apparently done his research and had a feeling diamonds were cheaper in HK (HK is a big wholesale centre for diamonds, but then India is a big polishing centre and comes before HK in the chain so you’d think it’d be cheaper).
So, back in HK he completely throws himself into the hunt for the perfect diamond in that obsessed way typical of men when faced with numbers and ratings and all that. Unlike gold, which you just buy by weight, diamonds have this rating system that gets more complicated the more you think about it. To most eyes, much of this cannot even be spotted but once you know there is a rating it’s hard not to be obsessed with it.
It’s also amusing how one can be dressed like a complete pauper but whisked off to a VIP room and plied with tea as soon as your budget becomes clear.
Anyway, it was all quite fun and we were seriously considering a couple of stones when I took a step back. Part of my desire to buy jewellery is that it holds some sort of value while also being wearable. But what I realised with diamonds is that the resale value is actually pretty low – you’re probably looking at 50% of what you paid for the diamond. One is actually better off buying gold – which has a fairly good chance of actually rising in value. Yesterday, I went out and bought a couple of pieces that I really liked.
Of course, I still think diamonds are hideously pretty but I actually do have diamonds studs, a decent ring and a very elaborate diamond necklace and drop earings set.
For the price of a 0.7 carat diamond I could buy a decent work of art, something I’ve always wanted to do. For the price of a 1 carat stone or a little more, I could probably buy a known artist. The art had a better chance of appreciating in value than a diamond and I’d enjoy the art as much, probably even more.
So, I have given up the diamond dream. Instead, I’m on the hunt for that perfect painting.