It was a lazy afternoon sometime in October 2001. My family and I were relaxing at the departure lounge of the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We just checked in for our long flight to Singapore where the family has to spend a few days stopover before proceeding to Manila for my annual vacation.
As I was slowly drifting into a nap, with my wife and kids beside me, my attention was caught up by small girl who just emerged from the immigration section together with her father. The small girl, probably 6 years old, had gold bangles and bracelets clinking, occupying almost half over her entire wrist, apart from large earrings and thick sets of necklaces dangling from her neck.
I couldn’t help but amusingly tell my wife who was slowly drifting into near-nap stupor, to look at the small girl, the sets of golden pieces easily reminding me of fully-ripened rice stalks ready for harvest.
Just as my wife turned her head to the direction of the small girl, a woman, probably in her thirty’s arrived to join the small girl and the father. It was the mother of the small girl.
Alas, I could hardly describe what I saw. There was yellow metal glitter all over the body. From big dangling earrings to necklaces of all shapes and sizes, to bangles and bracelets all reaching up to the whole length of the wrist.
Even the wristwatch bracelet was solid gold, I suppose. To top them all, almost all the fingers had gold rings, studded with diamonds, in them.
You name it, the mother had it.
I thought earlier the small girl had it all. No, the mother had it all. If anything, the only things missing probably were bangles and bracelets in the ankles.
As I tried in amusement to comment, my wife beat me to the draw by saying, “that is investment.”
I smiled wryly and told my wife, “There can be no other rationalization except that it is investment.”
Well, OFW housewives (my wife among them) insist then that gold is an “investment” and I often comment that it is just a convenient rationalization for the lure and fascination with the yellow metal as jewelry to wear and show off during social events.
Back then, I often thought of gold jewelry purchases as a “hallmark of extravagance”.
Well, at the end of the day, it is extremely difficult to argue with women, housewives or otherwise, about gold. They are so similar to gold… they glitter, become their best and become one with gold. Throughout history, it has been a struggle to try to part women from gold.
Those were the times when gold was close to a total outsider, something that hardly ever appeared in the radar screens of investors and investment gurus. In investment literatures, there hardly were anything mentioned about gold as investment.
In fact, even today, despite the unabated climb in the price of gold, some investment gurus still refuse to acknowledge gold as investment since its mere possession does not pay interest or income. It is only when gold is sold when gain is realized.
Well, men can argue until they turn blue. If it is something that gains in value and can be sold for cash, then it is investment. Hmm…there is something ironical here; in fact, gold is more valuable than cash.
But frankly, I never thought then that gold can be a good, let alone excellent, investment.
Alas, the housewives proved to be better investors. Those who accumulated gold from early 2000’s when gold was trading at about US$300 per (Troy) ounce proved to be much better investors, with gold now hovering around US$1,800 per ounce.
That is practically a gain of 500% and the value now about 6 times over.
That is what I call “investment by serendipity”.
Dictionaries define serendipity as finding something not expected, an accidental and fortunate or lucky discovery, or simply a happy accident.
Who would have thought that gold would simply climb so steep and so consistently in value for the last 8 years or so? Not the investment gurus, not even the great speculators and certainly, not the housewives.
Investors are getting so crazy on gold some gurus say it is heading towards US$5,000 in 3 years. Some even say it will be $10,000 in 5 years as pressure is building up for world economies to eventually ditch the paper currency and return to the “gold standard”.
Well, let us just set aside such confusing terms as “gold standard” and stuff like that. One sure thing is that gold continues to rise and there is no indication that it will settle down soon.
Count me in as a convert to gold as investment. I now look at gold not as a mark of extravagance but as “a thing of beauty” and something “to have and to hold” like a wife.
No, not like a wife, but probably something a little close.