BBC Learning English 英语教学

Why do people love gold? 人为何都爱金子?

So beautiful, so evocative

Vocabulary: value 词汇: 价值

As an English teacher, I've been lucky enough to travel to many countries all over the world. I've seen people celebrating everything from the arrival of new babies to the delivery of new cars. I've attended weddings, parties and religious celebrations in countries as far apart as Argentina and Japan, and I've noticed that gold - the metal or the colour - is almost always part of cultural events, traditions and celebrations.


From 'mashallah' gold tokens that people give to babies in Turkey, to the gold stars that primary teachers stick on their students' exercise books, to the gold trimmings and gifts in Indian weddings, to the gold coffin that the 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson was buried in. It makes me wonder: Why do people love gold?

For some people, gold seems to be a status symbol. Indian businessman Datta Phuge loves gold so much that he's even bought a shirt made of the stuff - at a cost of $250,000. I'm not sure I'd spend so much money on a shirt - would you? But Datta Phuge has his reasons. He explains: "Some elite people want to own an Audi or Mercedes and have big cars. I chose gold."

For other people, gold is an investment. The price of gold generally increases over time - and in European markets it reached over $1,500 per ounce in 2011.

And for many people, the family heirloom brings together status and investment. My mother has a gold bracelet that was given to her by her grandmother - who, in turn, inherited it from her own grandmother. It's quite a heavy piece and probably worth quite a lot of money. But its sentimental value is greater than its value in dollars: It's a beautiful object that holds many family memories. When the time comes, my mum will give the bracelet to me - and one day, I'll pass it on to the younger generation.

So, status and investment are good reasons to value gold. But, I think that the real reason people love gold is because it can be made into beautiful objects. Think about Tutankhamen's death mask. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful, so evocative?

People love gold because it captures our minds, our imaginations and, above all, our hearts.

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