09 August 2010

Treated quartz ring, $195

In their ads, many jewellery companies play on the idea of a piece of jewellery telling a story. But a piece of new jewellery doesn’t tell that much of a story. There’s the story of its manufacture in a factory in Thailand, followed by the story of its sale in a shop in Chadstone. Estate jewellery is able to add the story of its repeated use as an engagement ring, or perhaps the story of an owner’s decline. But it is pawned jewellery that has contemporary stories to tell, stories of drug addiction, a gambling habit or maybe a sudden retrenchment. There are many modestly-priced pieces of jewellery at pawn shops, which point to many modest payouts made to individual sellers. I often wonder, how much of a reprieve did each payout actually buy?

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