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Chinese ‘gold’ brings Egyptians a little taste of luxury FEATURE 08/16/2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chinese ‘gold’ brings Egyptians a little taste of luxury



FEATURE

08/16/2010
CAIRO — A Cartier ring for just $8? In Egypt, “Chinese gold”— an affordable imitation of the precious metal— has swamped the jewellery market, granting the poor a little taste of luxury.
As in many other countries, the Egyptian market has been flooded with Chinese goods — everything from electronics to plastic cigarette lighters have been shouldering locally made goods out of the way.
And in a country where 40 percent of the 80 million population lives on less than $2 a day, the so-called Chinese gold has been widely welcomed, particularly by young couples who struggle to afford the traditional marriage dowry.
The current price of one gram of 24 carat gold in Egypt stands at 218 Egyptian pounds ($38), while the Chinese version — a mixture of aluminium, iron and other metals — only costs around 20 to 30 Egyptian pounds ($4 to $5) per gram.
“Chinese accessories are cheap and elegant, the styles are varied and the best thing is that they look just like gold,” said 31-year-old Amira showing off her Chinese trinket.
Ancient Egyptians considered gold the skin of gods, lending it spiritual as well social value.
A walk down Old Cairo — lined with jewellery shops — is a testament that the pharaohs’ modern-day compatriots still hold high regard for the precious metal...... MORE


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