Gold and gold jewelry : exploration of consumer practices
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This thesis explores consumers’ practices and experiences in relation to consumption of gold and gold jewelry. It focuses on the underlying motivations of consumers, the uses of gold and gold jewelry, and examines the practices and meanings that emerge as a result of these uses. Data were collected through qualitative research methods. The participants include twenty-four female consumers and four industry representatives. Age, income, and use of gold jewelry/coin constitute the main criteria in selection of the consumers. The findings indicate three main uses for gold and gold jewelry: Gift-giving, ornamentation, and investment. Both utilitarian and symbolic motives are identified in giving gold jewelry/coins as a gift. Whereas previous research focuses on the symbolic aspects of the gift, the findings suggest that there are utilitarian aspects as well. The practices and experiences related to the use as ornamentation illustrate the relation of gold jewelry to fashion, highlight the item’s significance for sense of self, and reveal patterns of complementarity with the product category of clothing. The exploration of the use of investment uncovers the dual function of gold jewelry, and indicates the interaction between ornamentation and investment. The study concludes with a discussion of the contributions, limitations, and implications for future research on the topic.