I’ve always seen gold chains as a fashion statement. Just look at artists like 2 Chainz who himself is known for wearing two large gold chains (Karizza Sanchez). Karizza Sanchez is a writer for the magazine Complex Style. Upon further searching for the origin of wearing chains I discovered that chains weren’t always gold. Before necklaces were made from, “stones, bones, shells and teeth were worn by men and women used to represent religion, power, status and wealth”, according to chain.org a chain comparison site. Which completely makes sense considering it’s believed, you have status, if you own a gold chain or jewelry. But is it really that simple? Do people realize the full extent of what this “fashion statement” means?
A Few Things I Discovered:
· “Early Egyptians wore gold chains and bracelets traditionally to ward off evil (hot1079philly.com).”
· Some consider gold chains to represent a miniature iron chains, bondage
· Gold isn’t only used for jewelry
· People have moved across the lands in search of gold far and while
· Is used to accent art
· Wearing gold chains started becoming so popular in the Hip Hop world in the 80’s when Run DMC began wearing huge gold chains during performances
· Gold is so expensive because of the demand for its use
· once used as the backup for printed dollars
· Gold with its current value is priced at 1314.60 US Dollars per ounce going up from mere hundreds that it cost a few short years ago
Origins of Gold:
No one really knows where gold comes from for sure. Some people simply think that the gold is a product of the pressure of a multitude of minerals being pushed together while under the earth’s surface and is eventually being eroded over time through the excavation of man or the eventual weathering of the rock and dirt itself. While others believe that gold comes from the collision of starts in outer space (UniverseToday).
Why is Gold So Commonly Used?:
· Mr. T for example, “recently made it known in his book that his famous gold chains were worn to represent the chains of bondage black people wore during slavery.”
· Gold conducts electricity well
· “Unlike most metals, gold does not tarnish in the air (modernghana.com)”.
Another way to think about this could be people of the Christian faith for example having gold chains with the image of Jesus. This shows their bondage to their faith. The stereotypical black Hip Hop star showing his or her success or popularity in the music industry is not the only reason why they choose to wear gold chains. They do so to represent the memory of those who come before them, to represent the daily struggle they were forced to endure. Some people are trying to keep up with fashion, while others are so invested and determined to make themselves seem as though they are of a higher economic status that they will spend money they do not have to buy gold or a likeness to it. However, due to the high value in gold and having gold jewelry to own it doesn’t show necessarily class but that you possess some sort of disposable income to afford such a “non-necessity” or that someone close to you did.
What I See:
I saw my gold chain as nothing more than a reminder of my mom’s love, I suppose now it can be defined as a bondage to her. Just as some having a gold chain with a dollar sign as a pendent can be seen as having a bondage to money or material objects. I eventually over time after wearing my chain for so long saw myself feeling irregular when not wearing it for too long, it became a sort of comfort to me. It is really unlikely that I would feel the same attachment about my gold pieces of metal that happen to be linked if I thought of them originally to be represented an always remembrance of slavery. The thought of the links of a gold representing the heavy, rusted, iron chains slaves wore most, if not every day of their lives without a choice to or not, wouldn’t have brought as warm of a feeling to my heart as the thought of my mother. Wearing a chain on a daily basis can show that though most Americans would argue that our nation has moved away from slavery and that we as a population are no longer racist in any way, others do remember and won’t ever forget when they, America, were officially by law. Some refuse that this so called “blemish”, on America’s history was ever as bad as claimed. Some Americans of all ages may claim, for various reasons, that the injustice for people, who were of a race other than white was so long ago that it no longer matters. While some wear it for no particular reason other than it being a gift.
Moral of The Story:
Gold chains did not simply gain importance to individuals in the 80s, it had it centuries prior. Not every fashion statement is what it seems. Ignorance isn’t necessarily bliss in this case because when you do not know the true meaning of what you wear you fall victim to stereotypes and assumptions about your beliefs. Causing you to be treated accordingly whether you ascribe with the previous or not. Know what you wear, for no one’s benefit but your own.
You know, I wish I still had had my gold chain. Nine and a half years later, who knew it would be violently snatched from my neck as I walked down the cool, wet industrialized city known as Los Angeles. I was hurt more emotionally, than physically at my chain’s kidnapping. I always wore that chain, I only took it off for sleep or a shower. That chain meant more to me than just a fashion statement, it reminds me of my mom, her love; that she’ll never leave me, always staying close to my heart. Left behind was not my precious stone, but a few of the metal links that still shimmered as though I had just purchased that very day. Though, my old friend was replaced, it’s not the same, but it still feels good to know I still have them, even if it isn’t as close to my heart as it once was.
By Anna Zane. I am currently a student at California State University, Northridge. I enjoy singing, creative writing, and hanging out with friends.