Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A New Gold Rush Rushes Over My Block


Do you know this feeling, when you wake up and suddenly it feels as if the world around you has changed overnight. That's exactly what I am going through when I ride my bike to work.
A whole block has turned into a gold mile. Close to a traditional gold-pawn-shop a handful of new shops opened just recently. They all come with very aggressive displays, lots of LEDs blinking and honestly - they don't seem to be the most trustworthy places in town.
The shop to the right offers only 5%, no deal!
+7% instead of flower bouquets (this used to be a fleurop-florist's)

Mr Paula compared their sudden rise with the rise of the call-shops in the past. We are not sure if those gold stores are to stay. I thought I capture the moment.

Over decades there had been just this single shop, where you turn to sell your gold: ÖGUSSA:
Times change, so does the appearance of companies. Where black and gold enamel used to say "I am your reliable partner", the new shops speak a different language, they "talk numbers". Discretion is a foreign word these days.

Here's the whole picture:
To the left the old traditional ÖGUSSA store, in the back left and right the four new shops.

If people will sell their familiy heirlooms to afford a crappy LG flatscreen for Christmas?

As you can see in the pictures, taken at 9.30am - this time of the year is not sunniest of all.
I warmed myself up with red and green plants in front of me and a co-workers sitting next to me during my office-lunch-break with colleagues.
Back at home it's business as usual ... this time firming up the terrace. I can not wait to see plants and deck chairs on the terrace to be. Hopefully someone will show up with 900.000 EUR (=1.2 Mio US $ or 37 Mio Rubel) and buy the nice apartment. If not there will be no plants for me to look at.
Photo taken by Mr Paula

I do not envy those workers at all. When I leave the house in the morning, they are already on site and when I return from work, they are still firming up the floors. 11 hours under wet cold grey skies, surrounded by dirt. I dare to say that the person, who is going to move in here, has earned his/her money under less adverse conditions compared to the workers who have firmed his/her terrace.


  1. I never understood (and still don't) the whole trading in your gold for money thing. I understand most of the world is in a recession, but is it worth selling your family treasures for an ipad?

    The apartment next door is coming along quite nicely, hopefully once they finish the new owners will place some nice shrubbery and flowers out on the deck for you to look at.

  2. Ljubljana is now full of these gold shops too which makes me sad and uneasy at the same time.

  3. Jen, obviously this is not just a trend in Vienna.

    coffeeaddict, where will they move next? And who will move into the shops once they left ... strange businesses!

  4. Did you happen to read the two posts Wendy Brandes recently wrote on her blog about the price of gold? They're really interesting.

    The upshot of the posts is that gold isn't money so why do people treat it like an investment?

  5. Do you really think people sell their gold jewelry for things like iPads? I'm actually okay with the idea of selling gold jewelry. I'm assuming the jewelry in question is not that old (probably just a few decades old) and so design-wise it's not really significant. Personally, I wouldn't want my mother's jewelry: most of them were bought in the 80s and early 90s so they're either disco-inspired or very old fashioned parure sets. I'm not very sentimental especially when it comes to my parents. Also I personally don't wear jewelry and I feel like in these times "accessories" have over taken jewelry and when it was once considered tacky to wear semi-precious stones (see Lisa at Amid Privilege's post about this), it's now a non-issue.

    Susan- Really? She said that? I can't find the blog post, but I'm surprised she did. The way I understand it--and caveat emptor, I'm Chinese and culturally the Chinese see gold jewelry as investments-- is that jewelry is supposed to be precious and expensive, traditionally/anthropologically at least, so place the money on raw materials rather than design or brand. I suppose you can say that ounce per ounce gold in jewelry form isn't a good investment at all compared to gold ingots, but at least jewelry is a liquid asset and you can play with it until it has to be sold off.

  6. Susan, no, I have not heard of her before, I will pay her a visit.

    Tracy, I guess it would be ok for me to sell my grandmothers jewellery to one of those traditional pawn shops in Vienna, where women go week after week and search for the perfect ring. It is dealing in a respectful way. Those shops I portrayed don't seem to cherish the piece of jewellery but just weigh it.
    You are right about the designs and how they don't appeal to us after some decades. I wonder if my nieces will ever love the golden Elsa Peretti bean I recently bought as much as I do?
    But they should feel free to choose a different setting for the diamond studs they will once inherit. Yes, diamonds ... a whole different story :-)
    My sister's apartment has been robbed and the burglars stole all the jewellery which my mother had handed over to the next generation. Ever since, my mum and my sister "invest" in costume jewellery. Maybe it's also a question of age? I am 39. I did not inherit a lot of jewellery and I "feel the need" to own and wear the real stuff. My godmother in her 60's has fun playing with costume jewellery but she knows that she also went through the phase I am experiencing right now when she was my age.
    When I see a new costume jewellery ring for 160 EUR, I rather save for the "real" jewellery at 700 EUR. Saving up for something once in a while also spares me from de-cluttering the jewellery-box every other year. :-)