Five thousand tons of gold are hidden under Turkish pillows. Five thousand pounds, worth 180 billion dollars. I don’t know about the home-stocks in other countries, but what I do know is that Turks are good at collecting gold during their lives. Recently, at a wedding, I saw how it goes: the newly-weds stand together and the guests wait in line to give their gold present one by one. Next to the couple stands a friend of the couple with a microphone, and he announces who gives what. ‘A golden bracelet from Aunt Emine and Uncle Ibrahim, thank you!’, ‘A golden necklace from colleagues Aylin, Emre, Metin and boss Hüseyin, thank you very much!’, ‘A golden coin from neighbour Ayse, thank you very much!’, ‘A golden bracelet from old school friend Hakky and his lady friend Fréderike, thank you very much!’ You hang the gold on bride or groom, and they sort of double their weight that way. A share of it is sold again quickly, to pay for the wedding.
The gold people collect throughout their lives – you usually get an ounce or so at birth, and sometimes on other happy occasions – is not worn a lot. Some women wear a few kilos of it when they visit friends in the weeks or months after the wedding, to show off the loot. And then it’s usually put under the proverbial pillow. Kept for a rainy day.
Now that the price of gold is rising, some financial analysts urge the government to encourage people to sell the gold under their pillows. It would create thousands of jobs to put the hidden treasures on the market. But people won’t sell their gold just yet: the price of gold still on the rise, so people wait. That could be a good personal choice, because in recent months the demand for gold is also rising. Why? Usually the summer is the wedding season, but last summer was also ramadan, so many weddings were postponed till this time of year. The rising demand makes the price of jewellery go up even more.
If a whole lot of people sold their gold, it would be a boost for the economy. Maybe you can consider it a good sign that people wait: apparently, the water is not up to their lips yet and the ‘rainy day’ has not yet come. They sleep safe and sound on their stuffed pillows!