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The triumph of the geeks - Input Junkie
January 9th, 2015
08:02 pm

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The triumph of the geeks
People are buying electronics instead of high-end jewelry.

Offhand, I can't think of any downsides to this, except for a loss of craftmanship. Can you think of any downsides?

One more downside-- jewelry isn't a great store of value, but it's better than electronics.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1060666.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:metahacker
Date:January 9th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Depreciation is the one I thought of. Gadgets lose value faster than almost anything except maybe food. Despite fashion you can still sell old jewelry for _some_ money, even after a decade or century.

Or maybe that used to be true and isn't now?
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From:sodyera
Date:January 9th, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
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The value of precious or semi-precious stones/gold/silver/platinum remain constant over silicone/quartz/rare elements, and although ornamental gold will retain value, its content in circuitry will only be realized when melted down. Tech. in jewelry is still trendy, so fashion may retain a given value, as would a "designer name", but its interconnectivity with batteries and/or current tech will limit resale and/or hereditary value until/unless tech stabilizzes and/or the piece in question can recharge itself (i.e., solar cells).
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From:ice_hesitant
Date:January 9th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
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People who want a non-monetary, non-banking store of value should probably be buying gold bars.

The resale value of anything bought to be a permanent possession should be discounted to zero, at least for decision-making purposes, as the intent is to never resell it.

That leaves conspicuous consumption, which is a natural niche for expensive gadgets.

***

I don't see a downside of the jewelry industry imploding. The diamond industry specifically with its artificial scarcity and ethically questionable supply chain needs to go out of business.

Outside of commissioning custom pieces from a friend, I haven't enjoyed my interactions with the jewelry industry. At the high end, they charge eleventy billion in markup for all the fiddly bits they sell. At the low end, you get conversations like this:

Seller: "The sticker says $n, but I will let you have it for $n/2."
Me: "My budget is $n/4."
Seller: "I'll let you have it for $3n/8."
Me: "Hem. Haw. Ugh. Ok."

Whether you buy from high end or low end, you end up feeling ripped off.

***

As far as craftsmanship goes, I'm sure the non-diamond jewelry business is booming on Etsy.
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From:redbird
Date:January 9th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
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The downside I see is one that's implied in the article: all those upgrades on the electronics mean out-of-date or broken devices piling up somewhere, sometimes containing hazardous materials. Grandma's old jewelry that someone doesn't wear may take up a little space, but nobody worries about it leaking.
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From:en_ki
Date:January 9th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
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"Store of value" is an appallingly primitive thing to want. Wealth should be put to work. Buying gold means you think that everything your fellow human beings do is worthless.
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From:siderea
Date:January 10th, 2015 05:31 am (UTC)
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Well, it can also mean that you think your fellow human beings are worthless: that they're going to rip you off.

The metafilter discussion about this article went someplace very, very interesting. Historically, jewelry has been the one form of investment instrument women were allowed to own in their own names. :/

What they did not go into is how any population that fears it will be deprived of its bank accounts, its real estate, and its businesses, will invest in gold, gems and jewelry, simply because they are portable and easier to hide.

I found reading that discussion really chilling in light of the recent discussion here about certain populations being disenfranchised of banking services.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:January 10th, 2015 01:39 pm (UTC)
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"Store of value" means planning and deferring gratification for the future. People in primitive societies have to put everything they have to work or they'll starve. When they become able to save something for the hard times, or make do with less now so they can do more later, they're starting to advance.
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