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Yiwu Bayuan Jewelry Manufactory

Address: Yi Dong Industry Zone, Yi Wu City, Zhejiang Province, China


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How Mexican Women Wear Their Jewellery In Dangerous Times

Claudia Cruz, a nanny whose dark hair hangs down her back in a two-foot long braid, commutes into downtown Mexico City every day from a dusty suburb via bus and metro to look after a baby for a working mother. She is wearing sparkly rhinestone earrings, which cost her $5. Nobody would believe that they are real, she imagines, given that she is riding public transportation. Wealthier Mexicans get around by car, preferably with a chauffeur.

“I feel like something is missing if I’m not wearing earrings,” she says, twirling one of the studs between her fingers. She is reluctant, though, to wear her most expensive jewellery: a pair of gold-plated earrings, a gift from an employer.

Aggressive begging is a near-daily occurrence for Ms Cruz. Tattooed young men board the buses and demand small change, warning that they have just got out of jail and have a proclivity for violence. They may well not be exaggerating: three out of every 10 Mexicans are the victims of crime each year, according to the government’s annual crime survey. (One in 100 Americans experienced violent crime in 2014, according to the Department of Justice.) In the decade following 1993, more than 300 women were murdered in Ciudad Juarez and, on average, seven women are killed each day in Mexico, according to government estimates. The annual survey says that 65 per cent of Mexicans “have stopped using jewellery daily”.

French insurer AXA says that 10 per cent of its Mexican clients file claims for violent property thefts each year, against 4 per cent in England, France or Spain. Since mistrust of public authorities runs high, nearly one in five clients refuses to report thefts to authorities, says Arturo González, head of damage reports for AXA Mexico.

Yet sales of jewellery — from costume to luxury items — are on the rise, according to industry research. This tension between personal security and conspicuous consumption reflects the country’s enduring show-off, class-driven culture — and it is forcing women to work out how much risk they are prepared to live with.

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A typical Mexican girl’s introduction to jewellery begins shortly after birth, when a doctor pierces her ears with gold or silver studs, gifts from a grandmother. At her baptism inside a Catholic church, she will wear a Virgin Mary charm on a necklace. The customary gift for her first communion is a silver bracelet with her name engraved on it, and more jewellery arrives for her quinceañera, a rite-of-passage party on her 15th birthday. If she comes from a family of means, she will receive a luxury timepiece from her parents at a gala event to celebrate her graduation from secondary school.

There is a marital order of jewellery, too: a diamond engagement ring from her boyfriend; an elaborate piece upon the birth of her first child; other “tokens” to mark special occasions forever after.