Guest Post from Frum Actuary's Nephew (Thank You for contributing!)
I was in a silver store last week buying a wedding gift, and the proprietor mentioned a couple of interesting thoughts, which got me thinking as well. These strongly affect the Orthodox community, in more ways than one.
1: Couples are not getting silver presents. They get silver & wood, or silver & crystal. Full silver is just too expensive to give as a gift.
2: Everything in his store is a “bargain”, as it was bought (and is priced) when silver was at $28 an ounce (as of my writing this, it is over $36).
3: He has had many people come in to him to sell silver, which is at 30 year highs.
So how does this affect the Orthodox community? The presents that are “expected” by a couple have gone by the wayside. Gone is the day when a Chosson got a gold watch; That would set the father in law back more than a custom Shaitel!
But more interestingly, is that many families, even those without large amounts of funds, are (literally) sitting on a silver mine worth tens of thousands of dollars, just based off of Chassuna presents alone (Liechter & Menorah alone can be worth 10K). How this will affect tuition scholarships and the sort is beyond me, but I can see schools that are desperate for funds literally “raiding the families’ silver cabinet”. There is just too much money there to be ignored. Also Hilchos Tzedaka come into play, regarding giving to someone who is sitting on tens of thousands of dollars of sellable goods.