The Human Cost of Gold | National Geographic Magazine: Artisanal Gold Smiths Sweat Shop | Kolkata (Calcutta), India

Artisanal Gold Smiths Sweat Shop | Kolkata (Calcutta), India

These guys make, at best, about 3-400 $USD per month. They live in the workplace. The clothes hanging above them are their clothes, their closet as it were.  At night they move the worktables aside and sleep on the floor in the same small space they work in. These guys are all very kind to each other; they are from the same village. They take turns going out for food, for tea. They take care of each other and they need each other. When one of them goes back to the village, he carries the money from all of them. When he comes back he brings things for everyone else from all of their families.

The goldsmiths are given 102.6 grams of gold and are expected to return 100 grams of jewelry. The average waste for 100 grams is 1.3 grams.  So the owner of the factory tells them he wants a 20-gram piece of jewelry and they have to figure out how to make it that weight and keep to the design they are given.

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