South Koreans are cashing in their gold teeth and other dental work as the price of the precious metal soars internationally, according to traders. At the same time, they are shunning traditional gold engagement rings and baby gifts or making do with less expensive versions.
“We are handling gold teeth far more than usual as the price of gold is rapidly increasing,” Nam Seung-Woo, CEO of dealer Gold Seven told AFP. The company has bought golden whole teeth, fillings or crowns from more than 100 customers in the past month and receives at least 10 emailed pictures for free appraisals every day.
Nam said he was unaware of anyone extracting gold dental work just to cash in, but patients who previously left extracted gold teeth or fillings at the dentist were now taking them home to sell them. A gold crown fetches at least 40,000 won (US$36.85) and up to 100,000 won depending on condition and size. The high gold price is also undermining the Korean tradition of giving a 3.75 gram (0.13 ounce) gold ring to babies for their first birthday.