Crisis-hit Italy has seen the number of cash-for-gold shops quadruple in the last two years, according to an Italian think tank, with some cash-strapped citizens forced to sell their gold teeth to make ends meet.
City centres are being transformed as traditional shops go out of business, their signs replaced by ones that announce "Compro Oro", or "I Buy Gold".
The Eurispes thinktank estimates that the number of the shops has quadrupled in the last two years. The growth of the industry is "a very good indicator of the level of hardship in the country," said president Gian Maria Fara.
Valerio Novelli, a ticket inspector in Rome, is planning to sell his old gold teeth.
"I can't get to the end of the month without running up debts," 56-year-old Mr Novelli told Reuters. "I know I won't get much, but I need the money."
In a country mired in crisis, buying gold off desperate people has become one of the few boom industries.
Source and full story: The Daily Telegraph, 20 August 2012