Snehesh Alex Philip/ PTI
New Delhi: Young and old, women in India, are no longer dipping into their grandmas jewellery box to get inspired for buying gold. Platinum, diamonds and rubies for them apparently shine more.
According to legend, Akshya Tritiya, which falls on April is an auspicious occasion especially for Hindus to buy gold, real estate or start a new venture as the belief states that anything initiated or bought on this day brings prosperity.
One thing which is now synonymous with Akshya Tritiya is packed jewellery shops especially those selling gold, which make a killing with overall sales figures running into crores. But it seems the demand for gold jewellery is now limited only to this auspicious occasion as more and more people now prefer stones.
According to the latest report released by London-based precious metal consultancy GFMS, India saw a 90 tonne drop in demand for gold jewellery in 2006. The fall in gold demand was not limited just to India. The report states that World jewellery fabrication demand fell 16% to a 15 year low of 2,280 tonnes in 2006.
GFMS report further adds that the demand for gold jewellery worldwide in 2007 is expected to to decline further with India been no exception.
Fall in demand for gold jewellery is due to fluctuating gold prices. Added to this is the increased attraction especially among the youngsters for stones. “Globally, gold demand was affected due to a shift toward lower gold weights and more gem-set ornaments. This led to the fall in jewellery segment,” says Philip Klapwijk, executive chairman, GFMS.
Though jewellery houses refuse to accept that the demand for gold jwellery is coming down, they do agree that the demand for stone-based jewellery is on the rise. “I don’t see a fall in demand for gold jwellery but yes, demand for diamonds has increased year on year,” says G. R. Anathapadbanabham, managing director of GRT jewellers.
In South India, a huge market for gold in the country, the trend is also slowly changing as Ananthapadbanabham says,“ We continue to be the strongest market for gold though there is a trend for light jewellery,” meaning the gold-studded wedding culture seem to be changing.
Gold experts say the younger generation now prefers diamonds and other stones over gold. “Yes, now the youngsters want to go in for more of style and glitter. They want designer jewellery studded with stones,” says Adarsh, director at MMTC, which is currently organising a festival of gold in the capital. He says it is only the rich who opt for stones while majority of the people still prefer to buy gold.
Even the young and trendy section of the society seem to agree. “Gold signifies my mother’s era. Stones are now what makes a woman feel comfortable. Even the effect of a small diamond is equal to the heavy gold jewellery that people use to wear earlier,” says Shubhra Sharma, trainer, Future Group.
“I think they are modern, funky and they go well with all kinds of clothes and I can say that they are my grandmom’s and everyone would believe it. It is trendy and timeless,” says Raka Chakrawarti, PR manager, Taj Connemara, Chennai.
Even though the demand for gold jwellery is coming down, people are not shying away from investing in gold. “People invest in gold because gold has always been safe investment. Rising prices of gold is one factor,” says Kewal K Duggal, regional director, North India Gem and Jewellery Export Council.
The recently launched fund based on gold, UTI Asset Management Company’s Gold Exchange Traded fund collected Rs250 crore during the new fund offer period last month. The company had received a better response as compared to Benchmark Asset Management’s company’s collection for its maiden GETF offer, which was also India’s first gold based fund.
Even investment gurus seemed to stress on significance of gold investment. “The price of the gold might deter people from going in for gold jewellery as a consumer but gold as an investment is still an exciting and a safe option,” adds an executive working with Kotak securities.
So with diamonds dazzling in front of almost every girl, gold is sure to take a beating.