This Akshaya Tritiya gold seems to be losing its shine. Increase in gold prices has impacted demand for gold jewellery. “There is a 25% decline in demand for gold jewellery over the past year," said Surendra Mehta, national secretary, Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA). Experts believe the low demand is likely to impact Akshaya Tritya, a day many consider auspicious to buy gold. The fact that pre-booking for gold jewellery has not yet started also indicates a lack of demand. “The pre-booking for Akshaya Tritya has not started yet. Generally, it begins two weeks before the Hindu auspicious day," said Ashish Pethe, partner, Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers, a Mumbai-based jewellery store.

Meanwhile, gold imports have also taken a hit. “Gold imports declined by 33% in January-March 2018 to 160 tonne," said Mehta.

Tightening of credit to the jewellery industry after the Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud has also dampened sentiments. According to Harshal Barot, research consultant, Metals Focus, “The sentiment has been impacted due to tightening of credit to the gems and jewellery industry by banks."

However, if you plan to buy gold jewellery this Akshaya Tritiya, here are five things that you should keep in mind:

Cross-check the price: In the past one year, gold prices breached Rs30,000 level for 10 grams of gold. According to experts, higher gold prices could be a deterrent for consumers this time. “At the consumer level, prices above Rs30,000 deter purchases," said Barot. Remember that the prices are calculated based on the purity of gold.

Look for purity: Purity of gold is measured in carat (K). A 24K gold is the highest standard of purity. Usually, gold coins and bars have 24K purity. However, if you buy gold jewellery, the purity won’t be as high. Usually, gold jewellery has a purity of 23K (95.8% purity), 22K (91.6% purity) or 18K (75% purity). While checking for purity, look for Bureau on Indian Standard-certified hallmark jewellery.

Calculate making charges and tax: When you buy gold jewellery, you also have to pay making charges and taxes. Making charges depend on the design of the jewellery and can range anywhere between 7% and 25% of the cost of the gold that you buy. Along with making charges, you also have to pay GST of 3%. “Now a 3% GST is levied on the total bill. Earlier, it was 1% excise duty and 1.2% VAT," said Pethe.

Avoid stone-studded jewellery: Designer jewellery is usually studded with precious and semi-precious stones. This kind of jewellery is usually expensive. Also, when you sell it, you don’t get the price for the semi-precious stones.

Bargain with your jeweller: Know that you can negotiate with your jeweller, especially on the making charges. However, in the process don’t fall for any bad schemes that the jeweller may offer.

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