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21 Mar 2019, Edition - 1346, Thursday

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Coimbatore

For the love of gold: South of India leads in buying gold jewellery

Indrani Thakurata

A common joke amongst my friend circle few years back was the obsession with gold of few of my south Indian friends (At the risk of sounding stereotypical). And movies haven’t helped either, women laden or rather covered with gold from head to toe were common visuals of a bride from south of India. But who would know that a study would substantiate a common perception? According to a report by the World Gold Council, in the year 2015, India bought 663 tonnes of gold, outstripping the US, West Asia and Europe combined. The study also reveals that gold still is a huge draw for youngsters just as it was for their parents. Surprised? Yes, I am. For all my friends who despise the use of gold or gold jewellery and swoon over silver or oxidised—you are very few. And the common joke is not a joke, but exactly how we buy gold.

India buys over 50% gold jewellery, bars and coins for approx 8-10 million wedding each year. “We have heard of stories where the family has to equate the amount of gold to the daughter’s weight during her wedding. I am sure they aren’t completely irrelevant stories,” says Mousumi Das Mahapatra, of Bishalakhi Jewellers. She adds, ” I completely agree with the survey which talks about the average spending in a wedding by the upper middle class of India. Malayalis, Andhraite and Tamilians are the top spenders, exactly in that order Maharashtrians and Bengalis come after them. People from the South are gold lovers, they will buy it casually also. South of India leads in buying gold, 40% of gold jewellery (of 22k) bought, is in south of India.” She runs a small jewellery shop, she agrees that ‘India buys most of its jewellery in small shops, independent mid size retailers.’ Savitha Venkat, a Kannadiga from Bangalore says, “I like gold jewellery, so I would definitely buy some.”

Sujatha Nagaraj, A young professional from IBM says, “It is believed that gold brings wealth and prosperity. So on auspicious occasion people buy gold jewellery.” So, when the survey says that 33% of millennials between the age of 18-33 years would spend on gold jewellery, one can believe in that. “I feel there was a phase when most youngsters were ditching gold for other precious metals, but gold is back again. There is nothing like gold,” concludes Shiva C, a young Bangalorean who loves to flaunt her jewellery.

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