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Design duplication of heavy weight Gold jewellery  in Silver and Brass will have long-term negative consequences



Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the gold prices have gone up by almost 30%. As price rose, majority of the manufacturers and other stakeholders from the gems and jewellery industry assumed that dearer gold will direct demand away from heavyweight jewellery. So, everybody started concentrating on lightweight jewellery.

A boost in lightweight jewellery production attracted young customers eventually. Generally, people below the age of 35 years did not have an inclination for gold and would rather spend money on electronic gadgets and holidays.

It is only now (post-Covid) that the industry is witnessing customers treating gold as an asset and leaning towards it.

An interesting scenario emerged thereafter, in which latent demand for heavyweight jewellery did not go out of vogue with popularity of lightweight. I believe this happened because of gradual price rise of every other commodity following the sudden price rise of gold. As a result, gold did not seem too costly and the customers accepted the new price. So, the demand for heavyweight jewellery did not really deplete the way most industry insiders predicted.

Case in point, mangalsutra chains, one of the fast-moving and popular jewellery items in heavyweight category, gained steam. From making mangalsutras of 50-60 grams, we moved to 70-80 grams and 100 grams. Today, 100-gram mangalsutra chains move pretty fast, although it costs around Rs 5 lakhs. Mangalsutras need to be remade or customized once in every 8-10 years. Again, pandemic stricture in wedding ceremonies have led to significant accumulation of wealth, for which people are finding it worthwhile to invest in heavy mangalsutra chains. Overall, as customers are buying bigger and heavyweight gold jewellery sets for weddings now, the category is moving at a better pace than before.

However, heavyweight jewellery may face another challenge in the future, which, I think, the gold jewellery industry has not woken up to. Previously, the artisans and karigars used to make all the heavyweight jewellery and get paid as per the piece. There used to be nakashi or fancy dices in the factories. However, a lot of the staff members are now working on salary since the last 4-5 years. In order to provide a steady workflow and keep the factories operational, manufacturers are instructing factories to create silver, brass and artificial jewellery using the same dices. Thus, the barrier between premium gold jewellery and artificial jewellery is getting destroyed as both have the same design and finish. 

This is a short-term relief for the factories wherein they are trying to sustain themselves. But this practice will have a long-term repercussion on the gold industry, as the customers may decide to buy artificial jewellery instead of gold jewellery at a much lesser price. We are ourselves to be blamed for this, as we are giving options to the customers and the industry will have to pay a heavy price if the jewellers don’t take this issue seriously. Proper categorization of finishing and design can sustain the demand for heavyweight jewellery from now on.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News

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