Saturday, May 24, 2008

Middle East traditions affected by soaring gold prices

A gold store with case after case of glittering necklaces, earrings and bracelets is lacking only one thing....customers.

Instead of the several pairs of gold earrings usually purchased for weddings, shoppers are buying just one set of gold these days. Gold purchases are down for many occasions where gold would be the customary gift. The soaring price of gold has been felt across most of the Arab world. A rich part of the culture in this part of the world, gold buying habits have had to change with the rapidly changing gold prices. Some Arabs are switching to silver, long disdained as a cheap alternative. Instead of purchasing, brides are renting gold jewelry for their wedding ceremony. Many shop owners have seen sales plummet by 50% and some are considering a new line of work.

"My neighbour who sells falafel makes more money than I make now," complained jeweller Amer Khoury, 49, in Damascus, Syria.

Gold prices are also changing customs in India, the world's largest gold consumer. At the gold hub in Mumbai many women are prefering to exchange their old gold sets for newer jewelry and pay the price difference rather than buy new gold jewelry. In India, gold is so deeply tied into the culture that people have been known to make provisions in wills to give gold to yet unborn grandchildren. In much the same way, babies are showered with gold from the moment they are born in the Arab world.

"Earlier our gold gift sales for Valentine's and Christmas or Hindu festivals was good. You would get a decent set of earrings for 1,000 rupees ($23)," Kanti said. "Now it will be so tiny it's better to give cash as the gift."

Helping your friends and family make money from their unwanted gold and gold scrap can make you money too! Learn about our exciting referral program now.

No comments:

Post a Comment