India is now abuzz with activity related to its annual wedding season. In almost every nook and cranny, one will find hordes of beaming brides and their families hopping from one jewelry shop to another trying to find the perfect gold jewelry that is fit to their budget.
To accommodate the budget, India's gold jewelers have devised ways to sell their merchandise, to the point of tweaking the jewelry's gold content.
The soaring prices of gold have led jewellers to move towards hollow bridal jewellery, which gives the look of heavy ornaments, but is more cost effective.
"High prices act as deterrent for purchasing gold jewellery, especially for the bride's family. But hollow jewellery makes it affordable as it comes light in weight," Daily News and Analysis India quoted jewellery designer Shaheen Abbas as saying.
The process involved filling the gold jewellery with lac, an old technique used by many jewellers to make pieces look heavy and lavish. The trend, Abbas said, earlier used in contemporary Italian style designer jewellery has not gotten popular with bridal designs too.
"Gold is an intrinsic part of our tradition," Prachi Tiwari, Director of Marketing India, World Gold Council, said. "Gold is so well entrenched in our customs and traditions, that it continues to be regarded as a unique storehouse of emotional and financial value for Indians.
However, Tiwari admitted that the changing times in the life of a contemporary Indian family have led to certain shifts in perception and usage of gold jewellery, with emphasis put more on design detailing
"Focus on craftsmanship and art is indeed playing a role in creating bold and stylish light weight pieces in 18K and 22K gold, bringing alive the versatility of gold in newer ways. This has helped in making gold jewellery statement pieces in 18K gold, an increasing part of a modern lifestyle, more affordable," she said.
"Indian jewellers for a long time now have been using hollow gold or lac filled jewellery technique. With this we make large and chunky designs that are actually light and affordable," Mahesh Jagwani of Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery said.
"With modern techniques, finer new age designs in hollow gold are made affordable and very stylish. It allows women to buy more jewellery and be more experimental."
Still, pure and exquisite gold remains unparalleled.
"I suggest that if women opt for pearls necklace with a chunky chic gold and diamond pendant, it's not just cost effective, but also timeless and elegant," Abbas said.
India, the world's biggest buyer of gold, has an innate fascination with the yellow metal as attested by their culture and tradition. Its annual wedding and festival season alone force gold traders to stock up. This annual event has boosted prices every year since 2002 where some 10 million marriages take place in India every year on the average.