The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Platinum glitters more than gold

New Delhi, Sept. 11: India is the largest importer of gold along with China, but the platinum guild is hoping to convert the south Asian giant into a major platinum importing nation just as it has done with China.

Success is slow but evident. Three years ago when platinum was launched in India, only 12 retailers used to sell jewellery fashioned out of the metal. Today, there are 150 odd jewellers — family jewellers as well as branded jewellery shops — who are trying to push the rare metal.

Platinum Guild International (PGI), the marketing arm for the platinum jewellery industry, counts India as a rapidly growing market. Country manager for Platinum Guild India Pvt Ltd Vaishali Bannerjee says there is no authentic data on its sales during the last three years, but points out that the rate of growth and acceptability is increasing as the number of dealers have gone up perceptibly.

“We are aiming the upmarket women clientele between 25 and 45 years in the socio-economic (SEC) A and B category. These are women who want to make a unique statement with the kind of jewellery they wear. They already own gold and diamond jewellery and want to stand out in the crowd with platinum,” Bannerjee neatly sums up the buyer she is looking at.

Jewellery fashioned out of platinum come with a heavy price tag. Though the range comprising earrings, bracelets chains and rings begins at Rs 5000, it is well known that platinum jewellery is more expensive than gold or silver. A simple diamond-studded ring in platinum will cost Rs 10,000, which is at the bottom of the price rung, a comparable ring fashioned out of gold will cost about Rs 3,500. The reason is that while the world produces 3,300 tonnes of gold every year, annual production of platinum worldwide is only 100 tonnes. This has created a situation where the price of platinum is over double the price of gold.

China accounts for around 50 per cent offtake of platinum jewellery sold in the world. One of the reasons for the Chinese fascination with the white metal is the appreciation in the price of the metal over time.

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