Gold rate in Kochi
The gold rate in Kochi is reviewed once in the morning and once in the evening. Most of the top gold jewellers in Kochi - Kalyan Jewellers, Joy Alukkas, Jos Alukkas, Bhima Jewellers, Malabar Gold, Josco Jewellers, Chungath Jewellery and Alapatt Heritage - usually sell gold at the same rate per gram. These gold rates are updated regularly on Sify.com.
So, how are these gold rates calculated?
These are usually decided by the Gold Jewellers Associations. Kerala's most famous jewellers' Association is probably The All Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants Association.
One of the known ways many Associations follow is to track the gold rates given by The Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA) - an almost 100-year-old Mumbai based gold jewellery Association. The IBJA calculates daily rates, twice every day - once in the morning and once in the evening - for gold of 999, 995 and 916 purity.
Even the Indian government follows IBJA's gold price to arrive at the rates of the Sovereign Gold Bonds that they issue.
GST at 3% is then added to the calculation (an additional 5% GST has to be paid on making charges).
Additional costs incurred like transportation charges, the cost of security (guards) needed during this transportation and the cost of insurance for the gold are then added to this.
Some prominent gold jewellery chains however might go with their own rates.
What every gold buyer must remember
Per gram rate is not everything. The making charges (with or without wastage charges) can add to the price you pay, as every gold buyer knows. So, make it a point to strike the right balance between buying the right ornament of a design of your choice and paying the right price.
Also, in a not-so-transparent gold market where the World Gold Council says that even hallmarked jewelleries are not credible in India, there is a list of questions you ought to ask before every purchase. You can find what we believe are the most relevant for every gold buyers here.
Gold jewellery market in Kochi
The love that malayalees have for gold is legendary. According to a National Sample Survey Office survey, a Malayali, on an average, spends almost four-five times more than their nearest counterparts from other states in India on gold.
Kerala brides also wear the most gold at weddings - on an average, sporting 40 sovereigns of gold.
A significant percentage of the gold jewellery that Kochi buys - some estimates have pegged it at 70% - is made at Thrissur, which around 75 kms away.
Thrissur is also the town from where some of Kochi and Kerala's biggest gold jewellers - TS Kalyanaraman of Kalyan gold, Joy Alukkas of Joyalukkas and MA Yusuff Ali of Lulu and Lulu Gold - also hail from the city.
There are 217-BIS-Hallmarked showrooms in Kochi where you can buy gold from. You can find the full list here.
Hall-marking centres in Kochi
Only 30% of the gold sold in India is hallmarked! As experts have noted there are shocking differences in purity and the average under-caratage is anywhere from 10-15%!
So, like we stressed earlier ensure the gold you buy in Kochi is hallmarked.
Hallmarking of gold in Kerala is currently done in 53 BIS hallmarking centres. Six of these are in Kochi.
Want to double-check your BIS-hallmarked gold in Kochi?
You can get your hallmarked jewellery tested at any of the six BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centres in Kochi. This testing will be done on priority but does involve your paying for the process. The Assaying and Hallmarking centre will then have to issue an Assay Report.
In case your jewel is found to be of lesser purity than what the BIS hallmark had promised, the testing charges paid by you will have to refunded by the hallmarking centre that had originally hallmarked the jewellery. The jeweller also will be forced to offer you a like-for-like replacement lives up to the hallmark, beside paying the due fine.
Popular gold ornaments in Kochi
According to a recent survey by the World Gold Council, bangles and chains are the most sought after and contribute between 30%-40% of the demand.
Necklaces contribute between 15-20% and rings - ear rings and finger rings - between 5-15%.
The gold jewellery is of the 22k variety.
Biggest driver of gold jewellery demand in Kochi
The biggest driver of gold jewellery demand in Chennai remains bridal jewellery (50-55%).
Daily wear jewellery accounts for another 35%-40% of demand and Fashion jewellery 5-10%.
What Kochi's brides wear
Like we mentioned earlier, a Malayali brides wears the most gold - on an average 320 grams, worth close to Rs 10 lakh.
An usual Malayali wedding sees the bride decked in about 320 grams (40 sovereigns) of gold jewellery on an average, the survey, part of the World Gold Council's India's gold market: evolution and innovation report, found. This is the most a bride in India wears.
Besides the chain holding the minnu (another name for the thali or the mangalsutra), the chains you would see a Malayali bride sporting are the Kurumalaka Mala and pathakkam.
The gold bangles preferred these days are the Kolkata bangles, machine-cut bangles and thoda bangles.
Among earrings it is the jhimkkis that occupy pride of place, the report found.
In necklaces, the more famous ones are the kingini mala, manga mala, kaasu mala, lakshmi mala and mulla motu mala.
Also preferred are toe rings and the kolusu (anklets).
When does Kochi buy its gold
The wedding season, and festivals -Vishu, Onam, Malayalam new year, Christmas, Deepavali and Makara Sankranthi are among the big gold-buying occasions in Kochi.
Other popular occasions for buying gold are birthdays and anniversaries and gifting occasions.
Top gold jewellery showrooms in Kochi
Here are some of the more prominent gold jewellery showrooms in Kochi:
Kerala-headquartered Kalyan Jewellers, which has been in the business for 24 years, made a splash when it attracted Rs 1700 crore in investments in two rounds from US private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.
Kalyan's Kochi showroom on the famous MG Road is spread over 20000 square feet. It was inaugurated by film stars Aishwarya Rai and Dileep on August 20, 2012 and surprisingly was the company's 36th outlet.
Joyalukkas is a well-known name, not just in India, but in as many as ten other countries.
The group's entry into the jewellery trade dates back to 1956, when Joy Alukkas' father Varghese opened the company's first jewellery shop in Thrissur.
His son Joy Alukkas, one among 18 siblings, has built on those foundations. He is among India's billionaire gold jewellers.
Joyalukkas has won several laurels in the Gulf, which has a significant expat Malayali population, the most prominent one being the award of the Super-brand Status in the UAE not once, but for six years in succession.
Bhima Jewellers is another famous name among Kerala's gold jewellers.
It was Kerala's first ISO-9001 certified gold outlet.
It is headed by B Govindan, one of few jewellers with a doctorate in gemology.
A look at reviews posted online on Google Maps about the showrooms sees many buyers asking wannabe customers to keep a close eye on making charges.
Malabar gold is one of India's biggest gold retailers and it claims to be growing at a rapid pace in terms of turnover.
Kerala is where the story of its rise began. It now has over 210 showrooms across the India and the Gulf.
In Kochi, it has three showrooms.
Tanishq is a relative newcomer to the jewellery sector, having set up shop just eight years ago. But then, it has a fairly large presence in the country. In Kochi, it has one showroom located in M.G. Road, Ravipuram,, Ravipuram, Perumanoor.
Tanishq, from the House of Tatas, offers Bangles, Bracelets, Chains, Earrings, Necklaces, Nosepins, Pendant Earrings Set, Pendants, Rings, Wedding Collections, Shubham and Divyam Collections, Traditional and Modern Jewellery, Diamonds Jewellery, Gold Jewellery, Silver Jewellery, Gemstones, Diamond Rings, Diamond Set, Pearl, Polki, Gold Coins, Solitaire Jewellery and Bespoke Jewellery.
Kerala's billionaire jewellers
Forbes values Joy Alukkas at almost $ 1.5 billion, and TS Kalyanaraman of Kalyan Jewellers at $ 1.4 billion.
Theirs has been a rapid ascent aided by the Malayali's love for gold.
Malabar Gold's MP Ahamed and Bhima's B Govindan are also not far behind.
The gold finance companies
Keralites while buying gold have increasingly begun to trade gold for money and to pawn it too.
In this context, it is interesting to note that three Kerala-HQed gold companies Muthoot Finance Manappuram Finance and Muthoot Fincorp hold around 200 tons of gold - more than most countries.