With India's wedding season in full swing, the glass sales counters in Mumbai's famed Zhaveri gold bazaars are crowded with customers eyeing elaborate headpieces, nose rings and necklaces.
No one dons jewelry quite like an Indian bride, who by tradition wears all the gold she can stand up in and her family can afford.
These days, though, even the most ambitious bridal budgets don't bring the bling like they used to, thanks to hikes in import duties and a rise in local gold prices that have shoppers like Rajanikant Mehta grumbling.
Mehta, who owns a factory outside the capital, had planned to spend about Rs 100000 on a necklace for the woman marrying his son late this month, but he's unhappy about what he's getting for his money.
Gold prices in India, which imports nearly all its gold, have risen 50% over the past three years.
Thanks to the new tax and weaker rupee, that's about a 20 percent premium over the world market price.
"The price of gold should be lower," Mehta complained. "This is a globalized world. If the prices are similar to the prices elsewhere, then the purchase of gold will increase."
Text: Kay Johnson, Associated Press
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