Platinum takes on gold

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 04:42 hrs
Visitors touch a 220 kg gold bar on display at the Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park in Xinbei city

Dussehra began with platinum jewellery sales scoring over gold ones, amid expectation of a higher potential of price spurt in the white rare metal.

While overall jewellery sales recorded five to seven per cent growth, platinum jewellery sales jumped 15-20 per cent. Dussehra is the beginning of the three-month festival season, from which come around 35 per cent of annual jewellery sales.

Customers seem to be looking at the best resale value of ornaments, in addition to daily use and a difference in appearance. Consumers consider platinum better investment option, with greater potential for its price surpassing gold in the near future.

  • 5-7% Growth in overall jewellery sales
  • 15-20% Growth in platinum jewellery sales
  • 35% Contribution of the three-month festive season to annual jewellery sales
  • 50% Difference between platinum and gold quotations by Indian jewellers
  • 25% Difference between platinum and gold quotations a couple of years earlier

"Unlike in the past when buyers were looking at gold as the only investment option in the metals segment, platinum has become the first preference today. It is being perceived as more precious than gold and any other metal. Dussehra sales have revived lots of optimism for the rest of the festive season," said Mehul Choksi, managing director of the Gitanjali Group, one of the largest branded jewellery producers.

In London, platinum was quoted at $1,580 an oz, around eight per cent lower than gold, which was traded at $1,717 an oz in early afternoon trade on Thursday. But Indian jewellers were quoting platinum 50 per cent higher than gold, due to expensive labour, refining and melting charges. While gold ornaments were sold at Rs 3,200 a gramme, platinum jewellery was quoted at Rs 4,500 a gramme on Thursday.

"Consumers are looking at platinum as the best investment option as the metal has suddenly become affordable, with jewellers offering the highest buyback value," said Avinash Pahuja, director of the Oro brand bangles producer.

Until a couple of years ago, platinum was quoted at a 25 per cent premium over gold. Consumers now prefer high quality diamond jewellery set in platinum. People are also looking at plain platinum jewellery in chains, bands and bracelets, etc. The demand is expected to increase. An overall 40–50 per cent growth, with some part from organic growth and the rest from market expansion for the coming season cannot be ruled out.

According to Vaishali Banerjee, country manager, Platinum Guild International, "Platinum has more than doubled over the last two-three years due to several factors. While retailers continue to sell platinum jewellery to existing customers, a large part of the business comes from new customers. Platinum provides an opportunity to offer something new to existing customers and attracts new customers who are keen to look different."

Vijay Jain, CEO of the Orra brand jewellery manufacturer and retailer, said, "Platinum has done very well, with hope for doing better in the rest of the season. Platinum jewellery sales jumped 75 per cent and sales of gold jewellery and solitaires jumped 18 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively. Gold coins and bars sales, however, saw a decline of 25 per cent."

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