Dubai: From ever since she can remember, Sarika Kadam, a housewife in Dubai, has been purchasing gold ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. This year, with Dhanteras, the first day of the five-day festivities falling on Friday, she picked up an eight gram gold coin from Malabar Gold & Jewellery for her eight-year-old granddaughter.
“It’s a tradition I have been following since long. Even when I was a child, my mother would buy me gold. Over the years, I would get some jewellery for myself. But now I buy coins for my granddaughter,” the 63-year-old told Gulf News.
Malini Shekhar, another customer who shares the same sentiments, is particular that she makes the purchase on Dhanteras itself.
She added, “I’ve seen a beautiful gold set with emerald and ruby which I will buy on Friday. In addition, I will be getting a silver coin ingrained with the figures of Ganesh and Lakshmi (Indian deities of auspiciousness and wealth) and a stainless steel item for the kitchen.
Reason: they will set the tone for a year filled with fruitful work, good health, wealth and peace.”
Call it faith, symbolism or both, many UAE-based Hindus like Sarika and Malini are also making a beeline to the jewellers. This, notwithstanding the steep gold prices.
As Chandu Siroya, chairman of Siroya Jewellers, said: “The market is bullish again. Like always, people wait for the festive season to buy heavy, ethnic jewellery. We expect very good sales this Dhanteras too.”
He said after touching a high of Dh178 per gram last week, the rate of 22 karat gold came down to Dh169.50 on Wednesday. The rates may still be deemed high, but with options aplenty, there’s something for every pocket.
So what’s trending?
“This year, light weight kundan jewellery is making brisk sales. Unlike traditional kundan pieces, these are hollow in the back and so lighter by 25-35 per cent,” Siroya said.
Joy Alukkas, chairman and managing director, Joyalukkas Group, said: “Gold jewellery, coins and bars are usually in demand during Dhanteras as customers buy gold for auspicious reasons. We also witness a spike in wedding jewellery as the festive season is followed by the wedding season and wedding shoppers will find it the right time to buy their jewellery.
"Since gold is still the best traditional gifting option, we see a mix of sales on wide range of jewellery options, from casual trendy designs to heavy elegant pieces. The sales also peak during the season for corporate memorabilia, gifting and gift cards.”
He said, “Dhanteras along with Akshaya Tritiya accounts for a significant percentage of total sales for a year. The consolidation of gold prices during the festive season will encourage customers to buy their favourite yellow metal, so we are looking forward to a great business day on Dhanteras.”
According to Tawhid Abdulla, chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, the fact that jewellers are making special offers as part of a common promotion with Dubai Tourism is helping.
“Customers can avail offers like no making charges on select gold jewellery and half price for diamond jewellery in participating outlets. Most jewellers also launch special collections during Diwali, which is a very Indian-centric occasion. Hence 22 kt gold and diamond jewellery get sold the most; millennials, however, may choose 18kt lifestyle jewellery as well.”
Riti, a 24-year-old accountant who is getting married early next year, agrees.
“My mom wanted to get me traditional, elaborate gold sets. But barring one set which I let her choose, I have zeroed in on lighter, more practical, fusion jewellery which I can wear to work as well. We will be making the purchases this week.”
Rate freeze, free handouts
Besides discounts and making charge waivers, jewellers are also wooing customers with rate freezes and free coin handouts.
Shamlal Ahamed, managing director - international operations, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, said: “Our wide range of offers this year includes assured gold coins on gold and diamond jewellery purchase; free 1gm gold coin on diamond jewellery purchase of Dh3,000; up to 50 gold coins on gold jewellery purchase (for every Dh3,000) up to 50 gold coins, free 2 gm gold coin on diamond jewellery purchase of Dh5,000; gold rate protection till October 25 on 10 per cent advance payment; zero deduction on 22k (GCC) gold exchange; and no making charges on 8 gm gold coins.”
He said: “The entire festive collection comes at a special price. And whether it is our Precia necklace set with rubies and emeralds or the traditional Indian set or the Era necklace set, our range has good acceptance.”
At Joy Alukkas too, on Dhanteras, free 1 gm 22k gold coin will be given on the purchase of diamond, polki and pearl jewellery worth Dh3,000.
“For those looking to upgrade to the latest designs, we are offering 0 per cent deduction on gold exchange,” said Alukkas.
What the five-day Diwali signifies
Dhanteras marks Day One of the five-day Indian festival Diwali.
Hindus worship Lakshmi, the deity of wealth on Dhanteras, the day of fortune, in the traditional belief that if they purchase valuables like ornaments, gems and metal household items, they not only invoke Lakshmi but also ensure prosperity in their homes in the year ahead.
Day two of Diwali, called Naraka Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali, is the day of knowledge which dispels ignorance; Day three or Badi Diwali is the day of light which is again dedicated to the wealth deity and signifies the victory of good over evil; Day Four is the New Year and Day Five (Bhai Dhuj), is a day dedicated to the love between siblings