Why Are Gold Biscuits Better?

We spoke to Shashikant D. Shah, trade consultant to the jewelry industry about the tricks of the ornaments trade

Published: Sep 10, 2010
Why Are Gold Biscuits Better?
Image: Vidyanand Kamat

Can we believe the “festive offers” from jewelry shops?
They are only offering discounts on the making charges.

Why are gold prices in India higher than those abroad?

There is no difference in the rate of gold in India and abroad, as gold is traded in dollars. The only difference is in the currency exchange rate and taxation.

How are cultured diamonds valued?
If the diamonds are artificially coloured “Fancy” diamonds, then it’s one-third the market price of a natural Fancy diamond. If they are colourless then the price is 50 percent less on the Rapaport Report (which provides the standard for diamond prices).  

How come only gold coins or biscuits get the current market price? Why not ornaments?
Ornaments could be of 14 carat, 18 carat or 22 carat and they have making charges applicable which are lost at the time of re-sale. Coins or biscuits however are 99.999 percent pure 24 carat.

What is the most expensive piece of jewelry you have ever seen purchased?
That would be the ruby ring purchased by the Sultan of Brunei from Graff & Graff, London. The price is not known but another piece, the 4.71 carat Cassel Pink Diamond was valued for $1.40 million.

We read recently of a pair of jewelled shoes worth Rs. 1 crore. Do pieces like these ever get sold?
These kinds of pieces do get sold and are always placed in a show case.

Are there differing tastes in South Indian and North Indian jewelry?
South Indian jewelry is usually heavy or antiques whereas North Indian jewelry tends to be more modern with contemporary designs.

Maharajas had Cartier design jewelry for them from the 19th Century. Who are the 21st Century version of these Maharajas?
Today, it is the big industrialists, Bollywood stars and sports personalities who get jewelry designed and these designs do not get into the market. Some jewellers who cater to this market are Graff & Graff, London; TBZ, Mumbai; Nayab Jewels, Mumbai. The designs are make-to-order and never get repeated.

What are the most difficult designs to make in jewelry?
Minakari and Kundan traditional Indian designs are the preserve of the true masters of jewelry making.

What are the common ways in which buyers get cheated?
Most cheating happens if the gold is not Hallmark verified. But the Indian jewelry market rests on trust and very few Indian jewellers would like to jeopardise the trust of their customers.

If we find that a jeweller is cheating, whom can we approach for justice?
You must immediately approach the Jeweller’s Association or the District Consumer Forum.

Next issue, our insider will be an art expert. So, if you have a question only an art expert could answer, email us — ask.forbesindia@network18online.com — or write to Ask The Insider at our office address, and we’ll get answers for you. You’re also welcome to send us suggestions on the kind of “insiders” you’d like to hear from in the future.

(This story appears in the 24 September, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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