In gold country, demand for platinum jewellery looking up

Latha Venkatraman
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Platinum pendants.
Platinum pendants.

In a country where gold is the dominant choice for jewellery, platinum is slowly finding a toehold.

Interest in platinum jewellery is growing and not at the cost of gold, jewellers say.

Platinum prices have traditionally been ahead of the yellow metal but the surge in gold prices in recent months has occasionally brought the two precious metals at par with each other. In many instances, gold has surpassed prices of platinum.

“Platinum as a metal has been seeing steady growth in India since 2000,” said Mr Rajiv L. Popley, Director, Popley Group. According to him, Popley Group was among the earliest to offer platinum jewellery. Today, a whole range of jewellers are offering platinum jewellery primarily to cater to the growing interest in this segment of jewellery.

According to Platinum Guild International, there are 422 outlets of various jewellers offering platinum jewellery. These include TBZ, B.C. Sen Jewellers, Bhima Jewellers, C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons, Chemmanur Fashion Jewellers, Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, Tanishq, Kalyan Jewellers, Prince Jewellery, Joyalukkas, Jos Alukkas, GRT Jewellers, Lagu Bandhu Motiwale among others. Platinum is imported in the form of bars or jewellery. There are 8-10 manufacturers, who are audited by Platinum Guild International.

The growing interest in platinum also prompted National Spot Exchange to launch platinum contracts for trade. The product is called e-Platinum and is aimed at making this rare metal affordable and accessible to investors.

“Platinum jewellery largely comprises personalised jewellery items such as wedding bands, chains, earrings and pendants,” said Mr Popley.

Wedding bands alone constitute 50 per cent of platinum jewellery, he said. Chains, pendants and earrings form the rest. Sales of platinum jewellery, according to him, have been witnessing a 20 per cent growth year-on-year. This growth is in quantitative terms, Mr Popley said.

Demand for platinum jewellery did see a boost when gold prices were ruling above that of platinum, according to Mr Prithviraj Kothari, President, Bombay Bullion Association and Managing Director, Riddhi Siddhi Bullions Ltd.

Platinum prices are currently at Rs 89,900 an ounce while gold prices are at $1,650.60 an ounce (Rs 85,180 an ounce), according to RSBL Web site.

(This article was published on April 19, 2012)
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