The demand for imitation jewellery has surged by over 85 per cent in the last one year on account of sharp rise in gold and silver prices, a study by industry body Assocham has said.

The imitation jewellery market, which is about Rs 8,000 crore in India presently, is expected to touch Rs 15,000 crore by 2015 owing to growing demand and popularity, Assocham said in the study.

“The local imitation jewellery market has seen almost 85 per cent rise in the last one year. The main reasons that are attributed to the rise in the demand include volatile gold prices, fashion conscious consumers, disposable incomes and easy to carry nature of such jewellery,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

The study said the high prices of gold have changed the customer preference from fine jewellery to relatively inexpensive but equally flashy costume jewellery, especially during festivals and weddings.

The prices of gold and silver saw an upward trend in the last one year.

At present, gold prices are ruling at Rs 32,450 per 10 gram, up from Rs 29,205 per 19 gram during the same period last year. While silver rates are about Rs 62,000 per kg currently compared with Rs 56,400 per kg in the corresponding period last year.

Assocham said it has surveyed 150 imitation jewellery manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers in various cities for the study.

“About 75 per cent of the shopkeepers said women prefer imitation jewellery as it is more affordable and can be customised according to the dress. Also, it is available in various designs and colours,” the study said.

Majority of the shopkeepers said people want attractive and affordable jewelleries in line with the current trends in fashion. Even if gold prices decrease, artificial jewellery will continue to attract good demand, it said.

Imitation jewellery is largely made of brass, cast iron, nickel, plastic beads and stones, instead of precious metals and gems. It does not have much resale value and prices range between Rs 100 and Rs 30,000, the study said.