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pakistan
Wednesday Jul 10 2019
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With gold prices up, artificial jewelry is all the rage

Traditional glass bangles at display at Tariq Road, Karachi.—Photos by Shazia Tasneem Farooqi

All that glitters is not gold and not everything that sparkles is a diamond.

As domestic prices of gold, silver, and gemstones jump up, buyers are instead turning to the sparkling industry of imitation jewelry in Pakistan.

A set of glass bangles, with golden smudge, routinely go for Rs60-100.

A survey conducted of artificial jewelry stores in the city of Karachi revealed that female buyers, mostly the price-conscious ones, are opting to be bedecked in imitation jewelry rather than traditional ones this wedding season.

"The unexpected hike in gold prices has affected our customers' purchasing power," a goldsmith in Karachi's Malir market told Geo.tv

"This has in turn reduced our sales drastically."

For the younger generation of women, artificial jewelry not only prevents a dent in their budget but also offers them a wide variety to select from. Some of the options easily available in large markets of the city include metallic bangles, earrings, stone embedded-necklaces, anklets, and headbands. Although shop owners admit that the gold-plated kind of jewelry is the most sought after.

Prices can range from as low as Rs50 for a pair of earrings and can go up according to the customer's wishes and additions.

Bangles sets are made combining a range of complimenting colours.

"I am looking for a gold set to match with my daughter's wedding outfit," a shopper in the market said. "A real set made of gold would cost a minimum Rs100,000. But an artificial one that looks exactly like it is for only Rs3,000-Rs4,000."

In Malir, ethnic glass stone-studded metallic bracelets are being sold for Rs120-Rs300, rings for Rs50-Rs100, while headbands and anklets are usually priced at Rs50 and Rs65 each, respectively.

Earlier, buying gold was not just for the occasion, it was also viewed as an investment for the future, as gold prices rarely slumped in the country. But, as the dollar climbs up and inflation reaches new heights, the mindset, it seems, is changing.

Moderate sized stone studded rings are available in a wide range of colours at the price of Rs50-Rs100.

Brides, said some shop-owners, would still be on the hunt for an intricately made gold and diamond jewelry set, which includes earrings and a necklace. But now, the less essential items, such as a tikka or ring, or jhoomar for a bride are replaced with artificial jewelry. Goldsmiths say they have received requests of such pieces of jewelry to be made to look like gold to compliment the set.

Gold rates, till the writing of this report, stood at Rs67,384 per 10gm and Rs68,300 per tola. A goldsmith with a shop on Karachi's Tariq Road said: "We are scrambling to adjust to the new prices as the smaller goldsmiths are hit the hardest."

Economical and fashionable imitation jewelry is here to stay. While these items are typically made of non-precious stones and metals such as brass, bronze, and copper, they can easily be polished for reuse when the metal begins to tarnish.

Diamonds are no longer, it seems, a girl's best friend.


Farooqi is a Karachi-based journalist

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