By Sakshi Vashist
Gold never goes out of style. It can be worked into nearly any shape, from tiny strands that do not break easily to thin sheets, nearly anyway a jewellery artisan desires.
Gold is bought for a variety of reasons such as for auspicious sentiment, as an investment, hedge against inflation, asset allocation etc. It also carries a high perceived value and an emotional quotient. It reinforces closeness of relationships. Gold coins in smaller denominations are also considered apt for corporate gifting and rewards for contests or for commemorative giveaways.
For Indians, one of the largest buyers of gold, marriages are the most inevitable occasions to buy jewellery, although there are many other days considered auspicious to buy gold. Akshaya Thritheeya is the foremost among them. “Akshaya” means one that never gets exhausted and since for Indians gold is the most coveted epitome of wealth, this expectation is there behind the practice of purchasing gold on this auspicious day.
Another festival for Indians, Dhan Theras or Dhan Thrayodashi is the first day of Diwali celebrations and is assumed to be the best for purchasing gold as it is believed to bring in prosperity. Another occasion is Dashara. In Sanskrit, “dash-hara” means to get rid of ill luck or rather the adversity or misfortune caused by the unfavourable position of planets. It is believed that Holi, an Indian festival, is also one of those auspicious days to purchase gold, diamond, land and clothes.
Apart from traditional festivals, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day also attract customers of various ethnicities and cultures to jewellers. Rings and pendants are preferred gift items for every age group and gender, exclaims the store manager of Damas. With more than a dozen outlets, Damas is a popular jeweller in Qatar. Their recent promotion for Mother’s Day ended sometime back and they’re already looking forward to Akshaya Thritheeya in the month of May.
In India, gold jewellery has always played a large part in determining an individual’s social status. In many cultures, gold portrays a family’s status and wealth. A bride wearing 24 carat gold jewellery is believed to bring luck to the newly-wed couple.
In betrothal, an important part of the Chinese wedding tradition, four pieces of jewellery including a gold necklace, a pendant, a pair of earrings and a bangle are selected by groom’s mother and presented to the bride. The golden colour symbolises wealth and happiness.
One of the ancient traditions of Western Europe which is still going strong today in the Christian community is the idea of the engagement ring. It was way back in 860 AD that Pope Nicholas I proclaimed that not only was an engagement ring required to seal the agreement to be married, but that the engagement ring must be made of gold.
The making of the ring out of gold signified that the groom was willing to make a financial sacrifice for his new bride-to-be. Since then engagement and marriage ceremonies in the West include a small piece of gold jewellery.
Italian gold jewellery, on the other hand, is synonymous with style and Italy is well known for its yellow gold jewellery and classical designs. Italy is known as the world leader in gold jewellery production for its outstanding technical skills. Gold charm bracelets have a strong presence in Italian gold jewellery.
Everyone likes to make a statement and wear jewellery with a meaning behind it. It is an intelligent way to show one’s history or beliefs. A good example of this is the symbol of an inverted hand, where the hand extended forward is a symbol of divine force. Another example is Celtic jewellery where the Celtic knots can symbolise the eternity of life.
Here are a few tips for buying gold jewellery for self use or for gifting purpose:
1. Make certain the jewellery is appropriate for the occasion or event. An oversized choker might be perfect for a night on the town but may not be fitting for the boardroom.
2. Determine how long the jewellery is to last and how often it would be worn.
3. Know how much to spend. Once decided on budget, jewellery selection becomes much easier and organised.
4. Pick something that is in proportion to the wearer. For example, earrings to the opposite shape of the face will be more complimentary. Someone with a round face wearing round earrings will appear much rounder. Tiny earrings makes one look larger and larger earrings makes one look smaller.
5. Check quality and the design. Something that is trendy right now might look ridiculous in a few years. Stick to pieces that have stood the test of time.
6. Be sure of the company from which you are willing to buy. Gold is something which would not be bought daily.
Nowadays to know better the various designs and patterns available in the market, one need not travel much. Most reputable organisations have websites too, which is an alternative and effective way to lookout for various promotions, latest collections, designs and trends.
For getting personalised and custom-made jewellery, one can opt for jewellery designers. “I get my designs made at Belgium Diamonds located in Swiss-Belhotel Doha,” says Shaily Agarwal, a budding jewellery designer in Qatar.
Since her course in jewellery design at Virginia Commonwealth University she has portrayed her craft at many places including the bookstore at Georgetown University, Qatar.
She adds, “For my latest collection ‘Kalaa’, I have personally shopped for material in Nepal and Sri Lanka. People here in Qatar love jewellery and are much willing to invest in it. And it’s not just women who are into it, there are a lot of options for men too.”
Rings are the most popular items in men’s gold jewellery. While gold bracelets can add a sparkle to any ensemble, if worn with gold watch or cuff bracelet it makes a style statement. Short chains for men are subtle and classy, while long gold chains command attention.
Cufflinks are part of an age-old tradition, which is based on the value of a well-dressed man. Simple gold cuff links are elegant and traditional, while gold cuff links embellished with gemstones are dramatic and opulent.
Gold jewellery available in various outlets in Qatar are mostly imported from places like Dubai, Singapore, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Italy or made locally in the country itself. Rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires are popular stones used in the making of diamond jewellery.
Dileep Madhavan, regional manager at Atlas Jewellery, candidly explains the difference in the quality, design and technique used in the making of bangles from Bahrain, India and Qatar. He is overwhelmed at how the recent fall in gold prices has led to a tremendous increase in the sale over the past few days. “People buy according to their taste and requirement. They can go for Italian chains, simple religious pendants or heavy sets. The cheapest item in this shop is a gold coin which costs only QR 40.” Clearly there is always something to fit in everyone’s budget.
The question one may ask is why at all buy gold when one can buy some other things or invest the money in the bank. There are comparisons made that gold investments are pretty similar to buying stocks or shares from the share market.
As an investment, gold, however, is considered an equivalent for liquid cash. It is a portable security or asset. It can be converted to cash anytime when an emergency arises. When you are holding gold physically in the form of gold bars, coins, jewellery etc, it is as much valuable as cash deposits.
Considered as an exquisite gift item, gold is precious and worthy across all cultures and times, and for good reason, because it is as wearer-friendly as it is beautiful.
It has a great value as heirloom too. Gold jewellery is something which can be passed down from one generation to the other as ancestral property. It is an investment for the years to come. This is why it is said gold is forever!
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