All that glitters now is gold. The classic yellow metal is turning chic and stylish, fast catching the fancy of the hip and highly fashionable. Gold is no longer just a commodity. It's a fashion statement. A lifestyle.

By Freeda D'souza (Contributor)

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Published: Thu 5 Aug 2004, 1:45 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

The metal that's known to be market-wise is now swaying to the dictates of the rising brigade of brand-conscious buyers in the UAE. Gold fashion jewellery is taking to the fast track in the Emirate, which is warming up to the allure and passion of the designer yellow metal.

In fact, buyers who look for up-to-the-minute designs are even willing to pay a premium for branded jewellery, says Karim Merchant, managing director of Pure Gold, and member of World Gold Council. Pure Gold is one of the brands in gold jewellery, which has been in the retail business in the UAE for the past 15 years, graduating from bullion trading two decades ago to a leading retailer of designer jewellery. It has exclusive distributorship of seven brands of designer jewellery from Italy, including Marciano, Moonlight, Arando, Caudoro, AOF, Dragoni Gioielli & Leaderline, and continues to import from India, Lebanon, Turkey and Far East. Encouraged by the dazzle of metal, Pure Gold has planned significant expansion in the next three years and has set its sights on Europe and America. In an interview with City Times, Merchant sheds some light on trends in fashion jewellery in the UAE.

Sales of branded gold fashion jewellery appear to be on the rise in the UAE. Is there any specific reason for this?

Consumers in this market are becoming more demanding and brand conscious, they understand the meaning of branded jewellery and are now ready to pay a premium for it. One of the most important reasons we see for this transition is the economic progress of UAE. Consumers here have more disposable income than ever before to spend on luxury products and services.

Are there any market figures to support the belief that branded fashion jewellery is gaining popularity?

There are no specific figures for fashion jewellery alone. However, based on our experience, there is a growing demand for fashion jewellery as people get more fashion-conscious and interested in brands.

In terms of design in gold jewellery, is the UAE market growing in tandem with international trends or is it lagging far behind?

UAE is well in tandem with the international markets. UAE is now a very important market for international brands; therefore, we see a huge interest on international names to enter this market. UAE is definitely a very significant consumer of gold jewellery.

Could you throw some light on trends for spring/summer 2004 in terms of colour, karatage, design?

We see growing demand for gold jewellery with coloured stones. This again is an indication that consumers here have become fashionable and understand that jewellery holds significant value as a fashion accessory, further to being a safe haven for investors. Consumers are now asking for specific designs with colour to match their outfits and look. We also see a rise in demand for rhodium finishes in gold jewellery, specifically 22kt jewellery.

To what extent is gold more popular in fashion jewellery as compared to other precious metals and gems?

Gold, I believe, is the most popular precious metal as it serves the dual purpose of fashion jewellery as also an investment tool. Gems have gained popularity only recently. We must also understand that gems are very difficult to assess for a layperson, as there are numerous parameters involved in it. On the other hand, gold jewellery may be bought without any prior knowledge of the product.

Could you give any figures on how consumption of gold, and within it, sales of fashion jewellery, has increased or what are your projections for the rest of 2004.

Unfortunately, there are no specific figures available for fashion jewellery sales alone. The dollar has positively affected gold prices, as gold becomes cheaper for foreign currency holders, who buy when the dollar depreciates, as gold is priced in US dollar. As for the projections, we believe that consumption in jewellery will continue to rise exponentially due to several factors: (1) consumers are getting more brand and fashion conscious; (2) more choices are now available especially with the advent of internet making new jewellery designs accessible; (3) the aggressive advertising campaigns make more consumers aware of jewellery brands; and, (4) trade laws for the jewellery industry are more relaxed thereby making it easier to import/export (jewellery) products.

In terms of customers, who are the major buyers?

I believe the major buyers nowadays are the tourists, followed by the expats, and then the locals.

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