ISLAMABAD: With the season of love looming over us and Valentine’s Day less than a week away, smitten or rather scared lovers rush to find the perfect present for their loved one.
As the demands roll in, gift shops to high-end accessories retailers all bank-up on this opportunity. But while the retail stores are seeing a boom in sales, jewellers, who used to cash in on Valentine’s Day sales, are witnessing a gradual decline in business over the past couple of years.
“As the prices of gold have gone up significantly, sales during Valentine’s Day are nearing to none,” said Aftab Ahmed of Hira’s Jewellery.
He said that five years ago his Valentine’s Day collection would get sold out completely. “But now there is no market,” he said.
The store specialises in fine jewellery and their claim to fame has been their accurate replication of Chopard, Cartier and Bvlgari designs.
“We do not copy for the sake of copying. The problem is that we do not have young designers competing in the market and as a result our clients want us to replicate designs of international designers,” said Ahmed in his defence.
Sajid Ahmed of Gold n Craft said that with prices of gold reaching Rs46,000 per 12.5 grams, it has become “almost impossible” for the younger generation to afford fine jewellery.
“Around five years ago we were able to create and sell items between Rs15,000 to 25,000,” Sajid said, “But now just the costs are so outrageously high that no one is willing to buy fine jewellery.”
Another entrepreneur Hassan Masroor of Sonika Jewellers said, “As difficult as it may seem to believe, our jewellery business has been affected significantly due to the country’s deteriorating political situation.”
“Political instability has sent turbulent ripples throughout the jewellery market. People are just not willing to spend any more,” he added.
However on the upside, as the sales in gold jewellery have decreased, there has been a significant increase in the demand for silver ornaments. For young lovers who do not have a heavy pocket but still want to make an impression, silver jewellery embellished with rubies, emeralds and sapphires is an economical way to express their feelings to loved ones.
Sajjid Mahmood of Kundan Point said, “The higher prices of gold have boosted our business.”
The store, located in the heart of Jinnah Market, deals in silver jewellery and claims to create designs similar to those made by most fine jewellers.
“People prefer to buy our products on Valentine’s Day as it is of the same quality but much cheaper.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2011.
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