One of the biggest markets for gold in the world is India, a country which accounted for a whopping 745.7 tons of gold consumption in 2010. India was always traditionally the world’s largest consumer of the yellow metal, with Indians buying approximately 25% of the world’s gold. A major chunk of purchases are in the form of jewellery, a buying pattern that becomes even more pronounced in the festive season during and after the second half of the year.
In 2012, however, China overtook India as the world’s single largest consumer of gold. That said, Indian consumers are still highly involved in planning their gold purchases. In fact, an estimated 75% of Indian women claim that they constantly look around for new gold jewellery designs. In a country with immense cultural and religious diversity and an adherence to certain traditions and customs, it is not surprising to see that over 50% of gold jewellery is bought during the wedding season. Anniversaries too witness their fair share of gold purchases due to their being viewed as ‘aspirational occasions’.
Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, and one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar is Dhanteras. Dhanteras, also known as Dhanatrayodashi, is celebrated just before the major Hindu festival of Diwali. On this day, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, is worshipped mostly by the trading and business communities to bring about well-being and prosperity. Dhanteras is marked by the large scale purchases of gold.
Dhanteras is not the only auspicious day that calls for nationwide gold purchases in India. The occasion of Akshaya Tritiya in the summer month of May is another day on which Indians go out of their way to buy gold jewellery, coins, and bullion.
Indian gold jewellery is acclaimed the world over for its high caratage, intricate designs, and unparalleled craftsmanship.