Affordable jewellery in time for festivals

As Eid and Diwali approach with their traditional gifts of gold to be given there is some relief in sight for hard-pressed husbands.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Ð Oct 26:  People buying gold at one of the jewellery shop in Bur Dubai on the first day of Diwali ( festival of lights) called ÔDhanterasÕ. (Pawan Singh / The National) *** Local Caption ***  PS07- DIWALI.jpgPS07- DIWALI.jpg
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Record-high gold prices over recent months have sparked concern that many may not be able to afford traditional gifts fashioned from the precious metal for Eid and Diwali, which would lead to a great many disappointed retailers, wives and daughters.

But a new joint venture in the UAE aims to avoid any such disappointments and the family strife that would accompany them.

The World Gold Council (WGC) and the Dubai jewellery maker AU Finja have produced the Nouran Collection of affordable jewellery after conducting exhaustive market research. Nouran is the Arabic for "light", a fitting name as the products used in the line use lower weights of gold to bring the price down.

The collection will be launched in the UAE this Saturday and seems to have already attracted the interest of discerning consumers.

"I am looking forward to seeing the collection," said Divya Pratesh, a Sharjah resident from India.

"The good thing is that it will be out just two weeks before Diwali and I am sure many Indian women who are absolutely crazy for gold will buy this collection in preparation for the festival."

Yogaani Bhatia, the country manager for the WGC, said the research showed UAE women were looking for designs that were light but made a statement, were wearable and versatile, and had a look that could match day and night styles.

"Through continuous interaction with local retailers, the WGC found that women in the region were looking for larger, trendier pieces that were both lightweight and affordable," Ms Bhatia said.

The research revealed consumers in the Emirates spend between Dh1,500 (US$408) and Dh6,000 on jewellery, so the WGC and AU Finja designed their line around that range. The light designs preferred by the region's women helps to reduce the cost of the jewellery. The price of gold reached an all time high last Thursday, when it sold for more than $1,360 an ounce.

The wave of high prices is a result of a continued weakness in the dollar and the possibility that the US Federal Reserve will loosen further its monetary policy to generate economic growth.

The gold price has risen by 23 per cent so far this year and the trend is expected to continue.

Ms Bhatia said the WGC had chosen AU Finja to create the collection because of its track record and profile in the region. "The WGC is dedicated to developing international gold demand for all segments and markets," she said. "Our partnership with AU Finja aims to bring to the region a collection that addresses a very specific target market that has not yet been met, and holds a great future potential.

"This highly researched and well-thought collection is certain to have a strong appeal within its target demographic and drive strong sales, especially during Eid and Diwali."

Rahma Abdulla, a long-time resident of Dubai, said many people in the region know and like AU Finja jewellery. "So it is good for them to come up with a new line especially for the Eid, because people will be able to buy the new designs for themselves or for gifts," Ms Abdulla said. "People give a lot of gifts, sometimes expensive gifts, for their loved ones during the Eid."

AU Finja was one of the first anchor clients for the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and is regarded as one of the world's leading makers of gold bangles.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with WGC," said Haresh Pahuja, the director of AU Finja. "All our designs have a rich, heavy look while still being lightweight and reasonably priced, so customers can afford a variety of these glamorous and unique pieces." The collection includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pendants and rings.

"After the UAE launch we hope to go global with this collection before the end of the year," said Mr Pahuja.

"Nouran means 'light' and we hope that this collection will be a source of light to UAE's trendy metropolitan women."