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Precious Metal Investments

Gold has a reverence and legend associated with it and since time immemorial it's been hoarded, used in worship and been the cause of war. Even the modern currencies were initially backed by this precious metal. And it played a historic part in mass movements across continents such as the California gold rush. Of late electronic investment options have evolved such as Futures and ETF's to make investments and sales in this precious metal at the click of a button. However, physical investments continue to be a majority especially in the developed world, where people traditionally hoard this metal in the form of jewellery.

People in India have access to the latest electronic investment options like ETF's, Futures, etc. However, they reach only a very small minority of the total population for not only do these options require bank accounts but also an investment savvy mentality as they are fairly complicated to understand and make sense of. Physical investments and sales are still stuck in the age old groove, with almost the complete majority of the jewellery industry being served by old mom and pop stores. Urban areas like Delhi still have some reputed brands, however smaller towns and rural areas usually are served by unscrupulous jewellers who sell under karat jewellery to nave and uneducated villagers robbing them of their precious savings. Even when the village/urban poor want to sell their jewellery back or give it on loan, they are again robbed and get only a small part of the actual value of their jewels.

The Indian government has been very slow in pushing reforms and strong policies in this sector like compulsory hallmarking standards, etc. to make this industry more transparent and fair to the poor consumer. It is up to the private sector to introduce new services to gain consumer confidence to buy and sell in this precious metal in an informed way. A Delhi based jeweller has introduced an investment selling service called Jewels Capital. Hopefully more such services will crop up in India making lives easier for the jewellery consumer who is as interested in selling as he is in buying, especially with the ever escalating prices of gold. The government should take heed and enable banks to buy back jewellery from consumers. This will boost confidence of consumers to liquidate their precious metal hoardings and reinvest into other sectors in the economy.
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