|Title||inexpensive bvlgari serpenti diamond ring dupe who|
|Description||How jewelers cope with soaring price of gold
A gold figurine of Mao Zedong, former leader of China, is displayed at Caishikou Department Store in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. The rising value of gold reaching a record $1,431.25 an ounce on Dec. 7 has upended the economics of jewelry forbuyers and sellers alike, with a mix of outcomes around the world. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg less
A gold figurine of Mao Zedong, former leader of China, is displayed at Caishikou Department Store in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. The rising value of gold reaching a record $1,431.25 an ounce . "If we're not making money selling gold, we might as well get into mining it," says Doddridge, of the privately held Goldenwest Diamond Corp., which owns 17 Jewelry Exchange stores and an online site. Photographer: Tim Rue/Bloomberg Local Caption Bill Doddridge less
Bill Doddridge, chief executive officer of Goldenwest Diamond Corp., points to a vein of gold in replica bvlgari bracelet for ladies a piece of ore that he recovered from his mine in the Califonia desert, at a Jewelry Exchange store in Tustin, . more
In June, flew his single engine Cessna 400 to at the edge of the Mojave Desert and headed for an abandoned mine, a .45 caliber pistol on his belt. He was looking for gold.
The firearm was to ward off rattlesnakes. The precious metal would be a sideline to his jewelry business. He sifted through dirt, climbed into shafts, and later bought the property, shuttered since World War II.
"If we're not making money selling gold, we might as well get into mining it," says Doddridge, 55, chief executive officer of Corp., a Tustin (Orange County) privately held company that owns 17 stores and an online site. "It's a whacked out world."
The rising value of bullion reaching a record $1,431.25 an ounce on Dec. 7 has upended the economics of jewelry for buyers and sellers alike, with a mix of outcomes. purchases of gold jewelry have fallen 36 percent by volume in three years. Women in India, where demand is booming, are buying hollow bangles made to look like solid gold. European
"The jewelry business is being held hostage by something completely out of its control," says , CEO of Quality Gold, a privately held wholesaler that is redesigning pieces to use more silver.
Gold triples in price
Gold's price has tripled since a bullion backed exchange traded fund created by the premiered in November 2004, allowing the metal to be acquired on the New York Stock Exchange as easily as shares.
"Gold is the only thing screwing up this business," says Doddridge, who expects his total 2010 sales to be up about 7 percent and sales of gold items to be down about 25 percent.
At , a wholesaler owned by 's , 40 percent of sales are in gold, compared with more than 70 percent in 2006, says Chief Operating Officer . Signet Jewelers Ltd., with more than 1,300 shops in the United States and about 550 in Britain, is offering more silver, tungsten and titanium, says , senior vice president of merchandising. "This is an interesting way to introduce something more appealing, more exciting to the final client, a way of proposing things that can be less expensive," says , Bulgari's CEO.
Ltd. invented bulgari snake bracelet copy Honeydium, a mix of silver, copper, zinc and indium that the India company says on its website gives "the perception" of 10 carat yellow gold.
High demand in India
In India the largest consumer of bullion and biggest manufacturer of gold jewelry the passion for gold bangles, necklaces and earrings is centuries old. Despite the price, demand in the third quarter advanced 36 percent, the most of any nation, according to the World Gold Council, which bulgari snake fake represents mining companies.
"The Indian consumer is gold centric," says , managing director of Tara Jewels, which supplies
The company has a plant in Panyu, China, and three factories in Mumbai, including one with 1,600 workers who walk on mats with raised ridges to dislodge gold flecks that catch in their shoes.
To accommodate salaries that aren't rising as fast as gold, retailers say they have to be creative. "The budget fake bvlgari serpenti bracelet remains the same, the income remains the same, but they want the jewelry to look big enough," says , the second generation owner of Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewelers.
That means making lightweight pieces, and bangles that are hollow, which is more labor intensive. At the Bank brothers' workshop in Mumbai, 90 grams of gold can be fashioned into six bangles, 2 to 3 centimeters wide, in about 12 hours. Using just 55 grams takes six hours more, says , 41, who owns the shop with his 37 year old brother Sujit.
At Istanbul's 6 century old Grand Bazaar, gold is so central that rents are paid in it. Locals still come seeking the bangles and coins given at weddings, births and other special occasions. Tourists who are the bazaar's mainstay are showing less interest in gold, retailers say.
"European clients aren't buying anymore," says , who works for the jeweler .
'Cut like a knife'
The business has been "cut like a knife," says , chairman of Atasay, which makes gold jewelry for foreign markets and since 2008 has closed six of its nine foreign offices.
The industry is squeezed by the steep price of gold and high labor costs, says , owner of Hibas Kuyumculuk, a wholesaler that moved its operations to Dubai from Istanbul.
"People who have been in this business all their lives are moving to diamonds, if they're lucky, or otherwise they're unemployed, or driving taxis," says , chairman of the Istanbul Goldsmiths' Association. He estimates employment in the sector has fallen 20 percent in two years.
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