Silver trumps gold
Women’s feet in rural India illustrate why more people than ever are thinking silver is a better deal than gold in a country that is one of the world’s biggest jewellery buyers.
For his wife’s birthday last month, sugar cane grower Sandeep Chakane gave her two ankle bracelets made of silver, a metal used mostly in India to adorn feet. It’s also used for the toe rings worn by married women. The chains, weighing 12g, cost $17.35 (R215), or 20% of what was left of his monthly income after loan payments on two tractors and a car.
“Silver is cheaper than gold,” said Chakane. “We can afford to buy silver ornaments every year, but we haven’t bought gold in the past two, three years.”
Though India remains the world’s largest gold buyer after China, demand for silver has surged. Jewellery fabricators in India boosted silver use by 47% last year to a record 1 936 tons, overtaking China as the top consumer.