Expert calls for legalizing 16-karat gold jewelry

Expert calls for legalizing 16-karat gold jewelry

Published: Mar 10, 2011 23:21 Updated: Mar 10, 2011 23:21

MAKKAH: Misbah Al-Arnaut, an expert in gold and jewelry business, has urged the authorities to allow the sale of 16-karat jewelry in the Kingdom to boost business in the sector.

Al-Arnaut added that he expects gold prices to reach $1,500 an ounce by the end of 2011.

Al-Arnaut said many countries, including the United States, allow the sale of gold jewelry less than 18 karats. “In the United States, the sale of gold is allowed. The availability of jewelry with 16 karats or less will attract more consumers,” he said.

Gold prices are linked with petrol prices and the exchange rate of the US dollar, he said, adding that political disturbances in the Middle East have had a tremendous impact on the market. Gold prices rose to $1,430 an ounce while diamond prices rose by 30 percent.

Al-Arnaut, who is general manager of a jewelry shop, said Saudi women have been purchasing gold and jewelry despite the increase in prices. “They purchase a lot of jewelry at certain occasions, especially on World Day for Mother, which falls on March 21,” he said.

He said his company has designed new varieties of jewelry using lesser amounts of gold and diamond at affordable rates. He said the Hong Kong jewelry exhibition was affected by events in the Arab world, adding that the number of people who attended the show this year was much less than last year.

The Hong Kong Jewelry and Gem Fair is one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in the world and attracts more than 2,600 exhibitors from around the globe. It is held three times a year in March, June and September.