Old for new: In comparison to other states, Kerala has a higher percentage of exchange of gold ornaments rather than purchasing new ones. That accounts for almost 60% of a day's business. The frequency of exchange is almost once in six months for a middle class customer.
A change from the usual: The wearer is looking for something different since Keralites prefer to wear their ornaments frequently rather than only for some special occasion. Though fashion-conscious, most women like to wear something different from the next person, and not imitate them.
Go for it: The most frequently changed items are chains and bangles with the designs changing every two months.
Exchange value: In an exchange of old for new jewellery, the price varies from 10-15% for thicker ornaments and 30-35 % in case of delicate stuff. Old gold is Rs 10 less than the new one. On a day to day basis, for every 100gms sold, old gold business is about 70 gms among all jewellers. The gold (old) is purified using acids to remove copper content and dirt and it is this primary gold that is used for making new ornaments and jewelry.
Yellow metal: Purity of gold is measured in carat (North American spelling karat) and this is tested through a carat machine or manually. While Standard gold is 24 carat (100% pure gold with millesimal fineness 999), in India, it is 22 carat or millesimal fineness 916, ie., 91.6% pure gold and the rest includes metals like copper and silver. In Kerala, the percentage of copper is more than the silver giving the ornaments a reddish tinge and hence doesn't break easily. Gold is also sold in 18ct or millesimal fineness 750 (75% pure gold).
Pure and fine: The latest method of gold purification is cadmium soldering in which the alloys present get completely varpourised and gives pure gold. The traditional method, the gold after soldering still contained alloys which remained mixed with the yellow metal.
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