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Happy shoppers usher in festival of light.

Dubai: The countdown to Diwali has begun with Dhanteras being celebrated today, the 13th day in the run up to the New Moon day on which Diwali falls going by the lunar calendar.

On this day it is considered auspicious to buy gold or silver and the lanes of Bur Dubai, jewellery outlets in all malls and the Gold Souq in Deira are filled with women looking to acquire the mandatory pieces of jewellery. The well-to-do are opting for diamond jewellery but every woman celebrating the festival has to acquire a piece as mandated by tradition.

"Every year I make it a point to buy something in metal -- if I am feeling rich, it is usually a gold necklace or in leaner times I purchase a gold bracelet or even silver anklets," says Meenakshi Bhoir, who was window shopping at Bur Dubai, looking for the ideal Dhanteras gift for herself.

Neeru Bharadwaj, who is down with a cold, has not let her illness dampen the spirit of Diwali. "One naturally works up an enthusiasm for Diwali. The spring cleaning has given me a cold, but that did not stop me from making my special coconut barfi (Indian sweetmeat) and other goodies. In the evening I am planning to shop for a gold bracelet."

The lower prices of the yellow metal has been a great crowd puller with the price of 22 carat gold standing at Dh136 per gram. In the last six months its price had crept up to Dh165 per gram. The fall has made jewellers happier as this has attracted more shoppers. "The prices of gold and silver are at least 20 per cent lower than last year. The softening of the prices has had a psychological impact on people who feel they have better purchasing power this year. We have witnessed a good rush in our outlets since last week with the climax happening today on Dhanteras," Deepak Jagjivan Soni, CEO of Marhaba Jewellers, said.

Anurag Sinha, the managing director of Liali Jwellers, seconds that. "The lower prices [of gold and silver] have created a positive sentiment in the buyer and sparked a buying spree as buyers feel they are getting abetter value for their money. We have new designs in our shops as women are not really buying traditional stuff but opting for design-based pieces that will go with their lifestyle and can be used as everyday wear.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 22, 2014
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