Jewellers warned to be aware ahead of Diwali


Keep covered up say police, as gold may be attractive to thieves.

Jewellery retailers and residents in Leicester are being warned about gold theft in the run-up to the Hindu festival of light, Diwali.

Last week, Leicestershire police warned that theft of gold jewellery may be a problem in Leicester’s Golden Mile shopping area, as Diwali approaches.

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Zuffar Haq, a spokesman for Crimestoppers Leicestershire said high gold prices had made the problem even more widespread: "As gold prices are now so high due to the economic situation, there is a huge demand for jewellery that can be sold and melted down – especially anything in Asian gold.”

The giving and wearing of fine gold jewellery is popular during festivals such as Diwali, when traditional 22ct and gemstone-set jewellery is worn.

Inspector Steve Riley of Leicestershire police added: "This type of theft becomes more serious around Diwali, when people are wearing their ornaments or keeping it in their homes."

The police have also advised that those travelling to and from events during the festival should keep their jewellery covered up to avoid drawing unnecessary attention or potential thefts.

The Times of India newspaper said that, as gold and silver prices surge, shoppers looking for something special during Diwali have been opting for synthetic gemstones and jewellery.

Sales of gold in India is typically as its peak this time of year, as festivals and weddings become widespread throughout the country.

However, the newspaper reported that the trend is changing with consumer shopping for designer jewellery with lower price tags, and with it comes a move away from gold and silver.

Gold prices have increased 29% in India since the start of the year, and as a result gold plated items have become de rigeur in the country, as shoppers battle against ever-increasing prices.

Indian jewellery designer Munna Lal said: "There is a lot of demand for artificial jewellery this year. If you go to any shop you will see a lot of sale of such jewellery. However, if you go to a jeweller’s shop you will see that there are very few customers.”

In the UK, sales of gold jewellery are likely down with hallmarking figures for September showing a 9% drop in 22ct gold items being hallmarked and a 16% drop in 18ct gold hallmarking.

Furthermore, high street retailers such as Ernest Jones and H Samuels already running 50% off sales, despite it being mid-season.


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