India and Gold: An Unmistakable Bond
For India, gold is much more than just jewelry. The yellow metal has a deep-rooted significance in the country’s history – one that cuts across religions, cultures and social hierarchies. Despite being a developing country with enormous poverty levels, India is the world’s biggest gold jewelry consumer. With the exception of China, no other country even comes close to India in terms of gold demand.
There are many reasons why bullion dominates the subcontinent. The following are five notable reasons behind India’s gold obsession.
Religious Significance of Gold in India
Be it Hinduism, Sikhism or Jainism, India’s religions have a deep connection with gold. Devotees from all faiths donate gold ornaments to religious institutions and other temple funds, such as the Tirumala Temple in Andhra Pradesh. This location alone receives tonnes of gold donations on a yearly basis.
When it comes to gifting, Indians love gold. Not only does bullion make up an integral part of major ceremonies, it is used to shower newlyweds, newborns and people celebrating their birthdays. Indians consider gold to be one of the highest forms of gifting, and aren’t afraid to express their appreciation through the yellow metal.
Gold as a Status Symbol
When it comes to status symbols, none are bigger than gold. Those who have it flaunt it, and those who don’t covet it. With a population fast approaching 1.4 billion, gold is an ornament that helps Indians outshine the crowd. It is worn by politicians, actors, businessmen and everyone in between to convey power and status.
Gold as an Investment
Gold is widely considered to be one of the best haven assets in the world. Indians are firm believers in the investment potential of gold and hoard it in huge numbers to protect against uncertainty. In a gold-crazed society, owning a few bullion bars is considered extremely prudent.
India’s obsession with gold cuts across generations, with many receiving the yellow metal as part of their inheritance or as a family heirloom. Gold ornaments are routinely passed down from one generation to the next to transmit value and maintain family legacy. It’s also common to pass on gold jewelry from mother to bride during a wedding.