The elegant, marble-floored showroom of Zaveri & Co – an upmarket jewelry shop in the Indian city of Ahmedabad – houses cases of shiny, filigree gold necklaces, bangles, rings and earrings: symbols of status and security for India's increasingly affluent population.
Today, the shop – and thousands like it across India – are a battleground, between India's gold hungry public and a government determined to squelch their gold buying to prop up a weakening currency.
On a recent afternoon, families took advantage of the sharp drop in global gold prices – it briefly hit a three-year low on Friday – to acquire new ornaments.
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Among the buyers was F.T. Kanpurwala, an environmental engineer, who sat beside his wife and 18-year-old daughter, as they scrutinized delicate bangles. Mr Kanpurwala said the family buys gold jewelry regularly – at least quarterly – especially when prices dip.
"Indians have a tradition of a deep attraction to gold," he says. "We are buying often. Whenever prices go down, we use it as a chance to buy. It's a desire for ornaments, and it's an investment. It's a family preoccupation."
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Despite a steady flow of trade from like-minded customers, the shop's 65-year-old owner, Zaverilal Vrijbhai Mandalia, is worried.
P. Chidambaram, India's finance minister, has publicly and repeatedly blamed the hunger for gold as the main cause of the country's ballooning current account deficit, which has put heavy pressure on the rupee.