Whenever i visit my hometown in Kerala, and if and when you visit Kerala, you will never miss the giant billboards of pretty women covered in gold ornaments in almost every major junction or highway you pass through. Welcome to Gold’s own country, the land of Alukkas, Chemmanurs, Kalyans, Bhimas, Alapatts, Malabars, Joscos and Kalyans, the leading players in branded gold jewellery in the state.
So much so is the craze, and competition among the players, for gold that if you ask any Keralite, he will give you a his piece of knowledge on BIS stamps and hallmarks of the world. Such is the awareness.
How did it all start? “There is in this kingdom a great quantity of pepper and ginger, and cinnamon and turbot, and of nuts of India, and that ships from the east bring gold and silver and cloth and exchange them for the products of Malabar.” – Marco Polo
The recent discovery of $22 billion or Rs. 90,000 crore worth of gold treasures at the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum is another proof that the craze for gold started much before.
With only 3 percent of India’s population, Kerala gobbles up 20 percent of the country’s gold every year, and the World Gold Council estimates that India, the largest consumer of gold in the world, consumes 30 percent of the global supply. Two hundred thousand people are employed in the gold industry in this tiny state. Such is the love of gold in Kerala that there may be no household without some gold, tucked away as savings, either to be given away as wedding gifts for daughters or to raise cash by way of gold loans or outright sale. – NewYorkTimes
Do these retail players make money? Oh yes! Take a look at the brand ambassadors of some:
Joy Alukkas: R Madhavan, Suresh Gopi, Sudeep and Allu Arjun;
Kalyan Jewellers: Amitabh Bachchan, Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai; (TS Kalyanaraman, Chairman off Kalyan Jewellers is 52 on the Forbes list of billionaires in India)
Malabar Gold: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajakumar, Illayaraja, NTR Junior, Sania Mirza, Hema Malini, Suriya;
Chemmanur Jewellers: Maradona (yes, Hand of God)
The biggest of celebrity endorsements in India are not done by cars, soft drinks, mobile phones or cosmetics, but by Kerala’s small jewellery and textile brands,” said Dominic Savio, vice-president of DDB Mudra. [in an article in The Economic and Political Times]
The competiton has reached here, in Mumbai with Kalyan Jewellers opening 3 retail stores simultaneously. A grand opening with AB and Aishwarya. Joy Alukkas came first with their sole outlet in tony suburban Bandra.