36,000 Chinese couples marry each day and gold gifts are de rigueur
While China's gold demand is likely to be static this year after the enormous 32% jump last year, one tradition should keep sales humming.
Last year saw frenzied buying as Chinese investors and jewellery buyers sought to capitalize on low prices with 1,035 tonnes of the shiny metal consumed, surpassing long time leader India according to a new study by the World Gold Council, an industry grouping.
The total number of marriages in China has grown 60% over the last decade to reach about 13.2 million. Chinese families bought 669 tonnes of gold jewelry, about 40% of which was related to weddings according to the WGC.
"Yellow means rich and abundant… non-destructible. It’s a blessing that is passed on," Albert Cheng, the WGC Asia head tells Quartz:
"Parents on either side of a betrothed couple give the couple jewelry – often a three-piece set of a necklace, pendant and bracelet, what jewelry stores call jiehun san jin, literally "marriage, three gold" — to represent the passing of blessing from the elder generation to the younger. This is even more the case in rural or third and fourth-tier cities where traditions are stronger."
In India, marriage is perhaps even more associated with gold. The country has imposed import restrictions and high duties on gold that last year lead to a scarcity of the metal inside the country.
During the wedding and festival season in India in the second half of 2013, jewelers demanded premiums of as much as $170 an ounce over the ruling London price.
In Shanghai, gold also trades at a premium from time to time and last year topped out at $37 an ounce, but has since slipped back to a discount.
Image of wedding celebration in Foshan, China by Kidchen915