Thursday, November 3rd 11:58 AM IST

Beware of Saudi gold fraud during Hajj

# Hajj  # fake gold  # gold prices  # gold jewelry  

According to analysts, increase in fake gold sale in Saudi markets especially during Hajj is a real problem for authorities as it will tarnish country's image.

Saudi jewellery shop

RIYADH(BullionStreet): Gold markets in Saudi Arabia is in full swing at the moment as the annual Hajj pilgrimage is going on with millions of people from across the globe wants to buy at least a gram of gold from the holy land.

The sale this year is also reported to have climbed to new record so far but a new problem seems to have weakened the sales during the last few weeks.

Demand for gold was up around 10 per cent during hajj but high prices and fake gold threat might cut down sales this time, analysts warned.

According to analysts, increase in fake gold sale in Saudi markets especially during Hajj is a real problem for authorities as it will tarnish country's image.

Fake gold and jewelery are sold to pilgrims even by reputed gold shops in the kingdom as most of the pilgrims were unaware of the quality of the product they'r buying. On an average each pilgrim bought between 80 or 100 grams of gold during Hajj.

It is estimated that fraud cases in the Saudi gold market reached 35 percent during normal days, but rose up to 50 percent during Haj.

Many of the pilgrims were cheated after traders convince them that they were buying pure gold.

An Indian pilgrim who was cheated said he never believed that such a fraud will happen to him in the holy land, which is also known for its strict law enforcement. Indian jewelery set are fraudsters No 1 choice as pilgrims like them very much.

They said jewelers are taking advantage of unaware pilgrims who cannot even distinguish an 18 karat gold with a 22 karat one and never heard about the hallmarking of gold.

The most used trick is to sell gold mixed with zicron by which the jewlers can earn a handsome of money while customers were cheated by about $100 for evry ten grams of gold.

This percentage cannot be measured when the purchase was made and that's why traders infuse a large quantity of zircon and customers are not aware of the quantity in a particular item, analysts added.

Meanwhile, Saudi authorities along with gold traders and jewelers have decided to take strict measures against those involved in selling fake gold and jewelry.

As a first step, an agreement banning the exchange of damaged gold jewelry among wholesalers and factory owners without testing it or receiving payment with pure gold will be implemented soon.

The Saudi gold market consists of about 6,000 shops, and 250 manufacturing workshops that include 30 factories, in addition to 700 repair workshops.

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