Golden Ideas: Pave the Way for 16k?

Karat gold sees many incarnations—from 9k, 12k, and 15k in
the United Kingdom to 10k and 14k in the United States, and 18k, 19k, and
higher karats in high-end establishments around the globe. As if all of these
variations weren’t enough, an intriguing report out of Saudi Arabia reveals
that one businessman is trying to legalize 16k gold.

Looking to boost business, Misbah Al-Arnaut—described as a
jewelry shop owner—is urging authorities to allow the sale of 16k gold jewelry
to boost a business battered by high gold prices. He points to the United States as an
example of a country where gold jewelry of less than 18k can be sold. “The
availability of jewelry with 16 karats or less will attract more consumers,” he
told the publication, citing concern about gold prices reaching $1,500 an ounce
by the end of 2011.

Since Saudi Arabia is one of many countries where the lowest
legal limit or minimum standard for karat gold is 18k—meaning that 75 percent,
or 710 parts out of 1,000, contains pure gold
—or higher, the
introduction of a slightly lower karatage could entice more to buy more gold
jewelry.

Considering that consumers are often on the lookout for something new—a
well as a good value—16k gold could provide another tempting offer at
the
counter. What do you think of the idea? Would you work in the material
or stock
it in your store?

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JHeebner@jckonline.com