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What a 28 percent drop in gold prices means for jewelry shopping
It might be time to stock up on gold chains
 
More bling for your buck!
More bling for your buck! ThinkStock/Digital Vision

The price of gold plunged another 9 percent Monday — the biggest single-day drop in 30 years. The once-safe and shiny investment is now down 28 percent since its high of $1,921.15 an ounce in September 2011.

If the thought of cheap gold fills your mind with visions of discounted bling, think again. The price of premium jewelry reflects a lot more than the just the cost of raw materials. Design, craftsmanship, and brand all play into the price, and the mark-ups can be steep: 200 percent to 500 percent, says The Wall Street Journal.

Not even lower-end jewelry will be getting discounted anytime soon. Many jewelers buy gold in advance, so they won't be affected by new prices for another few months, and they'll only feel it then if their suppliers pass along the savings, says MarketWatch.

That said, if you're looking to add a few new pieces to your gold chain collection (and aren't we all?) your moment is coming. Generic gold jewelry like chains more frequently sell by the gram. "An 18K chain weighing 3 grams might have had a market value of roughly $138 when prices peaked in 2011, and be closer to $102 now," says MarketWatch

Prices are more in step with market fluctuations in India and Singapore where the demand is high and retailers stay competitive by posting the price of gold in the window, adjusting their prices accordingly. India is the world's biggest buyer of gold, and next month is the Akshaya Tritiya festival, when Hindus traditionally buy gold and other precious metals, says Bloomberg Businessweek.

Consumers there "would know the spot price and know what the karat is" when shopping for a piece of gold jewelry, Mark O'Byrne, director at GoldCore, a physical gold retailer, in Dublin, told WSJ. "They shop around, so you don't have (the same) huge mark-ups over the spot value of gold." So if you happen to be traveling to India and are in search for gold jewelry, you're in luck.

 
Carmel Lobello is the business editor at TheWeek.com. Previously, she was an editor at DeathandTaxesMag.com.

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