Jewelry in India is a huge business. Americans are all about engagement diamonds, Indians are all about 22ct gold everything.
For last minute Christmas shopping, Ian and our neighbor Brian went to GRT Jewelers on T. Nagar. It's a four story shop bursting with baubles and customers alike. I don't know how either of the boys actually chose one item over another, the walls are covered with racks holding necklaces of every weight and design. Glass cases filled with gold bangles, rings and earrings fill the center of the rooms. One floor is dedicated to silver, another to precious stones and the fourth to embellished gold.
Under the tree I was the lucky recipient of a rope necklace and anklet. The chain is specifically for the sapphire pendant I've had for so long but never wear on its extrafine chain. When Ian bought the rope he neglected to bring the pendant (the "drop") with him, so come Christmas Day we discovered it's too wide for the pendant loop. Yesterday we returned to the store and after much hemming and hawing by seemingly everyone who worked there, we determined it would be best to have the stone reset. We took a seat between the Pooja cases and the Gold Belts for Little Girls cases, passed on the coffee and absorbed the surroundings on the gemstone floor. The gold belts were popular, intricately designed, inlaid with all sorts of jewels, and approximately $3000. One family seemed to try every belt on their 5 year old child, I don't know if they ever chose a particular model but we did think Rebecca would love to have one. Hah.
Behind us hanging on the wall was a 1.5 Kg monstrosity of a necklace with a purchase price of approximately $20,000, a wedding gift. The typical customer was female and already decked out so I assume the new purchases were for gifts but one can never be certain. I do know that if I was in there to make a choice, it would take longer than the hour we spent discussing a clasp and I couldn't be so apathetic as the typical GRT shopper who flung one beauty aside after another. Fingering $5000 bangles, $15000 necklaces or even $300 earrings; peering through case after case of glittering beauty...
I would escape overwhelmed and without buying a thing.
Though in a couple weeks when we return to pick up the pendant I may have gathered my wits about me. Just enough.