In India, silver is the latest fad among Indians, who choose it over gold for all occasions such as weddings, birthdays, pujas, engagement functions, festivals, etc. This shiny metal has also gained preference as it is more affordable than gold or platinum. Apart from silver being affordable, many jewellery designers and designer stores have started exploring the usage of silver. Use of silver in the form of coins or jewellery in festivals is a tradition that is being followed from the past. Many festivals consider the use of silver metal as auspicious and prefer using silver utensils for performing pujas and ceremonies.
Importance of Silver in India
India consumes more silver than any other country in the world, with a consumption of over 20% of the total metal produced in the world. Silver has a special place among Indians and is used for more than just adorning purposes.
Weddings – Cultural and religious customs at Indian weddings sometimes demand the use of silverware or jewellery. While an ample amount of gold jewellery is used at weddings, some customs require silver jewellery as well, especially in the form of toe rings, anklets, silver coins, etc.
Festivals – Some festivals use silver plates for arrangements of a puja or ceremony. There is extensive use of silver diyas, silverware for serving to the gods. Some festivals and pujas use silver coins as an offering to the gods. Festivals such as Raksha Bandhan also makes an extensive use of silver in the form of rakhis.
Gift – Silver jewellery has made its way into the world of contemporary fashion, along with gold. While gold can be heavy on the pocket, silver is decently priced and good enough for gifting. With the latest designers exploring it as a fashion statement, silver jewellery is considered trendy. Silver coins are also gifted as tokens of love or as return gifts.
Home Décor – Some people adorn their houses with silver décor. Although this habit could seem slightly more expensive, it adds a royal touch to a house. Silver idols or vases, if chosen with taste, can turn your house into a majestic beauty.
Daily Wear – While gold is preferred for special occasions, silver jewellery is popular among Indian women as daily wear. For those who cannot afford gold jewellery on a daily basis, they can indulge in silver accessories to make them feel special.
Dinnerware – Some households use silver dinnerware on special occasions, or even daily. This is typically a habit of the royal or well-off families of the country. They like to decorate their dining table with silver tableware for spices, dry fruits or even potpourri.
Investment – With limited investment options in India, some people prefer to buy precious metals as investment such as silver, gold, etc.
Silver During Festivals
Silver bars and coins are extensively used in various festivals in the country. Some of the major festivals celebrated in India where silver is used extensively are:
|Raksha Bandhan||18th August|
|Krishna Janmashtami||25th August|
|Ganesh Chaturthi||5th September|
|Navratri||1st October up to 11th October|
|Durga Puja/Dussehra||11th October|
|Karva Chauth||19th October|
|Diwali/Lakshmi Puja||30th October|
All these festivals fall between the time frame of August 2016 to December2016.
Raksha Bandhan – Raksha Bandhan or rakhi is a festival that depicts the bond between a brother and a sister. These days, silver rakhis are becoming more and more popular in the market. Silver jewellery is also considered as a good return gift to the sister as a blessing from the brother.
Krishna Janmashtami – Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapad. During this festival, Lord Krishna in his infancy is placed in cradles or swings and worshipped. Most of the times, the cradles or swings are made of silver metal. The festival involves gathering of devotees who sing devotional songs and exchange gifts, such as silver coins or silverware.
Ganesh Chaturthi – It is a festival celebrated in the honour of Lord Ganesha in the Hindu custom. Clay images of ganesha is installed in public pandals or homes and worshipped with family and friends. Although the idols are mostly made of clay, some homes have silver idols of Ganesha as it is believed that worshipping a silver Ganesha grants you a long life.
Navratri – A festival celebrated in Gujarat, where people buy new clothes and jewellery for the occasion. During this festival, people buy a different silver jewelleries such as bracelets, bangles, rings, necklaces, and earrings as they match with all kinds of wear.
Durga Puja/Dussehra – Durga puja is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in the month of October where the people of West Bengal as well as Bengalis all over the country buy new clothes and jewellery. Apart from gold, silver has also made its way into the hearts of the fashionably up-to-date Bengalis.
Karva Chauth – It is a festival where women fast to pray for long lives and safety of their husbands. Husbands in return usually offer gifts in the form of jewellery. Silver jewellery has gained a lot of preference as return gifts on such occasions.
Dhanteras – It marks the beginning of the five-day Diwali festival when people buy precious metal, start new ventures and make investments. It is considered auspicious to buy gold/ silver jewellery or utensils on this day. Many people wear new clothes, jewellery and light the first lamp of Diwali. Some prefer to have the first lamp to be lit in a silver diya.
Diwali/Lakshmi Puja – This is celebrated after Diwali and the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi is worshipped. Silver coins are bought in order to gift family members and relatives on this day, as it is believed that gifting brings more wealth and prosperity for the year.
Popular Silver Gifts during Indian Festivals
One of the most popular and common silver items used in Indian festivals is silver coin, which is used as an offering to god or sometimes as return gift. Silver utensils used for puja or ceremonies during the festivals are silver plates, silver bowls, silver glasses, etc. where Prasad (Offering - a meal or sweets) is offered to gods. Kumkum containers made of silver are common accessories used in all kinds of religious ceremonies. Silver Rakhis are the latest trend in rakhis, where fancy and traditional rakhis are being tied by sisters to their brothers all over the country. Jewellers also sell silver coins with Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Lord Ganesha embossed on it. Dhanteras is a festival where the most popularly sold silver items are coins, kalash, spoons, tumblers and even spoons.
Silver Rate in India this year
Silver rate has almost doubled this year superseding the losses incurred in the last three years. The white metal’s prices have surged up to 40.69% this year, reporting a rise from Rs.33,300 per kg in December, 2015 to Rs.46,850 per kg on 12th August, 2016.
It is expected that the Bank of England will push more funds into the British economy following the Brexit vote. There is also a possibility that the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan may also make similar moves. These two possibilities have acted as a catalyst in bringing about a rise in industrial metal prices. The latest strength in silver’s rates is an attempt by traders to match up to gold’s first-quarter rally; however the ratio of the metals has eased a bit. There is an underlying supply and demand that signify chances of improvement in silver rates, although it may not be significant. To maintain its position, silver should continue to keep its appeal as well as continue to play on gold.
During festivals, silver gains a lot of importance and popularity. Be it a function, event or occasion, silver is the most preferred metal after gold. Along with being considered auspicious, the white metal is appealing and beautiful, raising its demand to a great extent among Indians.