not getting supplies for exports, forget about for domestic use," said Mehul Choksi, chairman of jewellery retailer Gitanjali Gems, one of the largest branded jewellery retailers in the world. "Premiums are already up and they could go up even further. Some demand is being met by supplies through unofficial channels."
"As supply is very scarce, we have moved to diamond jewellery, which uses less gold content," Choksi added.
The desperate search for gold has even prompted digging under a ruined palace after a Hindu village sage dreamt that 1,000 tonnes might be buried there.
Meanwhile, those who are waiting for official gold imports are just having to turn customers away.
"We have postponed deliveries to our clients and serve only one customer each day," said Suresh Jain, a BBA director who runs a jewellery store in Zaveri Bazaar.