Pearl Traders Cash In On Afro-Asian Games Rush

Hyderabad, Oct 30: | Updated: Oct 31 2003, 05:30am hrs
After a long lull in business, there is once again activity at the Hyderabadi pearl market. The prime visitors to this market are the Afro-Asian players besides other spectators who have come from various parts of the globe. The pearl business has increased by about 50 per cent in about 700 shops across the twin cities of Andhra Pradesh in a week's time.

The first Afro-Asian games started in Hyderabad on October 24 and is ending on November 1 with participation from over 90 countries.

It is estimated that about Rs 5 crore business has been generated in just seven days and the sale is expected to reach its peak by the time the game ends.

While the demand is more than 100 per cent of the expected business, all kinds of pearl (one of the favorite item of the Africans) prices have increased from a minimum of Rs 500 per string to Rs 1,000 and above depending on the quality.

Rice pearls, oval-shaped, round varieties, button-shaped, pink and black-coloured varieties, etc are some of the `most wanted' items picked up by the Afro-Asian visitors.

``There has been a great demand for coloured-pearls, especially black, grey and pink ones as the white-coloured has become quite common and available across the globe,'' said a trader whose shop had more than a dozen African visitors visiting in just three days.

Despite an increase in gold prices, post-Diwali has seen good business for pearl and gold merchants.

In the evenings visitors from Pakistan, China, Japan, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia drop into the pearl shops located at Basheerbagh and Abids. Finding the increase in demand, the pearl traders have also increased the prices for export quality.

Meanwhile, two other elements enthusing the visitors is the intricate gold jewelley preferred among the Muslim visitos. These varieties follow designs from the Nizam period and have caught the eye as they contain traditional Bidri and Kundan work. These intricate designs are followed only in Hyderabad.

The other is lac-bangles. The Lad bazaar, near Charminar, is full in the evenings for stones and glass-embedded bangles. An eye-catching sight in the evenings to watch Chinese and Africans `adjusting' bangles.