Saudis seek alternatives to gold gifts

April 11, 2008 at 6:03 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 11 (UPI) -- Many Saudi couples say the high price of gold and recent rises in the cost of living have led them to exchange traditional gold wedding gifts for rented items.

The gifts, known as shabkah, are traditionally large gold items that are presented by a husband-to-be to his fiancee at a ceremony preceding the wedding, but many couples said they have replaced the gifts with rented gold items or cheaper jewelry due to record highs in the price of gold, al-Arabiya reported Friday.

Couples and gold store owners said rented shabkah can cost between $130 and $800 for 24 hours.

Additionally, Saudi retailers of fake gold said sales of faux-jewelry for use in the ceremonies has nearly doubled in recent months.

"We also started making new designs that fit all types of clothes and cater to all tastes," said Mansour al-Allian, an accessory store owner.

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Topics: Al Arabiya
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