The Jakarta Post
For 29-year-old Aprilia Ayu Ramadhani, or Lia, jewelry is not merely a collection of accessories, but a lifesaver. When her car broke down recently, requiring millions of rupiah for the repair, she went to a gold store to trade in her jewelry in return for the cash she badly needed.
“It may not always be profitable, as the stores would sometimes buy my jewelry at relatively low prices,” she told The Jakarta Post recently. “However, I can go to the stores whenever I need money in an emergency.”
For that reason, she has invested in jewelry since 2009, aside from keeping some of her savings in time deposits.
“A [time] deposit is a safe investment product, but I can’t withdraw my money any time I want, and bank offices are closed on weekends. Investing in jewelry is more flexible,” said the housewife.
Lia said she would take into account the sales value of items before purchasing jewelry, adding that she avoided precious stones, which could lower the sales value.
Investing in jewelry is common among Indonesians, many of whom would buy jewelry to sell in the future instead of keeping it. Aware of this trend, the country's first publicly listed jewelry maker, PT Hartadinata Abadi, announced a plan to expand its retail segment by opening more stores, as the company gains more profit from buying than selling jewelry.
Despite their intention to eventually sell on pieces of jewelry, buyers still pay much attention to design. Lia said she would look at the design of an item before considering its value. She said she preferred simpler designs to match her age and would take inspiration from local celebrities.
Similarly, Sakinah Assegaf, 25, takes into consideration the design of jewelry items, while the sales value, which she claimed was profitable, came second.
“Investing in jewelry allows me to save money in style, which is why I always assess the design first, because I’d wear it daily,” she said.
The director of Singapore-based jewelry maker CW Jewels, Caroline Wihono, noted a shift in the Indonesian market, where people who used to only buy gold for investment now want to turn their gold investment into something they can use to represent themselves.
That shift had prompted the fourth-generation family business, which was founded in Semarang, Central Java, to return to the Indonesian market in 2016, Caroline said.
“People are not only investing in monetary terms per se, but in confidence as well,” she told the Post during an exclusive showcase in South Jakarta recently.
She said the company had received more requests for colorful gemstones and “daring designs” in 2018 from the Indonesian market, showing that people in the country had become more conscious of styles. She attributed that shift to the rising use of social media in the country.
“Now, in the time of the internet, people are more exposed to what’s out there. Indonesia is a country where the people are very social media-minded, and they are easily influenced by what others wear on social media. Therefore, I think the jewelry uptrend will continue,” she said.
Caroline said that, to meet growing demand, technology had become an essential part of the jewelry business.
CW Jewels, with a factory in Semarang, Central Java, creates custom-made jewelry using 3D-modelling – which is also the reason for the company to be based in Singapore, which offers more advanced technology than Indonesia, on top of access to the international market.
Caroline voiced her optimism that, with ongoing infrastructure development, her company could expand in its home country of Indonesia.
“I foresee this trend escalating in 2019, even 2020, when technology further changes consumption [habits] in Indonesia,” she said.
According to an estimate by market research firm Euromonitor International, Indonesia's jewelry market has grown by 13 percent year-on-year to Rp 21 trillion.
The study suggests that demand for fine jewelry made of a combination of gold, silver and other metals may increase by 7.8 percent annually until 2021. (ars)