The price of Kanchipuram silk sarees are likely to be costly as prices of raw silk and silver have shot up.
“A minimum 15 per cent increase is certain,” Rm K Sivakumar, owner of RmKV Silks said. “We are unable to keep the prices at their current level,” confirmed Kuppuswamy Chetty of Nalli Silks, one of the oldest retailers of silk sarees in Tamil Nadu.
Kanchipuram, a temple town, 75 km from Chennai, is renowned for its silk saris. Weavers have already told traders about the imminent price hike. The Kanchipuram silk sarees, like Champagne, is protected by a ‘geographical indication’ no other place can claim to produce a Kanchipuram silk sarees.
It is also among the costliest silks because a lot of silver goes into making its zari (brocade) patterns and borders.
Silver prices have also risen by 29 per cent in last one tear. The brocade thread contains 52 per cent silver, a bit of gold and cheaper metals like copper and aluminium. Each wedding saree requires at least two marc (a weavers’ measure roughly equal to 242g).
“Only Kanchipuram and Arni silk saris use silver, therefore the price increase will be mainly in these two categories.” For Banaras and Mysore silks, the increase will be on account of silk prices which have risen by about 30 per cent.
“Raw silk prices have risen from Rs 2,600 a kg to Rs 3,400 over the past couple of months. Wages have also risen by more than 40 per cent in three years,” Sivakumar said. While the weavers wanted prices raised immediately, retailers are worried as sales have been slow for the past few months. “We have never seen this prolonged lull in sales. It baffles us. We hope it will turn around by August,” Chetty added.