India firm launches gold, diamond ‘cash machine’

MUMBAI, October 28, 2011 (AFP) – An Indian company has launched what it says is the world’s first “cash machine” that dispenses gold and silver coins and diamond-studded jewellery. The Gitanjali Group launched the Gold and Diamond automatic teller machine at a central Mumbai shopping mall for the annual Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, on Wednesday.

Diwali is traditionally an auspicious time for Hindus to buy gold and jewellery while Indians are the world’s biggest importers and consumers of the precious metal.

“The machine is a first of its kind anywhere in the world and will further revolutionise the processes by which precious metals and jewellery is bought,” said Gitanjali Export Corporation chief executive Sanjeev Agarwal.

The ATM offers customers the choice of up to 36 products of varying sizes, designs and prices, from 1,000 rupees to 30,000 rupees ($20 to $600). Payment is either through credit or debit card or by depositing cash.

The company said in a statement that the machine was “ideally suited for last minute purchases on auspicious occasions and for gifting”.

Gitanjali, which runs a chain of jewellery shops across India, said it plans to inst