How much should you pay for a large silk scarf?

#1 Feb 13th, 2011, 17:04
Join Date:
Feb 2011
  • TravelinRosie is offline
Went to a place in Varanasi today that seemed legit... good quality and definitely beautiful, but the guy started at $50 each which obviously is ridiculous. I was only able to get him down to about $22 each (I'm admittedly a bad bargainer). That still didn't feel right so I walked away. What should you really be paying for the larger sized, real silk scarves?
#2 Feb 13th, 2011, 18:12
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is offline
Unfortunately, the answer is that you should pay the same amount as for a piece of string! (as in, how long is apiece of string). You cannot say that Rs.1,000 is obviously ridiculous --- although, in this instance, the fact that you bargained him down to less than half indicates that it was.

I suggest that you go to the fixed-price shops. It takes the guesswork and the uncertainty out of buying.

Other than that, I can only repeat my First Rule of Shopping:

If you get something you really like, at a price you were happy to pay, just be happy
#3 Feb 15th, 2011, 11:11
Join Date:
Sep 2008
Varies, currently in D.C.
  • dillichaat is offline
I only know the price of silk as a commodity (yarn, before weaving and dyeing). In that case the most often used kind in India trades at the moment around 2700 rs/kg but unless you're into wholesale that doesn't help much.

I agree with nick-h: go to a government emporuim (a REAL government emporium, that is) and there prices are fixed and quality is generally good. Unless you really know your product, the baseline prices and the local shopping situation, buying in Varanasi will probably result in overpaying or ending up with synthetic 'silk'.
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#4 Feb 15th, 2011, 14:16
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Jul 2009
in transit...
  • candycanegirl is offline
Agree with Nick and dillichaat - the only way to be really sure you're not being overcharged is to go to a fixed price shop (government silk emporium or such). And a real one, not just a shop that says "yes, madam, fixed price" when you ask!

Don't stress about it though, ask yourself if you would pay this price for something similar back home. If yes, then don't beat yourself up too much. Don't spend MORE on a nice scarf in India than you would in the states, certainly, but you won't always be able to bargain down to a rock bottom price. Just get to a price that you would be willing to pay back home in a store.
There must be more to life than having everything. - Maurice Sendak
#5 Feb 15th, 2011, 15:58
Join Date:
Aug 2006
  • nycank is offline
Originally Posted by TravelinRosie View Post What should you really be paying for the larger sized, real silk scarves?
How much for a Ferragamo scarf ? $100 ? $200 ? $300 ? How about a Valentino for $1000 ? If you are in a rush, do go to State Handicrafts or Tourist Development Corporation Emporiums, you'll pay a bit of a premium but will be assured of not being ripped. If you have time, read on -

1. There are few states and towns that are known to handle silk in garment wear. In the North, Benaras Silk. East, bengal Silk. With a little of library reading and asking you'll get the location of the villages/handloom clusters in and around these cities.

2. Take a local along for language, and look at some of the prints in the making, check the color dyes and screens. If you like what you see, buy the whole lot Typically yealds about a dozen finished scarfs/sashs/kamarbands.

3. Have a local tailor size it to a scarf or other accessory.

4. You are now a proud owner of a limited edition, rare print scarf. You can now sell the extra scarf for $500 a piece with your own certificate of authenticity of the limited edition scarf.

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