KUNDHUR, April 21 (Reuters) – The tiles are making a splash in the Indian city of Bangalore, where locals are lining up outside shops to buy them for a whopping price of $25,000 ($35,600).
The tiles, used to decorate ancient terracots and the roofs of historic buildings, have a distinctive look and a distinctive finish to them.
They are made from ceramic tiles that have been left to harden over thousands of years.
“People love them because they are unique and are more durable than regular ceramic tiles,” said a salesperson who asked not to be identified.
The tiles are being sold by a small brick-and-mortar store called Karnataka Gems and Art in the city’s bustling Old Town district.
They can fetch up to $15,000 per pair, said the salesperson, who asked to be referred to as Rakesh.
Rakesh’s wife, Vrinda, has an appointment at a nearby coffee shop to buy 10 pairs.
The price tag doesn’t include the cost of cleaning, upkeep, installation and installation of the tiles.
Her son, Rakesha, has a friend who has been collecting them for some time, and is buying a couple each.
She is selling them at Rs 15 per pair.
She has had a few customers buy them in the past, but the average price is more than double that, said Rakeshi, who also asked to remain anonymous.
He said the family has been looking for a place to buy tiles for their terracot shop since they bought a house in Karnatabad two years ago.
He said his son had also started collecting them.
Rakshi, 25, has worked as a sales associate at Karnataka Gem and Art for about two years and is currently working as a tour guide.
He works with the local police to sell the tiles, but he said his customers are mainly locals.
“It’s a business, and we can’t afford to take a risk on someone who has to live in the house,” he said.
Karnataka Gems, Art sells about 2,000 tiles a month.
In January, it sold 3,000 pairs, said a representative who asked for anonymity.
The firm is owned by the family of former president Gautam Budhishtattanand, who is also chairman of the state government.
In January, Budhistattan said the tiles were worth more than the entire state budget for the state, according to the Indian Express website.
In an interview with the Times of Indian website in May, he said he did not know about the sales of the terracottas and he was not aware of the price tag.
The Karnataka government said it was aware of some of the sellers who were not in the state but would take the necessary steps to ensure they would be held accountable for their actions.
“We are aware of those who are selling the tiles in Karniadasharaju and we will take appropriate action if the sellers are found to be violating the law,” said the statement.