Gold prices moving above $1,000 per ounce might have been expected to prompt consumers to give pause.

Opinions differ about that for the medium term, but the market certainly reacted, deciding the metal was suddenly overpriced.

"Gold buying on a retail level has dramatically reduced. This is very typical of the markets in the Middle East and on the Indian subcontinent. Interestingly enough, this is not only true for higher prices but also when the price drops," former World Gold Council head Rolf Schneebeli told Gulf News.