Take advantage of your stay in the emirate to discover the Dubai Gold Souk. Gold has always been a metal of great importance in Middle Eastern cultures. In the United Arab Emirates, gold is still a true symbol of social success, and it is customary to buy and give gold to celebrate certain important events, such as births and of course weddings.
In Dubai, in the historic district of Deira, you can find a market entirely dedicated to the sale of this precious metal. Today, the Gold Souk of Dubai is truly a key point for gold trading in the entire region. But more than just a place of business, the gold souk of Dubai is also an almost unmissable tourist site, to be discovered during a trip to Dubai even by people who have no intention of buying gold.
For me it's a must-do activity (and a free one at that) that you can easily choose to do if you don't know what to do in Dubai yet.
But you also have the option of discovering the Gold Souk with a local guide during a tour. Usually, this tour will include other places in the city such as the Old City area, the Dubai Creek and various souks including the Gold Souk. More information about the tour can be found here.
THE PARADISE FOR GOLD JEWELRY LOVERS
The Gold Souk of Dubai is made up of small alleys filled with stores, each with its own beautiful window display. In the alleys of this souk, you can find more than 300 stores that specialize in gold, silver and precious stones. In total, according to estimates, the jewels in the windows represent nearly 25 tons of gold.
All this wealth is displayed almost without any protection. You won't find any fences or security deterrents: the Gold Souk is the perfect place to see that Dubai is a particularly safe city. Even if you don't plan to buy any jewelry at all, a visit to the Dubai Gold Souk is a must. It is probably at night, when the store windows light up, that the place is most magical. Dubai’s Gold Market is open every day until 10 pm.
AN EXCEPTIONAL VARIETY OF JEWELRY
The variety of jewelry displayed in these stores is simply incredible. Earrings, necklaces, ornaments, rings, bracelets... everywhere, the windows shine with a thousand lights. Gold is the real star of this traditional bazaar, but you will also find many jewels made with precious stones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
In all these shops, you can admire jewelry of all styles and colors. Some creations will dazzle you by their meticulousness, and others by their excessiveness. As is often the case in Dubai, sobriety is of course not to be found there. Many jewels seem to have been designed for kings and queens, and are clearly not meant to be worn every day. Some showcases even seem too narrow, what with the impressive number of jewels they present, always more resplendent.
THE QUALITY OF THE GOLD SOUK’S GOLD
You will find that the gold jewelry offered in the Dubai Gold Souk is very diverse, both in terms of shape and hues. They can be made of yellow gold, white gold or rose gold, but also take on other shades such as red, gray, green and even black. This will actually depend on the mixture of metals that has been used to make these jewelry.
But this does not mean that the gold used was not of good quality and purity! On the contrary, the gold used in the jewelry sold in the Gold Souk is strictly controlled by the government of the Emirate of Dubai. Sellers who do not respect the established regulations are exposed to very heavy penalties. In the event of proven fraud, stores are closed down immediately, and traders can end up in jail.
The purity of gold is defined in karats. Pure gold is 24 karat gold. In Dubai's gold souk, you can find 18, 21, 22 and 24 karat jewelry. No jewelry with a lower gold content is offered for sale. By comparison, in a typical U.S. jewelry store, gold jewelry is mostly 14 karat, because it is stronger and less likely to get scratched or worn out.
Not all jewelry is made of pure gold because 24 karat gold is more expensive, but also because pure gold is very malleable. The 22 or 18 karat gold is therefore more suitable for rings or jewelry with complex shapes, which will resist pressure and shocks and better retain its shape. In the end, whatever the color or shape of a gold jewel sold at Gold Souk, it will be made with an alloy that contains at least 75% gold.
THE LARGEST GOLD RING IN THE WORLD: NAJMAT TAIBA
Obviously, there are world-wide records in every district in Dubai... After the tallest tower in the world, you will find in the Gold Souk of Dubai the biggest gold jewel in the world. This ring, set with more than 11 pounds of precious stones (5 kilos), including diamonds and Swarovski crystals, can be found in the Gold Souk.
The ring is in the world record book with an appraisal price of more than $3 million (€2.8 million - or 11.5 million dirhams, the currency of Dubai). If you feel like making a little pleasure purchase... 🙂
BUYING GOLD AT THE GOLD SOUK IN DUBAI
The prices of objects and jewelry offered in the gold souk are defined according to 3 main criteria:
- The price of gold, according to the price on the international market and to the weight of the object and the purity of the material (in karats). You can find the price of the day directly on this site, for example.
- The price of labor, depending on the amount of time it took to make the jewel
- The seller's margin
If you want to buy gold in Dubai, rather than making an impulsive purchase, it is wiser to take the time to go around the souk first, to get a more global view of all the objects that are offered. There are so many wonders exposed in the window displays of this souk that you could find the jewel of your dreams at every corner.
As the price can vary greatly depending on the gold rate, you will find that it is indicated in the window displays of many stores. It could be interesting to check the international price of gold beforehand, in order to visit the souk at the most convenient time.
Of course, never buy a piece of jewelry on the street or in any place that is not clearly a store. You may notice that touts and hawkers will come straight to you and try to offer you various luxury items. Fortunately, they are not pushy, and all you have to do is politely decline. If a street vendor offers you a beautiful piece of jewelry at a price that seems too good to be true, it most certainly is and it is in fact a counterfeit. If you have any doubts, don't buy.
Before any purchase, the dealer will weigh the piece of jewelry in front of you and make a quick calculation to determine its price according to the current rate. In general, the price of gold is more than 80% of the total price of a piece of jewelry.
THE FINE ART OF NEGOTIATION
Then comes the time to demonstrate your negotiation skills. The first price offered by the merchant will always be negotiable. However, be careful: stay reasonable in your proposals if you don't want to risk angering the seller. Sometimes you may be able to get a significant discount, but don't expect to leave with a piece of jewelry at half price.
Since most of the price is set according to the gold rate, don't expect the dealer to give up his entire margin. As a general rule, the more complex and time-consuming the jewelry, the greater the discount you can expect. Focus your negotiation on the workmanship.
Don't be too greedy in your requests, and don't hesitate to ask the competition. If necessary, you can even abandon the negotiation and come back a little later to see if the merchant will become a little more flexible on his rates.
GOING TO THE GOLD SOUK OF DUBAI
The Gold Souk is located in the Deira district, north of the Dubai Creek. It is open from 10 am to 10 pm from Saturday to Thursday, and from 4 pm to 10 pm on Fridays. To get there, you can take the green line of the Dubai Metro and get off at Al Ras station. From this station, you will have to walk about 5 minutes to reach the Gold Souk.
From the other side of the Dubai Creek, you can also take an abra boat.
These small boats, which can carry about 20 people, are one of Dubai's traditional means of transportation. They are also among the cheapest, as the crossing will cost you only one dirham per person.
As mentioned above, you also have the option of exploring the Gold Souk via a local guide. You will take a walk from the meeting point to the various sites included in the tour.
OTHER JEWEL PARADISES IN DUBAI
The Gold Souk is not the only place in Dubai where you will be able to see a lot of jewelry, if you’re interested. The Gold and Diamond Park, located on Sheikh Zayed Road, should also interest you. Far from a traditional souk, it is in fact a shopping mall where 90 stores are entirely dedicated to the sale of jewelry, stones and precious metals.You can also find another Gold Souk with more than 40 stores inside the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the city. These places, less authentic than the Gold Souk in Deira, will nevertheless allow you to admire a great number of jewels while enjoying all the modern comfort, and most particularly air conditioning! 😉