Dubai has historically been an international hub for the physical trade of not only gold, but also many other commodities. Dubai has the reputation of being the City of Gold and rightly so. A trip to the Gold Souk will demonstrate this. If you have not been, it truly is a marvel to see hundreds of golds shops all together, selling this age old investment. And while, historically, gold has been an investment, the temptation for adornment remains. With the numerous styles on offer, it is very difficult to walk away from the UAE without getting your own piece of bling. We provide you the details so that you are in the know when scoping out the gold stores.
Choice – The UAE is a large importer of gold offering a variety of designs from Indian style, to Arabic and modern Italian and European pieces. Tax free – There is no VAT on the gold in the UAE, which makes prices particularly cheap. You might find that prices are up to 40% cheaper than those in the west.
Shop around – There are an endless number of stores offering similar products. Once you have found the item you like, make sure you haggle down to get the best price, before comparing that same item with another shop. Feel free to walk away and come back for the best price you have haggled to – it is all part of the game.
Weight and Workmanship – The price is based on the type of gold (24K, 22K etc.) and how much it weighs. The price per gramme is usually displayed at each store. Many of the stores will have a price of gold listed in the store. If not, make sure you ask specifically for what is the price of gold on the day. The price of gold is variable depending on the day. There will then be a charge for workmanship depending on length of time taken, how intricate the design is and whether a craftsman or machine was used. With a little bit of mental arithmetic therefore, you can quite easily work out what percentage charge is being charged for the workmanship. And usually, this will revolve around a fixed amount for the workmanship around the gold that doesn’t change. But in your negotiations you will never know how much that is! But if maths makes you uncomfortable, ask for the calculator.
Safe and secure – There is significant monitoring of the stores so that customers can be sure that the shops are providing a good product that is real gold.
Colours – Designs are constantly changing and white gold is becoming more and more prevalent in the souks these days, with chromium designs also being offered.
Trade in – Many tourists have their old gold on the shelf and come to trade in for cash or as payment towards a new design. Not all stores buy gold, but many do. Bear in mind, though that some are particularly picky about certain factors: whether the gold has a hallmark; whether there is a certificate; or whether you have a receipt. (There are a number of measures taking place to prevent illegal trading of gold)
New designs – if you want to get the newest pieces, then base your trip around the shopping festivals. Many bring out their new ranges to coincide with DSF and DSS when much business takes place.
Copies – Duplicate designs exist all over and you could get your Bulgari gold set for a snip in comparison the legitimate price, not that we condone this flagrant infringement of copyright! Talking of copies you will hear the calls of “copy watch, copy handbag” being pitched at you, to lure you to rooms filled with fake Louis Vitton, Gucci and other big names.
What is available – everything is available from chains to sets, diamond rings to bangles, watches to cufflinks to money holders. If you want it, it will be here.
Shop times – The shops at the souks operate on a split shift basis, so there is basically a break for the afternoon between 2 and 5. Either get there early or aim for the evening until about 1030pm.
Cash is king – You can bargain down to the last Dirham if you pay in cash. While credit cards are accepted, your Dollar or Dirham can make a big difference if you are planning a big purchase.
Location – The gold souk in Dubai is based in Deira. Any taxi should be able to take you there if you are visiting. You will find some of the branded stores across Dubai and the UAE, offering the same price as their store in the Souk. If you are based in Abu Dhabi, there is another such souk at the Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre which contains a fair few gold shops to give you significant choice. There are also a few shops on Hamdan Street which gain much attention.
Who to buy from – There are so many stores available, but we have checked out a few that stand out and would be a good place to starts with. Damas is the big player offering the most up to date designs. Marhaba also provides a good option for European styled jewellery. Alukkas is a big seller of Indian designs and has a number of stores in the UAE. Other stores worth a check are Barakat and Yasin jewellery. Remember, everyone has a different taste – be sure to check out a number of stores and then buy from where you feel comfortable. But most of all, enjoy yourself – buying gold is an experience that makes you feel like a king (or queen!) or Sheikh (or Sheikha!).
DGCX is an initiative of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Financial Technologies (India) Limited and the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX). The Management team of DGCX comprises senior personnel from the commodities, securities and financial services industries bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure the success of DGCX.