Tuesday, 5 October 2010
All the Glistens is Gold...
I love Gold City in Bahrain, a small mall that positively glows and in Dubai there is the wonderful Arabic architecture of the rather quiet soaring Gold Souk in Dubai Mall. However both venues are modern shopping places. Find the old souk, down by the Creek in Dubai or a few streets back from Gold City in Bahrain and you really are in another world where everything glistens and gleams.
If the gold appears very yellow to your western eye, that's because it is. Mostly the gold here is 22 or 24 carats rather than the 9 or 18 sold in the west. A lot of the pieces are designed for an Indian audience as gold is an investment in a brides future. As such to my eye it often looks more like costume jewellery than something precious I'd wear for an evening out. Shop around and you'll find a few pieces you like. I found a wonderful rope of gold, threaded through a fancy 1cm golden ball and finished with smaller balls at each end of the rope - simple and elegant it sits beautifully above the neck line of many of my posh frocks and blouses. Examine any piece carefully to ensure the workmanship is good with no rough edges, no wobbly diamond settings etc. Then simply ask the prices, make a mental note of the shop name and location and move on, you won't necessarily want to buy the first things you see.
Dubai is apparently the cheapest price to buy gold anywhere, though Bahrain also lays a claim to this title, both are tax free states which helps. Either place for most items you will be paying for the gold weight in grams plus possibly a small amount for the making. Before you set off, look up and memorise todays gold prices, you are expected to barter but ultimately won't get much below the gold market price (which is currently in 2010, at an all time high). The jewellers are really only prepared to negotiate on the making costs. Once you've made up your mind about what you would like to buy, go back and haggle, haggle hard. I hope you find a bargain you'll enjoy forever.