Isaura Daniel, special envoy*
Doha – The residents of Qatar have created in the centre of the country capital, Doha, a small paradise for jewellery lovers. Foreign women do not leave the country without going there. The Arabs go to the site at least once a month. It is the Gold Souq. A small street where around 50 jewellers sell necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, mostly made out of the most famous metal in the world, gold.
The shops are not luxury. On the contrary, they are small stores, with just one employee, at which the owner himself helps sell to the clients. Luxury, however, is in the products exhibited. At Zafar Jewellery, one of the stores at the Gold Souq, it is possible to buy a necklace for US$ 7,000. The cheapest products are made out of 18 carat gold and the most expensive out of 21 carat gold.
The gold is bright. The products are large, majestic. The US$ 7,000 necklace sold by the small Zafar, for example, covers most of the chest. It is made out of small chains connected to a main necklace. Some o the bracelets are as much as 10 centimetres thick. The rings are also impressive, made from attractive gems. Salesman Zafar explained to ANBA that the jewellery is imported from Bahrain and from the United Arab Emirates.
At Zafar, most of the clients are from the country. At the stores, it is common to see women in long black dresses, with their faces covered. They are always accompanied by their husbands. Muslim women like wearing jewellery. This is a characteristic of the Arab women.
Apart from traditional establishments, the Gold Souq received, about six months ago, a shopping centre called Faizan, with around 15 stores. The environment in the shopping centre, which has air conditioning and bright windows, contrasts with the simplicity of the shops on the street. Not all of the stores in the shopping centre, however, are open.
Stones from Brazil
Among the stores that are already selling products is Diamond Magic Jewellery, specialized in precious gems. Diamond sells pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topazes and various other gems. Some of the emeralds and amethysts sold are imported from Brazil. The storeowner, Suhaib Zein, explained that they are shipped by a friend of his who lives in Brazil and helps in the negotiation.
The largest customers of Diamond, according to Zein, are foreigners, mainly Europeans and Americans visiting the country on tourism. The gems are sold as stones and must then be taken to a jeweller to be transformed into jewels. At the Gold Souq itself there are jewelleries that do this kind of work. As is the case of gold jewels, it is also necessary to have money to buy the gems. The prices are normally not under US$ 1,000.
When the subject is the price, however, the news is good for jewellery lovers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The price of gold fell in the region in the first months of the year, according to news published by the local press. In this period, gold sales grew 8% in terms of volume when compared to the first quarter of last year. Revenues in turn, dropped 13%, falling from US$ 1.6 billion to US$ 1.4 billion.
*The journalist travelled at the invitation of Qatar News Agency. Translated by Mark Ament