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Dubai – world pearl diving capital

Business 24-7:

The role of the pearl divers, who once formed the basis of Dubai’seconomy, was praised on February 17th by Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wifeof His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Presidentand Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

She wasspeaking at the opening of the inaugural World Pearl Forum, hosted bythe Dubai Pearl Exchange, a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi CommoditiesCentre (DMCC). The two-day event, which has attracted leading expertsfrom the international pearl and jewellery industry, is being held atthe Atlantis hotel under Princess Haya’s patronage.

She said theforum was in honour of the great tradition of pearl diving and wouldhelp Dubai to regain its traditional place as the leader of thepearling industry.

Dubai World Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem saidthere is an urgent need at the moment to innovate new ways to developand boosts trade in the region.

He said, “The difficult economicreality we are currently witnessing makes it inevitable for us toco-operate more than any other time.

“Also the need calls on us to build on points of strength, treat points of weakness and find clearer visions and opportunities.”

Hesaid the pearl industry offers a chance to develop and boost the tradesince it is an old industry the Arabian Gulf region has been known for.

He added the forum is an important platform for big players of the pearl industry.

Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of DMCC Ahmed bin Sulayem said thepearl market is among the least affected by the global financialcrisis. Pearl prices are not exaggerated and consequently demandmaintained the same levels.

He said reflections of the financialcrisis might be represented in the abundance of pearls in world marketsas some big producers might prefer not to sell this year for low pricesprovided that they display their production in the following years. Thevolume of pearl market represents less than three per cent of the worldjewellery market, he added.

Robert Wan, President of the Robert Wan Tahiti Group, described thedevelopment of Tahitian cultured pearls, his life-long dedication tothe black pearl of Tahiti and his response to the current economicclimate.

Highlighting the importance of Dubai’s pearlingheritage, Wan said: “The future is stronger when it is rooted intradition. When we think that the Gulf pearl diving and trading existedthree thousand years ago, that this region knew how to develop a pearlindustry between the 17th and 19th centuries, we have to pay tribute toDubai. “You carry the torch of a historical and cultural legacy. Wewish you become the world capital of the pearl.”

Divers on a UAE pearling ship

Pearl divers on a UAE vessel

Sara-Lise Haith
Sara-Lise Haith
Sara-Lise is the former News Editor for She is based in Dubai.