The value of the loose pearl trade in Dubai grew from AED 22 million ($6 million) in 2007 to over AED 95 million ($25.8 million) during 2008 representing a total year-on-year growth of 324 percent, according to the Statistics Department of Dubai World.
Import of pearls, both natural and cultured, increased in value from AED 15.6 million ($4.2 million) in 2007 to AED 50.1 million ($13.6 million) in 2008 while re-export increased from AED 6.4 million ($1.7 million) to AED 45.6 million ($12.4 million) during the same period. Dubai’s total pearl trade in 2006 was AED14.9 million ($4 million). The statistics represent both natural and cultured loose pearls and does not include strung, mounted or those set in jewelry.
Since its launch in 2007, Dubai Pearl Exchange has contributed significantly to the trading of pearls in the Emirate, said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre. DPE is a subsidiary of DMCC.
“Launching a pearl exchange in Dubai was a significant factor in drawing the pearl trade to Dubai and underscoring the UAE’s historic and ongoing relevance in this international market,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem. “Events such as the recent World Pearl Forum should enable greater collaboration in the global pearl trade, creating further momentum.”
Creating an active market place in Dubai through a member based trading platform, the exchange has facilitated private pearl sales including the recent Dubai Pearl Tender, which offered buyers some of the world’s rarest and most sought-after gem quality natural and cultured pearls. This platform has grown steadily in its first year, resulting in an exponential growth in pearl trade during 2008, according to Dubai officials.
The cultured pearl trade in Dubai has been driven through imports from Australia and Singapore, along with exports to a variety of diverse markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Australia, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
“It is evident that the pearl trade has experienced significant growth in recent years and that there is great potential for further growth both globally and in the region,” said Gaiti Rabbani, executive director – Precious Gems (Pearls, Diamonds and Coloured Stones) – DMCC. “The global trend has also been reflected in the broader Middle East and the Indian sub continent with a shift towards higher quality pearls such as South Sea, Tahitian, and natural pearls. A shift in buyer preferences from the traditional emphasis on gold and diamond has also meant a move towards more classic and elegant designs making the water-based gem a preferred option.”