Page update - Sep 17, 2022
Dubai Gold Market is the most famous and most visited tourist market not only in the Emirate of Dubai, but in all the United Arab Emirates. Even if you do not want to buy jewelry, it is worth visiting and looking at the record bracelet, gold dresses and much more. This page will tell you all the interesting things about the Gold Market - what to see and how to shop.
The information on this page was updated in September 2022. The Gold Market is now operating normally. Don't forget about covid-safety measures. Wearing masks in Dubai is now mandatory only indoors. That is, you can walk around the Gold Market without a mask, but in the stores, masks are mandatory. However, this rule is now ignored by many in Dubai.
In April-May 2022 the Dubai Municipality started a major expansion of the Gold Market. The project is called Dubai Gold Souk Extension (DGSE). The grand opening of the project took place on April 26, 2022.
The project involves the opening of 295 new stores. The first 50 new stores already opened in May. Most likely now all of them have already opened.
The new section (Dubai Gold Souk Extension) is across the street from the main part of the market, on the southeast side. You will easily recognize this new section as they have installed a large installation in front of it in the shape of the phrase "#Dubai Gold Souk Extension".
The news is good. There are more stores. It has become more interesting to buy and to look at.
The Gold Market is located in the Al Dhagaya neighborhood of Deira district. We highly do not recommend driving there in a rented car, as there is almost never free parking space around. The best way is to take a cab or ride by subway.
A cab from the hotel will cost from AED 12 to AED 60. Dubai is a big city, the hotel can be in Deira in a couple kilometers and then you will get there for 12 dirhams, or it can be in the Dubai Marina area or on the Palm Jumeirah Island, and then you will have to pay about 60 dirhams for a cab. Read about the cab rates on our page "Taxis in UAE", and the current exchange rate of dirham can be found on the page "UAE Dirham".
The cheapest and often the fastest way is Dubai Metro. Get off at Al Ras station on the second (green) line. See our "Dubai Metro" page for a subway map and fares.
After exiting the metro station, walk along the seafront to the right (if you look to the sea), after 500 meters (1,500 feet) on the right hand side there are jewelry stores, and this is the Dubai Gold Market.
Or the second option. Take to Gold Souq (until May 2020 was called Palm Deira) station on the same green (second) line. Then after the exit you have to walk 500 meters (1,500 feet) along the waterfront, but to the left (if you look to the sea).
The market is open daily from 9-30 am to 10 pm (from 9-30 to 22-00). However, each store has the right to set its own individual opening hours, and usually the stores are open from 10 am to 10 pm (from 10-00 to 22-00).
Some stores take a break from 1 pm to 4 pm (from 13-00 to 16-00) because at this very hot time of the day there are almost no visitors in the market. It is more convenient to close for lunch, rest, and afternoon prayer.
Many stores used to open at 4 pm (16-00) on Friday, since Friday was a day off. But as of Jan. 3, 2022, the UAE switched to a new 4½-day work week, and the weekends are now Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday. Read more on our page "Friday in the UAE". It is likely that some stores will now open on Saturday afternoons. We'll see.
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It is not a separate building, but a shopping quarter - a tangle of streets with more than 300 stores. The size of this quarter is approximately 650x550 feet (200x170 meters).
Back in the early 20th century, local jewelers lived and worked there. Sheikh Maktoum has released foreign traders from taxes and made Dubai one of the main trading centers of the Persian Gulf. We wrote about this in the review "History of the UAE". Gold traders and jewelers from Iran and India began to move to Dubai. The oil boom made Dubai even richer and the Gold Market grew to its present size.
It is believed that there are 10 tons of gold on sale at the same time, and that is a realistic figure. Some guidebooks and internet web-sites even write that 20% of the world's gold turnover passes through the Dubai Gold Market, which is already a clear exaggeration. The world produces about 3,000 tons a year, there is no way 600 tons a year pass through Dubai.
On the one hand, it is better to come around 11 am (11-00), when there are very few people in the market. It is not very pleasant to enjoy the work of the jewelers in the crowd.
On the other hand, it is better to come after sunset, around 7 pm (19-00), when it's not so hot. But the market has the most people at that time.
Tourists are advised to come from Monday to Thursday, which is a weekday in the United Arab Emirates.
The main local attraction is the world's largest gold bracelet. It is called "Najmat Taiba" ("Taiba Star"). The record is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
Weight - 129.4 lbs (58.7 kilograms), 21 carat gold (875 metric purity), decorated with 11.4 lbs (5.17 kilograms) of precious stones. The value is 2.2 million UAE dirhams. It is the work of Taiba Gold and Jewelry of Saudi Arabia. See photo to the near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
There are no restrictions on taking photos in the Gold Market. You can take pictures of the Najmat Taiba bracelet. Only inside stores the owners can forbid the photo, but that is their right.
The second local landmark is the Al Romaizan Gold and Jewellery store, which is famous for selling gold dresses and suits, bracelets and necklaces of incredible size. Earrings on sale are so large that you doubt whether they can hold on to your ears. This store is more like a museum.
The entire Gold Market is almost a museum, with every store having something noteworthy. There is a giant assortment of jewelry - rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, many made by local craftsmen and are unique in the world. But besides jewelry, they make all kinds of household items made of gold - door handles, hangers, lamps and nightlights, phones and smartphone covers, even handbags.
Walk around, look, enjoy. Maybe you'll decide to buy something.
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The first rule! Buy only from stores that are willing to give a certificate. The market is full of unofficial dealers selling fake watches of expensive brands and fake jewelry. Do not contact them under any circumstances.
The second rule! At Dubai Gold Market you always need to haggle. If you do not like or do not want to haggle then you may not even try to buy anything. You will pay triple price, there are no FIX PRICE stores and will never be.
Gold is really cheap in Dubai. The reason is the VAT tax. For example, if you buy gold jewelry in the UK, you pay 20% VAT tax. In most countries in the world VAT tax is in effect. In the UAE, previously there was no VAT tax at all, and prices were even lower. Since 2018, VAT was introduced, the rate is 5%, we talked about it on the page "Shopping in the UAE".
By the way, after the introduction of VAT tax, gold sales in the UAE have dropped by half, which hurts the economy of the country. The authorities are thinking about how to solve this problem.
At the entrance to the Gold Market and in some stores there are information boards that show the current exchange prices of gold. See photo near, click on photo to enlarge.
As a reminder, worldwide gold prices are determined by commodity exchanges. The price of gold is the same all over the world. For example, on the day this page was updated (September 17, 2022), gold is worth USD 1,675.22 per troy ounce (31.1 grams).
The information boards show prices per gram of gold in UAE dirhams. The four prices are for 18 carat (750 metric purity), 21 carat (875 metric purity), 22 carat (916 metric purity) and 24 carat (999 metric purity) gold. Be sure to take pictures of such a board. You'll need the prices to haggle with the vendors.
If you read reviews of tourists, you will find the following statements, "I bargained for a bracelet for USD 300 though the seller wanted USD 800" or "I bought earrings for 1000 dirhams though the initial price was 1500". In reality! It doesn't really matter how much the seller is asking, or how much of a percentage someone has bargained for. It is all subjective. You can haggle 200% and still buy a piece of jewelry for three times the real price.
You need to know the real price! It's easy to calculate. Take the weight of the gold in the piece and multiply it by the price you saw on the information board. Take into account the gold's grade in order to choose the right figure. It turns out the price of gold in the subject.
Then you need to add the cost of the jeweler's work and the seller's profit to the price of gold. Of course, it is difficult to tell the exact percentage. It depends on the complexity of the jewelry piece. Usually you should add 30%. Then you get the price of the piece. It is the price you need to haggle.
For example. A ring weighs 1.5 grams, 750 metric purity, the current price of gold 18 carat (750 metric purity) - 114 dirhams. Let's calculate: 114 x 1.5 = 171 dirhams, which is the price of gold. 171 + 30% = 222.3 dirhams. This is the price of the ring, which is realistic to bargain with the seller.
It is better to pay at the Gold Market in cash, in which case you can ask for a discount. Credit cards are accepted, but there may be some complications. The thing is that the bank can block the transaction, since the amount is large, and the money is transferred to another country. Cash is more simple. Or we recommend you call your bank and inform them about your future trip and purchases in the UAE. However, banking safety rules vary from country to country.
It is better to pay in dirhams. Better to exchange dollars, pounds and euros for the local currency. Most vendors take dollars, pounds and euros, but at an unfavorable rate. They will take dollars at the rate of 3.5 dirhams for a dollar or cheaper. Read our review "How to change money in the UAE".
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The authorities in Dubai claim that they strictly control the Gold Market, and there are no fakes in the official stores there.
But even if that is true. You will get a piece with a carat hallmark and most likely without the hallmark of the manufacturer. It may be rather difficult to sell it in your homeland country if you need. Not every jeweler will agree to buy. You may need to have an expertise, which may cost even more than the jewelry item itself.
And if you do buy a fake? Where would you complain? Will you go to the UAE? After all, tourists are the best target to sell counterfeit to. A tourist will fly far, far away soon, and then be unlikely to return.
Think about it, are low prices worth the risk?
- In the UAE, each emirate has its own Gold Souq (Gold Market). However, there is not much to see in such markets in other emirates. Only Dubai market can be recognized as a real attraction;
- The Perfume Market is located beyond the Gold Souq. There you can inexpensively buy another Arabian treasure, oud oil and perfume made from it. Read our review "Oud and Bakhur in the UAE" about it.
Have fun shopping in Dubai, and read our pages about the UAE (see list of the pages below).
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