The changing gold souk

Dubai’s famous gold souk has gone through a major change in recent years. Not just in the fact that it’s been renovated and upgraded, but in the type of jewellery on display.

There are about 130 shops side-by-side, displaying gold and precious stones worth tens of millions of dollars.

But it’s changed dramatically from when I remember it in the seventies, before Dubai embraced tourism.

Then the shops all sold jewellery for the local market, and it was predominently gold in traditional Arabic and Indian designs.


Now with the influx of millions of tourists a year more than half the shops are selling what I think of as ‘European’ jewellery. The same as you see in European, or American, or Australian cities. So the gold souk, for me, has lost its magic.


What seems to be happening is that mini gold souks are developing in the traditional local shopping areas.

I was walking around one of them, Satwa, the other day and realised that about thirty small gold shops have clustered together side-by-side, all of them selling mailnly the traditional jewellery with just a small selection of the ‘European’ style.

I do hope they continue to develop so that we still have the traditional old-style souk atmosphere in the city. Here’s an idea of what the Satwa souk looks like:



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