Treasures of Gold Shopping in Dubai
Dubai is known all over the world for its famous souks, with traders selling all manner of unique wares – from textiles to spices – in the historic shopping area. The experience of shopping at the souks has become as much of a drawcard as the treasures they hold, promising a transaction markedly different from the ones you’ll find in our malls. While both the spice and textile markets are exciting and vibrant experiences, for finding a real bargain, there can be only one option: the Gold Souk.
What was once an old-fashioned marketplace has moved with the times, graduating from a classic market stall to a network of streets where each “stall” has its own glass-windowed shop front, electronic board displaying the day's gold trading price, and alarms and shutters protecting the stores' precious cargo at night. The price of gold here is generally lower than in Europe and the US, but even if something looks like a bargain in Dubai's Gold Souk, there’s always a deal to be done. Here are four essential tips and tricks for grabbing a bargain and going home with the loot.
1. Never accept the first price
For experienced market-shoppers, this goes without saying, but many first-timers make the mistake of asking for the price of an item and accepting it immediately. In Dubai's Gold Souk – and, in fact, in many of the city’s smaller shops – the first price given is never the best one possible.
2. Be polite
While most traders enjoy the thrill of haggling with customers, it is important to make the distinction between enthusiastic bargaining and rudeness. It’s generally expected that customers will try to drive the prices down with good-humoured haggling, but if you go over-the-top and insult the trader, it will only end in a disagreement. The key to a good bargain is building a respectful and friendly rapport with the seller.
3. Take the time to crunch some numbers
Buying gold, diamonds or any other precious jewellery is a matter of margins, and the more you know about the ins and out of the market, the better equipped you’ll be to know how much can realistically be shaved off the price. With gold, the market value will always dictate some 80- 90% of the price, but the remaining charge, which is applied for workmanship and the trader’s profit, is up for negotiation.
4. Be prepared to walk away
There are scores of stalls in the Gold Souk, and it is every trader’s nightmare to see a customer leave his store and buy instead from a rival. If the deal doesn't meet your expectations, making moves to walk out of the shop and take your business elsewhere is the most powerful tool in your arsenal and will often result in an immediate drop in price. And if not, there are plenty of other shopping options where you can buy that dream piece of jewellery with a dream price tag.