13 Dec 2019
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Glittering gold, & Beyond Precious Pearls
Bahrain
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jul 1 2019 1:03PM
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Reference: 22337  

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From multi coloured gemstones to iridescent pearls, popular trade shows to grand jewellery boutiques, Bahrain is the latest Gulf country to make its mark on the world map in the jewellery industry says Sanjana Parikh

Ranked by the World Bank as a high income economy, The Kingdom of Bahrain is truly fit for the Royalty. Famous for its erstwhile pearls, lavish palaces and modern amenities, this Gulf country is no stranger to luxury. The nation includes a thriving gold souk and a pearl and gemstone testing lab that encourages trade and creation of high end jewellery. Comprising of 33 archipelago islands, Bahrain is interconnected by state of the art roadways and causeways making its chief port and capital city, Manama the epicenter for commerce, trade and tourism.

An Unexpected Collapse Bahrain’s affair with natural pearls dates back to more than 4000 years where pearl diving was the primary source of income for most locals. With a glorious history steeped in pearls, it is no surprise that this Gulf country was internationally famous for the brilliance and beauty of this precious stone. Owing to its location near underwater sweet water springs and superior oyster beds, a Bahraini pearl was considered the finest quality of natural pearls.

It was believed that in the olden times, pearls were more precious than even diamonds and attracted luxury jewellers like Jaques Cartier to the shores of Bahrain. However, after the tragic fall of the industry and the emergence of cultured pearls, the trading of natural pearls was prohibited and only a handful of pearl divers have retained their professions today.

Gold Rush In spite of being a leader in the production of aluminum based products, Bahrain was enjoying the tax free benefits on purchase of gold and gold jewellery. However, from the beginning of this year, Bahrain became the third member of Gulf Cooperation Council to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) to its tax structure. This induced a gold rush as consumers flocked to jewellery shops to take advantage of pre VAT gold prices during the last week of December 2018.

The only respite to traders is that the structure is designed in such a way that the final customer will have to bear the brunt of the taxes as gold and jewellery sales are taxed under zero rating categories. This allows sellers to reclaim any VAT they had paid on costs provided they furnish the necessary documents.

Set in Stone
As an attempt to protect its strong heritage and facilitate its affinity for natural gemstones, the Kingdom of Bahrain set up Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) which acts as a guardian of global gemological excellence. DANAT was formed with a vision to ensure, protect and enhance public trust in pearls, gemstones and jewellery and is an authority on industry standards, scientific knowledge and education. It offers various services such as premium report, identification report, micro card report and Q&A Report.

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