Back in the 1940s, traders and entrepreneurs from India and Iran pitched their stalls in the Deira area of what is now the sprawling metropolis of Dubai. Today the Deira Gold Souk has an estimated 10 tons of gold present at any given time and the narrow lanes are lined with over 300 retailers dealing almost exclusively in gold. The Deira Gold Souk said to be one of the cheapest place in the world to buy gold. The government keeps tight control over the quality of the merchandise in the stores, so rest assured that any purchased made at the Deira Gold Souk are genuine. Whether or not you’re actually in the market to buy gold, a stroll through the market is a must. Every store window glitters with gold bangles, necklaces, rings, and more!
After spotting the beautiful gold bangles in Aqaba, Jordan and again in Istanbul, Turkey and walking away from $1000 price tags for the most basic of gold bangles, I was ready to try my hand again at bartering at the Deira Gold Souk (well, after a little encouragement from Tim that we treat me for working so hard on this website!). A beautiful 21k gold bangle with pink and blue paisleys and flowers caught my fancy and I bartered from the quoted price of $595 down to $485, saving around 19%. Here are my tips for bartering at the Deira Gold Souk:
1. Know your gold.
Gold is sold by carat and weight. Admittedly, we did no research before heading off to the Deira Gold Souk. But thanks to a posted electronic sign monitoring the prices of gold by carat in United Arab Dirhams, we had a pretty good idea of what the going price should be. We also looked up the price of gold in the US on the Gold Price Network and with our currency app, we were ready to barter knowledgeably.
Note that the price of gold fluctuates daily just like the Stock Market, so it is best to look up prices at your hotel just before heading out to the gold souk.
English is widely spoken and the sales people are eagerly willing to show you whatever you like. Once you find a few pieces you like, ask what carat each piece is and the weight in grams. The sales person will weigh each piece on a scale.
Be sure to stick with the stores, where the quality of pieces at the Deira Gold Souk is closely monitored by the government. Street vendors do not fall under the same regulations and often sell fakes.
Many of the stores have similar pieces. There are, after all, over 300 retailers dealing almost exclusively in gold located throughout the souk. Just be sure that you are comparing pieces that are the same carat and similar weight, otherwise it is like comparing apples to oranges.
If you have your heart set on a certain, unique piece, barter for a price that fits your budget. Sellers expect you to barter and set their prices high counting on striking a deal. Even be prepared to walk away; the seller will likely ask you what you are willing to pay in order to make a sale. Some say it is typical to be able to barter to up to 30% of the quoted price. And the more pieces you are buying, the more bartering power you will have. But remember, gold is sold by carat and weight so you are only going to be able to barter on craftsmanship. The more intricate the detail on the piece, the less bartering power you’ll have as was the case with the bracelet I had my heart set on.
Bartering is an art, not a science. If you find something you really have your heart set on, as I did with my bracelet, and the price is within your budget but the seller is not willing to barter as much as you like, just concede. I left the shop twice before returning for the third time and conceding. The seller took another $15 dollars off when I was ready to make my purchase.
Know Before You Go
- The Deira Gold Souk is open Saturday – Thursday from 10am to 10pm and Friday from 4pm to 10pm.
- Stores accept all major credit cards.
- It is located off and around Sikkat Al-Khail Rd, Deira.
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