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Customers selecting pearls at a shop in the Gold Souq, yesterday.
DOHA: Demand for imported cultured pearls has increased in the Gold Souq as Qatari pearls are rare, expensive and most are kept as exhibits or collections.
The modern-day commercially produced cultured pearls dominate the Qatari market and their demand has increased in the recent months as many tourists visit the country, according to traders at the Gold Souq.
“Demand has increased because of many visitors coming to Qatar these days,” said Yaseer Yaseen at the Kingdom, who has been selling pearls, gems and jewels in the Gold Souq for the past eight years.
Tourists actually look for natural Qatari pearls and due to its unavailability, buy cultured pearls.
“We receive tourists from Europe, Australia and North America. They ask for Qatari pearls, and because of its unavailability they buy cultured pearls,” said Yassen, who did not disclose details about the increase in sales.
Fresh water pearls and saltwater pearls are available in the market at different prices.
A string of saltwater pearls, which are popular, could cost approximately between QR100 and QR5,000.
These pearls are imported from South East Asian countries, mainly Japan.
Some tourists also buy pearls fixed in jewels and rings are more popular.
Fazaleem Fawz, another pearl and diamonds trader in the Gold Souq, also said that sales of pearls have gone high during the past few months and most of his customers are tourists.
“We are getting more tourists as customers recently,” he said.
He said that tourists also look for different types of diamonds, specifically the ones imported from South Africa and Belgium.
Pearl traders claim an increase in their business driven by tourists. A report released recently by Gulf Adventures Tourism Company said that the number of tourists visiting Qatar has increased by 50 percent in the current tourism season compared to the previous one.