Natural pearls from Bahrain have a rare lustre and excellent quality attributed, in the main, to the clean fresh and saline water that surrounds the archipelago.
Bahrain, these days, is commonly associated with oil, wealth and adventurous building projects and not many people will know that Bahrain has actually been, for many centuries, associated with natural pearls. In fact, Bahrain was the central hub of the Arabian Gulf pearl industry dating back to the 3rd century BC
Bahrain means, in Arabic, “two seas” and refers mostly to the deep spring waters that flow underneath as well as the Arabian Gulf waters.
Bahrain is located on the largest island in the Persian Gulf and has over 400 square miles of oyster beds surrounding it. As far back as five thousand years ago fishermen have been diving for pearls around Bahrain. Nowadays it is not as big as more attention has gone on oil production, but it, nevertheless, is still one of the biggest pearl producers and pearl markets in the world. And a great place to go pearl shopping.
One notable fact is that the rulers of Bahrain introduced a law in 1928 forbidding the importation of cultivated or cultured pearls into Bahrain. This was primarily to protect the existing pearl trade from the ever increasing cultured pearl trade. So you will not find any cultured pearls on the island. All pearls sold there are natural pearls, and of course, correspondingly expensive!
If you buy natural pearls from Bahrain you can have them tested of course as a gem testing laboratory was sent up in the late 1980s with the assistance of the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain. The laboratory services are available to jewelers and customers alike and anyone can visit the Bahrain Gem testing Laboratory although of course any testing will incur a fee. The laboratory also tests other gems such as Diamonds, rubies etc.
Where to buy pearls in Bahrain.
The capital of Bahrain is a city called Manama and the best place there to buy pearls would be in the Manama Souq, (Souq: A market, or part of a market, in an Arab city) based in the older part of the city.
There you can experience the ‘flavour’ of the Arabian Market with the narrow streets, small shops, cafes selling small cups of coffee and the exotic smells you associate with the Arabian nights. You can browse and find many jewelery shops including pearls and even buy unset pearls, in a variety of shades from the whitest of white to the deepest ebony black you have ever seen, and in all sizes ranging from as small as seeds to as large as marbles. Most of the shops still display the pearls against ruby-red backgrounds to show off the pearls. The prices vary and you can haggle for a good price. How much you pay will depend on your haggling skill. It is a good idea to practice it on small minor items first before you start to haggle for a pearl or pearls.
The Arabian Gulf is indeed, a great place to shop and Manama a great place to find Natural pearls from Bahrain