Pearls harvested from the warm, briny waters of the UAE will on Sunday morning be sold at auction for the first time in the country’s history at an exclusive sale to be held at the Dubai Pearl Exchange in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
“The UAE produced the finest pearls in the world for over 7,000 years,” said Mohammed Al Suwaidi, one of the founders of RAK Pearls, producer of the gems up for sale. “That stopped in the 1940s with the discovery of oil and the Japanese invention of cultured pearls. Now, with this sale, UAE pearls are available to the market again for the first time. I am so very proud.”
The warm waters of the Arabian Gulf produce highly prized colourful pearls with incredible lustre and luminosity. Some of the consignment for sale this weekend appear to glow gold, others silver, more yet seem to posses a blue inner light.
Several bags of tiny misshapen pearls, or baroque in pearling parlance, which are known as keshis, are also being offered. Keshi pearls are a by-product of the cultivation process and are as close to natural pearls as you can find on the market today.
“The blue baroque keshi pearls are my favourites,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.
He delivered the pearls to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), home of the Dubai Pearl Exchange, on Wednesday night.
The pearls were ceremoniously handed over to officials who began the laborious process of logging each one. There were between 4,000 and 5,000 pearls in total ranging in size from 7 millimetres in diameter up to 13mm. The small consignment is expected to fetch north of Dh1 million, according to conservative estimates. There are at least 50 buyers from all over the world already queuing up to buy the pearls, according to Franco Bosoni, the DMCC director of commodities services. “We anticipate a lot of interest in the sale,” Mr Bosoni said. “Not only for the quality of the pearls themselves but for the historic nature of the sale. This is a first for the UAE.”
Jewellers and pearl specialists in Dubai are keen to see the pearls. Chetan Karani, the managing director of Mikura, a Dubai-based pearl company, will attend the sale.
“This is the first time anyone has commercially successfully cultured pearls in the Middle East,” Mr Karani said. “This sale could be the start of something very important for the UAE.”
Since the RAK Pearls farm was launched in 2004 it has only produced very small quantities of highly prized pearls with rare lustre and colouring. These were sold exclusively to high net-worth clients and creators of one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery, such as the Lebanese jeweller Mouawad.
The sale starts on Sunday and closes the following Thursday. Viewing and bidding are by invitation only. “We have successfully grown commercial quantities of pearls and we are very pleased,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.
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