Dubai has the highest concentration of jewellery shops in the world and the emirate generated trade worth $35 billion (Dh128.57bn) last year – 20 per cent of the $173bn total global jewellery trade.
Gaetano Cavalieri, president of the Milan-based World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), said: “Dubai generates more jewellery business than any other city in the world.
The United States accounts for 50 per cent of the total global jewellery business, which is estimated to be $173bn per year. Other big jewellery markets are India, China and Japan.
“Jewellers from these gold hubs are moving to Dubai because Dubai outlets generate more business than elsewhere in the world.”
Cavalieri, who heads the global jewellery trade organisation with four million members from 43 countries, is in Dubai to participate in the World Jewellery Confederation Congress 2008, jointly organised by CIBJO and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).
Underscoring the strength of the market, he said sales here have not been hurt by record-high gold price. “The high gold price has not affected jewellery business.
We are not concerned about high gold price. The major challenge facing the global jewellery industry is the tough competition from other luxury businesses like electronics, perfumes and the fashion industry.”
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC, said: “Dubai has established itself as a prominent international centre for precious metals and jewellery trade.
The Middle East is the world’s third largest consumer of diamond jewellery and Dubai registers the highest per capita gold purchases. Clearly this region is a lucrative market for the industry.”
Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Alshihhi, undersecretary, Planning Sector, UAE Ministry of Economy, highlighted the importance of the jewellery trade to Dubai’s economy and suggested that volatile international markets may drive investors toward gold purchases.
In his keynote speech at the congress, he said: “The UAE is in a favourable position to capitalise on this trend, as our country has a long, established and rich history of jewellery crafting and trade.
Dubai hosts the highest concentration of jewellery shops in the world. Ten per cent of Dubai’s GDP in 2007 was derived from gold and jewellery trade.”
Cavalieri noted that in order to stay ahead of the competition, jewellery chains are trying to think outside the box with their designs and partnerships. The trend is particularly strong in Europe, he said, because the region has experienced a drop in sales.
Creative link-ups have included agreements with other luxury sectors, such as footwear, to produce goods studded with precious stones and metals.
More than 200 professionals from jewellery trade organisations converged on the 2008 World Jewellery Confederation Congress in Dubai.
Discussions ranged from challenges facing the industry to trends in corporate social responsibility and best practices across the value chain. This year’s congress was themed around the UN Millennium Development Goals and covers environmental suitability and protection of labour rights in the industry.
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC, said industry players will benefit from the trade opportunities in the region.
Dubai tops world on jewellery sales