Bahrain Pearling Center

Bahrain was known as “The Pearling Center” in the world, and it had benefited for decades from its pearling industry, which was the principal source of the country’s revenues. French jeweler, Cartier, came in 1912 to buy pearls and reported that the conversation was a bit difficult. “I spoke in English, Setna translated what I said into Hindustani, and Mr. Yusef Kanoo translated it into Arabic to Shaikh Isa,” Cartier said.

But then the decline of of the pearl industry came in the 1930s with the Japanese‘ first cultured pearl. In 1930, more than 500 boats with 20,000 people were involved in pearl fisheries, which had dwindled down in 1943 to 83 boats and 2,000 divers, and sadly disappeared in late 1950. The government banned all imports and sale of cultured pearls - a decision that is still in place today.

Map of Bahrain, Middle East

Map of Bahrain,...

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A gemstone and pearl testing laboratory was established to authenticate natural pearls and to ensure that no cultured varieties entered the country. Due to the latest technologies, pearls are x-rayed, examined, and stamped. Tons of gold are also examined for purity, checked, and laser stamped, explained Mr. Ali Muhammed Safar, Director of the Directorate of Precious Metals & Gemstone Testing. Ninety percent of pearl used in India, the USA, and Australia are examined in Bahrain, he added.

Where the Dhows used to anchor once upon a time, land was reclaimed. Only 40 years ago, ships anchored here and busy streets on the reclaimed land now lead to a causeway that connects to the new, modern capital of Manama. The old town and capital of Muharrag, Bahrain, retains its old world charm.

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