Persian Gulf Pearl Traders

Pearl traders in the Persian Gulf at one time were the most prominent businessmen.

Not long ago the entire Arabian Gulf area derived most of its livelihood from the pearling industry.

Enjoy this life size and very life like diorama of pearl dealers from the Dubai Museum....wonderful museum, by the way.

Pearls were one of the most precious commodities traded in the market. The gulf region was long famous for its natural pearl production and worldwide trading.

Modern Day Pearl Trader Title=
Modern Day Trader of Pearls Photo: Kari

Pearl traders
Pearl Trading Manikins Photo: Kari

Pearl trader weighing pearls
Weighing Pearls Photo: Kari

Pearl dealers, traders and financiers were known as Al Towashoon. Every day during the diving season, traders gathered at the pearl diving grounds and also along the coast at Shindagha and Jumeira to select their merchandise straight from the dhows. Small dealers then resold to larger Tawashoon in their majlises.

Pearl Scale
Pearl Scale Photo: Kari

At the end of the pearling season, the most affluent pearl merchants took the pearls to the international markets in India and Europe.

Pearl Trader's Box
Pearling Box Photo: Kari

The price of a pearl was governed by its colour, size and shape. They were weighed against stones of varing sizes (mithgal and half mithgal using tools for grading (Al Toos and Al Ghrabeel).

Pearl Sieve
Pearl Sieve for Sorting Sizes Photo: Kari

Dubai's pearl merchants were famous in the region and owned some of the best dhows.

Pearl Traders
Trading Pearls Photo: Kari

As you can see...times have changed, but not all that much as you can witness by the photo below. I happened to catch this exchange and quickly requested to photograph these pearl traders.

Pearl Traders
Trading in Pearls Today Photo: Kari

The answer was, "Yes, sure, of course, no problem." The irony here, however, is that an Indian is doing the selling.

Go to main pearling page after pearl traders.

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