Dubai unveils ‘Pearls of Arabia’ at The World
Nearly a century after the last pearling fleet lifted anchor from Dubai, the emirate’s historic status as the pearl centre of the Gulf is set to be revived in truly spectacular fashion. Today, at an official ceremony at The World, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) unveiled its ambitious plans for “Pearls of Arabia,” a landmark project that will feature a high-quality offshore entertainment, retail and educational centre. This project is the first stage of Dubai’s plan of reestablishing the emirate as a centre for the global pearl trade.
In association with Paspaley Pearling Co. PTY Ltd, the world’s original south sea pearl company and producer of the world’s finest pearls, DMCC will establish a 6,000-square-metre Experience Centre on Antarctica at The World Islands. The destination feature a pearl-themed cultural heritage centre, a performing arts theatre, an exhibition gallery and a themed restaurant alongside boutiques inviting participation from the leading international names in the pearl industry. Visitors will travel to this unique destination by water ferries, transporting them across the manmade archipelago of 300 islands and into the region’s storied past. The facility is expected to be complete by end 2010.
“The past meets the present today, as we look out to the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf and seek inspiration from our heritage to build a brighter tomorrow,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC. “Less than a century ago, pearling was the very lifeblood of Arabia, accounting for some 80,000 jobs in the UAE alone and representing 95 per cent of the country’s total revenues. ‘Pearls of Arabia’ presents age-old wisdom in a modern and contemporary fashion to revive the region’s historic legacy for the benefit of future generations. On behalf of DMCC, I am honoured to inaugurate this landmark project.”
“We are extremely proud to be associated with DMCC as they launch this exciting project to revitalise the region’s pearling tradition,” said Nicholas Paspaley, Executive Chairman of Paspaley Pearling Co. PTY Ltd. “Historically, Dubai served as the world’s hub in the trade of fine-quality natural pearls. Now, almost 100 years later, we are delighted to collaborate with DMCC to revitalise the region’s traditional association with pearls. Together, we will resurrect Dubai’s reputation as one of the world’s premier and most important pearl destinations. Dubai will present to the world the best selection of pearls and pearl jewellery that the 21st century pearling industry has to offer, and will showcase the beautiful history and story of pearls.”
“Pearls represent a unique partnership between man and nature, and the pearl story is a beautiful one just waiting to be told,” said Gaiti Rabbani, Executive Director, Coloured Stones and Pearls, DMCC. “For thousands of years, armed only with their knowledge of the sea and stars, men have braved the perils of the oceans in search of such perfection.
“Here in Dubai, until not so very long ago, pearl divers plunged into the depths of the ocean, surfacing with fistfuls of oysters and high hopes of buried treasure, as part of their daily routine of earning a living for their families from nature’s resource of pearl oysters. The launch of ‘Pearls of Arabia’ signals the emirate’s esteem for this storied past, its respect for the toil of its forefathers, and its recognition of the everlasting beauty of one of nature’s greatest gifts.”
DMCC’s objective is to develop the global and regional pearl market with specific focus on trading, grading, trade events and auctions alongside trade and consumer education. The Pearls of Arabia project represents just one component of Dubai’s comprehensive Pearl Strategy. The Dubai Pearl Exchange creates important opportunities for the international pearl trade by providing an exclusive trading platform and a facilitated free-trade environment for regional and international pearl traders.
Further cementing its position in the world of pearls, DMCC will investigate the introduction of a uniform certification for pearls, based on globally recognised quality parameters. This certification would be developed in conjunction with leading gem certification bodies of global repute and would generate increased confidence in the pearl trade, both internationally and in Dubai. Certificates issued from the emirate would have the official imprimatur of the Dubai Government, and in time the Dubai name may once again be recognised as the hallmark of pearl quality.