Central Souq: A Heritage Gem and Hub for Gold Jewellery in Sharjah

The Central Souq includes around 600 shops, making it a unique masterpiece in the Middle East and an expression of the heritage and status of the Emirate of Sharjah…reports Asian Lite News

Data from the Department of Economic Development in Sharjah shows that the total number of commercial licenses issued to traders in gold, precious stones and pearls reached 727, while the growth rate of registered memberships in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry grew 138% during the last ten years.

There are a number of gold and jewellery stores in major shopping malls and outlets in Sharjah. Then there are markets dedicated for the yellow metal, including the Gold Center, which is home to many international gold stores, and the Rolla Gold Market, in addition to the market designated for trading in gold and jewellery in the Central Souq in Sharjah.

GG & Sons Jewellery remains a witness to the beginnings of the gold trade in Sharjah when its founder came from India in 1965 to open the first gold shop in one of the alleys of the Central Souq also known as the Blue Souq in Sharjah, 13 years before its opening.

According to the store manager, Joman Shahmadar, thanks to the multiple advantages enjoyed by the gold trade in the emirate, GG & Sons has expanded its branches within the wing designated for yellow metal trade in the Central Souq, taking the number to four out of six branches nationwide.

Sharjah Central Souq, a unique masterpiece

Celebrating the past and shimmering in the brilliance of yellow metal, the Central Souq in Sharjah, also known as the Blue Souq, stands out as one of the most popular tourist and commercial destinations dedicated to gold jewellery due to its historical status and the distinctiveness of its diverse outlets that meet all tastes and needs, attracting shoppers and tourists of all nationalities.

The Central Souq in Sharjah, whose image is printed on the five-dirham currency of the United Arab Emirates, constitutes a unique landmark among the numerous landmarks of the Emirate. Opened in 1978, it embodies an architectural masterpiece with its geometric design in the form of a steam train decorated with Islamic inscriptions and coloured in picturesque blue. Its strategic location next to the serene waters of Khaled Lagoon adds to its charm.

The huge edifice consists of two main wings, long, parallel with eight balconies, and connected by two bridges connecting them. While one wing celebrates the yellow metal, the other wing, overlooking one of the main roads of the emirate, has been dedicated to trading in carpets, antiques, fabrics and much more.

The Central Souq includes around 600 shops, making it a unique masterpiece in the Middle East and an expression of the heritage and status of the Emirate of Sharjah.

The market is a tourist, cultural and leisure destination for many individuals and families who get to experience the cultures of the world through its fabulous jewellery and the best of both traditional and modern designs and patterns.

Gold remains precious

At a time when the global gold trade has been witnessing a fluctuation of prices, the Sharjah Gold Market continues to attract shoppers and visitors with its remarkable attractiveness to remain vibrant and interactive.

While data from the World Gold Council during the past months of this year showed a decline in demand for gold jewellery in some global markets, gold merchants in Sharjah report a continuing demand even as its price continues to climb, with increased purchases during special occasions and holidays.

Yemeni trader Ahmed Salah says that the Sharjah Central Souq, has remained a model of adaptation and innovation in the face of economic challenges, underscoring its position as a leading destination for shopping and excellence in the world of jewellery.

Salah adds that visitors come to the Central Souq from all over the world and it has regular customers from Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in addition to shoppers and tourists from all over the Emirates, because the Sharjah Central Souq, known simply as the ‘Gold Souq’ is distinguished by its reputation as the ultimate destination for gold and the best in jewellery as it offers a wide range of stores that display unique designs with high quality.

Trader Wael Al-Yafei, stresses that the demand for buying gold has not stopped in the market. Gold remains a sought-after commodity despite its high prices, as it is considered a safe haven for investments. Al-Yafei adds that the Sharjah Central Souq is known for the great diversity of the pieces on offer, catering to various tastes and budgets.

A jewel of heritage and trade

The Central Souq, topped with ornate arches, is overflowing with activity and life for a continuous influx of visitors who come from in and outside the Emirates for its precious offerings and luxurious gifts or to enjoy the atmosphere of the heritage market that exudes the scent of the past.

The souq is not just a place to sell gold and jewellery, but rather a jewel and symbol of heritage, trade, and tourism at the same time.

Irish visitor Elaine Cair says that she came to the market to buy gold jewellery for her mother, noting the special shopping experience that is unique to the Sharjah Central Souq, which combines heritage, luxury, and enjoying the beauty of luxury jewellery that suits all tastes.

Shopper Umm Ali comes from Oman to Sharjah to buy gold during holidays and various occasions. It’s her favorite place to shop because of its charm, quality and diversity of its offerings.

French tourist Nicolas Blandel, who is visiting with his family, said that the Sharjah Central Souq, with its unique design and charming stores, takes the visitor to another world. “I did not expect to find this great diversity of designs and jewellery…each store carries a unique story,” he added.

Egyptian visitor Doaa Ahmed finds that visiting the Central Souq is like visiting a shopping mall and tourist destination at the same time, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone who visits it.

Luxury and originality

While the displays of gold pieces and luxury jewellery are diverse in the Central Souq in Sharjah, many of the market’s merchants are keen to preserve the display of traditional women’s jewellery that Emirati women have worn since ancient times and passed on to the women of the present. Each piece of heritage jewellery conveys a story that expresses pride in cultural identity.

The “Al-Maria” necklace, made up of a long gold chain, is prominently displayed on the facades of many shops, decorated with small, “trembling” gold coins that symbolise wealth and social status.

The seller, Saleh, says that the demand for “Al-Maria” and “Al-Murtaza” remains, even though they are among the oldest Emirati jewellery that reflect Emirati traditions, as well as Al Kawashi.

The Emirati grandmother, Umm Abdullah, who visited the Central Souq with her daughter to buy some heritage pieces, points out that Emirati women are keen to acquire gold jewellery inspired by popular heritage, noting that despite changing times, Emirati women have maintained their traditions and prefer traditional gold pieces, which they consider to be precious collectibles due to their history and the beauty of their design.

Many heritage pieces also appear in the market, such as the “bowl” designated for the head, Al Kawashi, the “knacks,” and other exclusive heavy pieces such as the “belt,” which is worn around the waist and celebrates heritage.

The shops spread throughout the corridors of the Sharjah Central Souq take visitors on a journey through time and cultures. Every corner tells the story of the emirate and its rich heritage, as craftsmanship intertwines with heritage to form a unique shopping experience, that is full of stories and golden touches. (WAM)

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