Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired), MS, PMP, LSSMBB
Gold Souq I
One of the most famous souqs in Riyadh is called Al-Deira. It is famous for many reasons to include the Musmak castle and Clock Tower of Riyadh.
Covering a large part of the Deira complex is the Al-Thumairi gold market, othewise known as the Thumairi Gold Souq.
The quality of gold mined in KSA is considered to be some of the best, if not the best, in the world and the Gold Souq is THE best place to 'window shop' for it.
The combining of specialties makes for easy pricing and competitive shopping between retailer and buyer and nowhere is that more prevalent than in the gold souq where ALL prices are ‘negotiable.
Armed with the price of gold for that particular day and the fact that since June 1986, the Saudi riyal has been officially pegged to the US Dollar at a fixed exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar=3.75 riyals, one can readily enter the ‘gold souq arena’ prepared for combated haggling. And what FUN that is! Given the centralization of such businesses, one simply starts at one stall, haggles a ‘best price’ then walks through the souq, haggling at other stalls, then eventually coming back to the first to see if he can beat the best price offered. Generally, he does…prompting the cycle to start again.
The other two great things about the Gold Souq are (1) jewelry of great quality - 22K or 24K & inclusive of precious stones - can be made to your specific requirements for relatively modest cost and (2) once the value of the actual gold, itself, is extracted from the agreed to price, it's amazing to not that the overall market for labor, on even the most intricate of designs, is only 20% - 25%.
PHOTOs of Interest:
5 - 6: Entrance to the Gold Souq
One would never realize from the outside the 10s of $millions of gold and precious stones inside.
'Trinket' 18K gold necklaces with KSA emblem for daughters.
19: #1 Favorite Shop
First place to stop into each visit.
24 - 36: Tea
We could always count on tea with mint whenever we stopped by...making a purchase or not.
37 - 47: Necklaces
Personalized necklaces with dauther's and wife's name in Arabic (reads right to left) along with birth stones. Had my roommate interpreter verify proper spelling. As much as I trusted our souq associates, wanted to ensure my ladies weren't walking around with "Heathen" or "Infidel" dangling from the chain around their beautiful necks :)
48 - 74: #2 Favorite Shop Gold bangle bracelets
Gold bangle bracelets for my wife...never saw so much gold in one place...at least in my hands.
75: Last Necklace
A Mother's Day gift...a 24K pendent with mother, daughter and grandchild birthstones. Not too bad a design if I have to say so myself.