Who Doesn’t Love Gold? Tips for Buying Gold in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, known for its vast gold reserves, is the largest jewelry manufacturer in the Middle East. Most expats and visitors, including those on a religious pilgrimage, end up buying gold when in Saudi Arabia. After all, the sales tax or VAT is only 5%, the gold jewelry is of high quality, competition is high, and the labor cheap, making gold more affordable than in some other hubs.
Pure gold is 24 karat, meaning that 24 out of 24 parts of the metal are gold. Since pure gold is soft and scratches easily, other metals like copper and silver are added to make it more durable when used for making jewelry. So, 18 karat gold is actually 75% gold and 25% other metal.
Most gold jewelry sold in Saudi Arabia is 22 karat and bright yellow, while white gold is virtually unheard of. 22 karat yellow gold contains almost 92% gold with added silver, copper and zinc for durability.
Saudi designs are intricate and most of the jewelry is very bulky. Prices are quoted per gram, no matter how intricate the design.
Here are some tips for buying gold in Saudi Arabia.
Tips for buying gold in Saudi Arabia
• Know the gold rate and bargain. Check goldrate24.com or other websites for daily rates.
• Expect less bargaining power with designer jewelry like L’azurde.
• Buy in cash for a better price. The merchants are not exactly keen on absorbing the credit card fees.
• If you know a local, shop with a local - the merchants do not negotiate as much with foreigners.
• As most of the shopkeepers are local Saudis, Arabic is the main language of communication, though they will know basic English.
• Buy bracelets and rings in 14k or 18k since it is more durable.
Where to buy gold in Saudi Arabia?
Buy gold jewelry in the souks. The prices are more affordable than in the malls. The Saudi souks, or markets, are not really markets in the traditional sense. They are more like strip malls with a high concentration of similar stores.
• Deira gold souk, also called souq al-Thumairi, near Al Masmak Fortress
• Batha gold souk
Al Dhahab Street (Gold Street) in Jeddah's downtown district Al Balad.
Make sure to check out our blog post about Al Balad here: Jeddah’s Historic Al Balad in Saudi Arabia