By Lynne Roberts
Dubai to revive history as global pearl hub with 6,000-square metre cultural centre.
Dubai is to revive its history as a centre for the global pearl trade, with a pearl-themed entertainment, retail and educational centre on the islands that make upAntarctica on Nakheel'sThe World archipelago.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) on Monday unveiled plans for the 6,000 square metre ‘Pearls of Arabia’, featuring a cultural heritage centre, performing arts theatre, exhibition gallery and restaurant, alongside boutiques inviting participation from leading names in the pearl industry.
The complex, expected to launch by the end of 2010 in association with Paspaley Pearling Company, will be accessible by water ferries, which will transport visitors across the The World’s 300 manmade islands.
The project marks the first phase in the emirate’s ‘pearl strategy’, which includes plans to develop the global and regional pearl market, focusing on trading, grading, trade events and auctions as well as trade and consumer education, DMCC said in a statement.
The Dubai Pearl Exchange offers an exclusive trading platform and a free-trade environment for regional and international pearl traders. Other initiatives include the planned introduction of a uniform certification for pearls, based on globally recognised standards.
It is almost a century since the last pearling fleet lifted anchor from Dubai, which was once the pearl centre of the Gulf. Pearling at one time accounted for some 80,000 jobs in the UAE, representing 95% of the country’s total revenues.
Nicholas Paspaley, executive chairman of Paspaley Pearling, said: “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.
“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.”