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Sat 15 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Building a jewel in which to cut gems and melt gold

Damas manufacturing unit under construction at Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre to be running in a year

Five-star factory|~|Damas-concept-design.jpg|~|The factory concept design|~|It is probably going to be the only factory of its kind in the UAE where the labour will be working in conditions that probably go without comment in a five-star hotel or resort. And, it is no wonder that it took the designers almost a year to conceptualise what the client wanted.

“The new factory that is being built by Damas Jewellery will look like an art piece that is floated on a glass background,” Ahmed Saffarini of the design supervision and consulting firm of Adnan Saffarini, told Construction Week.

Adnan Saffarini is the consultant for the project, which was launched at the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre at the end of last month. Al Rashed Contracting Company is the main contractor.

The ground breaking ceremony was conducted by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) and also chairman of Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre. Other PCFC officials and Tawhid Abdullah, managing director of Damas accompanied him at the site.

Basil Akram, project manager, pointed out that the factory would take about a year to construct following site mobilisation. “With the ground breaking, we have started mobilising at the site. It should take us about a month to complete the mobilisation process, after which we shall start work on the foundations,” he said.

The factory is going to cost an estimated Dhs45 million to build. It will have a built-up area of 5000 m2, over a plot of land at the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre, which measures some 13 500 m2. The excess land would allow for any future expansion.

“Basically, the facility is designed to be a multiple factory which would carry out various complementary activities related to gold and diamond processing. The complex is divided into various parts according to the requirements of different functions,” says Ahmed Saffarini.

“For example,” he pointed out, “one of the biggest areas in the factory will be the exhibition area. There will also be other areas like for diamond cutting, one part would used for jewellery repair work and one part for the mass market production,” he pointed out.

The designer said the unique and the most difficult thing to achieve for the design of the factory during the conceptual stage was to closely associate it with Dubai. “Other factories here are either classical or modern in design. You can put them anywhere in the world. The Damas factory belongs to this region. It has a very nice layout and is looks local, while at the same time has all the modernity and the latest amenities”.

Saffarini said the building is of a gold or sand colour, the entrance to which is through a big tent like feature. We have tried to enhance the features of the factory by having a courtyard inside the entrance. Inside, the combination of the skylight and the use of superior materials provide a five-star setting.

He said the factory belongs to Dubai and is representative of Dubai with its golden glass and pyramid elements in a classical-modern framework. The corners have a symbolic effect of the classical barajeel [traditional wind tower].||**||More ventures to be announced soon|~|Damas-ground-breaking.jpg|~|The ground breaking ceremony|~|The chairman of Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre, Sultan bin Sulayem, described the factory as “unique” and added that “we would be announcing a series of different ventures in this area”.

Damas is a leading retail jewellery chain in UAE, and recently announced ambitious plans to expand its operations by entering the upstream sector of manufacturing. The result is the construction of the Damas jewellery factory at Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre.

“The Damas factory is the fourth project at the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre,” said Sultan bin Sulayem.

He added that Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre is superb proposition for global players in the gold, diamond and commodity business and its strategic location, world class facilities, a secure, regulated environment - all of these qualities will be available to companies that decide to base themselves at the centre. Additional support factors are Dubai’s position on the global map close to most important markets on the world as well as its developed basic infrastructure.

“The Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre project is in line with the pioneering and visionary policy of the General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Minister of Defence, to make Dubai a global business hub and which aims to create a unique and distinguished identity in the gold, diamond and jewellery market,” bin Sulayem said.

The project was established in April 2002 and provides a full range of facilities for trading in gold, diamonds and other commodities. It is a free zone offering 100% ownership and a 50-year tax holiday to resident companies. The centre aims to attract key players throughout the entire value chain of each of these industry sectors, together with relevant support industries such as finance, logistics and insurance.

Damas is entering into the high-tech jewellery manufacturing and has decided to locate itself at the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre as it says the benefits and support will; help it produce high quality, exquisite and modern jewellery designed by world’s famous designers.

“We are keen with our vision to bring only the best of the best in manufacturing jewellery. Every piece of jewellery we manufacture from this unit will be purely innovative and high-end products,” says Tawhid Abdullah, Damas managing director.||**||Damas spreading its wings globally|~|Damas-Ground.jpg|~|The factory ground plan|~|Damas currently has ten manufacturing units in various locations like Lebanon, India, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, China and Dubai. The whole concept of manufacturing high-end branded jewellery is to reach out to the elite without competing with any of its international and locally manufactured brands.

The inspiration behind constructing the factory at the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre is to give customers best service and to achieve this, Damas will reach out to the best in terms of technology, machinery and personnel. It will employ around 200 highly qualified professionals and skilled staff. All the staff will be trained in the most advanced and exceptional environment to achieve the best products from the latest technology available at the unit, which will cost about Dhs10 million.

The manufacturing unit of Damas in the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre will have four key departments: Design, research and project development, diamond cutting, mould making and casting and diamond setting and polishing. Designing will be the key area.

Damas announced that the diamond cutting division of this factory will also manufacture the special Damas cut diamonds; a unique diamond cut which is patented to Damas.The Damas factory measures 16000 m2 and has been designed keeping in touch with the Arabic culture. It incorporates all the safety precautions and protects the environment. The estimated cost of this unit is approximately Dhs45 million and projects a production output of Dhs150 million per year. The construction will be completed and ready for operation within the next 12 months.

Damas began in 1907, and today it has grown from a UAE based company into a global fashion and jewellery network. The Damas retail network spans across Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Maldives, India, and Lebanon with over 85 outlets in UAE and 25 outlets internationally. Damas houses internationally acclaimed jewellery brand such as Tiffany & Co., Mikimoto, Carrera, Pomellato, Scavia, Roberto Coin, Chimento, Fope, Laurentia, Baraka, Faberge, Vacheron Constantin, Chanel, Chaumet, Bell & Ross, Barthelay, Walthan, Montega, Omega, Marina B etc.

The in-house collection includes majestic bridal jewellery, exclusive branded jewellery like Boudoor, Jumeirah, Farasha, Fior, Al Manthurah and Aura, Varotti and Aquamarin brand of watches and a wide range of classic and contemporary collections.

Quality consciousness, inspirational leadership and international reputation has led to winning prestigious awards including the exclusive De Beers Award 2000 for jewellery designing.||**||

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