Middle East is extremely famous for purchasing gold jewellery and particularly Kuwait is known for really good gold ornaments. Whether or not you're ready to buy, a stroll through the glittering gold souqs is a must when you visit Kuwait. In fact, your shopping may seem incomplete without a visit to the Gold Souk. There are several such souks in Kuwait City, selling all kinds of jewellery, and they also purchase and sell gold bars of different weights. Their jewellery is made in Arabic and Indian styles. These souks also have many good restaurants.
Is Gold really cheap in Kuwait?
The stores also offer platinum, diamonds and occasionally silver. They say that Middle East gold is pure and free from adulteration as the governments keep tight control over the quality of all the merchandise. The gold is not really cheap here, Gold is the same price all over the world and you should check out how much it is per gram the day you go shopping. No merchant will give you gold at less than market value, but the difference is the making charge. It depends on your negotiating skills how much you will be paying for the "making charge" of the gold ornaments that you will buy. And this stands true to any part of the world... India, Dubai, Kuwait etc.
Gold purchase trends
The Kuwaiti gold designs are made in Indian (22K) styles and Arabic (21K) styles. You can also buy gold and silver bars. There are even some shops that specialize in replicas that are silver dipped in rhodium. Give the jewellery craftsman a picture or a piece you saw in a magazine and they can copy it within no time. High-end replicas made in solid gold are also available is souqs. Watch out before you buy anything in platinum from the gold souk as some sellers say platinum when in fact it’s a rubbish rhodium. It's better to go you're first few times with someone who is aware of the souks as you can really get ripped apart at the souks and not all the times.
The gold jewellery designs in Gold Souk Kuwait meet old tradition with latest technology trends. While the choices are confusing, the prices are reasonable when compared to most other places in the world.
Youngsters in Kuwait love to purchase gold either for themselves or, as gift for special occasion, or as an investment. Young people these days, prefer simple and light weight designs that are often studded with diamonds, while adult women prefer large and decorative pieces. In the past, women used to wear heavy necklaces that weighed 700gms or higher, while today, youngsters prefer pieces that fit as daily wear.
Gold is considered as a way of security for women in this part of the world. Until a few decades ago, the Bedouin women wore anklets, necklaces and heavy gold chains, as it gave them a sense of satisfaction of owning an investment that can be traded or sold anytime.
Gold coins and jewellery made in the form of pieces are also common, and much in demand.
Gold Souqs in Kuwait
Souk Al-Watiya or Al-Watiya Complex
It’s in the Watiya Abu Bakr Street, located beside the Sheraton Hotel and 4 Point Sheraton. The ground and first floor is full with numerous gold shops and the restaurant is in the second floor. Local Filipinos call it as Adidas Building and it is situated close to churches. This is also a good place to buy any gold or jewelry and the whole area can look like a mini India Town and Filipino Town during Friday and Sunday.
Kuwaiti Gold Souq
The design of this souq is similar to the Dubai gold souq. Visitors will find both 21 and 22 carat gold ornaments here. However, 21 carat gold ornaments are more here, as you will find Arabic/ Kuwaiti designs. If you want to get a feel for what old Kuwait was like, this is the place; this is a lovely atmospheric souq (traditional market) so much history mixed with new trends and especially after the new renovations they just completed. Prices for things can be haggled and you can find great values if you are smart in negotiating. It is nice to go there in the afternoon and just stroll in the narrow streets, talk to the pleasant merchants, shop for souvenirs and look for the various displays. Don't miss sitting at the local cafes and enjoy the evening.
Gold souq at Hawally Area
This area is mostly famous for computer-related goods and also has mostly shops with Arabic designs and few reputed brands in Tunis Street and Bin Khaldoun Street. Visitors can find 18, 21 and 22 carat gold ornaments here.
Salmiya Area Souks
This is located south east of Kuwait City, Salim Al-Mubarak Street is one of the biggest shopping areas of Kuwait and anything a traveler is looking for can be found here. In the Old Souk area of Salim Al-Mubarak Street, There are several jewelry, gold, and fabric stores and shops.
The central Gold Souk (Souk Al-Dahab Al Markazi)
This contains the government office where gold can be checked for purity and hallmark. Wide range of collections of gold available which is quite awesome and various styles of jewellery are also on display. Visitors can also have their own design custom-made but take care to ask for a certificate of authenticity.
The Fahaheel Area
This is a suburb about 25 miles south of Kuwait City and it has lot of gold shops. In the Fahaheel area, There are 3 main areas are available for gold shopping.
Few tips about Kuwait Gold Souks
- Generally Open Saturday - Thursday 9:30/10 AM - 12:30/1PM; 4:30 PM - 10:30 PM; Friday 4:30 - 10:30 PM. Timings can vary depending on the shops in the souks.
- Souk Al-Mubarakiya is the largest souk in Kuwait and it has a lot of Arabic style (21K), and some Indian (22K) / Western (18K) designs. Costume jewelry is also available. To get there, from Gulf Road go straight to the Grand Mosque, turn onto Mubarak Al-Kabeer Street and then take a right at the first major intersection. Parking is much more congested and it is available closer to the gold souk.
- Remember, the price of gold is set and you bargain only the making charge. Ensure to haggle down that making price because it always starts off too high and you can get taken advantage of. Don't pay more than 1 - 2 KD per gram for the making charge.
- Walk away uncomplainingly if they will not go down on the price. You can go next shop and perhaps find the same item for less bargaining the making charge.
- Ensure to buy gold at the souk that is stamped by the Kuwait Ministry. Moreover, you should be given a receipt with your name and Civil ID or Passport details on it. The receipt should show all the purchase details: item description, weight, total cost (with making charge) and cost per gram.