Buying Gold in Dubai

There are two things most famous about Dubai – its skyscrapers and its gold. In case you are visiting or recently moved here, you might have many questions regarding buying gold from here and also taking it back to your home country. I am in the same boat. So, here I have put together some Q&As that might help you make a better decision:

  1. Is gold really cheaper in Dubai and Why?

In order to understand this, it is important to understand what constitutes price of gold you buy:

Price of the gold ornament is  =  Price of 22K/18K gold * ( Weight in Grams + Wastage charges) + ( Making Charges)  + VAT

 Price of Gold

The prices of gold metal are fairly standard throughout the world. The below table compares the prices of gold as of 29 April 2013.

Image

Source: Sify finance, Khaleej Times, gold price network

As seen in the above table, the prices of gold are more or less similar across countries.

Wastage charges

This depends upon the intricacy of design you choose. This includes the weight of gold that is wasted/lost during the design/crafting process. This wastage charge is more common with branded jewellery providers than local jewellers.

Making charges

Making charges is another component added by jewelers to compensate for the workmanship effort put by them. This essentially is their profit margin. In India, making charges vary from INR 50 to INR 1500 per gram. In Dubai, the charges range from AED10 per gram to AED 500 per gram. Making charges are usually higher on 18K jewellery since more contemporary designs are available in 18k gold. If you are buying from local jewelers, be ready to bargain on this.

VAT

The other factor that affects the price of gold is the VAT or value added tax applied on gold. Until 2000, there were different tax structure applicable on gold across Europe ranging from 17.5% to 0% making the market very unbalanced. Therefore in the year 2000, the VAT on gold was declared as exempt throughout the EU. In India, some states apply a 2% VAT on gold in ornament form.  In Dubai, there is no tax on the sale of gold

 Hence overall, looking at the price of gold, making charges and tax free structure of Dubai, gold is definitely cheaper here.

 2.     Where to buy gold from?

As discussed above, the price of gold remains standard throughout different providers in Dubai. However if you willing to haggle on the making charges, it would be a good idea to visit the Gold Souk. It has good choice of designs and price ranges. However, if you compared it to some of the big branded jewellery stores, they might not have very updated designs, and barring a few stores, the designs are a copy of each other.

Another advantage of visiting the gold souk is you get to see the World’s heaviest gold ring (Najmat Taiba, the world’s largest gold ring has a 5.17kg precious stone and weighs 58.7kg in gold) and lots of bling.

3.     Bargain or not to bargain?

Yes, yes. Bargain your heart out, but now you know what you need to bargain on! Just ask for the making charges and thrash the margin out of it. However, if you have put on your best shoes and gone to a fancy shancy place, you might want to keep your negotiation limited.

4.     Location of Gold Souk, and how to get there

The gold souk in Dubai is based in Deira. Since the area is popular, the taxi guys should be able to take you there. In case you are travelling by Metro, you can take the take the red line till Union metro station, switch to green line and go till Palm Diera or Al Ras metro station. It is walking distance from both. Get out of the station and get into the bylanes.

5.     Cash or Card

If you are buying gold from gold souk, it is definitely better to carry cash (or you can withdraw cash after you like something). Although cards are accepted, it makes a big difference while bargaining, if you are paying in cash. Both dollars and Dirhams are accepted.

6.     Taking it back home

I can tell you, if you are travelling back to India. In case of gold bullion, 7% duty (6% import duty and 1% VAT) on the gold value will have to be paid by you at the customs. However, for gold carried in the form of ornaments, there is an exemption on duties for NRIs. As part of the latest budget 2013-14, male passengers can carry gold worth INR 50,000, and female passengers INR100,000 duty free as compared to the earlier limit of INR 10,000 and INR 20,000, respectively. However, this is applicable only for NRIs living abroad for more than one year or those who are transferring their residence to India. This means that if you are here only for the shopping festival, you might have to use your skills and wallet to get through customs. If you are travelling to another country, it is better to check the local customs rules.

Hope this post clears some of your gold purchase related doubts. Happy bling diggin’ you all!

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25 thoughts on “Buying Gold in Dubai

  1. Having a cheaper Gold rate in Dubai seems like it is due to Fair that it holds every year. Holding fair every year brings the businessmen there and competitiveness along with and thats how i think customers in the end gets gold comparatively in cheaper rate.

  2. Hiii There,

    Thank you for information.

    However I have a question if you could help me…

    I am Australian Resident and visiting India for 15 days. I am Indian National residing in Australia for more than 10 months. My flight is Emirates from Australia to Ahmadabad(India) via Dubai, and I will have stay in Dubai for like 6-8 hours.

    While staying in Dubai International Airport, Would I be able to buy Gold Bars? Is there any shop or any kind of facilities where I van buy gold Bars.?

    I am travelling through Dubai first time, however I am not going outside if Dubai International Airport, So I have no clue about it.

    If There is no any shop for gold bar , i would like to change my tickets or may be I will try to visit Dubai for 1-2 days to do shopping.

    Can you please help me?

    Thank You
    Vishal Patel

    • Hi Vishal, Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading this post. With regards to your query, I have the following information – there are a few gold shops in Dubai and I have seen them sell gold coins and other jewelry in the Duty free area. However, I must admit that I have not seen gold bars on display. This could also possibly be because I never went out specifically looking for them and my gut feeling is that they should be available in the same shops where I have seen gold coins. Afterall, there are so many passengers passing through Dubai Int Airport that are looking to carry some gold back from here. However, let me point out the following to you – If you are travelling to India, please refer to my point on custom duty on gold in the post. It might be easier to carry gold ornaments if you want to save on duty, since there is no relaxation of customs on bullion. Most of the times when choosing between bars and ornaments, making charges is a consideration. But don’t be surprised if you get the same making charges on bullion as on ornaments. Also, generally the rates offered by shops at Dubai airport would not be the best rates you can get in Dubai. Remember all the making charges and wastage charges vary from one seller to another. If you are looking for some bulk gold buying, Gold souk may be the best area to look for deals, but if you are planning to carry only some souvenir, airport may work. Entirely your call and preference.

  3. helo,im palnning to fly to dubai for a short weekend,so planned to buy 2-3 tolas of pure gold ,so is it a problem while carrying them bak to india????
    whch market i should head to nd buy within best deals?
    hw mch tax shud i hav to pay while customs?
    how much diff can i make out btw dubai gold and india’s gold?? huge difference or a minute difference???
    is it safe to carry 3 tolas ?
    should i make the pure gold into a bangle nd get it back while travelling?
    how mch wil i be imposed for making chrges if im getting in terms f a bangle?
    please helpme out??
    THANKS IN ADVANCE 🙂

    • Hi Aishwarya, thanks for stopping by my blog. Carrying 2-3 tolas in gold ornaments should not be a problem etall. You could just wear that jewellery and go. However, if you are planning to buy gold bullion/coins then you will be charged custom duty on it. Please refer to my post for the customs duty rates. In terms of quality Dubai gold is known to be of very good quality. In my own experience generally the gold turns out to be of better carateage than claimed (for eg. a 22k gold ornament when tested is most likely to be of 22.5k or something not less), unlike in India where there is no guarentee of quality of gold unless it is certified and marked. Bangles can easilybe made in 2-3 tolas and carried along. Making charges should be in the range of AED 10 – 50 per gram. Deira Gold Souk is the best area to hunt for gold jewellery. Hope this helps.

  4. Hi I am planning to carry 10-13 tolas of 22K gold in the form of bangles from SHJ to BOM airport. I am a woman so can I just wear them & travel covering it inside my full long sleeves without getting caught at BOM airport.
    Also pls advise for paying customs charges are the gold price taken into consideration & the making charges as well? How is 1,00,000 INR calculated is it only gold price or inclusive of making charges as well.
    Are there any specific conditions for wearing & taking diamond rings as well to BOM airport.

    Pls advise at the earliest

    • Hi Thanks for stopping by my blog. I wont be able to comment on your chances of getting caught since it entirely depends on the mood of the officer at Mumbai airport that day. I am not sure if hiding it under your sleeves will help since you have to pass through a scanner anyway. However, your chances of getting away with it are higher if you dress in proportion to the jeweler and make it look like it is your regular jewellery. The INR limit, as far as I know is on total bill including making charges. It is better to carry receipt in case you need to dig it out. I am not sure what rate they would apply in the absence of a bill. Also, I don’t think diamond jewellery has any relief from the customs duty. However, I don’t think one or two rings will matter that much. End of the day, it is a risk and you can never be sure till you are out of the airport. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi:
    Thanks for your blog. I plan to be on a short tour trip to Dubai with my wife and daughter. As per your blog, women can carry worth INR 100000 and man upto INR 50000. Is it allowed only for NRIs or tourists allowed to carry this ?Is it in the form of ornaments only or bar/coin allowed in this limit? Pl clarify. Other than the quality factor, is it really worth to buy jewelley in Dubai , from a price point of view ? I am from chennai. Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jeyaram, Thanks for stopping by my blog. The limits specified are actually for citizens classified as NRIs and only applicable on gold ornaments not on bars/coins. From my personal experience, an acceptable amount of jewellery, if worn by women is allowed and considering the price of gold these days 100,000 is not really much gold. If you see my post above I have compared prices in Mumbai and Dubai. Not much different, but are marginally lower. Main thing is taxes. There are no taxes on the sale of gold in Dubai which is not the case in India. So I guess since you get better quality gold for a lower price without tax definately makes it more attractive. Hope this helps!

  6. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you
    hire out a designer to create your theme? Outstanding
    work!

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for the details.
    Any specific shop in the gold souk area to visit that provide good quality and low margins?
    How long are the stores open at night? 10 -11 PM?

    Thanks!

    • Hi, Thanks for visiting my blog. They open till late in the night. I wouldn’t recommend any particular place, since most shops are similar when it comes to options and bargaining. I have shopped from a few shops there. I would say if you are looking at bulk buying go to bigger stores otherwise stick to small ones. Kanz jewellry has a big collection. They also have the World’s biggest gold ring. So check it out.

  8. Hi! Firstly congratulations for a good blog and thanks in advance for your reply to my question. My self Vik Prabhakar, i am from new delhi, i am going to travel to dubai for 3-4 days with my wife, i want to buy some good quantity of gold (ornaments) such as KADA,CHAINS, BANGLES for both myself and my wife in dubai. I want to take arround 40-50 tola gold inform of ornaments from dubai. Is it possible to wear 20-20 tolas each in form of CHAIN, KADA, etc to escape from custom duty? Need help.
    Thanks & Regards:
    Vik Prabhakar

    • Dear Vik, Thanks for reading my blog and your query. First, as I mentioned that exemption in custom duty is only applicable to Non-resident indians and not to Indians travelling outside the country for only a few days. Therefore, irrespective of the amount of gold jewellery, you are ideally liable to pay customs. Although small amounts of gold worn on the body should not be questioned. Hope this helps!

  9. Hi I am Ashok here. I am travelling from US to India ( Bangalore ) Via Dubai. I am planning to take a day break at Dubai using Emirate’s Dubai Connect facility. My Question is on following
    a) Can I buy Gold Coins in Dubai and bring to India?
    b) What are the other items you suggest I can buy in Dubai ( apart from Gold ) – How about Dry Fruits & Nuts, Any Electronics Items , Dressed etc ?
    c) Can I add a Check in Baggage at Dubai in addition to the 2×23 kgs which I will do a through check in from US to Bangalore

    • Hi Ashok. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Regarding your queries –

      a) You can buy gold coins in Dubai but please note that these are not exempt for customs duty. Only ornaments are exempt.
      b) Apart from gold people used to carry electronics from Dubai such as LED tvs etc that are cheaper here. But recently the govt. has imposed customs on these items and therefore, there is no real price advantage in carrying these. Also, airlines might charge you extra for carrying television in your checkin luggage. Other things to buy from here include nuts, dates and arabic sweets. These are available even at the airport or any supermarket in Dubai. These are good for gifting.
      c) I am not sure on this.. Better to check with your airlines.
      Hope this helps!

      • Hi my name is Payal..I HV come to dubai on tourist visa for one month..I am already wearing Indian gold of around 20 grams (15 gram bracelet in one hand and 5 gram earnings) and I am planning to buy one bangle of 27 grams which I will wear in other hand..can u pls suggest if this much jwellery is fine to pass from Mumbai customs without paying any duty..

      • Hi Payal, as you can read in my post the tax free gold limit is only for non residents. Since you are only outside the country for a month, I am afraid, any gold you buy from here is taxable. However, small amounts of gold may be ok to carry, but i guess a 27gm bangle wont be so inconspicuous. Gold chains are rather easier to carry back since they are weightier yet less flashy.

  10. Hi, I just come back from Gold Souk and I have to say is not cheap and is not cheaper then gold in London.
    I ask for the price of 100 g and after a massive discount I can get this 100 g for £2.547, when in London price is £2.499 with delivery to your house…
    It’s a really pity that Dubai is increasing a prices on everything.
    Thailand have a nicer beaches, textiles are cheaper in Vietnam, gold anywhere, skyscrapers in New York and you can do much, much more outside of AE.
    Good luck.

    • Hi Chris, I am not sure how you can say that gold is more expensive in Dubai. Perhaps you are comparing 24/22 carat gold available here to 14 carat gold from London. Like I have explained in my blog, gold prices are more or less same across the world, with a little bit of variation due to exchange rates maybe. The only difference is making charges and taxes. Since Dubai does not have taxes, it is cheaper to buy gold here. Some diamond studded jewellery may have high making charges but that is definitely negotiable. Overall, i think your observation may be a bit misplaced.

  11. Nice and short answers to the ques. It will really help if you can recommend a few shops with minimal making charges and those who offer best deals

    • Thanks for visiting and appreciating my blog. I would refrain from recommending any shops. You have all popular gold makers form India operating shops here. Or you could go to one of the local shops in Gold souk. AED 9-10 per gram is the lowest making charges you can aim for and may be possible to get anywhere depending upon how much u are buying and your negotiation. Check out shops in meena bazar or gold souk.

  12. Hi thanks for the info in your blog,

    How much do you think it will cost me to buy 2 necklace sets of gold for about 110 grams?

    I know you cant give an exact figure.A rough estimated will be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Dear Farhaabdi, its a simple calculation, just take the current price of gold, add another AED10 as making charges and multiply that by whatever grammage of gold u want tp purchase to get an idea of how much it will cost. Given you are buying in Dubai. For eg. latest gold price for 22karat gold is AED137 per gram, add AED10 and multiply by lets say 110grams so it will cost around AED16,000-17,000. Hope this helps. Thanks.

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