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Pearls of Qatar, shedding light on their history, legacy, and heritage


DJWE provides opportunity to take in Qatar’s past in natural pearl


Each year, throughout the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE), Qatar’s pearls are on display. Qatar and the pearl are forever intertwined, and the country's leading jewellery connoisseurs showcase their designs featuring this precious jewel and honouring the local culture.

The historic significance of the pearl in Qatar

Pearl diving and trading in Qatar dates back to as early as 4, 600 BCE. Located amidst the Arabian Gulf, the coastal waters of Qatar have been abundant with oysters, particularly the prized pearl oysters, and are an ideal location for pearl diving. The jewel has had a significant impact on Qatari culture, history, economy, and international relations.

Early Qatari pearl divers would sail into the Arabian Gulf on traditional dhows, and dive into the sea to collect molluscs. This task was incredibly hazardous due to the dynamic waves, the hot weather, and dangerous sea creatures. Divers would often face fungal diseases due to the constant damp nature of the task of 50 to 60 dives per day. Each dive would have divers hold their breath with a nose peg for up to two minutes at a time, up to 18 meters deep underwater. Once the oysters were collected, pearls were then retrieved from them and kept in a safe on the dhow, while the shell was either discarded or sold after being converted into ‘Mother of Pearl’. Pearls were transformed into jewellery and used as currency. Pearl divers created songs and folk dances to represent pearl diving, passing them onto the next generations, preserving their legacy.

Initially, pearls were traded to India, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw a surge in pearl trading, symbolising it as the golden era. Several pearl merchants from across the globe arrived in Qatar for pearl trading, increasing the demand. In 1907, 48% of Qatar’s 27, 000 population were employed in pearling. This boosted the country’s economy and business sector and transformed the country into a commercial hub.

Today, as Qatar continues to diversify its economy, the history of pearl diving remains a symbol of resilience, tradition, and the enduring connection between the people and the sea. Committed to preserving the legacy of pearling, not only can these fine jewels be seen on display and throughout many jewellery pieces at this year’s DJWE, but also throughout the country including the Qatar Pearl Monument on the Corniche, the Pearl Island, Souq Waqif and Souq Al Wakrah pearl markets the National Museum of Qatar, and more.

The 20th edition of Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition is being hosted from February 5 to 11 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. For more information on Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition 2024, please visit To keep up with the latest events of Qatar Calendar 2024, please visit

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About Qatar Tourism

Qatar Tourism’s mission is to establish Qatar as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment, rooted in Service Excellence. Qatar Tourism will regulate and develop the tourism industry, encouraging investment from the private sector. It will set the national strategy for the tourism sector, reviewing it periodically and overseeing its implementation, with the aim of diversifying tourism offerings in the country and increasing visitor spend. Through our network of international offices in priority markets, and cutting-edge digital platforms, Qatar Tourism is expanding Qatar’s presence globally and enhancing the tourism sector.