Dubai has a long tradition of trading diverse goods across markets throughout the UAE and beyond. However, few others can match its rich history as a jewellery trader.
From humble beginnings to a multimillion-dollar industry, jewellery trading is thriving in this part of the world. This article looks at one of the most exciting markets in the Middle East, covering these key considerations:
- Jewellery business in the UAE – Overview
- Key players in the jewellery industry in Dubai
- Regulations and policies in the jewellery business in Dubai
- Jewellery license in Dubai – Step by step
- Cost of getting a jewellery license in Dubai, UAE
- Advantages of starting a jewellery business in Dubai
- How Worldwide Formations can help
When you’re ready to start your business, get in touch with Worldwide Formations for a personalised quote.
Jewellery business in the UAE – Overview
The jewellery industry in the UAE has many subsectors, from global gem and precious metal traders to retailers selling directly to consumers in the country’s souks and malls.
There is a huge range of jewellery on offer, too. Many retailers specialise in more affordable costume pieces, while others focus on the finest and most expensive creations. By the end of this year, it is predicted that the high-end luxury market will account for around 55% of all jewellery sales.
These various businesses contribute to a market estimated to be worth USD 0.4bn currently, with annual growth of 2.65% up to 2026.
Dubai’s jewellery businesses are of economic and cultural significance. Gold and jewellery account for around 20% of the UAE’s non-oil exports, while between 20% and 40% of global gold stock passes through the country every year.
In the early 1900s, Dubai’s jewellery markets were little more than a few ramshackle stalls by the water’s edge. By the 1940s, traders were arriving from India and Iran, while the discovery of oil in the 1970s increased the buying power of traders in the region.
More recently, Dubai Gold Souk has grown rapidly from 400 square metres of glistening alleyways to a vast trading place covering over four square kilometres.
Key players in the jewellery industry in Dubai
The UAE is home to numerous jewellery businesses, from independent boutiques to established local and international names.
Maveroc is a UAE-based brand that is fast growing a reputation beyond our shores thanks to its colourful mix-and-match pieces. Another homegrown brand is Mystique, which specialises in fine diamonds and precious gemstones.
However, much more of the industry’s market share is held by international players. Cartier, De Beers, Damiani and Tiffany all have a strong presence here.
Regulations and policies in the jewellery business in Dubai
In line with international standards, the UAE jewellery industry is very strictly regulated. Any business wishing to refine, import or trade in gold must adhere to the standards of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA).
ESMA rules cover everything from the calibration of weighing scales used for gold and gems to the correct way to display, label and tag jewellery. All businesses in the UAE must comply with regulations governing anti-money laundering and the funding of terrorism.
Anyone wishing to import gold to the UAE must comply with the UAE Good Delivery Standard. Among other things, this regulation stipulates that import centres must follow a five-step framework when trading in gold with conflict-affected areas.
The five steps are establishing a governance framework, conducting a supply chain risk assessment, mitigating any identified risks, allowing for independent review and submitting periodic reports.
The UAE does not levy any import duty or other tax on gold bars; however, other forms of jewellery are liable for VAT.
While there is no restriction on the amount that can be imported, VAT is applied on pieces with a value of more than AED 100,000, unless they are to be reexported.
Consumer protection laws
Under UAE law, consumers are granted the right to correct information at the time of purchase. They should also be informed of return policies on request. However, merchants have no obligation to accept returns once goods have been purchased.
Jewellery license in Dubai – Step by Step
Before establishing a jewellery business in the UAE, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert company formation specialist. The team at Worldwide Formations will take the time to get to know you and your business before guiding you through the steps below.
Step 1: Choose your business activities
The first step when starting a business in Dubai is clearly defining your intended activities. This is a straightforward process in this instance as jewellery businesses are covered under activity 513928, which permits “reselling adornment jewellery such as brooches, earnings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, which are made of gold, platinum, palladium, titanium, silver and gemstones.”
If you intend to do anything else, such as import gold and gems for trade, you will also need to list these activities on your license application.
Step 2: Choose your company name
The next step is to choose your company name. There are several considerations to keep in mind at this stage.
For example, your business name cannot be the same as one used by an existing business in the UAE. In addition, it should not contain any blasphemous or offensive language or have any religious connotations.
Step 3: Applying for your jewellery business license
Once you have taken care of the all-important early admin, you can now apply for your UAE jewellery license.
The process here, while straightforward, does require an expert eye, so it’s always a good idea to work with a UAE company formation specialist.
We can manage your application on your behalf, liaising with free zone and mainland authorities, depending on your chosen jurisdiction.
Step 4: Applying for visas
With your license application underway, you can begin the UAE residency visa process. This involves several steps, including entry permit application, a medical examination, biometric scanning and immigration stamping.
At this stage you can also secure any other visas that may be required, such as your family’s or employees’. Once again, Worldwide Formations can guide you through this process.
Step 5: Open a corporate bank account
Finally, you will need a corporate bank account to trade freely in the UAE.
With so many local and international institutions on offer, it can be difficult to find the one that’s right for you. However, once we understand your needs, the team at Worldwide Formations can advise on the bank most suited to your business.
Cost of getting a jewellery license in Dubai, UAE
The cost of starting a jewellery business will differ depending on the size and nature of your operation, as well as your chosen jurisdiction.
Whichever path you choose, you will first need to account for your UAE trade license, which costs in the region of AED 10,000 to AED 30,000.
On top of these costs, you’ll also need to budget for visas, premises, staff, equipment, and any additional permits that may be required to trade.
For a full and personalised breakdown of the costs involved in starting a UAE jewellery business, get in touch with the team at Worldwide Formations.
Advantages of starting a jewellery business in Dubai
The main advantage of starting a jewellery business in the UAE is its large and demanding market. The trade-in gems and precious metals is huge out here, and there is always room in the market for new businesses that can offer something new or different.
Then there’s the UAE’s strategic location. Nestled in the Middle East between the vast markets of Asia, Africa and Europe, it is the perfect place to import jewellery materials wholesale.
Finally, the UAE’s company formation process has been honed over time to be fast, affordable and straightforward. With the right support, you can be trading within days.
How Worldwide Formations can help
Worldwide Formations are experts in all things relating to business setup in the UAE. Our dedicated team can help you tackle the complexities of establishing your jewellery company and make the whole process simple.
We’re on hand to manage everything for you, from licenses to visas and much more. Get in touch for more information and a personalised quote.