This metropolis on the Gulf coast will be the venue of the first ever global conference on pearls.
The Dubai Pearl Exchange, a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), has announced that it would host the first ever World Pearl Forum here Feb 17-19 next year, with the objective of bringing together the global pearl sector, and addressing ways to grow the worldwide market for pearl jewellery, according to a DMCC statement.
The event is being sponsored by Dubai World, the global investment company of the Dubai government, and is part of DMCC's continuing effort to revitalise the global pearl trade, and build on Dubai's historic status as the pearl centre of the Gulf. DMCC is an arm of Dubai World.
"There is currently an unprecedented opportunity for Dubai to take a leadership role in shaping the global pearl sector, while at the same time underscoring Dubai's heritage as the traditional pearl capital of the world," Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said in the statement.
"Globally, pearls have witnessed a recent resurgence and Dubai needs to leverage this development to drive international interest in pearl trading," he added.
Over 200 leading pearl specialists from across the world will participate in the forum. These will include pearl producers, national pearl bodies, certification specialists and jewellery trade experts.
According to the DMCC statement, pearls presently comprise around two percent of the global jewellery trade, but studies show that the pearl trade has significant growth potential if all players collaborate to promote consumer awareness for the gem.
DMCC chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the objective of the forum was to create a long-term platform for international debate on how to further develop the pearl sector globally.
"Through the forum, the Dubai Pearl Exchange plans to unite the industry by highlighting areas of opportunity as well as identifying integrated programmes that will involve all stakeholders of the global pearl trade," he said.
The inaugural forum will address several fundamental issues, including the critical need for greater consumer understanding about the value of pearls, and ways in which the industry must unite to drive consumer demand.
Pearl producers and government pearling bodies are also expected to present case studies on their growth and strategies to increase pearl sales.
Among speakers who have confirmed their participation at the forum are of Australian pearling firm Paspaley's executive chairman Nicholas Paspaley, Robert Wan Tahiti's chairman Robert Wan, president of Japan's Mikimoto & Co. Noriyuki Morita, managing director of Iridesse - a part of the Tiffany group - Robert Cepek, and the Gemological Association of Great Britain's chief executive Jack Ogden.
Pearling is a key feature of the UAE's traditional culture and the DMCC has started a major initiative to revive the industry.
Last year, it announced the launch of Pearls of Dubai, an integrated pearl centre that would include a pearl farm and a retail destination.