If you bring home only one thing in Doha, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors suggest making sure it’s a pearl necklace.
Before the discovery of oil, the country’s economy depended on pearl fishing, and Qatar was once known as a prime exporter of these beautiful white little gemstones. But since cultured pearls from Japan began to overrun the global pearl market in the 1930s, this ancient Qatari profession has largely died out.
The tradition somewhat lives on, however, in the Arabic bazaar Souq Waqif, where some former local divers now sell beautiful sets of white, pink and black pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Sure, they may not be selling Qatari pearls — those are sold abroad for thousands of dollars each. But they are real pearls nonetheless, imported from India, Australia and Japan.
And you won’t be able to find them cheaper anywhere else. Here, a necklace can cost anywhere from SAR150 to SAR1500 or more (about US$40 to US$400). But even at the high end of the range, they are still relatively inexpensive.
Across the street, the Gold Souq also sells some one-of-a-kind sets of pearl jewelry along with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and gold.