Gold makes glittering souvenir of Mecca

2012-10-23 20:50
Mecca gold shop

Mecca gold shop

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mecca - They might wear the humble white sheets required for Islam's hajj pilgrimage, but for many visitors thronging Mecca's streets, the perfect souvenir of their trip is that most glittering of commodities: gold.

For most pilgrims hajj represents the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition and many of them want to commemorate their journey with keepsakes or gifts for relatives that carry a special religious significance.

Pilgrims from smaller, less cosmopolitan places than Mecca, also find the gold jewellery to be cheaper, better quality and more elaborate than what is available at home, creating a thriving annual market for the precious metal.

"The designs are beautiful. Everything is beautiful. I am confused which ones to pick," said Ijlal Suleiman, 35, from Sudan.

But after bargaining with a gold salesman she decided to move to the next shop to sample other designs.

Dozens of gold shops lie just outside the Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, and their shelves and windows sparkle with bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, lockets and chains engraved with traditional Middle Eastern and Indian designs.

Prices of unworked gold are similar to those in Dubai, a regional jewellery hub, with 24-carats going for 204 UAE dirhams ($55.54) a gram in the Emirate and 215 riyals ($57.33) in Mecca, said a shopkeeper.

Most of the jewellery is manufactured in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea port city of Jeddah from 21-carat gold, while pieces with Indian designs are imported through Dubai, said Ali Abdullah, 35, a Saudi who has been working in a gold shop in Mecca for 10 years.

Blessed

"The gold sold in Mecca is pure and not tampered with," he said. "The Saudi gold is the best in the world. Its quality is high and it's blessed. People buy gold and say this is blessed gold from Mecca."

Unlike the white gold studded with diamonds and precious stones on display in Dubai's glitzy shopping malls, gold in Mecca's markets hardly has any additions which is more attractive to customers who buy it as an investment.

"The gold here is good in terms of its weight and manufacturing," said Mohammed Idrisur Rahman, 57, a lawyer from Bangladesh, as he bought two lockets for his daughter and daughter-in-law. "It is solid gold and the price is good and it's bought from a holy place."

For distant relatives less shiny, but highly sought after gifts would suffice, Rahman said. That includes prayer beads and zamzam water, pumped from a holy well in Mecca.

However, not all pilgrims see their purchases as religious.

"I don't believe in blessing nonsense. Gold is good, it's better than buying fabrics and clothes," said Haj Namen, 47, from Iraqi Kurdistan after buying $2 450' worth of gold for his wife at home.

"If you are away from your wife for a month you have to get her some gold," said Najem, who has performed hajj consecutively for the past 12 years as part of his job as a tour operator.

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.