This precious metal is sold worldwide, yet a 2005 to 2009 study by the Ministry of Foreign Trade revealed that the UAE sits among one of the world’s top five gold traders, with Abu Dhabi’s gold market being one of the biggest. Gold in the UAE has no Value Added Tax (VAT), making it particularly inexpensive, and often offering prices up to 40 percent lower than in the West.
With around 85 gold shops and jewellery manufacturers in Abu Dhabi, tourists and expatriates will find purchasing gold enjoyable. You may also find yourself staying at one of the few hotels with a ‘gold to go’, the world’s first gold vending machine, a German-made machine first installed at the Emirates Palace Hotel in 2010.
The Madinat Zayed Gold Souk is gold heaven and features many varieties of gold at very reasonable prices. Distinguishing gold can be complicated, which is why carats are used to measure the purity. While 24 carats are desired for their purest form, gold made from it can easily lose shape or become scratched. To overcome this, gold is often mixed with alloys, decreasing the carat rating and altering the colour (depending on the metal used), with pink, yellow and white tinges being popular outcomes.