OUTLOOK — By Mohammed Al Balushi — Would you take me to purchase some jewellery? My wife had requested me. She further requested by saying "this time we will go to Ruwi instead of Al Seeb". Certainly, I poorly agreed after knowing my budget, and said to her "Yes, darling". Poor husband, what option he can have except agreement. Such lovely and exciting conversation is not mine alone, but the same conversation you may find between each wife and husband. The topic is not about the lovely conversation alone, but it carries some economic queries and knowledge about gold with its history, understanding, market, originality, price and its economic impact over the state. In this regard, I asked my wife by saying; "Darling, what do you know about gold?" Well, I don't know much about it, but what I know is that it is made for women; gold makes us more beautiful when we wear them; and it is available in nice and attractive style and design. She innocently and elegantly answered me at the same time.
I am not certain how much knowledge and bargaining power do Omani women have in this field. In fact, there is no specific "Gold Market" in Oman yet. I have noticed several times in Al Seeb "jewellery bazaar" (only a few jewellery shops), where these ladies don't look for the originality and the quality of the gold. They just go and purchase it based on the way it is manufactured. In such circumstances, many women can be cheated as they lack in knowledge. One of our neighbours had given her gold earrings to one of the jewellery shops for cleaning or putting some extra decoration on them. When she went to take them back she found that the originality of the gold had already gone. They were not as they were.
Historians could not find exactly how gold was discerned. However, archaeologists have dug up gold jewellery dating from about 4000 BC near Varna, Bulgaria, on the coast of Black Sea. According to some books it is written that South Africa is by far leading in gold production. The United States is the second largest producer of gold, followed by Australia. Economists always go for its value: what value it had yesterday, what value it has today and what value will it be having in future. The price of gold also fluctuates like any other commodities.
According to London Gold Market Report at end of July 2012 where it is reported that gold prices held above $1,620 per ounce in London. This indicates that gold has a price in international market, and so it has a value. Gold can be having a role in a country's economy, as many countries accept gold in payment for international debts. On the other hand, the same gold can be used for jewellery as it is common. It was found out that approximately, two-thirds of the gold is used commercially each year. Common people purchase gold as jewellery items and also keep them as a means of savings. Investors purchase them for the sake of their business. They buy at lesser prices and sell them at a higher price. Young girls purchase gold as ornaments.
Since the gold has importance like oil, gas, money and other commodities, someone has to have the knowledge of it. Gold is not only for jewellery items with different colours and designs.
There is one more observation about these jewellery shops, which is lack of Omani employees/Omanisation. There should be at least one Omani staff member to serve Omani clients, especially for those who come from interior regions since they may face communication problem in the prevailing situation. Another advantage of employing an Omani youth in such jewellery shops is that it gives an opportunity to him or her to understand about manufacturing of jewellery, design, style, price and the price trends in the gold market.
Gold is considered as one of the economic areas where the country can do better in growing the economy of the country. Therefore, if a "Muscat Gold Market" is established on the lines of many other countries besides appointing some Omanis wearing traditional dress, it can also have the potential to attract tourists. This can pass the message to tourists that there is a market in Oman which is called "Muscat Gold Market" and secondly it can give the message that young Omanis are capable of handling tourists and regular clients.