Dhanteras is coming and, if you’re looking to buy gold this Diwali, there’s no better place than the UAE – the El Dorado of Middle East.

Why buy gold?

Many people flock to jewelers at Dhanteras to buy precious metals and utensils as a sign of good luck. [Related: Diwali 2014: Top offers in the UAE]

But why choose gold?

  • A long-term bet: Worldwide, gold has risen by more than 600 percent in the last 10 years, making it a very attractive asset class.
  • Diversify your wealth: Property, bonds and stocks are great ways of investing and managing your wealth, but with gold you get to put your savings where you can see them, and can liquidate it fairly quickly.
  • The real joy of gold is gold itself: It shines and shimmers, you can wear it, gift it, pass it down from generation to generation.

Gold price in Dubai vs Mumbai

Remember, there is no tax on gold in the UAE. This makes the price per gram significantly cheaper than in India. For example, the prices today:

Price per gram by purity  In Dubai In Mumbai
24-carat 145.68 AED 164
22-carat 133.53 AED 154.50

We also checked the gold prices in London and New York; however, the price is around the same as in Dubai.

From gold bullion, to jewelry, to accounts

Before you buy, find out the current price of gold. It is usually listed at the gold souq or a jeweler by dirhams per gram, but you can do your homework beforehand by checking prices at goldpricesdubai.com.

  1. Gold bullion: You can pick up 24-carat UAE gold bullion coins, accredited by DMCC’s Dubai Good Delivery Standard (DGD), at authorised jewelers located at the gold souqs or malls across the UAE. These can even be found at banks like Noor Bank and Ajman Bank, as well as online. You can get denominations of 3.1 grams (one-tenth of an ounce), 7.7 grams (quarter of an ounce), 15.5 grams (half an ounce) or 31.1 grams (one ounce) in 99.99 percent purity.
  2. Gold ATM: A fun way to buy gold in the UAE is via the unique “Gold to Go” ATMS, to be found at high-end malls and hotels. Select between tiny bars, coins or jewelry on a touch screen, pay with either cash or credit card and watch your purchase pop out of the machine like golden candy. These vending machines, which can be found at The Dubai Mall, Atlantis – The Palm, the Burj Khalifa and Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, update the price every 10 minutes to match current prices.
  3. Gold accounts: You can invest in gold in the UAE through bank accounts without taking actual physical possession of the yellow metal, or having to worry about storage or security. Options are the Emirates NBD Gold Investment Account and the Mashreq Gold Edge Invest Account. The purchase can be made on the banks’ online platforms, where rates are updated twice a day. You can also set up a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) to buy small units of gold every month.
  4. Gold jewelry: If you’re looking to combine your investment with adornment, head out to the gold souq in Deira, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi or gold retailers at the malls to pick up a shiny bauble you can flaunt at Diwali get-togethers. Don’t worry about authenticity – the UAE government has very strict laws and frequent monitoring of gold vendors. Take your pick from a variety of designs – Indian, Arabic or Western, in 18-carat, 22-carat or 24-carat.

Negotiating for your gold

Make yourself familiar with how the jewelry has been priced by asking for a breakdown. Typically, there’s a price per gram of gold, plus a “making” fee which the dealer charges to cover manufacturing and smelting overheads.

While there’s no scope to haggle on the current price of gold, compare the making charges at different jewelers and ask for discounts.

Madhvi Chauhan, an Indian living in Sharjah for the last eight years, buys a gold trinket every Diwali. She says: “The making charge varies according to the piece you buy and the shop you opt for. For chains it starts at approximately AED 5 per gram; earrings and rings are AED 10 and up, and bangles or bracelets cost from AED 15. Pendants with intricate designs may have a making fee of about AED 100 for the piece.”

Finally, be aware that some jewelers will not break down the price, and instead charge per piece.

Mithila Lad, another gold buyer who lives in Dubai, says: “I recently spotted a designer necklace at a branded store. Surprisingly, the cost was AED 4,000 for 10 grams of gold. Going by the 22-carat rate of AED 135 per gram on that day, this necklace was priced at AED 2,650 higher than the live gold rate, because it was priced by piece.”

Do ask about offers and don’t hesitate to negotiate for free gold coins if you’re making a big purchase.