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Pearl Diving Heritage

Diving for Pearls in Qatar: A Family Tradition and Cultural Heritage

Pearls were once Qatar's primary export commodity for thousands of years. Today, despite the competition from Japanese oyster farms, natural pearls remain at the top end of the jewellery market. The tradition of pearl diving continues to thrive among the few hardy divers, like Mohammed Abdulla al-Sada, who follow in their ancestors' footsteps.

They seek their fortunes in the waters off Qatar, and the discovery of large natural pearls, like one in every 10,000 oysters, is rare and expensive.

Natural pearl diving is a calling for Mohammed, keeping old traditions alive, and the pearl industry is vital to Qatar's culture and heritage.

Pearls are embroidered in Qatari culture, and the National Museum of Qatar highlights the depth of the pearling industry, the first exports of which were the Gulf pearls, considered the most expensive type of pearls.

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