Although the Gold and Diamond Park is not a free zone in its own right, the long-standing agreement between Emaar Properties PJSC and Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) guarantees free zone advantages to companies that operate in it.
The Park opened in May 2001 and initially comprised 38 gold and jewellery outlets and secured Dubai's reputation as the gold capital of the world.
With the completion of phases two and three
in November 2007, the number of outlets grew to 90, and 118 manufacturing units and 350 commercial units were added.
Today, it is a one-stop shop that meets the requirements of the global jewellery market. With a number of manufacturing units, custom-made pieces can be manufactured
on site quickly - a huge benefit for gold-loving tourists.
One example of the success of the free zone is Cara's.
After working at Dubai's gold souq for ten years, Kiran Pethani and his brother Anil decided to start their own business. In 2004, they opened Cara at Dubai's Gold and Diamond Park, selling a wide range of jewellery crafted from gold, diamonds and precious stones.
A shining example
"Starting up in a free zone was the best option for us," says Kiran. "To open a business in the gold souq, you need millions of dirhams. The Gold and Diamond Park is much more affordable. That, coupled with the easy procedures that are in place regarding visas and sponsors, made the Park an ideal location.
In the first year, Anil and I worked alone in the shop. Now we have a workforce of 24, split between two shops in the Park."
In addition to the two shops, the brothers opened a factory at the Park in 2007, which made it possible for their customers to design individual pieces.
Stepping into the bustling store, people are always greeted with a warm welcome and enticed to return — something that ensured Cara became a firm favourite with Dubai's expatriate community. "Customer loyalty is a huge thing for Cara," says Kiran.
"In a competitive market, word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers are invaluable."
Dream come true
Keen to expand into the European jewellery market, the Pethani brothers chose Ireland to house their first European store — hardly surprising given the prevailing Irish theme
in the Gold and Diamond Park's flagship store.
"Two months ago, we opened a shop in Ireland, which was a dream come true for us," says Kiran. "I have no doubt that setting up in the free zone allowed us to be successful." n