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GIA to build pearl testing centre in Bahrain


Facility to lead dedicated research in historical pearling nation.

The Gemological Institure of America (GIA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) and The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) to establish a leading natural pearl testing and research centre.

The three organisations signed the memorandum to develop the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Gemstone and Pearl Testing Laboratory (GPTLB) into a "world class" facility for research into the production of natural pearls.

GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer Tom Moses, said: “We are honoured to contribute GIA’s expertise and research, and to work alongside the EDB and the MOIC to build on Bahrain’s history and reputation, as a leading centre for natural pearl research and production."

Under the terms of the MoU, each party will work together to protect and enhance Bahrain’s pearling industry, with the aim of developing capacity, research, expertise, and technological know-how at the GPTLB, as well as identifying further opportunities for the sector to grow.

The minister of industry and commerce Dr Hassan Abdullah Fakhro said the initiative will benefit the government, Bahrainis and those in the industry: “The MoU is an exciting development for Bahrain’s pearling industry. The Kingdom of Bahrain has dedicated its effort to ensure that the industry keeps up with international standards.

"By working in partnership with the GIA, the GPTLB will be provided with the facilities and expertise required to capitalise on regional and international trade and investment opportunities in this fast growing sector."

The decision has been described as a crucial step towards reaffirming the Kingdom of Bahrain’s position as a world-leading natural pearling centre.

The minister of transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain EDB, H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Gemological Institute of America, a leading source of research, standards, and education in gems and jewellery, to ensure the GPTLB has the tools required to boost Bahrain’s pearl production capacity. Historically, pearling was the backbone of our economy, and we want to capitalise on our heritage, combined with world-class techniques and processes, to create a centre of excellence for the industry here in Bahrain."

The agreement builds on Bahrain’s history as a world pearling centre, recognised today in an event to honour the launch of the Pearl Route project, marking Bahrain’s second UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Pearl Route is the result of BD10 million (£16.2m) project by the Ministry of Culture to renovate one of Bahrain’s oldest neighbourhoods to maintain the artefacts and cultural heritage from the country’s pearl diving industry.


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