Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Out and about: Silver shopping in Mutrah Souk

Really I should have written a post taking an overall look at the Mutrah souk first....but shopping for jewellery is much more exciting so I will start there.

The souk is easily one of my favourite places in Muscat, I like the architecture and generally I like the atmosphere of any market.

You can find anything from scarves to antiques, and even industrial scale cooking pots (if you need that sort of thing!) Of course the most interesting things for me are the jewelry and, even though there is a large gold area, if you are prepared to rummage in a few of the more general stores you can find some real beauties when it comes to silver.
silver jewellery muscat muttrah souk 
silver rings muscat muttrah souk
My favourite shop to peruse is pictured below. To find it you walk straight through the main entrance and down to the cross-section in the middle and head to the first shop on the left. The jewellery selection isn't huge but the shopkeepers are honest about was is pure silver and what is just silver plated. That said I would always look out for the "925" stamp that should be on all silver jewellery which means that it is 92.5% silver. This isn't a rule, by the way, some silver isn't stamped based on my research, but it is a good place to start.
hertitage centre muttrah souq
I don't keep track of the cost of silver, but since these pieces typically contain some sort of stone it is difficult to know just on weight alone what the worth is, and so the haggling begins.

I've been told that you should get down to at least 50% of the price you were originally quoted for a fair price. I've never managed that but I have got up to 40% off, which I was pleased with. Typically such bracelets as the one I got below are quoted at 18-19OMR, I got mine for 11OMR. Rings seem to vary that much more. For similar styles to the one I purchased below, with the same semi-precious stones, I have been quoted between 10 and 45 OMR (I paid 10OMR, of course).
silver bracelet
silver ring semi-precious gem stonesAs a Brit, honestly I'm not that comfortable with haggling, but I do think it is important that you come away with a price that you are happy to pay. Generally there is room for negotiation (this is true for everything in Oman), but if you let it be known that you have set your heart on whatever piece you've spied then sellers will be more reluctant to budge.