Al Suwaidi Pearl Farm is the only one of its kind in the Middle East and was set up 15 years ago by Abdulla al Suwaidi, grandson of one of the last pearl divers, Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Suwaidi.
Archeological evidence of pearls being used in the area go as far back as 6000 BC. In fact, the oldest known pearl in the world was found on an island in Abu Dhabi and is around 8000 years old and is now on display in Le Louvre in the capital.
Pearls have not only been found near the coast. A pearl necklace estimated to be around 7000 years old was found in a Palaeolithic period grave at Al Buhais in Al Madam Desert. Pearls may have been traded for pottery at that time.
The tour leaves from the harbour in a traditional boat and first takes you on a fascinating trip around the bay and then out to the mangroves. Along with the scenery of the rugged Hajar mountains and mangroves reflecting in the calm, clear water, you’ll also see herons, egrets, flamingos, cormorants and other birds, flying fish and, surprisingly, even camels.
Next stop is the pearl farm itself in the main bay of Rams. A very informative history of pearling is given by the knowledgeable guide followed by a detailed explanation and demonstration of the whole process of pearl farming. After this, an oyster will be selected to be opened and checked for pearls, both cultured and natural.
The final part of the farm tour is the explanation of how pearls are classed according to lustre, size, shape, etc with a chance to see all the pearls and tools up close.
The priceless prayer beads above are one of only three sets which take several years to complete. The other two were gifted to Sheikh Khalifa and Sultan Qaboos.
Products are also on show if anyone would like to buy anything. (Also available in their store in Dubai.)
Before leaving the farm on the boat back to the harbour, each guest receives a gift. I won’t spoil the surprise!
This is absolutely a tour I recommend! Advance booking is required. Tours are 300 dhs upwards for adults, 200 up for children. Visit Al Suwaidi Pearl Farm for more information.