Bahrain Pearl Route awarded UNESCO World Heritage status

November 28, 2013

Agreement with GIA (Gemological Institute of America) builds on Kingdom’s pearling history
Bahrain Pearl Route awarded UNESCO World Heritage status
Manama: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), and GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the world’s leading gemological research organisation, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Kingdom’s Gemstone and Pearl Testing Laboratory (GPTLB) into a world class facility for research into the production of natural pearls.
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.
In this regard, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Hassan Abdullah Fakhro expressed his thanks to His Royal Highness Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander for this pioneer initiative in developing the pearl industry in Bahrain that would contributed in bringing Bahrain back to its previous era as the world pearling centre. He affirmed that the initiative will benefit the government, Bahrainis and those in the industry.
He said: “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”.
H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain EDB, said: “This initiative, led by H.R.H. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, is a positive and crucial step towards reaffirming the Kingdom of Bahrain’s position as a world-leading natural pearling centre.”
He 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”.
Tom Moses, GIA Executive Vice President and Chief Laboratory and Research Officer, 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,” .
The agreement builds on Bahrain’s history as a world pearling centre, an industry which was once the backbone of the Kingdom’s economy. This history has been recognised today in an event, held under the patronage of H.R.H Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the EDB, to honour the inscription of the Pearl Route as Bahrain’s 2nd UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the 10th site to be awarded this status in the GCC.
The Pearl Route is the result of BD10 million 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. The pearling site has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, making it the country’s 2nd World Heritage Site alongside Qalat Al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort), which gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005, as the capital of the ancient Dilmun civilisation.
Notes to editors
About The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB)
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths.

Key areas of focus include manufacturing, ICT, and logistics and transport services as well as other sub-sectors. The Financial Services sector in Bahrain is particularly strong and the EDB supports in the continuing growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors, including Islamic Finance, Asset Management, Insurance and Re-Insurance.

For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit; for information about Bahrain visit

Further information
Noora Abul, Bahrain Economic Development Board
Tel: +973 17 589 903
About GIA
Established in 1931, GIA protects the public through gemmological research, professional education, and laboratory-based gem identification and grading services. GIA created and maintains recognised standards for the quality of diamonds (the 4Cs of diamond quality and the International Diamond Grading System™), coloured gems and pearls. All of GIA’s activities are governed by its mission to serve the global public interest.
Visit for more information on the GIA.
Further Information
Kristin Mahan, GIA
Tel. +1 (760) 603-4184
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