History

With Bahrain’s illustrious pearling history and world standing as a premier location for natural pearls, it was only logical to establish the Pearl & Gem Testing Laboratory in 1990. This became part of a Directorate within the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture (now the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism) via Amiri Degree No. 10, which passed a law prohibiting anyone from altering a testing certificate issued by the Laboratory, issuing a testing certificate falsely attributed to the Laboratory, effecting a change or replacing any pearl after testing and then selling it with the original certificate issued by the Laboratory. As the first such laboratory in the Middle East, it established a positive reputation both in the region and beyond. The next step in its evolution was the establishment of Danat Institute, the Bahrain Institute for Pearls & Gemstones. Danat Institute goes beyond its role as a certifying authority. It is dedicated to developing the local and regional pearl and gemstone industry. And to foster this tradition, It offers training programmes to a new generation of gemmologists both in Bahrain and in the region.

  • Ancient Bahrain

    Ancient Bahrain

    Bahrain (the Arabian Gulf’s magical Island Kingdom and a true Garden of Eden) is the world’s premier location for natural pearls and is steeped in pearling history. Virtually every ancient author when describing the islands of Bahrain mentions the fine pearls found in its waters. Evidence from excavations in Bahrain indicate that pearling within the country has a staggering 4,000 year history.

  • Famous Pearls

    Famous Pearls

    Bahrain’s pearls were, and remain to this day, internationally famous for their brilliance, purity and beauty. Pearls were classified according to size, shape, colour and lustre. It is thought that the purity and beauty of the finest Bahraini pearls is due to the oyster beds’ location near underwater sweet water springs.

  • Pearl Diving

    Pearl Diving

    Up until 1932 diving for pearls was the main resource of income in Bahrain. The pearling journey typically took three or four months, usually starting in June and ending in October every year. The number of pearling ships which sailed to the pearl beds (Hairat) in some seasons reached more than 2,500 ships. Pearling bed depths were generally from 7-20 (Ba’a); more than a metre. Divers would not spend more than one or two minutes underwater.

  • Pearling Trail

    Pearling Trail

    Another testimony to the importance of pearls and pearling to Bahrain was the creation of the ‘Pearling Trail’ on the Bahraini island of Muharraq. The Trail, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 30, 2012, is 3.5 km long and was used by pearl divers during much of Bahrain’s history. The site is the last remaining example of the cultural tradition of pearling and the wealth it generated at a time when the trade dominated the Gulf economy.

  • Pearl and Gemstone Laboratory

    Gemstone Laboratory

    The Pearl & Gemstone Testing Laboratory of Bahrain (established in 1990) was the first Laboratory of its kind to be set up in the Middle East, developing a positive reputation within the Middle East and beyond. In 2017, at the instigation of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) was formed as a wholly owned entity of Mumtalakat (Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund) to take over, enhance and expand upon the excellent work of the Pearl & Gemstone Testing Laboratory of Bahrain.