There is a recent focus on the Middle East, made many westerns curious about working or investing in these lands. With many business opportunities in the Middle East starting to emerge once again, and the Arabian gold market is prospecting as an intermediate physical gold market between East and West.
The demand for gold is increasing in the Middle East. For a better understanding of the gold demand in the Arab countries, the history of gold in the Arabic culture needs to be read to some extent.
The best culture indicators are literature and language. These two can tell us how the people are raised, and how they think for the next 100 years.
There are two main languages in the Middle East, Persian and Arabic. Since Arabs are more open markets to western ventures, we will suffice by taking a quick look on the Arabic culture.
Gold in Arabic Language
Language has always been the thermometer of culture. The greater the amount of synonyms for a word, the more important is this item in the target culture.
The old sematic language, devised many words for gold, which indicates how much this metal was important for the old Arabs. The general word is “Dahab” which is the Arabic equivalent to gold.
Gold ore dust or small rocks are called “Tibr”, which was less valuable than gold. “Niddar” was gold of higher quality than the regular gold, along with the term “A’asjad”, which means, highly valued gold. “Ibreez” was the term they used for the purest of the yellow metal. Three of these old words survived in Arabic literature until 100 years ago.
After Modern Standard Arabic dominated and there was no need for these synonyms, only “dahab” survived due to the lack of gold discoveries in the area. The term “dahab” itself is derived from the Arabic verb to go. The origin for this name, according to old says, was because whoever sees it, almost lose his mind.
The Middle Eastern legendary literature piece has its share from illustration how gold was important in the Arabic culture. Not to mention its influence on western writers; just to name a few, Edgar Alan Poe, Charles Dickens, Goethe, H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft and Steven King. This piece of literature had a much greater influence on Arabic speaking countries and Arab communities.
Three of the most famous characters in literature, Ali-baba, Sinbad the sailor and Aladdin, share the experience of seeing gold heaps or being saved thanks to gold. The story itself mentioned gold remarkable times.
Sinbad was saved in his seventh and last voyage from a devouring snake by a golden rod he had as gift from two young boys. For each story of his voyages, he was gifted 100 gold Arabian “Mithqal”, that’s more than 16 ounce of gold for each one of his voyages!
Ali-baba has his own secret golden-goose, the thieves’ cave. He became one of the richest merchants in town by knowing the secret word “Open Sesame” to open the enchanted hideout and take whatever gold is there.
Aladdin had a trail himself, as he needs not to touch any of the gold treasures and gem trees in the magic cave of wonders, in order to acquire the magical lamp. Aladdin’s first wish from the genie of the lamp was gold and wealth in order to approach the princess.
Arabian nights, or One thousand and one nights, mentioned gold numerous times in different occasions and with different symbolism. Other Arabic literature works referred to gold as the ultimate prize or ultimate trail.
The Middle East sees gold as the best of the best, the divine metal and the safe-heaven. They are, as traders, know where greed can lead to. Remember that before oil was discovered, the Middle East was the trade route from the East to the West, and a major stop in the great Silk-Road. These people have been traders for 1,500 years. So it would be wise not underestimate their trading skills.