The Diamond Pro

Worth it to Fly UK to Dubai to buy a Diamond?

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us. Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

UPDATE: I just made a quick trip to secret shop the Dubai diamond market. Unfortunately, I found more of the same shenanigans you see in most diamond districts. I did find one great contact though. One company does a great job of sourcing legitimately certified diamonds directly from diamond manufacturers at excellent prices. Please contact me directly and I can put you in touch with him. While the US market is still your best bet for overall value, this is an excellent option for people living in Dubai. It is also a great option for Europeans. A quick trip saves you 20-25% in taxes and duties. Especially if you are traveling to Asia, Africa or the Middle East anyways, you can easily arrange a stopover on Emirates.


I’ve been researching diamond buying for a while as I’m looking to buy an engagement ring in the next month or so. One of the avenues I’ve been considering is to fly over (from UK) to Dubai and visit the Gold Souk and Gold & Diamond centre.

Having read good and bad things about Dubai (Good: Tax free, can get real bargains…Bad: Can get ripped off, Dubai diamonds inferior quality, Buy diamond in sealed bag with cert, they don’t have good cut), can you please give your thoughts on Dubai for diamond or ring buying.

I have around £2k to spend as a total and want a princess cut, .5 to .75 crt diamond with a Gold ring (not platinum or white gold).

Unless you have another reason to be in Dubai, I think the idea is just going to end up costing you more money. There’s a few reasons:

1) While it’s true, in Dubai, most diamonds are sold sealed — there’s a reason for this. Nobody trusts anybody else. That’s fine, but the problem is that only IGI, HRD, and a local lab or two (that nobody really uses) offer the sealing service. GIA and AGS don’t. See my article about the different gem labs. IGI and HRD aren’t very reliable, so that combined with the unscrupulousness of the Dubai market would make me very wary of buying there.

2) if you’re budget is 2000 Sterling, the airfare and hotel is definitely going to be more than any VAT you’ll pay in the UK.

3) While it’s true margins in Dubai are very low due to the fierce competition, they’re not much higher, if at all, on a site like Blue Nile.

4) There is very little princess cut selection in Dubai. Demand for Princess cuts is much less in Dubai than the UK or the US, so stores stock very little of them.

What I recommend is buying a diamond on Blue Nile UK. You can have the diamond set in a simple gold setting on the site. I will go look for a stone that I recommend and send you a link via email.

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
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