The first diamond sale of the year is underway in Dubai, with a record number of buyers eager to acquire the gems.
The market for the rare and valuable gems, which is still heavily regulated, is booming with an average of more than 500,000 pieces sold each day, according to a statement from the Dubai Gold and Diamond Corp.
The Dubai Gold & Diamond Corporation said that the total number of purchases was up from a year earlier.
This year, the company said, it had a total of 1,766 pieces sold, a record.
Dubai’s new mayor Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Sunday that the country was in the midst of an “unprecedented” market for rare gems.
He said that this was due to a number of factors, including the government’s decision to make diamond jewellery legal for women, and that it was also encouraging the demand for the stones for weddings and engagement rings.
The sale of diamonds is one of the few areas where the government is trying to control prices and restrict smuggling, but its impact on the market is not yet clear.
Last month, the Dubai government passed a law banning the sale of gold, silver, platinum and other rare stones and limiting their trade to individuals.
In the past, Dubai’s authorities have also stepped up controls over the sale and export of gold and silver.
Last year, Dubai banned gold imports from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is home to the world’s largest diamond industry.