Merchants travelled to the Gulf " to purchase the seed pearls and the large pearls... to sell in India, whereby they have great gains." L.di Varthema (AD 1503)
Pearling was the foundation on which most of the big merchant dynasties of the Gulf built their fortunes.
For these merchants, pearl trading was a highly skilled profession and way of life. They would gather in particular coffee houses for business, examining pearls, negotiating sales and meeting old friends.
Onward from the Gulf
Seed pearls were in demand as adornments for Hindu weddings and the destination for many Gulf pearls was Mumbai (Bombay).
From India, the best pearls were classfied and dispatched to the markets of Europe, especially the jewellery workshops of Paris.