Hana Salah reports in Al-Monitor:
Al-Qaysariyya gold market is regarded as one of the oldest historical monuments in Gaza City, and is a hub for gold trading that was established during the Mamluk period by Sheikh Shams al-Din Zanki al-Himsi, a Gazan judge, who ordered its construction in 1476.
The market first served as a hub for merchants who flocked in on their horses, which were tied up to stables that later became gold shops. In a corner of the ancient gold market, opposite the Omari Mosque — also known as the Great Mosque of Gaza — that dates back to the fifth century, sits al-Badrasawi jewelry shop, which began making gold in 2000.
The shop has gradually developed its gold industry, which climaxed during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. This was when all crossings with the Gaza Strip were closed as part of the precautionary measures to stem the spread of the virus, which affected the gold imports — thus encouraging local industries to work on replacing the gold products usually imported from the Gulf, Turkey and other countries.
The shop owner, Mohammad al-Badrasawi, 48, began working in the gold business about 30 years ago. He then shifted to gold manufacturing in 2000 to meet the market demands. Badrasawi now has five employees who are skilled in manufacturing gold. “We now supply gold jewelry to all stores in and outside the gold market in the Gaza Strip,” Badrasawi told Al-Monitor.
Despite the great success in the gold industry in Gaza, some challenges are expected, mainly “the Israeli blockade that prevents the entry of raw materials, considered as dual-use materials [civilian and military] such as nitrate that helps us filter impurities from the gold,” Badrasawi said. Gazan merchants rely on imported ready-made wax molds from Turkey, which help in modernizing designs and diversifying the available products.
“Israel, however, also bans the importation of several machines that are used to make more fashionable jewelry designs, such as the CNC technique, which is a computerized digital control technology to design new shapes. This is not to mention the laser machines to create new molds and get creative in our designs,” Badrasawi added.