Combining a deep ancient tradition, excellent craftsmanship and sophisticated modern technology, Thailand’s gems and jewellery industry sparkles among the world’s finest.
Bangkok serves as a hub for some of the world’s finest gems and jewellery, diamonds, coloured stones and precious metals. All are flown in from around the world and then are polished, cut, and set in Thailand.
According to the Thailand Investment Review, the Kingdom is the world’s number one producer of silver jewellery and the fifth largest centre of diamond cutting. It ranks top five as a polishing centre and 12th worldwide for coloured stones.
All said, it is impressive stuff indeed. The Royal Thai Government has taken note and support for the industry has grown recently while the private sector has continued to take the initiative, raising awareness and driving business to reputable suppliers who are recognised as worldwide industry leaders.
The Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) hosts the inaugural annual ‘Thailand Gems & Jewelry Fair’ in Bangkok. The event is testament to the industry’s growing confidence of those interested in entering the industry, opening new sales channels as well as highlighting Thailand’s strength as a world-class hub for gems and jewellery.
TGJTA is also pushing for industry specific duty-free status that is still subject to government approval and involves the exemption of value-added tax (VAT) for imports of finished diamonds and gemstones for manufacturing, rough stones for manufacturing and sale, machinery tools and essential materials.
While great news for the industry, visitors often have simpler aspirations. They are looking for good deals on quality gems and jewellery as gifts for loved ones or highly personal occasions. Few things in life are more romantic than shopping for wedding jewellery then arranging a Thai-style wedding or themed engagement party in one of Thailand’s main wedding regions.
Shoppers are rarely disappointed if they use common sense and follow the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) advises tourists to stick to certified stores in Bangkok’s numerous and vibrant gems and jewellery areas. Each road or area usually specialises in an industry segment, be it gold, silver, diamonds or precious and semi-precious coloured stones.
Silom Road – Diamond Shopping
If diamonds truly are a ‘girl’s best friend’ then Silom Road in the capital’s busy business district is where shoppers need to be. It is hailed as Bangkok’s centre for diamond jewellery with reportedly over 400 stores to choose.
Surawongse Road – Silver Shopping
While difficult to verify there are up to 250 shops in the enclave to choose from, so Surawongse will satisfy the needs of visitors who want the best. The area specialises in high-end pieces, the silver used here is reportedly the purest, highest quality in Thailand.
Maheasak’s ‘Gemstones Street’
Thailand is a world leader in coloured stones, both precious and semi-precious coloured stones, and Maheasak is Bangkok’s gem heart and soul. Well known amongst foreign gem wholesalers, bulk buys are possible if you follow the gem buying tips recommended earlier. Ready-made jewellery (coloured stones) is also considered high quality.
Yaowarat – Gold Shopping
Thailand’s gold craft dates back to when early artisans were inspired by Hindu influenced gold pieces, and along the way obtained a knowledge of gold artistry that has been passed down for centuries. The goldsmiths in Yaowarat are guardians of that ancient tradition, and continue to be hailed worldwide for their outstanding craftsmanship.
Charoen Krung – Silver Shopping
This road’s name means ‘prosperous city’ and its popular for unique accessories and silver jewellery design. Tailored to the high-end product and export market, here visitors will find a mix of both wholesale and retail shops to possibly buy from.
Ban Mo – Diamond/Jewellery Shopping
Ban Mo is lined with jewellery stores and was a pottery village, as what the name ‘Ban Mo’ means. The shop houses were built later and transformed the area into the diamond and jewellery shops of today. The pottery symbol representing the original activity of the area can still be seen on top of the pediment at the entrance of an old market.
Lung Puan, the silversmith of Surin , specialises in Takao style jewellery He has created gold and silver pieces of jewellery using ancient designs and production methods
Thailand is blessed to have jewellery artisans following traditions that date back thousands of years and has worked hard to exploit substantial gemstone resources within the Kingdom. Its gem and jewellery reputation is now poised to reach for higher goals, as it works to become the world’s ‘gem hub’.