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Thai gems and jewellery industry expects growth

The Thai gems and jewellery industry is expecting growth this year despite an international economic slowdown. The news comes following last month’s Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair (BGJF) which, according the organiser, boasted more than 14,000 visitors from 118 countries.

This represented an increase of 5.4 per cent over the 2018 event.

Banjongjitt Angsusingh, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said the fair “experienced great success, with sales generated at the event totaling more than 2 billion baht (AU$87.7 million).”

She said the department remains positive that overall gem and jewellery shipments (including gold) will increase by 1–3 per cent this year from last year's US$2 billion, which was an increase of 4.7 per cent from 2017.

A post-Fair report stated that the trade generated at the BGJF was nearly 2.1 billion baht, with immediate sales worth 700 million baht (AU$30.7 million), up 85.2 percent compared to the February 2018 fair, while public days saw sales of approximately 360 million baht (AU$15.8 million).

Chutima Boonyaprapatsorn, Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister, added that in the past year, Thai exports of gems and jewellery have been expanding in almost all markets.

“Last year, export of gems and jewellery products excluding unwrought gold was worth US$7.6 billion, up 6.96 per cent, with high-growth products including gold jewellery, silver jewellery, imitation jewellery, and diamonds,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, the products with the highest value of trade at the fair were gemstones, followed by fine jewellery, silver jewellery, machinery, and gold jewellery, respectively.

The Thai jewellery industry is recognised for its intricate craftsmanship as well as high-quality production, which has led Thailand to be recognised worldwide as one of the world’s gem and jewellery hubs.

This craftsmanship-style approach was evident to first-time fair visitor Helen Thompson-Carter, director Fabuleux Vous.

“Thailand promotes itself with an ‘artisan’ approach to their jewellery craft, embracing tradition and use of ‘magic hands’ to deliver fine jewellery – versus the mass-machine production that we see from countries such as China,” the New Zealand-based supplier said.

High-end craftsmanship was on display during the opening ceremony
High-end craftsmanship was on display during the opening ceremony

“The future of the Bangkok fair was often questioned, but by all accounts it does have a future,” Thompson-Carter added. “Like most international exhibitions, especially in the jewellery industry, the challenge is enticing the exhibitor and then the visitors! It’s no different to what we experience in New Zealand and Australia.”

Thompson-Carter noted that the Thai jewellery and gem industry is the country’s third largest export sector, employing 1.2 million people.

“The ASEAN countries are growing stronger together and there is economic confidence that the jewellery industry will continue to grow and thrive. While one in three diamonds are polished in India, the majority of the jewellery setting is done in Thailand,” she added.

Her aim in visiting the fair was for “pure craft and workmanship; to see different products and styles and to see design and individuality – and I found it all. I loved my Bangkok Fair experience and definitely have it on the radar for 2020.”

Brendan McCreesh, director O’Neils Affiliated, is a frequent visitor to the Bangkok show and attends at least one of the two fairs each year, which will depend on how the dates align with the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair.

“There are exhibitors, and visitors, who obviously can’t attend both [Bangkok and Hong Kong], which can sometimes affect the Thai show. That said, there were a few pleasant surprises this year and I met some interesting new suppliers.”

McCreesh lists one of the benefits of Bangkok as the ability to travel to visit dealers and cutting factories directly.

“Immersing ourselves in the world gemstone community and engaging in important conversations about quality, supply and demand is so important. A lot of it is about maintaining good relationships. We also do our best to source special, single pieces – often-crazy requests – for our customers.  It’s frequently the case that a lot of shoe leather goes on a special request. An international show can be the only way to fulfill these orders.”

One of the highlights for the local visitors this year was the arrival HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, who chaired the opening ceremony before visiting the gems and jewellery exhibitions to show support for manufacturers in the trade as well as to inspire a new generation of designers.

One of the trademarks of the Thai jewellery shows is the promotion and attention given to up-and-coming designers. For example, The New Faces exhibition showcased products from 123 small and medium-sized manufacturers and designers from 21 Thai provinces.

The Niche Showcase featured five product groups: high jewellery (jewellery associated with royals), heritage and craftsmanship (jewellery representing arts and culture), spiritual power (jewellery of belief and opulence), luxe men (jewellery for men) and beyond jewellery (other lifestyle products with an emphasis on gems and jewellery materials).

The Jewellers & Innovation and Design Zone was another avenue for designers to present innovative products. According to the organiser, this area alone reported 120 million baht (AU$5.3 million) in sales during the event.

Of the more than 800 exhibitors occupying 1,852 booths, 579 were Thai suppliers.

Coleby Nicholson attended the BGJF courtesy of the organiser, the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce.

The next fair is 10-14 September 2019.



HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana chaired the opening ceremony and then visited exhibitors
HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana chaired the opening ceremony and then visited exhibitors
High-end craftsmanship was on display during the opening ceremony
High-end craftsmanship was on display during the opening ceremony
More than 14,000 visitors attended the 63 Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair
More than 14,000 visitors attended the 63 Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair

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