Thailand leads the charge in the gemstone business in Asia

Though diamonds remain traditionally the most-desired and expensive gemstones in the world, the demand for other types of gemstones has been on the rise. In Asia, Thailand is slowly but surely growing a thriving market of these precious stones

Image: Freepik

Thailand stands as the world’s third-largest exporter of coloured gemstones, with gem and jewellery exports reaching over US$15 billion in 2022, notching up 50 percent growth year-on-year. The 68th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Trade Fair, which started yesterday and will run till September 10, aims to host some 30,000 visitors, clinching its status as a premier industry event.

Thailand has emerged as a focal point in this global gemstone renaissance, skillfully navigating changing preferences while cementing its position as a luxury adornment leader. Rooted in a cultural heritage that spans centuries, Thailand’s gem and jewellery industry is a testament to local artisans’ skill in transforming raw gems into intricate masterpieces embodying tradition, spirituality, and exquisite craftsmanship.

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A distinguishing element of Thai expertise is their mastery of heat treatment techniques that infuse coloured stones with unparalleled vibrancy. This unique skill, a signature of Thai craftsmanship, has been perfected over the decades. With approximately 20,000 skilled artisans and production hubs like Bangkok and Chanthaburi province keep the legacy alive and well.

“We’ve witnessed a surge in global and local demand,” said Phuket Khunprapakorn, who is the advisor of the Chanthaburi Gem and Jewelry Traders Association. Post-COVID-19 economic recoveries in Europe and the US, and the influx of tourists to Thailand (particularly from China and India), fuel this growth.

Image by master1305 via Freepik

“An increasing number of modern buyers view gemstones as a novel form of investment,” said Khunprapakorn. Acquiring top-quality gemstones such as rubies and blue sapphires from Thailand could indeed prove profitable, as the value of rubies has increased by more than 40 percent over the past five years. Given the high demand and dwindling natural resources, Thailand faces the challenge of balancing supply and demand for sustainable growth.

In an era dominated by online commerce, the gems and jewellery sector has embraced change. To instil confidence in product quality, the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT) has spearheaded several initiatives across the value chain.

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