Thailand's Jewelry Fair 2/2
by John Cooke
Thailand's political turmoil hurts Bangkok Jewelry Fair - Part Two
Furthermore, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world's top gem lab, recently reported that Thai gemstone industry leaders are seeking the Thai government's help to avert a crisis in the gemstone manufacturing industry. The industry leaders have reported that many gem cutters in Chanthaburi, a gemstone center in Thailand, have either closed or suspended their operations. The GIA says Thai trade associations have petitioned the Thai government for funds to promote their gems worldwide and to establish a Thai government-sanctioned standard for disclosure of treatments. A Thai government study will be expedited, the GIA said, with a plan due in several months time.
Given all Thailand's current problems, the show's organizers, the TGJTA and Thailand's DEP, did remarkably well to attract international visitors to the 39th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair. The event was opened by Thailand's Commerce Minister, Mr. Krirk-krai Jirapaet.
At the 39th Bangkok fair: Not surprisingly, security measures showed an increase over the previous edition; there weren't any noticeable changes in the layout of the show's products zones; as at the 38th Bangkok fair, 'sale' signs were displayed by some exhibitors from the first day of the event. There were even more sale signs this time, and at more product zones than before - including tools, gold, pearl and gemstones; and, from my observations, there looked to be less western visitors, but more visitors from the Asian and Middle Eastern regions.
One exhibit at the fair that drew my particular attention was the Thai Silver Exporter Club's 'Color Story.' It showcased a collection of fashionable jewelry from local companies in a wide range of styles, with colored stones presented as the theme - pink gems were especially popular with the manufacturers who displayed their products here.
Red and pink gemstones were in demand at the show, especially Burmese ruby, tourmaline, sapphire, rose quartz and rubellite. Blue stones and emeralds were also popular with buyers. From my observations, orange and yellow gemstones were less in demand this time. One Bangkok fair exhibitor I spoke predicted a growth in the popularity for purple stones.
The Bangkok fair's silver zone was busy, attracting international buyers over all three trade days of the event ' it now constitutes nearly a quarter of the show's floor space. The pearl zone also attracted many visitors, mirroring the increase in awareness and popularity worldwide for pearls. Slow traffic at the fair's gold and diamond zones reflected the current problems in both sectors.
Local exhibitors I spoke to at the fair said they were hoping that the 39th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair would help to boost their businesses, which had been suffering because of the domestic political, economic and consumer confidence situations, as well as the high price of gold and other materials.
It is good to see that the Thai gem and jewelry industry can still be innovative and progress, even with all the domestic political and economic problems facing it at present. In one new development, The TGJTA has introduced the 'Online Sourcing Project.' The Project has been established to use the internet to encourage trade between exhibitors and buyers who attend the fair by enabling them to meet online, both before and after the event. Also, a new silver trade centre with more than 100 silver jewelry outlets is set to open in the heart of Bangkok's jewelry district.
The TGJTA, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, continues to devote itself to the advancement of the Thai gem and jewelry industry. The Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair showcases the best that Thailand has to offer in gem and jewelry products for international visitors at the show.
Hopefully, by the time of the Bangkok show's 40th edition in September 2007, the political situation will be clearer, helping to begin the process of restoring the country's economic and business prospects to normal.