t the opening of the five-day show on September 6th, Thailand’s minister of commerce, Apiradi Tantraporn, underscored the economic importance of the biannual Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF), which is supported and organised by Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) under the ministry of commerce. “Thailand’s gems and jewellery industry constitutes an essential part of the country’s trade and exports,” she explained. “It is ranked third after the auto industry and electronics, and generates over $10 billion in annual revenue. The gem and jewellery industry also provides decent incomes for over one million artisans and skilled workers in the nation.”
Later, the newly appointed director of the DITP, Chantira Jimreivat Vivatrat, added that Thailand’s gem and jewellery exports are estimated to rise around 5% in 2017, over last year. She noted that the value of Thai exports in 2017 is helped by firmer gold prices and a stronger Thai baht. The director also reiterated the importance of the newly established, and DITP-supported, “Thailand Trust Mark” (or T Mark) that certifies the high-quality and socially-responsible production of gems and jewellery as well as products in other sectors of the Thai economy.
A significant share of Thailand’s gem and jewellery industry is third-party production that Thai manufacturers carry out for many foreign brands, including a number of well-known global luxury brands. These pieces are mainly crafted in gold, diamonds and gemstones, but the nation is also the world’s second largest supplier of silver jewellery, just behind India.
The 60th BGJF brought together 843 exhibitors, including producers, suppliers and exporters from around Thailand and the world, who showcased their wares in more than 2,100 booths. Among the overseas exhibitors were those from the USA, China, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Israel and the ASEAN nations. The national pavilions enjoyed an increase of 18% in exhibitor participation over the last show.
Final trade attendance was about 16,000 visitors who came from 130 nations around the world and helped generate nearly $60 million in sales, an increase of nearly 29% over the previous show. The strongest export markets for Thai gems and jewellery are Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US.
Sentiment among exhibitors at the show was mixed. While some will always do well at trade fairs, many others complained that the industry is still not out of the woods and that this show was on the quiet side. They seemed to be happy with some new contacts, however, and hope that these will bring in future sales. All agreed that the show is important to be in, given the position of Bangkok in the world of coloured gems and jewellery.
At the BGJF, finished jewellery was offered at most booths and at all price points, types and qualities. It ranged from high-end