Colour & Creativ­ity Rule At Bangkok Fair

Known as one of the world’s lead­ing pro­duc­ers of fine gems and jew­ellery, Thai­land show­cased its pro­lific range of jew­ellery at the 62nd edi­tion of the Bangkok Gems & Jew­ellery Fair ( BGJF), held from Septem­ber 7th to 11th, 2018.

Solitaire - - CONTENTS - By Cyn­thia Un­ni­na­yar

Ates­ta­ment to the eco­nomic im­por­tance of Thai­land’s gem and jew­ellery in­dus­try, the BGJF is or­gan­ised and sup­ported by Thai­land’s De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Trade Pro­mo­tion (DITP) un­der the min­istry of com­merce. The sec­tor is seen as vi­tal to the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try’s econ­omy rang­ing from tourism to em­ploy­ment, from value-add of prod­ucts and ser­vices to pro­mot­ing a creative econ­omy. More than 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple are em­ployed in some aspect of gem and jew­ellery pro­duc­tion, which gen­er­ated $12.8 bil­lion in 2017.

It should also be noted that 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.

Sec­tor growth

“This in­dus­try has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ro­bust growth, and the 62nd BGJF is an im­por­tant mar­ket­ing tool to pro­mote the in­dus­try’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and sup­port Thai man­u­fac­tur­ers, in­clud­ing SMEs, to ex­pand their busi­nesses abroad while net­work­ing and trad­ing with part­ners from Thai­land and other coun­tries,” ex­plains Son­ti­rat Son­ti­ji­ra­wong, Thai­land’s min­is­ter of com­merce.

“At the BGJF, new brands and de­sign­ers have an op­por­tu­nity to

show­case their unique cre­ations to tar­get buy­ers from around the world, while the num­ber of ex­hibitors join­ing the BGJF as well as those ex­press­ing in­ter­est in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fair has been ris­ing ev­ery year,” he con­tin­ues.

“In the first seven months of 2018, from Jan­uary to July 2018, ex­ports of gems and jew­ellery, ex­clud­ing un­wrought gold, saw an in­crease of 6.93% (to reach $7 bil­lion) com­pared to the same pe­riod in the pre­vi­ous year. More­over, the in­dus­try is pro­jected to con­tinue its steady growth into the com­ing year,” adds Chan­tira Jim­rei­vat Vi­va­trat, di­rec­tor of Thai­land’s DITP.

In 2017, jew­ellery prod­ucts show­ing the high­est growth were gem­stones (+12.42%), pearls (+28.34%), sil­ver jew­ellery (+14.74%), pre­cious me­tal and me­tal-plated items (+90.19%). Prod­ucts that saw neg­a­tive growth

were di­a­monds, gold jew­ellery, imi­ta­tion jew­ellery, and other pre­cious me­tal pieces.

Her­itage & crafts­man­ship

This edi­tion of the BGJF took place un­der the theme “Her­itage & Crafts­man­ship,” with the aim of high­light­ing Thai­land’s cul­tural her­itage. Beau­ti­ful Thai designs with in­ter­na­tional touches shone a spot­light on Thai­land’s po­si­tion as a ma­jor player in the global gems and jew­ellery arena.

One of the most spec­tac­u­lar dis­plays of Thai crafts­man­ship was the el­e­gant fash­ion show en­ti­tled the “Queen of Jew­ellery”. The show hon­oured the royal

projects of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who ded­i­cated her life to pro­mot­ing arts and cul­ture as well as help­ing her sub­jects gen­er­ate in­come. The fash­ion show high­lighted jew­ellery from Thai man­u­fac­tur­ers, which show­cased ex­quis­ite col­lec­tions in high fash­ion, from gold jew­ellery made by ar­ti­sans us­ing an­cient tech­niques to con­tem­po­rary gold and sil­ver jew­ellery, with many pieces in­cor­po­rat­ing strik­ing coloured gem­stones with in­tri­cate designs.

Spe­cial sec­tions

As in pre­vi­ous years, the “Niche Show­case” fea­tured five jew­ellery trends: Metro Men— jew­ellery for the mod­ern man as well as LGBT in­di­vid­u­als; The

Mo­ment— jew­ellery for spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as wed­dings and aus­pi­cious events; Be­yond

Jew­ellery— lifestyle and dec­o­ra­tive prod­ucts with pre­cious stones and ma­te­ri­als; Her­itage &

Crafts­man­ship— jew­els and prod­ucts that mix her­itage and crafts­man­ship such as those fea­tur­ing rein­ter­preted folk wis­dom of the four re­gions of the coun­try into four con­tem­po­rary jew­ellery col­lec­tions; and Spir­i­tual

Power— pieces that re­flect spir­i­tual be­liefs such as shown in Thiti Jew­ellery evok­ing an­cient be­liefs re­lated to sil­ver and pearl jew­ellery but in con­tem­po­rary designs.

A spe­cial “Jewellers” ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tured a num­ber of Thai de­sign­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the De­sign­ers’ Room and Tal­ent Project, with a range of creative prod­ucts. The “Creative Jew­ellery Project Ex­hi­bi­tion” show­cased 40 de­sign­ers whose

in­no­va­tive tech­niques at­tracted much at­ten­tion, as did those in the spe­cial “In­no­va­tion and De­sign Zone,” with prod­ucts made from non-tra­di­tional el­e­ments.

Fi­nally, an ex­panded “New Faces” sec­tion pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity for 150 new ex­hibitors from 18 prov­inces in Thai­land to dis­play their creative works.

Mixed re­sults

Sev­eral thou­sands of trade vis­i­tors from around the world vis­ited the five-day show, which was also opened to the pub­lic at large dur­ing the last two days. Un­like most trade shows, fair of­fi­cials in­di­cated that the rea­son for in­clud­ing the gen­eral pub­lic was twofold. First, it al­lowed lo­cal peo­ple to see the creativ­ity of Thai (and other) ex­hibitors, and se­condly, some 20% of sales were gen­er­ated dur­ing the fi­nal two days of the show.

Some 914 ex­hibitors show­cased their wares at the BGJF, with 800 com­ing from Thai­land. The busiest booths seemed to be the gem sell­ers, fol­lowed by sil­ver. Al­though many ex­hibitors stated that the show was slow, oth­ers in­di­cated that they were happy with the re­sults, both in terms of sales and new con­tacts made. This out­come ap­pears to be the new norm for trade shows these days.

Tax ad­van­tages

Thai­land’s gem and jew­ellery in­dus­try en­joys sev­eral tax ad­van­tages to help its com­pet­i­tive­ness. A num­ber of tax-free zones, such as Ge­mopo­lis, on the out­skirts of Bangkok, house pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, where for­eign com­pa­nies ben­e­fit from a strong in­fra­struc­ture, easy ac­cess to raw ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers and a highly skilled work­force.

BGJF ex­hibitors from out­side of Thai­land are also ex­empt from pay­ing the value-added tax (VAT) when im­port­ing their goods for the show. VAT is paid only af­ter the show and only for prod­ucts that are sold. This greatly eases the pa­per­work and costs for over­seas ex­hibitors who im­port and then re-ex­port their un­sold prod­ucts, which re­main un­taxed.

To at­tract buy­ers, the BGJF also of­fers a va­ri­ety of dis­counts on ho­tels, car rentals, res­tau­rants and other ameni­ties in Bangkok.

(bkkgems.com)

The im­pres­sive open­ing cer­e­mony of the BGJF fea­tured a bevy of be­jew­elled mod­els and of­fi­cials of the DITP and min­istry of com­merce.

(Be­low right) One of Thai­land’s largest and most ven­er­a­ble fam­ily jew­ellery com­pa­nies is Pranda, which cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary this year. Shown here is a neck­lace in 24-karat gold and ru­bies by its sub-brand, Prima Gold.

(Be­low left) A model dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony is wear­ing a sap­phire and di­a­mond suite by Beauty Gems, in a dress by Thai de­signer Ti­payaphong Pu­sanaphong.

A bird’s-eye view of the ex­hi­bi­tion area. Photo cour­tesy BGJF

A ruby and di­a­mond neck­lace, ear­rings, and rings by Blue River is worn by a model in the open­ing cer­e­mony in a dress by Thai de­signer Ti­payaphong Pu­sanaphong.

Chan­tira Jim­rei­vat Vi­va­trat, di­rec­tor of Thai­land’s DITP, stressed the im­por­tance of the gems and jew­ellery in­dus­try to the na­tion’s econ­omy.

Ex­quis­ite gem­stone and di­a­mond jew­ellery was in abun­dance at the BGJF, as seen in this emer­ald and di­a­mond neck­lace by The Best Gems.

The Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thai­land. The na­tion is one of the world’s most im­por­tant gem and jew­ellery cen­tres.

A se­lec­tion of colour­ful and re­mark­able ceramic-based syn­thetic stones used in a range of beau­ti­ful designs in sil­ver was dis­played by the brand Si­amite, of the Formica Group.

(Top right) This re­mark­able “Big Heart” kun­zite weigh­ing 488.48 carats was of­fered by ABC Stone Co.

(Above) Gem­stones of all kinds were a ma­jor draw at the BGJF show. Shown here is a se­lec­tion of the new species of sap­phire, en­ti­tled Gold Sheen Sap­phire, of­fered by Gen­uine Gems & Jew­ellery.

A coloured gem­stone ring. Photo cour­tesy BGJF

A wooden neck­lace and cuff. Photo cour­tesy BGJF

A wide as­sort­ment of fash­ion­able jew­ellery could be seen at the BGJF, in­clud­ing these whim­si­cal cat rings in ceramic by Rosy Jew­ellery.

Among the most pop­u­lar gems at the show was Paraiba tour­ma­line, as shown in this prospec­tive suite fea­tur­ing cuts of Paraiba and sphene by Az­izi.

Sil­ver jew­ellery makes up a large portion of Thai pro­duc­tion, in­clud­ing orig­i­nal gem-set pieces such as this quartz and sil­ver ring with gold ac­cents by Goldlip.

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