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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.