Known among tourists for its exquisite temples, dynamic markets, vibrant street food scenes, and charming attractions, Thailand is also celebrated for being the world’s cosmopolis for precious colored stones. As one of the first countries to be associated with the gemstone mining culture, Thailand’s eastern province of Chanthaburi province started off as a mining community with a long history dating back to the 15th century.
Thailand’s character as the gemstone center of the Orient has been built upon the structures of art that are an essential part of Thai society. The creativity of Thai artisans has allured bling lovers from all over the world for gemstones’ beauty and magnificence.
Five hundred years later, even though the clanking noise of water pumps and shovels died down, Chanthaburi gems markets remain one of the world’s largest and liveliest, with the nation’s capital Bangkok serving as the main output for finished gem products for international trade, with an export volume of polished gemstones ranked in the world’s top five. Every kind of gemstone is being traded here in this bustling city. Buyers around the world flock to Bangkok to purchase every grade stone at the best prices, as it now is the reserve of a rich supply of gems from all over the globe.
And now we are going to explore the reasons why Thailand deserves to be the world’s trading hub of gemstones.
Thailand is at the center of perfect location with complete infrastructure
The strategic location of Thailand presents uncomplicated linkage with other Southeast Asian markets and beyond. It is blessed with solid infrastructures, public utilities, and transportation systems. It is the home of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) providing the special economic zone with comprehensive infrastructure interconnecting air, land, and sea transits — the high-speed rail linking, two international airports, intercity motorway, double-track railway, large-scale seaports, — and the high-quality land bridge connecting the region with China and other East Asian countries. Raw materials are transported in and around the region with ease, for example, gemstones from Chanthaburi province and pearls from Phuket province.
As the industry now relies on imported materials, the export processing zone plays a significant role in increasing industry competitiveness. In this, the Gemopolis Industrial Estate in Bangkok greatly helps gems and jewelry exporters because finished products are already free from import tariffs. Being a global trading hub has enabled the expansion of the production base of the jewelry industry due to the availability of a variety of inputs used in jewelry making within the country. Consequently, Thailand is ranked as one of the most important jewelry production bases.
The highest-quality gemstones are the products of highly skilled master artisans
Thailand is the home to gem polishers and jewelry makers with intricate craftsmanship. Thai gem artisans are the key strength and the most important reason foreign gem-making companies set up their plants in Thailand. Despite Thailand’s reliance on gemstone raw material imports, the incomparable local wisdom attracts over 80% of raw stones from all over the world to this country for quality enhancement. Thailand is truly the home of gemstone heating treatment, cutting, and polishing technology, which is the geographically indicated wisdom passed down through generations.
Multiple trading areas are all over the country
Gem and jewelry districts are located throughout the country, prominent ones being Chanthaburi, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Nan, Surin, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Mae Sot district of Tak, as well as plenty of marketplaces in Bangkok such as in Silom, Surawong, Charoen Krung, and Yaowarat. Besides the Gem & Jewelry Trade Center, the Gemopolis Free Trade Zone (Gemopolis FTZ) offers a tax haven for importers and traders.
Serious government support
The Thai government has continuously been giving full sustenance to the gem and jewelry industry. Measures regarding taxation, finance, and marketing support, as well as certain procedures and regulations related to gems and jewelry have been tailored to facilitate seamless trading. The government and private sectors are always working very closely to minimize frictional red tapes and give business operators assistance in many aspects including product standardization, artisans’ skill enhancing, marketing and investment promotions.
In addition, the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce, plays an important role in pushing forward the promotion effort of Thailand’s gems and jewelry industry into the global business arena. Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair and BGJF Virtual Trade Fair are major international trading platforms initiated by DITP where all key players in the global gems and jewelry business congregate to source materials, trade, and network with potential partners from all over the world.