More than just an exciting travel and shopping haven, Thailand offers some of the world’s rarest gemstones and finest jewellery
As a travel destination, Thailand can boast practically everything that makes for a dream holiday — exotic culture, arts and sports; vibrant cities; stunning beaches and natural wonders; and spectacular culinary and shopping experiences. Little wonder it is one of the most visited and loved countries in Southeast Asia.
However, there is an aspect to Thailand that is lesser known and often overlooked by the casual visitor — its jewellery industry. Gems and jewellery generate income for more than 1.2 million people in the country, and in 2017, it was the third largest exporting industry after computers and automotive, accounting for some US$14.3 billion. A vast array of exclusive jewellery shops exists in the country, especially in its capital Bangkok.
A distinguishing feature of Thai fine jewellery is its use of locally sourced gemstones, especially coloured ones. Chanthaburi, a province in the east of Thailand, is a centre of gem mining where people head to for coloured gemstones, especially rubies and sapphires. Kanchanaburi, a town in the west of the country, is famous for its blue sapphire. Bangkok, in particular, is famed as the world’s coloured gemstone capital. Over the past several decades, Thailand has gained a reputation as the country to source for the most beautiful coloured stones — precious and semi-precious — in a variety of sizes, hues, and origins.
Another key attraction of Thai jewellery is its Thai-inspired designs and the age-old craftsmanship of its artisans, including silversmiths and goldsmiths. Throughout the kingdom’s history, Thailand’s various provinces have produced different traditions of expertise. For instance Chiang Mai in the north is famous for its silver making; while Yaowarat, better known as Chinatown in the heart of bustling Bangkok, is known for gold crafting. These timeless skills, handed down through generations, along with knowledge of jewellery-making heat treatment processes that Thailand is known for, and home-grown traditional designs drawn from religion and folklore, have enabled Thai jewellery to stamp its distinctive presence on the world stage.
This year, the Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair is into its 62nd edition, having run biannually for more than three decades as one of the most significant gatherings of its kind in this part of the world. Today, Thai jewellers work in a variety of styles and inspirations, using innovative materials and techniques, and sell their pieces halfway across the world in fashion and design emporiums such as Bergdorf Goodman, Lane Crawford, and Harrods.
In like manner, this coming together of exquisite gemstone, exceptional design, flawless craftsmanship, and exciting vision make Gems Pavilion a quintessential name in Thai jewellery. Established in 1996, this Bangkok-based luxury jewellery-maker today sees its pieces creating waves across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
“We believe that women don’t have to wait for special occasions — when they wear Gems Pavilion jewellery, every day becomes a celebration of life”
– Mr Piya Ahchariyasripong, Chairman of Executive Committee, Gems Pavilion Group
“Our pieces speak the universal language of life’s celebrations,” says Mr Piya Ahchariyasripong, Chairman of Executive Committee, Gems Pavilion Group. “In other words, we believe that women don’t have to wait for special occasions — when they wear Gems Pavilion jewellery, every day becomes a celebration of life.”
The aim of the Thai jewellery atelier is to create designs that perfectly complement the wearer’s own distinctive taste and style. Mr Ahchariyasripong explains, “The women who wear our jewellery are perfectionists from head to toe. They are well-rounded and world-travellers; many are Thai and international celebrities and even royalty.”
At Gems Pavilion, creations begin with the highest-quality stones: flawless diamonds, radiant pearls, and magnificent emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Then the artisans conceive designs that enhance the brilliance of these stones, crafting them with ecstatic passion and pride, and creating true heritage pieces. “We settle for nothing less than works of art,” says Mr Ahchariyasripong. “Our jewellery doesn’t simply catch the eye at first glance; it continues to hold a special place in the heart for generations to come.”
One of Gems Pavilion’s signature collections, The Deconic, explores this fusion of the classic and the contemporary, with pieces in 18K white gold inspired by Art Deco, and decorated with an array of fancy-cut diamonds. An outstanding piece is the necklace featuring asscher-cut, princess-cut, brilliant-cut, pear-shaped, and tapper-shaped diamonds, totalling 7.85 carats, and decorated with black enamel. Its multi-function design allows it to be worn as a long or a short necklace. The earrings, in turn, can be adjusted into short or long earrings.
“Love and happiness are emblematic of Gems Pavilion”
“Love and happiness are emblematic of our brand,” says Mr Ahchariyasripong. “Our artisans infuse these feelings into their designs, allowing them to create one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the wearer’s identity.” At the company’s luxurious flagship boutique at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok, selected pieces from the Masterpiece, Signature, Iconic, Emblem, and Deconic collections are on display, showcasing more than 20 years of creative success.
The Thai predilection for coloured gems has resulted in a number of finely executed masterpieces. And the feminine allure of the pearl has also found a home at Gems Pavilion, with a range of romantic and timeless designs of necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets, often in combination with diamonds.