Thailand eyes India for increased Co-operation in gem biz

While most people head to Thailand for its tourism, shopping and beaches, September saw large numbers of people travel to Bangkok for a completely different reason. The 62nd Bangkok Gem and Jewellery Fair (BGJF), held from September 7-11, is one of the most significant trading arenas for people engaged in the jewellery business across South East Asia and several western countries.
Thailand eyes India for increased Co-operation in gem biz
Representative image

Chennai

As always, it was a glittering show, with participants from all over the world actively engaged in sourcing, trading and networking. 
The gem and jewellery industry in Thailand is vital to the country’s development and economy. In 2017 it was ranked as the third highest exporting industry in Thailand after automobiles, computers and ancillary parts. Seeing the potential, the government of Thailand has actively worked towards making the country into a premier jewellery trading hub. And the entire orchestration of the fair was to ensure the success of this objective.
Thailand’s exports in gem and jewellery to India in 2016 was $280 million, and in 2017 the figures went up to $381 million. Correspondingly Thailand’s imports in the industry from India was $307 million in 2016 and leapt to $843 million in 2017.
As someone who is closely involved in the gems and jewellery business, it was clear that this edition of the fair has taken a quantum leap in terms of display, participation and B2B participation and footfalls. The visitors at the fair this year touched almost 20,000, and there were close to 1400 visitors from India. Interestingly, Indians comprised the largest number of overseas visitors from a single country.
Thailand’s dominance in the jewellery trade comes from the fact that its craftsmen are exceptionally skilled in gemstone cutting and setting. Their ability to cut gemstones to bring out the most brilliant sparkle and lustre is what put them on the roadmap. The past few years of the fair saw a focus on contemporary designs and styles, so it was refreshing that the theme this year was ‘Heritage and Craftsmanship’.
Focussing on Thailand’s enviable cultural heritage, many of the local exhibitors drew upon their inherited artistic skills in their designs.
Traditional Thai designs focus on intricate craftsmanship and detailed work using precious metals.
Chantira Jimreivat Vivatrat, Director General of Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) has been spearheading this initiative. According to her, the demands of the market and consumer are continuously evolving. The inaugural function kicked off with a world class fashion show titled ‘Queen of Jewellery’ to honour the royal projects of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who has dedicated her life to promoting arts and culture as well as helping her people generate income. It was good to note that at this year’s fair, India is definitely a significant player in the country’s jewellery trade, and expectations are high to see the business outcome from the 62nd edition.  
The writer is a jewellery designer who attended the Bangkok Gem and Jewellery fair on the invitation of the Department of Trade Promotion of Thailand.

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