In the mood for something precious? Go on a hunt to find where to buy gems and jewelry in Bangkok.
by Zipporah Gene.
It wasn’t long after I moved here that I quickly discovered just how much jewelry circulates these streets. From golden amulets, charms and wards, to your run-of-the-mill garnet rings and semi-precious stones; Bangkok, it would seem, is one of the biggest trading hubs for jewelry in South East Asia. Not only that, but there are countless places, with skilled craftsmen, that offer bespoke and made-to-order pieces at competitive prices; on the odd chance that you can’t find what you’re looking for.
That being said, as any quick Google search will also show you, there are plenty of horror stories, with countless fraudsters waiting to take advantage of the abundance of choice and the lack of knowledge. Follow these four simple rules to avoid falling prey to scammers:
- Never buy from a “government” official, tuk-tuk driver, or tout who promises to take you to somewhere where you can get a deal. It might seem laughable reading this now, but this is the number scam that many, surprisingly fall prey to.
- Never buy right away. No matter how tempting the deal appears to be, or how much money you may think you’re saving, always take time to research the shop. A good seller will be persuasive but never need to pressure you to buy from them immediately.
- Research your item. Ask the seller to write down the details of the item, such as: stone, size, cut, color, and quality. These greatly affect the price, so be sure to find these things out before you make your purchase.
- Always ask for a certificate of authenticity. These should always come in the form of a recent laboratory report issued by the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT) or the Asian Institute of Gemological Science (AIGS).
Knowing all of this then begs the question: where can you find jewelry in Bangkok?
Jewelry Trade Center (JTC), Silom
Silom in general is the home of countless jewelry shops and sellers, however the JTC is where you’ll find the best deals and most competition. If you’re considering a custom piece, then definitely leave enough time, to allow for the item to be made, and expect a great deal of negotiating.
This street, between Silom and Suriwong is famous for its abundance of gemstones and semi-precious stones. The Warner Tower, in Mahesak is known as the most reliable place, and is definitely worth a visit.
The Jewel Fest Club (JFC)
Founded in 1995, the JFC was founded to ensure strict quality and service standards. This association is made up of about 100 leading jewelry manufacturers and wholesalers, and is the only ones to have received approval from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. They regulate the prices, so that they are fair and reasonable, but if you’re not satisfied, they offer a complete money-back guarantee. Always look for their logo: a ruby ring with the name of the association inside.
Emporium & EmQuartier
For all the top international houses and a few well-known Thai brands, look no further than Phrom Phong’s two mega malls. With purchases exceeding THB 5000, be sure to pick up a VAT refund form, as you qualify for a rebate.
Many tourist, overwhelmed by the sheer scale of choice of stones, designs, carat etc. and put off by the idea of being scammed, simply instead opt for silver. Compared to gold or semi precious stones, with silver there are fewer risks involved, and can be found anywhere along Chareonkrung road, MBK, Chatuchak Market (JJ Market) and even on Khaosan road.
Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair 2016
The “57th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair” took place Feb. 24-28 at the Impact Exhibition & Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani. The bi-annual “exhibition, which is now in its 30th year, will host over 1,800 exhibitors, in 3,000 booths all from over 30 different countries. The next one will be held around September. For more information, visit: www.bangkokgensfair.com or call the Thai Gem & Jewelry Traders Association at 02 630 1390.