Bangkok September Gems and Jewelry Fair to celebrate Thai Craftsmanship
Thai gem and jewelry exports are expected to continue to grow in 2019 despite concerns over the global economy, Banjongjitt Angsusingh, Director General of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), tells Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough.
What will be the main theme at the September fair?
2019 is the year Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair celebrates “Thailand’s Magic Hands: The Spirit of Jewelry Making” which honors Thai craftsmanship in creating exquisite pieces to meet the needs of international consumers. The Ministry of Commerce’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) is determined to promote exceptional craftsmanship that takes forward the country’s history of arts and crafts, combined with modern innovation.
What special features will celebrate this theme at the September show?
Several exhibitions at the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF) that celebrate this theme are as follow:
The Niche Showcase exhibition featuring 5 product groups that represent the exquisite craftsmanship of Thai artisans; High Jewelry, Heritage & Craftsmanship, Spiritual Power, Luxe Men and Beyond Jewelry. All product categories reflect niche jewelry that could meet the needs of international consumers.
The New Faces exhibition that offers a showcase of Thai SMEs, manufacturers and designers with intricate craftsmanship from across the country.
DITP Director General Banjongjitt Angsusingh.
The Jewellers’ exhibition by local designers who have participated in the Designers’ Room and Talent Thai project showcasing creative fashion jewelry.
The Innovation and Design Zone (IDZ) features innovative and uniquely-designed gems and jewelry products, including those from recent university graduates.
Chanthaburi Pavilion presenting the best of the local products from Chanthaburi, known as the City of Gems.
Why is Thai gem and jewelry craftsmanship special?
For many decades, Thailand has been recognized all over the world as a manufacturer of quality jewelry with beautiful designs and intricate craftsmanship. Over the years, stakeholders in the gems and jewelry industry, from craftspeople, designers, manufacturers and traders, have constantly developed their skills while seeking innovation that will uplift the industry to new heights. Today, Thai-made jewelry is one of the leading products that have brought much pride and joy to all Thais.
Please describe the variety of gems, jewelry and machinery that will be available at the fair, and explain why this is a “must-attend” event for buyers from around the world?
The Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair is one of the world’s most renowned and longest-celebrated gems and jewelry trade fairs in the industry. BGJF is regarded as a significant trading arena, where all key players in the global gems and jewelry business can achieve their purposes of sourcing, trading, and networking.
For international visitors, BGJF is a globally-trusted marketplace for a wide range of quality products, extensive resources, and innovative designs. The September edition of the fair will feature extensive collections of raw gems from colored stones, diamonds, pearls, amber to semi-precious stones, as well as precious metals, sourced from Thailand and from the supply chain of gemstones around the world, and jewelry from manufacturers in Thailand and overseas. The fair also offers a comprehensive range of jewelry pieces from high end fine jewelry to silver and fashion jewelry.
Is the Thai government pursuing new initiatives to support the Thai gems and jewelry sector around the world? Please give examples.
Besides import duty exemptions, the Royal Thai Government through the Ministry of Commerce has put emphasis on promoting the Thai gems and jewelry industry. The international marketing campaign ‘Thailand’s Magic Hands: the Spirit of Jewelry Making’ was launched at the 63rd BGJF to demonstrate the strengths of Thai gems and jewelry through skilled craftspeople and the young generation of designers with creative ideas. The campaign is being promoted both domestically and internationally, such as the special Magic Hands Showcase at JCK Las Vegas 2019 and at the June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2019.
Meanwhile, the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization), GIT, has initiated the Buy with Confidence (BWC) campaign to establish standards and inspire the public’s trust in Thai gems and jewelry products. Such efforts will help strengthen Thai gems and jewelry on the global stage.
What are the projections for total Thai gem and jewelry exports by value in 2019 versus 2018, in U.S. dollars, and what are the key drivers of this trend?
Gems and jewelry are Thailand’s third largest export sector. In 2018, the industry brought in 11,977.91 million USD, which accounted for 4.74% of the country’s total export value. And in 2019, exports are expected to grow by 1% (excluding the unwrought gold).
In 2018, export of gems and jewelry (excluded unwrought gold) were worth 7,606.04 million USD, an increase of 6.96% due to positive factors in the global economy and lower prices of raw materials. However, in 2019, the trade war between the U.S. and China, Brexit, as well as volatility in currency, may affect exports from Thailand.
What are the most important overseas markets for Thai exports of gems and jewelry, and what steps is the DITP taking to drive growth in those markets?
Markets where gems and jewelry products from Thailand are experiencing high growth include India, China, and the ASEAN markets. In India, for Q1 2019, exports were up by 21.81% due to rising demand for unpolished gemstones and silver. Moreover, in China, exports were up by 2.14% from silver jewelry exports, while exports to ASEAN markets grew by 15.50% mainly from higher exports to Singapore.
To drive growth in these markets, this year the DITP is focusing on Super Rich targets in the ASEAN region, South Asia, and China, while expanding niche products such as jewelry for those in first-time employment in China, Japan, and the US; jewelry for pets among aging societies and singles; and jewelry relating to religions in the ASEAN region and China. Moreover, DITP is determined to expand online and offline marketing channels, and to promote new brands or the New Faces in order to encourage the production of a variety of jewelry in new styles from skilled SMEs nationwide, as each province has its own uniqueness but lacks marketing channels to reach international consumers.