By David Brough
Thailand is one of the world’s leading suppliers of silver jewellery, using state-of-the-art manufacturing and deft craftsmanship.
The twice yearly Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF) has been a showcase for innovative Thai silver jewellery creations and a conduit for exports to key markets, such as the United States, Hong Kong, Germany and the Middle East.
Mr Prida Tiasuwan, Chairman, Pranda Group, a leading Thai jewellery manufacturer, and Mr Kittisak Udomdangaram, President of the Thai Silver Exporters’ Association (TSEA), said in two separate Instagram Lives on @bkkgemsofficial that the high gold price would heighten export opportunities for more affordable Thai silver jewellery.
Gold prices are up by almost 20 percent so far this year as rising cases of COVID-19 have exacerbated fears over the global economic outlook, and triggered a flight to safety by investors.
Silver prices have not risen as much as gold during the coronavirus pandemic, with silver seen by some investors increasingly as an industrial metal, Mr Kittisak said.
Thai silver jewellery exporters need to take full advantage of rapidly developing digital technologies and social media marketing tools, such as Instagram, to seize export opportunities, Mr Kittisak added.
Thai silver jewellery exports have held up well so far in value terms despite the emergency, he said.
Thailand’s jewellery manufacturing industry needs to act proactively to ensure that the supply chain from mine to finger is as sustainable as possible, said Mr Prida, who is also a Director of CIBJO-World Jewellery Confederation.
Jewellery consumers want to be sure that no one is exploited at any point along the supply chain and that the environment is protected as much as possible, he added.
Mr Prida urged the Thai industry to stay on top of technological developments in order to compete effectively in a fast-changing market-place.
Highly talented Thai craftspeople, with skills developed over generations, are becoming an increasingly valuable asset in a digitized world, he added.
He urged the organisers of the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair to continue to highlight Thai excellence in craftsmanship as a key driver of exports.