World Ruby Forum showcases Thai manufacturing prowess
By David Brough
BANGKOK, November 5 2017 – The World Ruby Forum 2017 highlighted Thailand’s potential as a global leader in the manufacturing and trade of coloured gemstone jewellery.
Hundreds of gemologists and jewellers from around the world gathered at the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on November 4 to attend presentations and panel discussions about ruby supply, marketing and certification.
Thailand is establishing itself as the leading hub for coloured gemstone jewellery manufacture and export, said Duangkamol Jiambutr, Director of the state-run Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), an organiser of the forum.
“The event conforms to the government’s policy, which aims to establish the ruby as Thailand’s most important exported gem,” Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said.
In the first nine months of 2017 Thailand exported some $10.66 billion of gems and jewellery, according to the GIT. Rubies account for over a third of the value of precious stones exported by Thailand.
“Demand for coloured stones is going up. We would like the value of Thai gem and jewellery exports to go up by 5 percent a year, but the world economy is very slow,” Jiambutr told Jewellery Outlook in an interview on the sidelines of the forum.
European markets for coloured stones, such as Switzerland and Germany, have been buoyant but demand growth in the United States was sluggish, she added.
The forum preceded the annual congress of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), which runs in Bangkok until November 7.
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, in a keynote speech to the World Ruby Forum, appealed to leaders of the coloured gemstone industry to apply high standards of corporate social responsibility.
“Once the goods have entered the pipeline, members of the trade are encouraged to incorporate into their management operations a due diligence system,” Cavalieri said. “What is not an option is to do nothing.”
East Africa and Greenland could be important origins for future discoveries of ruby deposits, gemologist Vincent Pardieu, who has travelled widely to ruby mines around the world, said in another presentation to the forum.