The 57th Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Fair (BGJF) announced itself to the world with a glittering fashion show displaying millions of baht’s worth of jewellery worn by Thailand’s elite models on February 24, 2016. Words and Photos by Mark Bibby Jackson.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, Chantira Jimreiwat Vivatrat, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce welcomed assembled media, trade delegations and VIP guests to Asia’s second largest gem and jewellery showcase.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce of the Thai government I would like to extend my very warm welcome to all of you, to the 57th Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair today, under the theme: ‘Thailand: The World’s Ruby Capital’,” Chantira said.
“The gems and jewellery industry is one of the most important industries to the Thai economy. Last year it contributed $7.2 billion, employing about one million people. So naturally the Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair is very important to the government.”
Prior to the event, the Thai Government announced that all gems and jewellery traded during the five days of the 57th BGJF would be duty and VAT free.
“We recognise the importance of removing barriers from doing business,” Chantira added. “Therefore we have lifted the 20% import duty and also made VAT zero % for the Fair. I wish you all a great success and have a pleasant time in Bangkok.”
In the afternoon Suttipong Damrongsakul, the President of the Thai Gem and Jewellery Traders Association (TGJTA), Mr. Somchai Phornchindarak, President of the Gems, Jewellery and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT), and Mr. Matayawong Amatayakul, Commercial Expert, DITP, Ministry of Commerce, opened the Design Pavilion.
The centrepiece of the pavilion is the Art of Kingdom exhibition of traditional Thai masterpieces to show Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s support for Thai arts and craftsmanship.
“I am greatly honoured to be opening the design pavilion at the BGJF,” said Matayawong. “The Art of Kingdom exhibition is also a great inspiration to young designers. The support of Her Majesty the Queen for arts and crafts is well known worldwide. I would like to open the exhibition and I wish that the TGJTA and GJPCT is successful in all its endeavours.”
There followed a series of free seminars on the Jewellery Virtual Fair (JVF) opened in Vicenza, Italy, on January 24, 2016, and on new trends in the Middle East.
“The JVF social network will have members from many countries such as the EU, China, India and the US, and it will help businesses in the gems and jewellery industry to showcase their products to buyers worldwide,” said Somchai.
The highlight of Day 2 of the 57th BGJF was the preliminary launch of the World’s First Ruby Symposium 2017, which will take place in Bangkok in 2017. Mr. Suttipong Damrongsakul spoke of the objectives behind launching the first World’s First Ruby Symposium in Bangkok in 2017.
“The world’s first ruby symposium will be the business platform where international industry players will share knowledge and information,” he said. “This is to establish a central hub of production and trade of gemstones and rubies in this region.”
Thailand, under the leadership of the GJPCT and the TGJTA, aims to hold The World’s First Ruby Symposium 2017 and to invite all ruby producing countries and all parties such as leading brokerages, governmental agencies and grading laboratories, to come together to discuss the future of the world’s ruby trade.
Richard W Hughes, of Lotus Gemology, said that the symposium was coming at an apposite time.
“There’s never been a better time to buy ruby, because we have more production of fine quality stones than there’s ever been present in the history of mankind,” he said. “It’s a wonderful time to buy ruby.”
Rupak Sen, Regional Marketing Director, Gemfields Asia, pledged his support to the Ruby Symposium 2017. “I think the Ruby Symposium is a great idea, and Gemfields will definitely look at supporting it in whatever possibly way that it can.”
The 57th BGJF continues at the Challenger Hall 1-3, Impact Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok until February 28, daily from 10am to 6pm. Days 4 and 5 will be open to the public. Up to 30,000 visitors are expected to attend the 57th BGJF.