Thailand Gets Ready to Sparkle – by David Belcher (New York Times – September 7, 2023)

The country plans to use a trade show in Bangkok this week to remind the world of its expertise in processing and perfecting natural stones.

Thailand’s history is rich with gemstones, beginning in the 1400s when its mines first produced the sapphires and rubies that adorned the crowns, swords and even the footwear of the country’s royalty. And as recently as May, jewelry fans took note of the glittering sapphire and diamond necklace and earring set that Queen Suthida of Thailand wore at King Charles III’s coronation in London.

But since the 1970s, Thailand has mostly been known as a global hub for cutting, polishing, heating and trading stones, doing business with its gem-rich neighbors Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, along with countries far beyond.

And after years of pandemic disruption, the organizers of the 68th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, which was scheduled to open Wednesday and end Sunday, are considering it a chance to reintroduce the world to Thailand’s expertise in processing and perfecting natural gems. Or, as the industry calls these stones, the rough.

The event offers “a lot of opportunities for local businesses to be exposed to overseas buyers,” said Sumed Prasongpongchai, chief executive of the Gem & Jewelry Institute of Thailand (G.I.T.), the division of the Ministry of Commerce that sponsors the show. “We promote the fair heavily in the Middle East, Europe and America.”

For the rest of this article: