Gems and Jewelry of Chanthaburi, Thailand
When it comes to buying gems and jewelry, some of the world's best bargains are found in 'Amazing Thailand', which is known as the gateway to South East Asia. But where should tourist shoppers go to find the best deals for precious gems and jewelry? You won't find them inside Bangkok's megamalls, and often times, prices for gems in Bangkok's Silom jewelry district aren't much cheaper than back home. So, with hundreds of jewelry stores lined-up along the streets of Bangkok, where should one begin to look for the best gem and jewelry bargains? Well, we'll let you in on a little secret - the real deals and the best gems aren't found in Bangkok's concrete jungle, but rather surprisingly, the best deals and colored stone bargains can be found in a small place we like to call home, Chanthaburi.
What Makes Chanthaburi so Special? Back to Top
Chanthaburi was once famous for its ruby and sapphire mining, but since the 1980s, most of Chanthaburi's mines have been worked out. Today, Chanthaburi is known as the industry's leader for colored stone processing, including gemstone treatments, enhancements, cutting and polishing.
Did you know that nearly 70% of the world's entire supply of ruby and sapphire pass through the small town of Chanthaburi? Being surrounded by some of the world's best gemstone sources, Chanthaburi is situated in an absolutely ideal location for gemstone trading and it quickly became the top gemstone trading center of the world. Today, Chanthaburi is recognized as the world's number one colored stone trading center and we're very proud to say that Chanthaburi truly is the heart of the gem trade.
Chanthaburi is located on the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand, about 4 hours southeast of Thailand's capital city of Bangkok. The small provincial municipality is ideally situated about an hour away from the Cambodian border. Cambodia is known to produce some of the world's finest zircon, ruby and sapphire. Chanthaburi also has extremely close relations with Burmese gem traders. Burma is not only famous for fine ruby and jade, but is also known to produce high quality zircon, sapphire and spinel. Chanthaburi also attracts gemstone importers from several other nearby gem-producing countries, including Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Madagascar, Tanzania and Namibia. Most people are very surprised to learn that almost all of the world's colored stones make their way from the mine to here, the small town of Chanthaburi.
Chanthaburi's Weekend Gem Market Back to Top
The Chanthaburi gemstone market, known locally as 'Talad Ploy', is open every weekend. Trading hours are during the day, which is very important in order to accurately inspect colored stones for color, clarity and overall quality. The main area of the gem market is contained within a small group of alleys and roads, situated at the intersection of Si Chan Road (Gem Street) and Thetsaban Road. Everything gem-related is available in the market, including a full range of cutting, packaging and gem inspection equipment, as well as testing facilities and educational centers.
There are many sellers of both rough and cut gemstones lining the small alleys and streets. Many gemstone sellers roam the market on foot with satchels of gems in search of buyers, while others sit and let the buyers come to them. Sellers and traders come from all over the world, including Africa, India, Burma and Cambodia. In addition to gems and jewelry, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, coffee and Internet shops available for both locals and tourists. During the rest of the week, Monday to Thursday, Talad Ploy becomes a surprisingly quiet area. In fact, it's quite amazing to witness the quiet city transform into the world's biggest gemstone market, week after week.
Anyone can come and buy gemstones from Chanthaburi's gem market, but for many tourists, it can be quite intimidating. It may sound adventurous and exciting, but the reality can sometimes be quite the opposite. Local sellers can easily pick out rookie buyers and they'll take every opportunity to separate you from your cash. Although there are many stories of 'fake' gemstones being sold in the market, it really isn't that common, but instead, if you get 'cheated' in Chanthaburi, it typically just means you paid more than probably should have. But for those 'in the know', Chanthaburi's gem market can offer some of the best gemstone bargains on earth.
New CGA Gem & Jewelry Trade Center Back to Top
As tempting as Talad Ploy sounds, the outdoor market can be quite chaotic. Spending the day under the hot sun is extremely weathering and even for seasoned veterans, Chanthaburi's gem market can be completely exhausting. It's not uncommon for buyers to spend the entire weekend in the market, only to go home empty-handed. So, if you're like most tourists on a short holiday, you probably don't have much time to waste, and that's exactly why Chanthaburi has opened an enormous new gem trade center.
Now shoppers can bypass all of the hassle and heat of 'Gem Street', and head straight to the new Chanthaburi Gem and Jewelry Trade Center! The trade center is sponsored by the CGA (Chanthaburi Gem and Jewelry Traders Association), and all sellers inside are registered members of the organization, ensuring quality and authenticity for shoppers. Where else can you find over a hundred gemstone suppliers under one roof? The CGA's Gem and Jewelry Trade Center has everything from single sapphires to matching lots, and simple jewelry to luxurious designs. It's quick, convenient, and most importantly, it allows shoppers to buy gems and jewelry with confidence at bargain prices.
New BGL Gem Testing Lab Back to Top
The CGA Gem and Jewelry Trade Center also boasts Thailand's newest gem testing lab. However, it isn't just any lab, it's Burapha Gemological Laboratory. BGL is one of Asia's most trusted names in the industry. BGL offers on-the-fly identification reports for as little as $10.00, but the special offer is available only in the new trade center.
BGL's brief identification reports are more affordable and they offer a much faster service than most other gem testing labs. So, we're absolutely thrilled to offer our customers BGL certification (in addition to AIGS lab reports). BGL testing can be completed in just two to three days, which means we can certify and ship your gemstones in as little as three to four days! Now, in addition to offering the largest online selection of affordable gems, we're also pleased to offer the most affordable gemstone certification service as well.
Note: AIGS recently announced that they have increased their prices from $20 to $30 USD for brief identification reports.
August: Gem and Jewelry Events Calendar Back to Top
Gem and Jewelry Industry News Back to Top
Customer Questions Back to Top
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- First Published: August-01-2013
- Last Updated: March-08-2016
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