Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair Prepares to Host 57th Edition


(Press Release) BANGKOK, THAILAND – Organizers of the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair are inviting visitors to the 57th Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Fair (BGJF) held at the IMPACT Challenger in Bangkok from Feb. 24-28.

In recent years the fair has grown into one of the biggest industry shows in the world. The 57th BGJF is expected to draw tens of thousands of buyers from all around the world, including the US, EU, Russia, China, ASEAN and the Middle East. “Come and enjoy our famous Thai hospitality,” says Suttipong Damrangsakul, the president of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA).

The committee is offering accommodation in one of Bangkok’s hotels for international visitors. A free hotel coupon can be obtained by registering online at

Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT), expects that the 57th BGJF will offer a high quality of gemstones. “You come to Thailand to get the best, anywhere else you are getting the second best,” he says.

The 40-year plus veteran of the industry adds that Thailand has developed an international reputation for the finest quality coloured stones – or Ploi Thai – in the world. Whereas once the country’s fame was solely for excavating the precious gems, this is no longer the case.

“Thailand has a hundred-year history with gems,” he says. “But now we no longer have our own gems. Ploi Thai is the Thailand country brand; it doesn’t matter where the stones come from they are assembled in Thailand. When you think of coloured stones you think of Thailand, that’s why we call it Ploi Thai.”

Somchai believes that Thailand is set to become the gem hub not just of ASEAN but of the world. “In three to five years time, Thailand will become gem hub of ASEAN, but we will not rest there,” he says. “I want it to be capital of the world, that’s why we are asking for government support.”

Recent discussions with the Thai government towards securing zero duty status for the industry – to bring it closer to Hong Kong – are starting to bear fruit, according to Somchai. He partially attributes this to the unification of the 13 gems and jewelry associations under a single body under the GJPCT.

The package, subject to be formalized by the Thai government, includes the exemption of VAT for imports of finished diamonds and gemstones for manufacturing, rough stones for manufacturing and sale, machinery tools and essential materials.

Both Somchai and Suttipong believe that the government will ratify the proposals before the 58th BGJF in September 2016. “We’re 90 percent there,” says Suttipong. “By September we will have better tools to compete with Hong Kong.”

Suttipong believes that recent global economic downturns, that have badly affected the luxury industry, could play to the advantage of the 57th BGJF. Buyers that used to hunt in packs of threes attending shows all over the globe are now becoming increasingly discerning.

“Thailand is at center of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a new community of 600 million people,” he says. “Buyers can reach new suppliers from the AEC, and suppliers can reach international buyers – all in a one-stop expo.”

The 57th BGJF57 will be held at the Challenger Hall 1-3, Impact Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok from Feb. 24-28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ministry of Public Health: No ZIKA Outbreak in Thailand

Thailand received a clean bill of health in advance of the 57th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair.

The Ministry of Public Health has reported that there has been no outbreak of the ZIKA virus in Thailand. Minister of Public Health, Dr Piyasakol Sakolsattayathon said that the first case of ZIKA infection in Thailand was reported in 2012. Since then there have been an average of five cases per year. Only one ZIKA infection had been reported in Thailand so far this year, the minister added.

Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsattayathon urged the public to remain calm as most ZIKA patients recover by themselves without any need for hospitalization. However, he warned that the disease is linked to abnormalities in infants whose mothers might have been exposed to the virus during pregnancy.

Director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr. Amnuay Kachina, said the best way to prevent the ZIKA disease was to avoid being bitten by dengue mosquitoes.

Dr. Amnuay also announced that an Omani citizen, who had contracted MERS, is in a stable condition. The patient has been receiving treatment at Bangkok’s Bamrasnaradura Hospital since Jan. 23.

Strict security measures are in place at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to detect infected passengers. The Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) has thermal scanners which determine travelers who are at risk. Any incoming passenger showing ZIKA- or MERS-like symptoms, will be separated from other passengers and be sent to check up with a public health officer or doctor.

The Department of Disease Control said it was asking airlines to primarily screen passengers before boarding.

All travelers arriving to Thailand from a MERS-affected area within the past two weeks should either visit a hospital or call the Department of Disease Control Hotline on 1422 if they develop a fever or acute respiratory tract infection, such as a cough or flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women are advised to avoid travelling to ZIKA-affected countries.

The 57th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair will be held at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center from Feb. 24-28.

VIP Service for BGJF Delegates

Delegates for the 57th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair BGJF57 will receive a VIP Fast Track Service.

A delegation of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT) and the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) met with senior officers of the Airports of Thailand (AOT) and other relevant agencies at the Novotel, Suvarnabhumi Airport on Feb. 4. The aim of the meeting was to agree fast track immigration procedures for delegates attending the 57th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF57), held at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center from Feb. 24-28.

Somchai Phornchindark, president of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT), stated that the Fast Track initiative is an important facility for all overseas delegates.

“The BGJF is a world class fair that is supported by the Thai gems and jewelry industry, which has ascended to become the country’s third largest exporter,” says Somchai Phornchindark. “The Fast Track service is very much needed to create a world class image and a great service to attract the best buyers from around the world."

Thailand offers a Fast Track VIP Service for all MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition Visitors) through the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

Delegates signed up for the service will be greeted upon arrival and escorted to the Priority Immigration Desk and baggage claim. A VIP lounge and police escort is also available upon request. Delegates wishing to benefit from the service need to submit forms, available on request from the BGJF organizing committee to the TCEB prior to arrival.

Delegates signed up for the Fast Track VIP procedure are requested to wear business attire and fill in their immigration cards before disembarking the plane. Those delegates who need a visa on arrival should fill out the visa application form and bring one photograph (4x6cm) and 1,000 Thai baht in cash. The service is only available for delegates arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Sombut Chiowanicha, general manager of Malca-Amit (Thailand) Ltd, which manages freight for the AOT, assured that it was not just delegates who would receive the VIP service. “Security is the heart of our freight service,” he says. “We use a bulletproof vehicle to transfer the goods with police officers monitoring, and also CCTVs. Our warehouse is fully equipped with security cameras. We also offer insurance for exhibitors who use our services as the goods are high value."

All freight imported for BGJF57 will be duty free, providing the appropriate paperwork is supplied to the customs department.

"If exhibitors hand-carry the products for BGJF in the country they will also get a fast track service at the customs counter upon arrival at the airport," Chiowanicha added.

The Original Miami Beach Antique Show Reports Increased Attendance


(Press Release) MIAMI – U.S. Antique Shows recently concluded the 55th year of The Original Miami Beach Antique Show with a 3 percent increase in attendance for all days of the event. The five-day show was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Jan. 28 – Feb. 1.

The Miami Beach show featured nearly 1,000 dealers from 30 countries and 35 states, with exhibitors traveling from as far away as Thailand, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Dubai. Attendees had access to historical collections from the Renaissance to Art Deco eras including fine art, American and European silver, antique jewelry, 17th-19th century furniture, porcelain and more. Additionally, the convention center’s Flamingo Ballroom presented an array of antique, estate and vintage pieces.

“For more than five decades, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show has been a premiere event in the antiques marketplace. We’re excited to report for 2016 not only an increased number of dealers from other countries, but also increased attendance over last year," says Dan Darby, Emerald Expositions vice president and U.S. Antique Shows general manager. "We’re also pleased to welcome three of our Antique Young Guns into the show this year Margaret Schwartz of The Summer House, Brad Ketelhut of Alpen Art & Antiques and Sarah McMillan of McMillan Fine Prints. And we will certainly build upon these successes next year as the show moves to the Fair-Expo Center while the Miami Beach Convention Center undergoes renovations.”

U.S. Antique Shows reported that 80 percent of exhibiting dealers renewed their booths for the 2017 show, which will be held at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center, Feb. 10-13.

Many distinctive pieces on the show floor attracted the eye of both attendees and dealers alike. This included a spectacular copper eagle statue from the Bank of Boston building in Buenos Aires, valued at $450,000, from Eduardo Cohen as well as a sailboat illustration drawn by the first President of the United States George Washington at 10 years old from Tom Lingenfelter of One of a Kind Collectibles. Among the jewelry dealers, Gallery 118 showcased a necklace and earring set adorn with 73 carats of alexandrite and 21 carats of diamonds in an 18k gold setting.

“This year’s Miami Beach show was one of my busiest shows ever,” says Doug Liebman of Douglas M. Liebman Estate Jeweler. “I will always remember attendees commenting that they couldn’t even speak with me because of the amount of people at my booth. I made both large and small sales on many extraordinary and desirable items. Big diamonds, signed jewelry and dramatic statement pieces set the standard for 2016.”

Appraisal Day, which is sponsored by Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers, was the highest attended in its seven year history. The Third Annual Jewelry History Series also reported a record number of attendees.

In 2017, the Original Miami Beach Antique Show will be relocating to the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center due to the impending closure of the Miami Beach Convention Center for planned renovations. For more information, visit

The next show on U.S. Antique Shows’ calendar is LUEUR Spring, March 13-15 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Harry Winston Introduces the ‘Countdown to a Cure’ Timepiece Benefiting AIDS Research


HW men's timepiece

(Press Release) NEW YORK – International fine jeweler and watchmaker Harry Winston Inc. has announced the launch of the “Countdown to a Cure” timepiece in honor of its second year of partnership with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

Designed exclusively for amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure” campaign, the limited-edition timepiece of 20 men’s and 20 women’s models is the first official product to benefit amfAR’s efforts to develop the scientific basis of a cure for HIV by 2020.

Part of Harry Winston’s timeless Midnight Collection, the men’s version features a 42mm white gold case with a navy blue dial that is accented with a multicolor gradient, representing amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure campaign colors that symbolize the fade of the disease from crisis to cure. The complementing 32mm women’s model is set with 12 brilliant-cut diamonds and 19 vivid gemstones, from rubies and sapphires to spessartite garnets.

Retailing for $21,200 for the men’s timepiece and $16,200 for the women’s, the Countdown to a Cure timepiece will be sold exclusively at Harry Winston salons worldwide, with 20 percent of the retail sales price from each timepiece benefitting amfAR.

In January of 2015, Harry Winston announced a three-year partnership with amfAR in support of the organization’s mission to end the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research and its “Countdown to a Cure” initiative, which is aimed at developing the scientific basis for a cure by 2020. Launched in February of 2014, the Countdown is designed to intensify amfAR’s cure-focused HIV research program through strategic investments of $100 million over the next five years.

Harry Winston’s support for amfAR marks the brand’s first collaboration with a global organization, signifying its increased philanthropic commitment to vital causes that affect millions of people worldwide.

“We are proud to introduce the new Countdown to a Cure timepiece and further strengthen our commitment to amfAR,” says Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston Inc. “Through Harry Winston's support, amfAR has been able to make significant research investments into cutting-edge research studies that address the remaining roadblocks to a cure. It is our hope that through our continued partnership, amfAR will be able to advance its efforts to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, giving millions of individuals around the world a more brilliant and healthy future.”

“We are deeply grateful to our friends at Harry Winston for their partnership and support,” says Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of amfAR. “The AIDS epidemic continues to take lives with every passing minute, so the Countdown to a Cure timepiece is a fitting symbol of the urgency with which we’re pursuing our goal of a cure for HIV.”

Longtime Tennessee Jeweler Harold Markman Dies at 89


(Press Release) Harold Markman passed away Sunday, Feb. 7 in Knoxville, TN at the age of 89.

Harold was born in Denver, Colorado on Jan. 13, 1927. He and his partner for life, Ida, wed in 1950 and were married for 61 years. He was a longtime member of Temple Beth El.

After working in the jewelry industry from the time he was a teenager, in 1976 Harold and Ida founded Markman’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry. Harold had a loyal following of customers, including the children and grandchildren of those who patronized Markman’s from the first days of the business. He and Ida were always humbled and thankful for the close and enduring relationships that they built over the years, both professional and personal. Harold was completely devoted to his family, and the time he spent with them was his greatest pleasure.

Harold was preceded in death by his loving wife, Ida Markman; parents, Abraham and Julia Markman; brothers and sisters in law, Norman and Peppy Markman, Sherman and Sande Markman; sister in law, Rose Greenberg; brothers in law, Phillip Kligman and Hymie Abramson; nephew, Bobby Abramson. Harold is survived by sons, Stephen Markman and wife Ellen; Stuart Markman and wife Lori; grandchildren, Jeffrey Markman and wife Meghan of Winston Salem, NC; Michael Markman and wife Allie of Chicago, IL; Ryan Markman of New York, NY and girlfriend Eileen Cella; Jacob Markman; and Lainey Markman; great-grandchildren, Owen Markman, Meredith Markman and Goldie Markman, as well as many nieces and nephews. Harold is also survived by special family friend and honorary Markman, Marsha Ross, who cared for Harold and Ida with love and kindness for several years; and many other special and dear friends too numerous to list.

The funeral service was held on Monday at Temple Beth El with Rabbi Howard Simon and Rabbi Matthew Michaels officiating. Interment followed at New Jewish Cemetery. Pallbearers were Jeffrey Markman, Michael Markman, Ryan Markman, Jacob Markman, Lainey Markman, S. Michael Markman, Lori Z. Markman and Joni Hoffman. Honorary pallbearers were Gene Rosenberg, Howard Blum, Dr. Robert Madigan, Richard Jacobstein, Jerry Becker, Dr. Robert Martin, Dr. Jeff Becker, The Honorable Charles Susano and the entire Thursday night poker club.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorials be made in Harold’s honor to The Markman Education Fund, Sanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School, 1529 Downtown West Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37919, or to Interfaith Health Clinic, 315 Gill Ave. Knoxville, TN 37917, or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be sent to Arrangements were provided by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.