The 57th Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Fair (BGJF) opened with a glittering fashion show displaying jewelry worn by Thailand’s elite models on Feb. 24. Presiding over the opening ceremony, Chantira Jimreiwat Vivatrat, deputy director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) of the Ministry of Commerce, welcomed assembled media, trade delegations and VIP guests to Asia’s second-largest gem and jewelry 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 Jewelry Fair today, under the theme: “Thailand: The World’s Ruby Capital,” Chantira says. “The gems and jewelry 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 Jewelry Fair is very important to the government.”
Prior to the event, the Thai government announced that all gems and jewelry traded during the five days of the 57th BGJF would be duty- and VAT-free.
“We recognize the importance of removing barriers from doing business,” Chantira added. “Therefore we have lifted the 20 percent import duty and also made VAT zero percent 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 Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA); Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT); and Matayawong Amatayakul, commercial expert, DITP, Ministry of Commerce, opened the Design Pavilion.
The centerpiece of the pavilion is the Art of Kingdom exhibition of traditional Thai masterpieces to show Queen Sirikit’s support for Thai arts and craftsmanship.
“I am greatly honored to be opening the design pavilion at the BGJF,” says Mr. 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 endeavors.”
There followed a series of free seminars on the Jewelry Virtual Fair (JVF), which opened in Vicenza, Italy, on Jan. 24, 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 U.S., and it will help businesses in the gems and jewelry industry to showcase their products to buyers worldwide,” says 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. 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 says. “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 a good 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 says. “It’s a wonderful time to buy ruby.”
Rupak Sen, regional marketing director of 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.”
On Day 3 of the 57th BGJF, more than 20 international presses from all around the world attended the International Press Conference at Design Pavilion. Five panelists from GJPCT and TJGTA spoke on the success of the 57th BGJF and the future plan for 2017 to make Thailand a hub of AEC gateway for the gems and jewelry industry. The International Press Conference was also supported by The Tourism Authority of Thailand, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok.
Up to 30,000 visitors are expected to have attended the 57th BGJF.