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     The coloured gemstone business is a major upstream sector of the Thai gem and jewellery industry. Historically, Thailand has long been a gemstone mining country. Athough today most of the raw materials are imported, Thailand still maintains its reputation as a coloured gemstone manufacturing centre and sourcing hub of world importance. Thailand maintains its position as the top supplier of coloured gemstones to the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and Japan.

     However, the Thai coloured gemstone industry is still facing many challenges due to the prolongs global economic slowdown, which is affecting the US economic recovery, and impending China's growth.

     In considering the competition from Sri Lanka and India. Thailand's growning economic status could soon disqualify it for tax exemption when exporting gems to the US market. Camdodia could continue to retain its tax free trading status and could overtake Thailand's gem export market in the United States in the future. This may induce some gems traders to move their business to Cambodia.

    Vietnam is rich in sapphire, ruby and spinel resources. The output at this stage is limited but there is good potential for more discoveries. Lao has sapphire. Both countries may gradually develop their gemstone industries. Economic reforms and new policies are occurring in Myanmar, following the lifting of economic sanctions. It is a reasonable expectation that the Mogok gems industry is likely to expand gradually.

    The rich resources of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia will continue to support their substatial grownth. Asian markets are forecast to continue rising until 2017. Gold prices driven by the demand of the consumer markets - mainly from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia - are forecast to continue rising. Coloured gemstones will follow the trend even more than diamonds since they represent an alternative in luxury consumption. The value is driven by luxury brands as well as the public-listed companies such as Gemsfield and Truenorth Gems with the aggressive "Mine to market" marketing strategy. This will benefit the gem and jewellery industry in terms of value and recognition ofcoloured stones.

    Singapore completes with Hong Kong for the high-end gemstone and jewellery market. Most luxury brands stage their exhibitions in Singapore, which is also becoming a leading place for high-stake auctions. Consering the close proximity of Indonesia as their neutral main financial platform. Indonesia and Malaysia have but modest gem and jewellery shows at this stage, and this will change in the future.

    Last, but not least, gem and jewellery market trends toward AEC 2015 are full of challenges and opportunities. Overall, it is promising to further strengthen Asia as a region in the global competition of manufacturing and potential markets.


Cover picture :
A magnificent suite with emeralds and diamonds designed and created by leading Bangkok jeweller Mahallati Co., Ltd.