Buying Guide

History of Gems in Thailand: Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand is a renowned gem trading center in the world. Thanks to its massive depository of colored gemstones, such as Emeralds, Ruby, Sapphire, etc., buyers, multiple jewelry makers, and gemstone lovers flock to this country to get the best deals possible. However, Thailand was not always this astute in the world history of gemstones.

Hong Kong was the region’s central hub for gem dealing up to the end of the 1970s. But Thailand scaled up to become the world’s center for the trade in Rubies, Sapphires, and other gemstones between the 1960s and the 1990s – a place it continues to occupy till now. So, how did all that happen? What was the journey like? Read along to know everything.

Let’s first learn more about the history of these stunning stones generically before navigating Thailand’s standpoint. How did civilization come to be acquainted with them before their impressive rise in Thailand?

Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire: History of Gems in Thailand, Significance & More

The human’s association with gemstones is as ancient as the gemstones themselves, and they have been long prized for their classy appearance and glorified beauty. To keep us hooked, numerous tales, traditions, and even curses have been created around gemstones, such as red Rubies, valuable Diamonds, enormous Emeralds, and other precious stones!

Let’s understand the legends in general in terms of Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire to make you feel more connected to the further read.

1. Ruby

The history of Rubies is full of intrigue, ardor, and splendor. Rubies were initially found in the Mogok region of Myanmar, once known as Burma, as early as 2500 BC. As per the mythology, Ruby is one of the twelve valuable stones God created; hence, the precious stone is referenced eight times in the same.

It has long been prized by monarchs, explorers, fighters, and collectors as a symbol of luxury and power. Today, Rubies are the colorful gemstones with the most outstanding price per carat.

2. Emeralds

Emerald gemstones are believed to have been first mined in Egypt as far back as 330 BC. The Egyptians utilized Emeralds in both jewelry and their different rites. Emeralds from what is now Colombia were among the loot taken by Spanish explorers who invaded the New World in the sixteenth century. They used Emeralds for 500 years in jewelry and religious rituals.

The Spanish exchanged Emeralds for precious metals because they valued gold and silver more than stones. Through their trades, European and Asian aristocracy learned about the magnificence of Emeralds.

3. Sapphires

How long-ago Sapphire gemstones were produced is a subject of debate. However, we know that 150-200 million years ago, Sapphires were not present where they are now. The current location of Sapphires provides some hints and suggestions as to where they originated from and how they are made into the jewelry people wear today.

In Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and Eastern Africa, high-grade metamorphic rocks and igneous rocks known as gneisses and granulites are where some Sapphire gemstones can be discovered. Sapphire has also been mentioned throughout Greek history.

Although scholars now think the blue gemstone mentioned in the Bible may have been Lapis Lazuli, ancient Hebrews considered the Ten Commandments were carved on tablets of Sapphire.

The Rise of the Gemstone Empire in Thailand

Thailand houses abundant gemstones like Sapphire, Ruby, Zircon, Garnet, Beryl, Quartz, and Jadeite, and gems and jewelry account for a sizable portion of the country’s total exports in terms of value. Let’s learn how these gemstones became an essential part of this country’s cultural and economic dynamics, tracing some critical historical events.

  1. Even though Chanthaburi and Pailin, Thailand, are small cities, they have had a significant impact on Thailand’s history and the gem trade. With the discovery of the Sapphire resource in Pailin during the 19th century, the area behind the coastal city of Chanthaburi became a significant gem trading hub.

Later, the loss of Pailin to what is now Cambodia in 1907 caused a decline in Thai trade. However, its fishing industry kept the area relevant, later contributing to the significant rise in the gemstone trade as more gems were discovered, too.

  1. Another important event was the nationalization of Burma’s Ruby mines. Burma has always been the primary source of Rubies worldwide since its discovery, thanks to its quality and color texture. However, the production of Ruby from Burma quickly decreased after this step. At that crucial time, the Burmese Rubies made their way to Thailand through the small villages on the Thai-Burma border.

Several significant Burmese gem miners and traders departed the nation once the socialist model was adopted, taking their expertise and business to Bangkok and Thailand, giving it an edge.

  1. Thai traders gained an advantage over other unrefined customers, thanks to the development of a few highly effective heat treatment procedures, first for Sapphires and then for Rubies, principally by certain bright people from Chanthaburi like Samuang Kaewen (Pardieu, 2006).

They were able to charge more than their competitors for the full output of a particular mine because they had mastered the effects of heat enhancement. This allowed them to pay less for raw stones that were worthless to others. This technique allowed Thailand to carve a niche for themselves in the colored gemstone industry, making them relevant.

  1. Here comes a very interesting story: Sri Lanka, the hub of many valuable gemstone mines since old times, has been on the list of many gemstone buyers. In 1980, Thais convinced Sri Lankan miners that their colorless Sapphires were worthless and purchased the stones for 10 to 30 cents per carat.

They heated these Sapphires and raked in the moolah. However, Sri Lanka soon realized the profit gap and removed the exclusive buyer status for Thai dealers for Sapphires. However, being independent was challenging when Thais dominated the market.

Top-quality Gemstones for All: That’s Sunny Creations Limited for You

According to Ward, the Thailand traders “gauged an opportunity and made the most of it” in order to achieve their position of dominance in the gemstone sector worldwide, making an essential piece of history in Thailand’s gemstones. They understood political and social conditions and acted in a certain way that enhanced their standing in the gemstone industry.

They methodically created a market to provide purchasers with a great selection of polished stones and completed jewelry worldwide. The selling package, which includes opulent hotels and a 24/7 entertainment zone that caters to every whim, is unbeatable.

Part of this shining legacy is Sunny Creations Limited. They have an extensive collection of calibrated Sapphires, Emeralds, and Rubies in the wholesale section at excellent prices. Visit us to get the best deals with quality stones at your disposal.

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