Here’s a fun fact: jewelry is the reason I moved to Bangkok. My husband works for a high-end jewelry company, and we relocated so he could oversee the day-to-day operations at the manufacturing factories here. Bangkok, as we soon learned, is one of the biggest jewelry hubs in all of Asia. The laborers here are skilled and the country is home to a large collection of precious and semi-precious colored stones, including rubies and sapphires.
All of these factors mean that vacationers looking for bespoke items and upmarket pieces will find a host of options in the city with competitive prices. It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that scammers are a somewhat common problem when it comes to selling jewelry in Bangkok. Don’t get in a taxi or tuk-tuk promising to take you to the best deals or buy from anyone claiming to be a government representative with too good to be true sales. Be smart and you’ll take home some incredible souvenirs.
Jewelry Trade Center
The Silom district is the long-standing home of jewelry in Bangkok. On the first three floors of the Jewelry Trade Center (JTC) you’ll find stores and booths selling finished goods, findings, and loose stones. If you’re in the market for a custom item come here early in your trip. Some negotiation is to be expected.
If you’re looking for gold jewelry the place to be is Chinatown. It’s hard to recommend a specific store here, but look for one of the brightly lit signs with Chinese characters. Most stores are crowded and you should be prepared to jockey for personal attention at the cases. The quality here is good and you would be smart to know the current market price of gold before shopping.
Bangkok has a very real love affair with shopping malls and one of the best in that category is Emporium. You’ll find top international brands here and the jewelry is mostly concentrated on the first floor. International shoppers spending more than a few hundred dollars should get the necessary forms for VAT tax refunds.
SJ International Jewelry
Visitors flock here for the western-style service, a knowledgeable staff and collections centered around colored stones. Complimentary hotel pick-up and drop-off is available and serious shoppers should browse their online gallery before entering the large store. Custom designs are available here as well.
If it’s quality silver pieces—bangles, necklaces and rings—you’re looking for, one of the best vendors is Lin Jewelers. Engraving for things like lockets and cufflinks are available on-site and you’ll find a wide-range of silver home goods like pictures frames, candlesticks and napkin rings here as well.