For the first time in ten years, our gemologist Jake Thompson-Bennett is travelling to Thailand to explore and unearth some of the finest jewels straight from their source.
As well as attending the Bangkok Trade Show, taking place from Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th September, Jake will be heading back to the roots of various exquisite gemstones, with hopes of bringing some extra special parcels back to us at Gemporia.
"After a decade of not being able to see what Thailand has to offer, we’re back! We’ve spent the last ten years chasing gems elsewhere, such as Nepal, India, Myanmar and Morocco – now, we’re coming full circle to show you where it all began." - Jake Thompson-Bennett
WHAT IS JAKE DOING IN THAILAND?
Jake’s main adventure in Thailand exists in its capital – more specifically, at the iconic Bangkok Trade Show. Over the last three years, this event has taken on an unprecedented amount of importance in the gemstone industry; as a result, it's considered to be the most important gemstone show of the Far East.
However, Bangkok isn’t the only place Jake will be visiting on his travels...
Elsewhere on his trip, Jake will also be heading into the Thai wilderness. He'll be working with locals to unearth high-quality gemstones to be set into what he refers to as ‘heirloom-worthy, collection-defining pieces’.
At the top of Jake’s gem-hunting list is Chanthaburi, one of the former Meccas of the gemstone world. Chanthaburi was once surrounded by multiple different mines, many of which are no longer in operation; however, a number of old mining families remain, with old gemstone parcels still in their family vaults – and this is where Jake is hoping to learn more about these exquisite jewels.
A key gemstone that Jake is hoping to find (and bring back to us in the UK) is Pearls, so we’re extremely excited that he will be accompanied by the man who knows more about this gem than most: Charlie Barron.
Charlie will be meeting Jake in Thailand in order to source some of the highest-quality Pearls in the current market.
According to Jake, there will eventually be a point in time where we can’t offer Pearls anymore and, as much as we dislike the prospect, it is unfortunately unavoidable. Shutdowns during the pandemic have resulted in harvests cultured over many years being irretrievably lost; prices have risen, and production is unlikely to recover for up to a decade.
As a sixth generation Pearl trader, Charlie works tirelessly to source the highest-quality Pearls on the market to bring to us, and he and Jake will be working with South China Sea Pearl farmers out in Thailand to try and extend the longevity of Pearl supply as far into the future as possible.
WHAT DOES JAKE HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
Clearly, Jake has quite the project on his hands! However, he is travelling to Thailand with one specific goal: to secure the future of gemstones.
Jake is visiting the Far East with the hopes of not only bringing some exquisite gemstone parcels back home, but to also broaden the supply of high-quality jewels such as Pearls, Rubies and Sapphires. 2020 was an incredible year for Sapphire collectors, but ultimately, with high demand comes high price.
Due to the overall unpredictability of the current world, a lot of people are no longer investing in financial instruments; instead, they are reverting back to traditional stores of wealth – therefore, high-end gemstones are shooting up in value.
So, we’re going back to the source of where many of these gemstones are cut, and hunting for them organically and ethically direct from the market. Jake is confident that we will be able to secure the future of gemstones, and is just as determined to find some of these precious parcels during his visit.
Jake has an incredible eye for gem-quality jewels – and we can’t wait to bring his finds to you.