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Thai silver jewellery industry moving forward

Through the last decade, silver jewellery has been gaining popularity in line with fashion trends and as a result of price factor comparing with other precious metals. The high price of those, including gold and platinum, as well as economic slowdown in major markets including the United States, Europe, and many other countries, have shifted consumers’ attention towards other alternatives which can respond to their demand while have affordable prices to suit their lower purchasing power. The advantage then belongs to silver jewellery as affordable fine jewellery with precious value, different from fashion/costume jewellery.

The changing image

Now silver jewellery designs have more variety and have changed significantly from simple pieces for young or average consumers to higher-levelled jewellery, with diamonds and/or coloured stones decorated on the setting for more luxurious looks. Silver jewellery is also considered as another alternative for wedding jewellery or accessory for formal occasions.

Due to the competitive edge of silver in its relatively low price in comparison with other precious white metals like white gold and platinum, silver jewellery manufacturers can create a wide range of modern designs and release new collections to the market at a rapid rate. They can also add value to their products by incorporating other precious metals; for example, plating with 18-karat gold, 24-karat gold, or black rhodium; or using some alternative materials, such as leather, ceramic and silicone, to decorate the settings. All silver jewellers with unique designs of their own realize that, apart from “branding”, “design” is also a crucial element, and both factors can strengthen their product positioning, as well as create recognition among consumers in the long term.

Thai jewellery in the globe

Today Thai entrepreneurs are developing and adding more value to their products. From their original status as original equipment manufacturing (OEM) businesses, they are now shifting into original brand manufacturing (OBM), as seen in considerably strong presence of Thai silver jewellery brands in the global market.

In general, Thailand is the world’s leading manufacturer and exporter of silver jewellery. According to the statistics, Thailand has been the world’s largest silver jewellery exporter for over a decade, with the highest market share of around 20 percent. The latest export value during the 11-month period in 2013 was at US$1,467.77 million, as shown in the table.

Thailand’s five most important markets include the United States, which is the top market with the highest share of around 40 percent, followed by Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom respectively. Other markets that have high potential in silver jewellery export with over 100 percent growth rate are Russia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, which rank at 7th, 12th and 16th respectively in the list. These numbers correspond to the information from some Thai silver jewellers, who claim high growth in the export value to these markets.

Success factors for Thai entrepreneurs include workers’ skills and craftsmanship, as well as Thai entrepreneurs’ excellent management, resulting in variety of designs and consistency in product quality. Moreover, as a leading silver jewellery manufacturer and exporter, Thailand attracts quite a large number of foreign investors to locate their manufacturing facilities in the country, as well as using it as a manufacturing center for export. For instance, Pandora, Denmark, established their manufacturing facility in the Gemopolis Industrial Estate in 2005.

Active collaborations and networks are also developed among entrepreneurs in Thailand, as seen in the Thai Silver Exporters Association, the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA), and Gem and Jewelry Industry Club under the Federation of Thai Industries. These communities provide help and support to members and encourage their exchange of information in manufacturing and marketing. They also play a vital role in negotiating and promoting support measures to be implemented by government agencies.

(Information courtesy: Gem and Jewelry Information Center, GIT)

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