GemTradeNet.com recently visited the Chantaburi Gem Trade Center located in the the provincial town of Chantaburi in eastern Thailand. Chantaburi seems an unlikely center for international commerce of any description, but a combination of factors has earned it a solid reputation as one of the most important gem-trading capitals of the world. Located some 250 kilometers from Bangkok, the town owes its prominence to the nearby presence of a legendary gem mountain known as the Khao Ploei Waen. In the past sapphires and rubies littered the ground there in such quantities that village children used them as marbles or smashed them into pieces for the pleasure of making colored sparks fly. It was this treasure trove that put Chantaburi firmly on the map as one of the world's top gem-trading locations, an accolade it still merits today. The local gem traders' association estimates that today at least 80 percent of the world's rubies and sapphires transit Chantaburi at one stage or another on their journey from the mine to the retail outlet.
The nerve center of Chantaburi's gem trade is the Talaat Ploei, or gem market, located in the heart of the old town. The market, an informal collection of open-fronted shophouses at the intersection of Si Chan and Thetsaban streets, operates on weekends from Friday to Sunday. Thousands of dollars' worth of gems lie scattered on the tables, and African, Indian and Sri Lankan dealers mingle with Thai, Chinese, Japanese and even the occasional Western buyers.
Typically from the mine to the end consumer a gemstone changes hands at least seven times, and jumps in price a thousand percent. Even between Chantaburi and Bangkok the price difference can vary by up to 30 percent. Huddled at rickety tables with jeweler's loupes screwed into their eyes, the buyers rent space at one of the shophouses and put up a sign listing the gems they are interested in acquiring. Sellers patiently line up to present their stashes and eye the stones of the competition. It all seems very amicable with no raised voices, just quiet bargaining that leads to a deal being refused or concluded with a handshake.
GemTradeNet.com met with the local Gem Traders and gave them useful insights as to how GemTradeNet.com can help them to grow and compete over the internet. The GemTradeNet.com sales and Marketing team distributed brochures and introduced the novel ideas proposed through the Gem Trade Network.
Gem Traders in the packed weekend market were given a brief on the innovative features included in its Gemstone search and Gemstone listings. Also highlighted during these presentations was the recently launched Auctions feature,and the various modes by which Gemstone sellers can benefit from these selling tools.