It's an exciting time to shop for gems and jewelry in Thailand. As the gem cutting center of the world, Thailand is ideally placed to offer both the latest in high-quality fashion gems along along with the ever-popular classics. Recent advances in stone cutting techniques have created a global market for local designs. Thailand's talented jewelry crafters are cutting gemstones into unusual shapes.
Bangkok is the coloured gemstone capital of the world. The local stones are rubies, red and blue spinels, yellow and blue sapphires.
Gems markets operate around Chanthaburi, Kanchaburi, Mae Sai, and in Mae Sot on the Burmese borders where germs are cheaper than in Bangkok. However you'll need an expert eye to pick out the bargains and should be wary of illegally smugled gems.
In Phuket's Pearl Centre close to Phuket town there are numerous high quality pearls for sale. Ask your hotel for a trip around the Phuket island which ends at the Pearl Centre.
You are adviced to buy gems from a reputable gems shop. It is possible to have stones authenticated and graded (but not valued) at the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences.