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อัพเดท: 06 ต.ค. 2015 04.38 น. บทความนี้มีผู้ชม: 1354 ครั้ง

Gem and Jewelry Information Center would like to introduce GIT article entitled " Thai Gem and Jewelry Industry Strengthens Its Competitiveness with Innovations to Face Crisis” For more article, please visit http://www.git.or.th/gem


Thai Gem and Jewelry Industry Strengthens Its Competitiveness with Innovations to Face Crisis

Thailand’s gem and jewelry industry has been one of the leading export manufacturing industries which continually bring in high revenue to the country. It is also considered one of several industries with strength and adaptability to overcome different obstacles and challenges, especially economic headwinds. Recently, many businesses have been terminated; however, new entrepreneurs constantly have emerged and brought diversities to the industry. The diversities are introduced through new jewelry designs which are unique and distinctive from traditional ones. Meanwhile, a number of businesses have been readjusting to brace for continual changes in the dynamic business world.  

Design Excellence Award

A wooden jewelry piece

by Simmanee Co., Ltd.

 A ceramic jewelry piece

by Peakchan Co., Ltd.

 

 A water buffalo horn jewelry piece

by Trimode Design Co., Ltd.

 Jewelry pieces made of synthetic gemstones, metal and acrylic

by Trimode Design Co., Ltd.

Demonstrating product identity and building brand identity were the value adding methods Thai gem and jewelry entrepreneurs applied as their key strategy in last decade. Such entrepreneurs started to expand in number and became an inspiration to many others. Innovations, particularly, in jewelry design to create a distinctive feature as a selling point have gradually become more apparent trend among Thai gem and jewelry manufacturers, both for export and the domestic market. This is not only prompted by a need to survive but also partly driven by several government agencies, the Ministry of Commerce in particular. The ministry has provided platforms for entrepreneurs with the innovations to showcase their designs in domestic and international venues. One of its outstanding campaigns is DEmark, which has earned growing interest from international suppliers. DEmark, or Design Excellence Award, was established in 2008 and has been carried out until present.

All DEmark-winning jewelry pieces are exceptional in creative and functional aspects which match up commercial demands. The followings are examples of interesting innovations: developing products from water buffalo horn by incorporating natural materials with metal coating technique to create a fusion of luxurious looks and natural artistic elements of the horns; transforming a plain piece of wood into a long-lasting piece of jewelry with soft and flowing appearance in response to environmental friendly trend; using common materials in the industry like ceramic and acrylic to produce strikingly unique jewelry products with ingenious creativity.

Moreover, the manufacturers, focusing on exporting, adopt innovations into manufacturing processes. Most of them have been concentrating on developing and inventing new metals as alternative materials in case prices of key precious metals like gold and silver increase. As suppliers are sensitive to price adjustments to conform to rising costs of raw materials, the entrepreneurs have to put their effort in keeping their price levels within rational price points in order to maintain their customer base.  

Nowadays, an increasing number of Thai jewelry manufacturers have adopted new types of metals, which are now used extensively. One of the alternative metals was developed from mixing alpaca with some metals such as silicon and indium to create a new kind of alloy with properties similar to that of silver. The new type of alloy is called “Silver Plus”. The name suggests that it is glisteningly white like silver. It is also corrosion resistant as well as cost-effective since its price per gram is ten times less than silver. However, with a rather high percentage of nickel in the mixture (higher than international standards which state that jewelry may contain nickel content no more than 0.05 percent of the product weight) may raise concerns among buyers and suppliers, as they may cause allergy to consumers. This may cause consumers to lose their confidence in the products and will eventually pose complications to business operation. However, manufacturing jewelry from the alternative alloy is not considered prohibited since manufacturers can choose to follow Nickel Directive, a consumer protection regulation, by adopting the nickel migration limits. As the matter of fact, before jewelry products are exported, they should always be examined to ensure that nickel release rates are in accordance with the regulation.

Furthermore, Thai government aims to propel the country’s growth through technology and innovation research and development. In order to achieve the goal, it exempts income tax on the funds used for the purpose. Thus, it allows 300 percent tax deduction for technology and innovation research and development expenditures. This policy may be used as a booster to create a great leap forward of Thai gem and jewelry industry in the world arena. This can also be a significant change of the country’s gem and jewelry industry.

Knowledge Bits

In 1879, alpaca was developed in Germany. It was used to substitute silver, which had become scarce. Alpaca was formerly called German silver. It was a result of mixing metals to obtain a white alloy with the same melting point as silver. The alloy consisted of 40.4 percent copper, 31.6 percent nickel, 25.4 percent zinc, and 2.6 percent iron as the main components. Later, the mixing formula was further developed. The modified formula yielded a new alloy, which is called in different names, for example, nickel silver.

Generally, mixing copper and zinc in such proportion will yield yellow metal but the alloy’s color turns into white due to bleaching property of nickel. Initially, alpaca was popularly used to produce spoons, forks, and coins

(Source: Waewsri, Manatpong. “Metallurgy of Alpaca.” GIT Gems & Jewelry Magazine Jul.-Aug.  2015: p 40.)

 


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