jade and pearls in thailand

Mar 20th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #1  
pat
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jade and pearls in thailand

thinking of what I can buy for my sisters in Thailand. I have read to be careful about Jade, as the items are often made out of plastic. Is Thailand a good place to buy pearls or jade, that is reasonably priced? I don`t want to spend a whole lot, since it will be for gifts and I have many sisters. I know Kathie knows a lot about jewelry.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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The real jewelry bargains in Thailand are sapphires. Second best bargains are rubies.

You'll find jade and pearls at ok prices. As with any jewelry purchase, you need to have a reputable jeweler. You should also know enough about what you are buying to know what it's worth at home. I expect you have the name and address of my jeweler, SJ International. The woman there that I've worked with for many years is Lily. Call them and they will pick you up at your hotel and deliver you back to your hotel after your shopping. You are welcome to use my name "Kathie from Seattle" will work. You'll get a better price that way. If you don't have the conatct info on SJ, respond here and I'll post it when I get home.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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as kathie says there are lots of wonderful things made with sapphires of all colors and hues....
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Mar 20th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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I would like the contact information, if you don't mind. Also, if you can give a price range that would be great.


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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:03 AM
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SJ International 125/8 Sawankhalok Road, Dusit, Bangkok
phone 02-2342446 or 7, 02-2415270

kdk, you asked for a price range - for what? They carry jewelry in all price ranges. As an example, you can get a nice pair of sapphire earrings in 18k gold for under $100. I often buy a handful of items for gifts and bring some money for a special item or two for myself. I've purchased items ranging from about $US 25 (some lovely little elephant pendants paveed with pink rubies for my neices) to large sapphires or rubies in the US$2000-3000 range.

As always, it pays do do your research before you go. I find that I can buy jewelry for about one-half the US wholesale price (one fourth the retail price). But this wouldn't hold true for all kinds of jewelry, just that produced in SE Asia (thus sapphires and rubies being the best deal).
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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:43 AM
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one thing i might point out when doing your american comparisons, give some attention to the amount of gold used in pieces bought in america---very little---very lite weight....in thailand you will find most all pieces are heavy in comparison---lots of gold used and thus more durable and valuable...

i often see sapphire items for sale here in boston...they are very cheap, like $19.95-99.95....when i compare them to the items available in bkk for say $40-60 there is no comparison..

items we routinely have custom made in bkk for $200-800 would run $1200-2000 in usa and they would be readi-made in usa, not custom.....

as an example, we have had several bangle braclets made with a nantucket motif....they have two small sapphires at the handle joint of the nantucket basket....we pay $200 in 14K gold and $285 in 18K gold in bkk and at home a lighter version (less gold by at least 30-40%), with no sapphires is $1250 in 14K gold....

lovely large sapphire studs or sapphire earings with a gold bezle can be had for $40-100....sapphires come in many colors by the way...one of my wife's favorite thai pair are a lovely green color....
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Mar 21st, 2006, 08:09 AM
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With the world market for gold over $500.oz. how come gold is that inexpensive. I realize workmanship is less costly but often pieces do not require a lot of intricate design.
I know in South Africa diamonds were 10-15% less for quality stones at best, late last year and settings in 18 and 22k white or yellow gold were near US prices.
Help me understand.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 08:31 AM
  #8  
pat
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Thanks for all the good info. Do you barter at SJ international or is there a set price? Kathie, I will mention you. thanks again.
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:57 AM
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Pat, I don't bargain at SJ; they give me the best price without bargaining. Just remind them that you've been referred by me.

Stan, the price of gold in jewelry in the US makes very little impact on the actual price of the piece. Much more of the price is the price of the workmanship. In Thailand, excellent workmanship is cheap. The prices of the stones in Thailand are the huge bargain. When Bob talks about seeing sapphire jewelry in stores in the US for low prices, the sapphires in that jewelry are really junk. Dark, inky stones, they bear no resemblence to the gorgeous stones you'll see in Thailland.
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:13 AM
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kathie---lets not forget to remind the folks that there is junk in thailand too and lots of fakes, so that is why you buy from a reputable dealer and/or shop....how do you know one?? word of mouth or long established shops in good places....never buy in markets or on the street....having said that, i should add that my jeweler has a shop in the weekend market in addition to his regular shop on soi 4 sukhumvit...so no markets is not 100%, but what i ment was from tables or often changing shops in markets or flea market type places
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:33 AM
  #11  
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We bought our Jade in Chiang Mai, at the foot of Doi Suthep. We found jade at all prices, sizes, shapes, etc. But, before leaving home we educated ourselves with our local jeweler. Not that he didn't have jade we could have purchased at home, but were looking for unusual items. Found what we wanted at the prices we were willing to pay, at way less than these pieces would have cost back in the States. On our return home, visited our jeweler who commented "you did good."

The name of the shop: I believe it was Jade Orchid. If anyone know different, please.
 
Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:50 AM
  #12  
pat
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sandi, thanks for the jade info. I have made a copy of this thread and will take it with me!
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 11:43 AM
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excellent info! We will also look for the jade place in Chiang Mai. We considered buying jade while in China, but the tour guides took us only to the state sponsored stores and we simply ran out of oomph.

Thanks everyone!

Mary
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Bob, What is the name of your jeweller? We'll be on Suk 11.

Thanks!

Mary
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:48 PM
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If you are going to northern Thailand then you may get up to the border town of Mae Sai (border with Burma) - you would likely go there if you are going around from Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle area.

In the town is a Jade cutting Factory that has a good showroom and sales area - range from jewellery to carvings - most of the jade is the Burmese type. There are some nice pieces and prices are reasonable. There are shops in the main town area but the factory is much cheaper and a better range. Its very easy to get to but if you have a guide just ask them. You can also see the cutting being done.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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In support of Kathie and Mary W's recommendations:
We have been to SJ International twice now and Kathie's name is magic with Lily at SJ. We have been there twice now and can highly recommend them.

We just returned from Northern Thailand and a trip thru the town of Maesai. There is a Jade Factory and Jewelry Center called "Mandalay Co.,Ltd. Jewelry Center and Jade Factory". It's located on 382 Phaholyothin Road, Maesai Chiangrai, Thailand 57130. They will take you on a tour of their factory where they teach you about the jade market with samples and visual aids of where they get the jade, how it's mined,how it's trucked out of Burma, locations of the mines, etc. They then take you thru their workshop where the have quite of few artists cutting, grinding, polishing, etc. all of the jade pieces that they sell in the store. Their workmanship is quite impressive as they make anything from small pendants to very ornate and intricately cut Chinese Junks, dragons, etc. The tour finally ends of course in the showroom where they have a huge variety of jade in all of the different qualities that you just learned about for sale. One word of advise....bargain fiercely here as I received 40-60% off the price marked on their mdse. We weren't thinking we were coming to this place the day we did so I did not have my VISA card with me . I had a ATM/Check Card. They took this for a total purchase of 3400.00 US. They are on the main drag that aboiut 1 1/2 blocks from the entrance to Tciklik (sp) in Burma. The police station is right across the street. Mrs. HT got a beautiful pair of blue sapphire earrings (they also sell sapphires and rubies in their special downstairs showroom) and I got a really nice mens burmese jade ring for myself .
I was totally satisfied with their quality and professionalism. I recommend them without hesitation.

Aloha!

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Welcome home HT! Your jewelry shopping this trip sounds great. I'm looking forward to your full report.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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Thanks Kathie. I'm going to try and start it this weekend.
Aloha!
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Mar 28th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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pat:

permit me a small comment on jade and pearls. many things can be fabricated in thailand via simulants and synthetics. two types of jade are jadite and nephrite. if real, jadite is the more coveted and more expensive all things being equal. one will find 'jade' dyed and it can be glass, plastic (this is also common for ivory), soapstone etc. i suggest you go on amazon.com and purchase a jewelry buying pocketbook. it will give you a primer on gems but it wont make you an expert. go to the jewelers recommended here by fedorites. there is a jewelry store on every corner in bkk and its easy to be sucked in. if you just have to have it but it! one test you can do for plastic is to insert a hot needle into the base and if it smolders or pushes in, its plastic. you wont really be able to do this in a store. pearls are difficult w/o seeing them. neckless is better if not strung yet so you can see each pearl. faux nacre is very easy to fabricate. be careful here.
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Mar 29th, 2006, 02:46 AM
  #20  
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I bought a lovely carved jade pendant at Jade Orchid at the foot of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai two years ago, and have received lots of compliments. They seem to be quite a legitimate place and have gemological certifications from the U.S. Before you shop they have a video explaining the different types and qualities of jade. They also take you through their workroom where you can see jade being carved & polished. They have a large showroom with a huge selection. This trip we went to Mandalay Co. in Mae Sai. It was smaller than Jade Orchid and they did not have as large a selection or variety as Jade Orchid, and I think it was more expensive for the quality, even after quite a bit of bargaining & ultimately I did not buy anything. Jade Orchid seemed to have more reasonable "set prices" & much less bargaining required.
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