Bangkok Tools, Gems, and Old Bronze
Winter Vacation – 2013-2014 – Thailand
Bangkok is an excellent place to buy gems and jewelry tools and a trip to Silom road is a great excuse to stop by the Afghan and Pakistani antique shops near the river. In addition my son had just finished the Diamond Appraising section of the GIA Graduate Gemologist course and he asked me to pick up some diamond tweezers if I could.
I took the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, right on the river, and from there it was but a short walk to Silom Road and the shops I was looking for. Winter in BKK is one of the most pleasant seasons, sunny, but low humidity. Among the ‘wholesale’ gem and jewelry stores there were several Afghan and Pakistani shops that I regularly like to peruse. Those, plus the shops in Pratunam Market and in the Chatuchak Weekend Market, provide a selection of old and new antiques, ancient beads, bronze knickknacks, and other odds and sods unseen outside of Chowk Yadgar in Peshawar and Chicken Street in Kabul, often at even cheaper prices.
But first the gems and tools. I continued up Silom Road to the Jewelry Trade Center. This is home to AIGS – the Asian Institute of Gemological Science, probably the best gem school in Asia. Several of my friends have graduated from there and I have taken their corundum seminars in the past. As I walked in I saw a shop on my right that had some very nice ruby specimens on display. One large specimen from Vietnam caught my eye and I had to take a picture. Still on my list of ‘things to do’ is to take a dirt bike ride around Northern Vietnam and visit the gem mines and markets near the Laotian border.