Buying trip to Bangkok

Buyers and very subdued sellers

The pandemic has meant that there has been a great reduction in large scale mining and many of the cutters for the commercial goods have been laid off. However, we were excited to find a number of beautiful single stone Rubies and Sapphires (especially the Madagascan material) but we were less excited to find how much the prices have increased.

Living in strange times

We had been on a buying trip for so long which is very strange for a business like ours. In March we got our PCR tests, Visas, Proof of medical insurance covering covid, booked a quarantine hotel room etc and set off on this much anticipated trip to Thailand.

Bangkok was a much quieter city than in previous years with barely any foreign buyers. Despite that, we have replenished our 2 carat+ range. We purchased a few ‘no heat’ Sapphires because increasingly people are asking for them.

Buying ruby and sapphire

We like to still stick to our mantra though of ‘I’d rather have a beautiful heated stone than an ugly ‘no heat’’ This is particularly applicable to ‘no heat’ rubies, where horribly included stones are offered as ‘no heat’ and through this status very high prices are asked for. However, we did buy a beautiful ‘no heat’ 1 carat Ruby which is a very pretty stone, deep red but not over dark and very clean for Ruby.

We noticed that more and more of the dealers were talking about colour in terms of the way it is reported in the reports such as ‘Royal Blue’, ‘cornflower blue’, ‘intense to vivid blue’ for Sapphires.  In our market we find that Royal Blue can be a little over dark and the deepest Cornflower blue is a better colour.

buying based on origin

Origin is a more tricky subject, certain origins are more desirable than others. With Ruby, Mongshu is more expensive than Africa and Mogok is the most expensive in Ruby.  Kashmir and Burma are the most expensive in Sapphire but as historical sources are not generally available. More recent sources for Sapphires from Sri Lanka are more expensive than those from Madagascar.

This is very irritating as geologically Madagascar and Sri Lanka were once joined geographically therefore their geology is very similar. The type of stones they yield are almost identical so the value should be judged on appearance NOT origin. Having origin on a report is expensive and dealers judge whether it is better to leave origin off if there is a chance the result might not be to their advantage.

Fun and unusual

We found some stones with lovely unusual shapes but we took care to purchase them carefully so that they are practical.  Also we came home with a beautiful grey Spinel, pink Spinel and an unusual but minty green Peridot.

Gemstone specialist GF Williams supplies a huge range of high quality coloured gemstones and is an expert and experienced gemstone supplier to designers, manufacturers, collectors and private clients.

Find out more about how GF Williams can fulfil your gemstone requirements by browsing our online gemstone catalogue or contacting our friendly team of gemstone experts on +44 (0) 207 405 5477 or email