BANGKOK, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The era where the wealthy splashes cash over glittering coloured stones, diamonds, pearls, and precious metals is over, an executive from Thailand's Ministry of Commerce told Xinhua on Friday.
Instead, only jewelries that exemplifies beauty and practicality will make it into the international markets in such a grim global economy badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nantawan Sakuntanaga & Director-General of the ministry's Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP).
The 14th World Jewelry Design Awards 2020 on Friday show cased models strutting down the aisle at a Bangkok hotel, with glittering face masks and ear-phones.
Kitisak Maicharoen, the winner of the jewelry design competition, was awarded with a trophy with a design called SCAN ME.
"You can see that the winner's masterpiece depicts beauty and functionality," said Nantawan, "his piece of jewelry not only looks glamorous over the neck but it scans QR codes as well."
Nantawan also hailed Thailand's capability to host the sizeable fashion show event in the midst of the pandemic. He also said that in the past, Chinese jewelry buyers had one of the world's highest purchasing power, and many would make an effort to take a trip to Thailand to splurge on expensive pieces of jewelries.
"However, with the COVID-19 prevalence and air travel restrictions, Thai jewelry sales in 2020 have been adversely affected," said Nantawan, "hopefully by early next year we hope to see Chinese buyers again in the 66th Bangkok Gen and Jewelry Fair 2021."
Nantawan said Thai gems and jewelry remain in demand because of their good craftsmanship, design quality and comprehensive production process from upstream to downstream.
Gem and jewelry exports rank third in Thailand's total export value, trailing automotive and parts, and computers and parts, according to DITP's data for 2019.
The industry employs more than 700,000 staff.
In 2019, Thailand's gems and jewelry exports including gold topped 15.7 billion U.S. dollars, up 30.3 percent from the previous year.
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