After nine weeks, over a thousand carats of gems bought, and nearly three million Thai baht spent, it is time to bid a fond farewell to Thailand until my next trip. Along the way, I’ll pick up my lovely wife, who has spent the past few weeks visiting with her family and friends in Japan.
It may not be the most efficient way of buying gems, but buying gems in Thailand is one of the favorite aspects of my occupation. It is literally hunting for treasure, or what might be considered modern day treasure. And often while in search of some particular size or type of gem, some totally unexpected opportunity arises. On this trip, a little known and underappreciated gem called spinel was discovered on the market in large quantities at very attractive prices. Also, the prices for very fine sapphires in 2,3 and 4 carat sizes were the lowest I have seen in years, maybe the lowest ever since I have been coming to Thailand, which is over 20 years.
The Thai people in the gem business are also fun to deal with and many of the folks in the gem business here have become friends over the years. Negotiations are a friendly affair with sellers urging me to just pay a little more and me suggesting that they can accept just a little less. Whether a deal is struck or not, negotiations are always conducted in good spirit and relationships always remain cordial.
Aside from the gem business, the Kingdom of Thailand is a wonderful place to visit. The weather here is consistently balmy, but mornings and evenings are my personal favorite. Most mornings I stroll about town for an hour or two just around daybreak, greeting local vendors and passersby along the way. Most evenings are spent in the company of friends, generally dining along some riverbank or by the sea. There is often the fragrance of flowers in the air and the sounds of tropical birds in the trees. Delicious food is prepared with the freshest local ingredients and the fresh tropical fruits are divine.
Life in Thailand has a dynamic totally unlike our day to day lives in America. Life here has a depth and richness which is hard to describe, but easy to sense. Thai people are friendly and easy going. They seem to be unfamiliar with the emotions like anger, frustration or impatience. From a personal standpoint, my time in Thailand is typically without appointments, schedules, or deadlines. On the rare occasion that my phone rings, it is usually friends inviting me to dinner, play snooker, or some other social activity.
I will miss Thailand until my next return but will carry fond affection for this place in my heart until then.
Fair Winds & Following Seas
Pink Sapphire & Diamond Ring