Jewelry Shopping in Bangkok
Shopping for jewelry in Bangkok can be very profitable and fun. But you have to be aware that there are unscrupulous people that may try to scam you. Never let a tuk-tuk driver take you to a jewelry store. A tuk-tuk is a small, open air, motorcycle driven, 3-wheeld vehicle. The driver may offer to take you anywhere you want to go for free or for a ridiculously low price. The driver may take you to a legitimate tourist attraction or temple where you will be met by someone claiming that the venue is closed.
He will try to gain your confidence and offer to take you to a jewelry store where you can make a big profit. Everyone will get a commission and you will be sold inferior grade gemstones. You are better off going to a reputable jewelry store. Keep in mind that almost any store recommended to you will be paying a commission to the recommender. You want to find a store that has been in the same location and has a solid reputation.
But, how do you find one. I would search around the internet and find some jewelry stores that look "OK". Then I would visit some of the online forums and ask around for good and bad experiences. It may not be a perfect solution, but it will give you a start at finding a legitimate shop. I would definitely avoid any jewelry shop located in the lobby of your hotel. They will be targeting tourists and overcharging you. There will also be a limited selection and most likely inferior stones. You can find some decent jewelry stores on Wireless Road amid all of the embassies. They have been there for a long time and take care of tourists and dignitaries alike. For gold jewelry, your best bet is to go to Chinatown.
There are gold shops every ten feet. Easily identified with bright red trim, you will see gold necklaces, bracelets, and rings. This is for gold only shopping, not gem stones. Keep in mind that the gold will be 22 or 23 carat which is almost pure. The price of the gold jewelry will be based on the daily price of gold on the world markets. Factor in a little more for the workmanship, and you can get some very nice jewelry for a good price. The biggest markup in your home country is for the craftsmanship. Do a little bit of homework and you can get a very nice souvenir from Thailand that you will wear the rest of your life and will remind you of your holiday.
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