By Praornpit Katchwattana -September 5, 2021
According to the report on the situation of exports of gems and jewelry (January 2021), it was stated that the epidemic of COVID-19 has caused Thai gems and jewelry businesses to has been greatly affected. Overall, gems and jewelry fairs abroad have been canceled or postponed. In the past, this business has adapted to an online format more.
However, exports to foreign markets have been delayed due to lock down measures and restrictions on international travel by governments in various countries. Infections in major markets such as the United States and India, among others.
In the same report also has an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the market or Thai gem and jewelry business now clearly.
One of the strengths is that Thai exporters have experience and understanding of the needs of the global market.
At the same time, traders in the world market know and trust the quality of Thai gems and jewelry more than their competitors. Because Thailand has long been famous for being one of the largest colored gemstone trading markets in the world. And Thai craftsmen are also recognized for their skill in gemstone burning, color and set the gemstones beautifully. Not only that, Thai artisans also have the skill and craftsmanship in designing and forming jewelry that is not inferior to any craftsman in the world.
However, in terms of weaknesses that all sectors need to find ways to strengthen Thai gem and jewelry business can be ;
Shortage of raw materials especially raw gems as well as fluctuating raw material prices. Especially gold that hasn’t been formed and silver.
Lack of new technology in jewelry production especially SMEs
Shortage of professional personnel with skilled workers in designing and manufacturing products
Thai entrepreneurs still lack opportunities to develop products that require creativity. To raise the level of Thai gems and jewelry have a different identity and draw attention from the world market
Tax laws and investment promotion are not favorable for gem and jewelry business.
Therefore, during this time of Covid-19 crisis, it is very suitable to create change in the Thai gem and jewelry industry. By strengthening the strengths even more and solve various weaknesses, especially the creation of Thai gems and jewelry certification standards to meet international standards as well as solving the problem of shortage of “craftsmen” in this area, which has recently been invented The 3 in 1 gem-cutting robot has already come up to meet the needs of manufacturing gems and jewelry on an industrial scale.
GIT Standard raises laboratory standards to certify Thai gems and jewelry to world-class standards
Up to now, many people may not be aware that Thailand has set up standards for gem and jewelry testing laboratories including precious metals, known as the GIT Standard. The agency in charge of this project is National Gem and Jewelry Research and Development Institute (Public Organization) or GIT with the main objective of building confidence from both domestic and international consumer markets. Promote the gem and jewelry industry to grow sustainably as well as supporting the image of Thailand as a global gem and jewelry trading hub.
Sumeth Prasongphongchai Director of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) explains more about the history of the creation of this GIT Standard.
“In the past, the government has recognized the importance of Thai gem and jewelry business at all levels, from SMEs to industrial production and intends to promote Thailand as the center of gem and jewelry manufacturing and trading on a global scale.”
“However, in the past, it must be admitted that a large number of synthetic gemstones have entered the market. which is difficult for consumers to distinguish themselves There are even a number of private laboratories offering quality inspection services. But there are different standards. Therefore, the analysis of gems and jewelry with international standards or equivalent. It will have a positive effect on building confidence for entrepreneurs, consumers both at home and abroad in the long run.”
“GIT, as an agency responsible for gem and jewelry inspection and quality assurance Therefore, the GIT Standard project was initiated with the aim of establishing a standard for the country’s gem and jewelry testing laboratories. It also provides opportunities for domestic laboratories to develop and upgrade the quality of gem and jewelry testing/analysis standards. And so that the laboratories that are currently in operation can be used to achieve the same standard.”
“It focuses on covering four main areas: GT Criteria Standards, Gems and Jewelry Standards for Analysis and Testing Methods, Precious Metals Standards for Analysis and Testing and Personnel standards of the laboratory.”
“The institute has received cooperation from many parties that join the committee for making standards such as the Thai Industrial Standards Institute, ISO Certification Institute, Gold trade association, Thai Goldsmiths Association, Thai Silver Jewelry Exporters Association, Office of the Consumer Protection Board, Department of Tourism, Representatives from the private sector, Gem and jewelry specialists.”
“Including conducting a public hearing, Listen to public opinions through the Institute’s website and Facebook. The Academic Committee has taken these comments into consideration to determine the GIT Standard that is ready for official promulgation.”
“For example, in the year 2020, the Institute has announced the standard for gem testing laboratories, decorations and precious metals in 5 areas, such as standard methods for testing gems – basic methods, Gold (Au) determination by Cupellation (Fire Assay) and gold percentage (Au) determination in precious metal samples using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) techniques, etc.
“And in 2021, the institution plans to enact 3 scope of GIT standards, including general registration requirements, Rules and conditions for using the mark, Criteria and conditions for laboratory registration It also continues to work on standardizing methods for analysis and testing of gems and jewelry in 6 areas, such as the level of cleanliness,color grading, evaluation of diamond cut quality, Analysis of gold thickness (Au) in precious metal plated jewelry samples using X-Ray technique, etc.
Build a 3 in 1 gem-cutting robot to meet the needs of the jewelry industry and the shortage of craftsmen.
As mentioned above, There is a shortage of skilled workers or craftsmen in the gem and jewelry manufacturing industry. This is another problem that needs to be resolved urgently because the gem and jewelry industry. It is the top export product with high value. Make a lot of income into the country.
In the past, Entrepreneurs found labor shortage problem, skilled craftsmen who are skilled in cutting gemstones and the technician is very old, have health problems, poor eyesight, while the new generation of workers do not like to work in this industry. Causing insufficient production of gemstones to meet the market demand, lost sales opportunities. This makes entrepreneurs want to solve such problems.”
“Therefore, upgrading the product to standardization to stimulate competition and increase the quantity of gemstones that are missing. Due to labor shortage thus contributing to the increase in the number of gemstones entering the gap in the market.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siriporn Rojananan and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Surasit Rojananan, faculty members from the Faculty of Energy, Environment and Materials, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) has designed and built 3 in 1 gem-cutting robot, one of the innovations from the project series. “Small and Medium-sized Industry Development”, fiscal year 2019, supported by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and the Thailand Research Fund (TRF).
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siriporn further explained that The developed gem-cutting robot is capable of a level comparable to that of a traditional gem-cutting machine. The 3-in-1 gem-cutting robot works automatically. Mechanism of gem cutting system is designed to have multiple grinding discs stacked vertically overlapping on the same shaft, capable of successfully completing 3 important processes of gemstone cutting in succession: blocking, pendant, polishing of gemstones, respectively.
“The vertical overlapping of several grinding discs on the same shaft can cut the face of the gem board. Reduced the distance traveled by gemstones during cutting. This reduced the overall process time.”
“There is also a new special mechanism that helps to insert the spear into the spear handle of the gem-cutting robot. To repeat in the same distance and angle for repeated cutting, for example, in the case of a gemstone that has been cut and has a defect that has not been cut completely, able to plan to manage the repeated cuts and reduce the size systematically in order to cut the gemstones to minimize the loss of gemstones get more large gems which has better results than before.”
For the benefits obtained from the development of this 3 in 1 gemstone cutting robot, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siriporn said
“This gem-cutting robot is an innovative work and generates new knowledge. which has already been patented 4 stories which this invention It’s a new job with creativity. Requires knowledge of many sciences both in material technology, Tool engineering to integrate the functions of electrical controls to work in harmony with mechanical mechanisms. To design and build robots to meet the exact requirements. which this developed robot It has the potential to be developed into the industrial production process. It effectively solves both the shortage of skilled craftsmen and increases production capacity.”