Thailand's gems and jewellery exports are expected to stay on course for growth of 1-3% this year, boosted by higher demand from Hong Kong, Europe, the US, the Middle East, India, China, Asean, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Duangkamol Jiambutr, director of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), said gems and jewellery are Thailand's third-largest export product category.
Excluding gold, gems and jewellery exports fetched the country US$4.32 billion (142 billion baht) in the first seven months of this year, up by 6.92% from the same period of a year earlier.
"Shipments are expected to be able to maintain growth momentum for the entire year," she said.
Exports are estimated at $7-7.1 billion.
To bolster the image of Thailand's gem and jewellery industry and to establish Thailand as a hub, the group held the GIT 2018 event titled "Global Gem Sourcing & Trading" at Impact Muang Thong Thani on Monday. The event is part of the 62nd Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair.
Mrs Duangkamol said the international academic conference not only underlines GIT's status as a leader in the field but also showcases Thailand's potential for the industry.
The conference creates opportunities for researchers, academics, entrepreneurs and interested observers to share their information on all aspects of the gems and jewellery industry, she said.
Thailand has long been a famous gem source in the world, offering precious stones such as rubies and sapphires, including the "Siam Ruby".
During the past several decades, the country established its name in the world's gem trade.
The gem trade has been thriving in Thailand's Chanthaburi province, in Tak's Mae Sot district, as well as in Bangkok, which gathers gems from all over the world.
As various raw materials also flow into Thailand, the country is a key jewellery manufacturer, producing gold and silver ornaments as well as a variety of fashionable accessories.