Travel Thailand Chanthaburi Province.

            The small town of Chanthaburi, nestled in southeastern Thailand on the border with Cambodia, is undisputedly the center of the world’s gemstone trade. Although the Mahesak area in Bangkok is seen by many as the center of Thailand’s gemstone district, the real footwork is done 4 hours bus ride to the southeast.Chanthaburi, a name derived from Sanskrit and literally means city of the moon, has long been a center for the trade of gemstones. As early as the 14th century, Chinese travelers wrote of Chanthaburi as a gem market where brightly colored gems were bought and sold. In these early days, much of the gemstones which were sold in Chanthaburi were mined locally. Ruby and sapphire mines were scattered around the city, and by the 18th century were producing fine rubies and sapphires in addition to black star sapphires. These Chanthaburi gems formed the foundation of the Chanthaburi gemstone market.
            The first country which began to bring its gemstones to sell in Chanthaburi on a large scale was Cambodia. The mines of Pailin, just over the border from Chanthaburi, produced large amounts of quality blue sapphire in addition to ruby, yellow sapphires, zircon, and garnet. These were then brought to what had become the largest gem market in the region.
             Soon the Burmese would follow, with Shan traders from Mogok bringing their gemstones to sell in Chanthaburi. These Shan traders, in addition, brought more effective mining techniques which they had over time developed in Mogok, thus increasing the quantity of rubies and blue sapphires produced in the area and increasing an already growing gemstone market.
              In the 1950’s with the closure of the Mogok mines by the Burmese government, Chanthaburi’s stature grew even greater as massive supply shortages developed.  The mines within Thailand and around the city of Chanthaburi quickly stepped up to meet market demand, with control over a large portion of production and increasingly developed heat treatment techniques, Chanthaburi increased its standing in the international gem industry
              In the late 1960’s, Chanthaburi began to look outward for sources of gemstones.  The first major source on which Chanthaburi set its sights were the Sapphire mines of Australia.  Australian blue sapphires are darker in color than their Asian counterparts; however, due to new heat treatment techniques developed in the furnaces of the burners in Chanthaburi, who were able to “burn out” the rutile silk in the stones, the Thais were able to produce an attractive blue sapphire.
             In the 1970’s, Chanthaburi made an even bigger name for itself with the heat treatment of the Sri Lankan geuda sapphire.  Geuda sapphires, which due to their high rutile silk content are a milky, diesel color had previously had no place in the marketplace.  However, once the Chanthaburi burners began to experiment, they developed a heating technique to turn these worthless stones into gem quality material.  This development left the world in wonder as dealers tried to determine all this new blue sapphire material was coming from.

  Cnantha Buri Public park  
   Prew Waterfall (Chantha Buri)

  Wat Khao Sokim (Chantha Buri)