A lesson in gems

Art August 09, 2017 13:11

By The Nation

Siamgems Heritage, a museum operated by gemstone and jewellery manufacturer SG Centre to pay glorious tribute to the Thai craftsmen who’ve earned global admiration for their impressive skills, celebrates Mother’s Day by offering free admission to family members who bring mum along for a visit from Saturday to Monday (August 12 to 14).

Under the Siamgems Sphere cinema dome, visitors can gaze at a 360-degree screen, learning about Thailand’s wealth of gemstones and the high art involved in crafting jewellery. There are also five rooms that maintain visitor interest, with multimedia displays illustrating both the art and the science behind the making of jewellery. 

And the museum has the rarest of them all – a 21.09-karat Tabtim Siam gracefully topping a 180-karat diamond tiara. Another 24 pieces of Tabtim Siam – each weighing one karat – complete the stunning piece. Thailand was long known as the world’s best source of rubies. They’re rarely found here today, but they’re still a favourite among Thais and most people are aware of the most expensive and rarest type of ruby ever unearthed here – the Tabtim Siam.

A room called “Chamber of Virtue” is a hall devoted to the Thai belief in nopparat – the nine gemstones – that assigns the ruby, moonstone, zircon, emerald, yellow sapphire, diamond, blue sapphire, garnet and chrysoberyl to the sun, moon and planets, each in its way capable of bringing great fortune. 

They’re routinely used on Buddha images and royal insignia, and the artisans at Siamgems Heritage have created astonishing, ornate jewellery sets with them. Since the ruby symbolises the sun, it’s always placed at the centre of each piece, surrounded by the others.

Visitors can learn more about the craftsmanship in the room called “The Reflection”. Thai artisans must develop great expertise to cut and engrave gemstones in such a way that they glow appealingly. Glass cases (as secure as might be expected) hold real diamonds and semiprecious stones, and you can examine the facets in fine detail with the help of highly realistic 3D hologram imaging.

There is also the “Gemology” room, encapsulating in video and displays of equipment the entire process of making fine jewellery, from initial design and the delicate cutting of gems to their framing and mounting.

The Siamgems Heritage Museum is on Ekkamai-Ram Indra Road (Praditmanutham). It’s open from noon to 5pm. To find out more, call (02) 949 9500 or visit www.SiamgemsHeritage.com.