SIAMGEMS HERITAGE launched its Thai gemstone museum and learning centre on November 24, 2016. The museum comprises multiple zones, starting with a welcome hall adorned with a pair of golden elephants statues – father Khun Tubtim and son Plai Noi – elegantly covered in 99.99% pure gold and dressings made of the nine valuable gemstones. The statues appear to bestride the Chao Phraya River – one of Thailand’s lifeblood waterways. A buddha statue in the attitude of subduing mara, named “Phra Buddha Maha Paraminuphab Phisut Anuttara Sangkhamwichai”, sits on the back of the father elephant, bearing a name that translates to “Buddha the victor in the war against evil, wielder of power borne from his purity”.
The next zone, SIAMGEMS Sphere, is a gigantic dome-shaped theatre screening a film titled “The Birth of Gemstones”. The film tells the story of how gemstones come to be in nature, from their beginnings as minerals heated and pushed from the heart of the planet to the surface, then cut and crafted into captivating and highly desirable ornaments. With 4K-quality imagery from 8 projectors arranged in a 360-degree display array as well as a range of audio-visual techniques developed by experts from Germany, the film promises to provide the audience full-scale immersion.
The museum’s main gallery presents the treasured stories behind Thai gemstones using multimedia technology, putting masterful pieces of jewellery on display across five rooms. The first, The Eternity of Gems, reveals the history of jewellery around the world with a range of recreated ornaments from across multiple ages and cultures worldwide – starting from the prehistoric era and progressing all the way to the present day. This timeline of global jewellery development is compared and contrasted with the history of Thai jewellery to fully demonstrate the progress of mankind in utilizing valuable gemstones and metals. The opening day festivities saw the room graced with the presence of a model adorned with the “Urban Ethic” jewellery set, which is based on the rare 577 lapis lazuli stones – a type of stone long considered by many cultures as valuable throughout the ages. Evidence of lapis lazuli-based ornaments has been discovered across many eras, from the civilizations of the Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greeks and Romans.
The Reflection room is an educational showcase of gemstone cutting techniques, the trademark shape of each gemstone type, and gemstone examples across both common and rare families – including corundum stones like ruby, sapphire, and topaz; beryl stones like emerald, aquamarine, and bixbite (also known as red emerald, one of the rarest gemstones in the world). In addition to the beautiful and precious stones, visitors will be dazzled by the Mira Scope technology, which creates a three-dimensional projection of each gemstone cut for 360-degree viewing. For the opening day, a set of sapphire ornaments under the name “The Blessing of The Falling Rain” was worn by a model to display the art deco stylings of the set, which is inspired by the song “Falling Rain” by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The set’s rich blue sapphires reflect the coolness of raindrops, while diamonds and rubies interspersed throughout stand for the late King’s kindness to his subjects. All in all, the full set features a 50.39-karat blue sapphire, surrounded by 56 lesser sapphires and 388 diamonds.
The Chamber of Virtue room displays the nine gemstones believed by Thais to be bearers of great fortune: diamond, ruby, emerald, yellow sapphire, garnet, blue sapphire, moonstone, zircon, and chrysoberyl. All nine gemstones have been cut and crafted into a complete jewellery set with a necklace, earrings and rings under the name Navaradhana. With over 1,000 glimmering gemstones sitting on gold-coated silver, the set brings all 9 traditional gemstones into the present day with a contemporary design that suits the modern world.
The centrepiece of the opening day was the SIAMGEMS TIARA room, which featured SIAMGEMS HERITAGE’s true masterpiece – The Tiara of SIAMGEMS. A tiara adorned with a 21.09-karat Siam ruby – itself considered the king of all gemstones, the crown also bears 24 red rubies and 1,946 diamonds, all cut and placed with great care and skill by Thai master craftsmanship. Furthermore, actress Praiya Lundberg was present for the day with Chom Ranee, a jewellery set comprising a necklace, ring, and earrings with a total of 36 rubies, arranged and design to evoke the image of a delicately elegant peacock.
The final zone, Gemmology room, hosts an exhibit that summarizes the process of creating the body of each jewellery, covering the entire process from initial design by hand and computer, gemstone cutting techniques, body sculpting, and gemstone mounting. A full array of equipment used in the process can be seen, and visitors can use a special app to try their hands at designing their own custom gemstone on a touchscreen.The SIAMGEMS HERITAGE jewellery and gemstone museum and learning centre is open for visitors now from 12:00 to 17:00 every day (last admissions at 16:00). Admission for Thai visitors 200 baht each for adults, 100 baht each for children between 90-135cm tall, and free for those over 60 years old or under 90cm in height.