925 Silver Jewelry Factory in Thailand

Where to buy gold

All that glisters is not gold. You have to know where to shop or your '23 karat' gold necklace may turn black after a couple of years....


There are gold shops on just about every street corner in Thailand. Thais use gold, in part, as an investment in place of cash. With so many shops and so much buying and selling of gold  you might expect that the Thais  would be gold experts. This is not the case. It is estimated that up to 90% of gold jewelry sold in Thailand contains only 90%-92% gold. Gold shops  will sometimes put their own mark on gold they buy from the factory. However this does not mean that they have actually made it themselves or guarantee the purity.


Originally, there were four main gold shops on the 'Golden Road': Seng Heng Li, Hua Seng Heng, Tung Jin Aeng and Tang To Kang . Now there are more than 130 gold shops with new ones starting up continually on both sides of the road. Most shops are members of the Gold Merchants Association. Gold products here are of high standard and quality; many are hand-made and of beautiful intricacy.

2 shops where you will never be cheated are:

Hua Seng Heng - to find your way to this shop print out this map, and give it to the taxi driver.

Tang To Kang - the oldest gold shop in Bangkok. It was founded by Tohkang Saetang, a Chinese immigrant, in the 1880s. It was the only gold shop in the Sampheng areas during the reign of Rama VI to be granted a royal appointment to use the Garuda emblem in 1921. 

The shop has a high reputation for quality and craftsmanship and will repurchase any piece for not more than 1% lower than the prevailing market price of gold. Some shops maintain a margin of up to 5% on repurchased items.

 This shop is to shortly start franchising its business. It should be noted that at the moment there is only one shop and other shops using the Tang To Kang name are doing so illegally.

The best way to get to Yaowarat to take the subway to Hualampong and then get a taxi to Yaowarat (pronounced Yaowaraat). A motorcyle is faster but more dangerous.

You can have jewelry custom made for you. The cost will depend very much on your bargaining skills and the amount of work involved.

Virtually all the gold shops in Thailand are Chinese owned. To find traditional Thai gold designs, you will have to go to the town of Petchburi. One visitor to this site writes: "If your looking for high quality hand made gold, beautiful workmanship, some pieces with enameling, or even dragon bracelets go to Petchaburi. Lots of shops near the market. Well known to Thais, who come shopping here on the weekends from Bangkok. Jae Ju 1 & 2 are my personal favorite shops."

Using a Credit Card

You can use a Credit card for gold purchase at most shops on Yaowarat Road although .there is usually a surcharge of 2-5%, depending on the shop and the credit card. Amex is more expensive than Visa or Mastercard. In addition to the shop adding a surcharge, your credit card company will most likely charge you a fee for "foreign currency conversion". Debit cards also have a similar charge structure, although it is hard to see how the companies justify this...

Buying Gold Buddhas

The best place to buy statues of Buddha, Ganash, Rama or other religious paraphanelia is probably Sao Ching Cha (เศวตชิงช้า) in Bangkok.

Exporting Thai gold

It is illegal to export gold. This includes 23k gold jewelry, but not 18k gold.

To learn more about Thai gold click here. To find the current price of gold in Thailand see our precious metal calculator.

Testing Gold

A good place to test gold is the Gems Institute of Thailand, which is one of only 7 laboratories in the world recognized by the International Confederation of Jewelry (CIBJO). They can assay the gold using:

  • X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) which has an error rate of 2 or 3 per thousand. This equipment finds the quantity of a sample by Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis
  • Inductivity Couple Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES) which is a chemical assay and has an accuracy of 1 per thousand.

Buying Thai jewelry on the Internet

Finding 23 karat Thai gold on the internet is not easy.There are some companies selling it from Thailand. However as exporting 23 karat gold is illegal, they are breaking the law. Perhaps they don't realize this, or perhaps they don't care. The postal services, such as EMS, DHL and TNT are aware of the law and refuse to handle 23k gold. As they will carry 18k gold, which it is legal to export, and as they are unlikely to assay the pieces, in practise it is possible to use their services.You would have to accept, however, that any pieces sent would be uninsured.Much of the jewelry sold on ebay is fake. A study of certain pieces of "Tiffany" jewelry sold on eBay earlier this year showed that 73% of the jewelry was counterfeit.

Thai Gold

Generally Thai goldsmiths charge a design fee of around  $7 per baht of gold although it might be higher depending on the construction and design. There is not much scope for bargaining. You might get the price down a dollar for each baht you buy at most - hardly worth the effort! It is generally better value to buy at least 1 baht of gold, as there is a minimum charge for the design fee.

It is astonishingly good value. It is probably no more than 4% above the spot price of gold. When one looks at the exquisite quality of the craftsmanship following intricate, centuries old designs it is sometimes hard to believe. One feels guilty about buying it so cheaply!  If you buy gold jewelry in the West you will pay more like 40% over the spot price.

To buy a chain and pendant you will probably want at least 2 baht for the chain and one baht for the pendant.

There is no hallmarking system in Thailand but the shop will put its stamp on the piece. This is useful if you want to sell it at some future date.

Advantages of Thai gold jewelry

  • The markup is low. You can buy 23k or 24k gold in Asia at around 4% over the spot price of gold. Hallmarked jewelry sold in the West has markups as high as 300 - 400% above the cost of the materials used to make it and could never be considered an investment.
  • 23k gold is durable. Jewelry is for wearing! If you  have a piece of jewelry that you love you want to wear it day and night. You can wear Thai gold  jewelry twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week  without having to worry. Gold does not tarnish or corrode. That is one of its remarkable characteristics. However if you buy gold with low levels of purity such as 18k or 14k  the alloys mixed with the gold may corrode. Swimming in chlorinated pools, hot tubs or using laundry bleaches for instance can cause the jewelry to disintegrate. Tap water contains small amounts of chlorine and can cause engagement rings to fall apart over time.
  • Thai gold jewelry on the other hand, because it is 23k and therefore almost pure gold, does not have this problem. 

  • Thai gold is comfortable. The alloys mixed with 14k or 18k gold, especially nickel can cause an allergic reaction in some people causing itching and irritation.  Also when you perspire, the fats and fatty acids released can cause corrosion of 14k or 18k gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast and semitropical areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors skin.

    Because of its purity  you will not have this problem with Thai gold jewelry.

Farang Gold versus Thai Gold

A poster on an internet message board (now defunct) puts it succinctly:

"It's really very simple.

In Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Pakistan, but generally in Asia gold jewelry is regarded as portable, readily convertible hard assets. This is because it is worked almost pure, between 22K and 24K, actually closer to 24K, and as the labor content (value added by workmanship) is small, gold bracelets and chains etc can be bought for little more than the bullion value, and resold back to the same shop or any other shop, or to a pawnbroker, for a high percentage of its purchase price.

Westerners have been programmed to regard pure gold as:

1. Too brassy
2. Too soft to be useful as jewelry

and to regard Asian high-karat gold jewelry as of inferior workmanship compared to Western gold jewelry.

This is part truth and part self serving lies from the jewelry industry.

The Western jewelry industry wants you to buy 18 K (which is 75% gold 25 % base metals) and then pay a HUGE inflated premium for 'workmanship' (which is really just mostly multi-tiered profit taking). For 14K and less the situation is even worse.

To prove to yourself that this is so, try to recover the bullion value of a 14K gold trinket some time. You will end up owing THEM money.

Whereas Thai goldsmiths are happy to take back the real thing and the loss on your side is rather trivial.

The color issue is bogus as Thai gold can be smelted to be about any color, and still be the same high % pure gold; the Thais can and do make 18K and so on for export. Thai gold sold in Thailand is...the color of gold. It is not attacked by nitric acid, or other mineral acids except a particular mix of nitric and hydrocloric acids called aqua regia (royal acid).

So it comes down to a value judgement. Do you want real, almost pure gold for a tiny premium over the bullion content, or do you want to be FLEECED by people selling you ADULTERATED SHIT for NEEDLESS MARKUPS and justifying their thievery with a tissue of lies about hardness, color and workmanship?

I rarely wear jewelry but when I do it's Thai gold and nothing else.

The best shops are on Yaovarat Rd. in Sampeng (Chinatown) and they NEVER cheat on weight or on purity.

Thai gold is typically around 97-98%, not 999 fine but still not garbage like 14K. It is sold by the baht weight which is just slightly under a half a Troy ounce. Pls be aware that the Troy system used for jewelry is NOT the Avoirdupois system used commonly. There are 14 not 16 Troy ounces to the Troy pound and the Troy pound is not same as the Avoirdupois pound. "

Buying gold in Singapore

Nearly every bank in Singapore has a precious metals counter where you can buy and sell coins and bars in various denominations ranging from a few grams to ounce coins to kilogram bars. The downside of buying gold in Singapore is that you have to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which tacks on an additional 5% to the price.

Singapore’s banks have figured out a way around this and are now offering “Gold and Silver" savings account programs that are slightly similar to GoldMoney.com. You can also open an account with a bank like UOB and buy/sell unallocated gold at prevailing market prices (plus a premium). Your account is thus denominated in ‘grams’ instead of dollars. The transactions, as well as your gains, are not subject to Singapore’s GST.

Buying gold in Laos

Gold jewelry in Laos is 99% pure, and may offer an ever better bargain than that sold in Thailand. The best place to buy it is probably the second floor of the Morning Market (Talat Sao) situated on orner of Th Lan Xang and Th Khu Vieng. Despite the name it's actually open until 4 PM or so.

Although Laos has its own gold mines they are scarce so most of the gold is imported from Australia. If the gold you are offered is less than the spot price you are buying a fake.

Buying gold in Dubai

You can get the current price of a 5 or 10 tola bar using our precious metal calculator.

The best place to buy gold is probably the Gold Souk ("Souk" is the Arabic word for market), on the Deira side of town near the mouth of the Creek. It is an impressive sight. Rows upon rows of windows are filled with elaborate 24-carat gold necklaces, and throngs of Arab and Indian women clamour for a better view. You will find row upon row of shops with dazzling displays of gold jewellery in every conceivable design and purity: Much of the stuff is geared for Indian tastes (24-carat gold is very yellow), but contemporary European styles can also be found (mainly in the more shiny 22-carat gold), and at fairly reasonable prices. If you wish you can also purchase kilo bars, ten tola bars, small minted bars and gold bullion bars. You buy by weight, and the price of any given bracelet changes twice a day. The quoted price does not include the design fee which varies according to according to shop and style of jewellery.

Gold is certainly cheaper here because you escape the duty and sales tax that is levied in many countries. Though the price difference is minimal in fashion jewellery, you can still save up to 20 per cent, with the quality assured.

The best time to visit the Gold Souk is in the evening after sunset; when most of the tourists will have gone home and your chances of finding a merchant willing to make a deal before he heads home increase dramatically. While credit cards are accepted, you will get a much better deal by paying in cash.

Buying gold in Austria

The ‘Philharmonic’ is produced by the Austrian mint and is one of the most popular coins in the world.

The Philharmonic coin is struck in four sizes at 999.9 weight -- 31.103 grams (1 troy oz), 15.552 grams (.5 troy oz), 7.776 grams (.25 troy oz), and 3.121 grams (.10 troy oz). Each carries legal tender face value of 100 euro, 50 euro, 25 euro, and 10 euro respectively.

The Austrian mint also produces a one troy ounce silver Philharmonic coin, as well as gold bars in 1 gram, 2 gram, 5 gram, 10 gram, 20 gram, 50 gram, 100 gram, 250 gram, 500 gram, and 1000 gram weight.

Philharmonics and gold bars can be purchased at the Austrian Mintís shop in Vienna (Am Heumarkt 1), Innsbruck (Adamgasse 2). Coins and bars cannot be purchased on the mintís website. Also, virtually every bank in Austria sells Philharmonics, usually kept behind the cashierís station near the bank tellers. Larger banks tend to keep more inventory, so if youíre looking to make large purchases, try main branches in the downtown area of Vienna like Bank Austria or Raiffeisen Zentralbank.