Gold in Thailand
Gold has a deeper meaning to many Thais than just being a precious metal made for the making of coins, rings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry. Thailand's former name was Siam and this means gold in Sanskrit. The Chinese called the country as Jin Lin, which means "peninsula of gold". Gold is also often mentioned in important Thai Buddhist literature, and Buddha is described as having a "skin of gold". Gold is also often used in the making of Buddha statues and other religious objects and artifacts.
Jewelry and other gold objects also functions as a security to many Thais in case of difficult times. The gold can then be pledge until the family's economy gets improved.
One baht Thai gold is equivalent to 15,244 grams before it is worked up. After the work the weight should be equal with or more than 15,16 grams, to still be termed as one baht gold. (To simplify it, one baht of gold normally is termed as 15,2 grams)
Karat and Appearance
Thai gold jewelry often has a purity of 96,5% gold, which is equivalent to 23 karat. The remaining 3,5% consist of alloys such as silver and bronze. Some shops also provides 22, 20 or 18 karat jewelry.
Lower karat objects has become a little more common in Thailand nowadays, partly inspired by "western" or so called "farang gold". Generally speaking, the higher karat a gold object has, the softer it is. For that reason, a lower karat can be recommended for rings and thin jewelry.
The Thai gold often has an intense "yellow" color due to the high carat.
To Buy Gold
There are two major schools in historical gold craftsmanship in Thailand; Sukhothai and Phetchaburi. These two styles of jewelry is represented in the thousands of gold shops you can find in Thailand. Most shops are located in Bangkok and the Chinatown in this capital city is a great place to look for jewelry. At Yaowarat Road, the main street in Chinatown, along the river Chao Praya, you will find a lot of gold shops.