Thai Baht Gold Bars
In Sanskrit, Siam (the old name for Thailand) means gold. Gold has been part of the Thai economy for millenia. Jin Lin, meaning peninsula of gold, is the Chinese name for Thailand.
Photo by Tom BKKIn Thailand all gold is sold under ‘Thai baht gold‘ standard: the baht being a Thai unit of weight. One baht weight equates to 15.244 grams and is used for bullion gold.
Thai gold is 96.5% pure gold by weight (23k+). Thus 1 baht of Thai gold is about 14.71g, or about 0.473 troy oz. The Thai gold jewelry standard unit baht must be at least equal to 15.16g.
Other Thai gold weight measurements are:
- Satang: 1 baht = 100 satang
- Salung: 1 salung (3.81g) = 25 satang,.
Most gold bar weights range from 10-baht to 100-baht with the manufacturer’s marks in bas-relief, eliminating the need for conventional marking tools. There are no good delivery gold refiners in Thailand, non-good delivery manufacturers include:
- Bangkok Assay Office Co Ltd
- Buan Hua Long Gold Dealer
- Chin Hua Heng Goldsmith Co Ltd
- Gold Field Refinery Co. Ltd.
- Grand Gold Refinery And Consulting LP
- Greatest Gold & Refinery Co., Ltd (LBMA for silver)
- Hua Seng Heng Goldsmith Co Ltd
- Lang Hong Group Co Ltd
- Loo Chang Huat (2498) Gold Store Co Ltd
- Sin Kee Chieng Wholesale Co Ltd
- Tang Toh Kang Limited Partnership
- Toa Kang Jawaraj Goldsmith Ltd Partnership
- Yoo Long Kim Kee Ltd Partnership.
Thai goldsmiths create baht gold bars. The most common denomination is the 10-baht gold bar that equals 152.44 grams or 4.901 oz.
The most popular form of Thailand baht gold bar is a biscuit-shaped 10-baht bar:
Photo by BullionVaultChin Hua Heng manufacture 10-baht and 5-baht biscuit-shaped gold bars. This shape of gold bar also has weight ranges from 1-baht to 100-baht.
- Toa Kang Jawaraj has issued round 1-baht and 3-baht gold bars.
- Lang Hong has issued square 1, 2 and 3-baht gold bars.
- Yoo Long Kim Kee produce standard oval-shaped cast gold bars in weights of 1, 2 and 3 baht. They also produce twin-coin bars in 1, 2, 4 and 5 baht weights, by injecting gold into an enclosed mould, under pressure.
- Loo Chang Huat manufactures “honeycomb” gold bars in weights exceeding 25-baht. The honeycombed surface enables buyers to determine that the bar is in fact entirely made of gold. The honeycombing is created by blowing air over the surface of the molten gold bar as it cools.
- Boat shaped gold bars are available in the weight range: 2.5-baht to 20-baht.
- 2 baht donut (doughnut) bars are also produced.
However, most Thai baht gold is in the form of jewelry.
Thai Baht Gold Jewelry
Photo by mharrschIn Thailand gold is considered as good as money. High purity gives Thai baht gold a characteristic rich yellow color. As Thai baht gold jewelry is so pure, it is almost of gold bullion quality.
Gold chains, necklaces, bracelets, in fact most Thai gold jewelry items, are termed ‘Thai baht gold‘ and are at least 23k (and don’t fall for the myth that this is too soft a gold alloy for jewelry, it is perfectly OK).
Thai baht gold jewelry is one of the highest gold content jewelry products produced world-wide, and you can also get 99% pure gold jewelry in some jewelers.
Most Thai jewelry is produced in 0.5, 1, 2, or 4-baht pieces.
Advantages of buying Thai baht gold jewelry:
- Thai baht gold jewelry is always sold by actual product weight.
- Most gold jewelry is sold in exactly 0.5-baht or 1-baht weights, making it easy to check the value of your jewelry.
- Thai jewelry is possibly the most affordable way of owning gold.
- Thai people keep abreast of the price of baht gold: most jewelry shops show the Thailand Gold Traders Association price of 1 baht of gold, usually updated up to 4 times a day.
- Labor costs are very low in Thailand, so you only pay a small premium over the value of gold content for the cost of jewelry design and manufacture (compared to a large mark-up elsewhere for jewelry design, manufacture and sales)
- You can sell Thai baht gold back to the seller for almost the current price of gold.
- Numerous Thai gold shops can be found in Yaowarat, China Town, Bangkok, so there is plenty of competition. The shops can be identified easily as they are predominantly red.
- Some lower karat jewelry (22k or 18k) can now be found in up-market jewelry shops, following Western style (farang gold), but as with the West, which sells 10k, 14k and 18k gold jewelry, they do so to make more profit.
- The up-market jewelry stores can be identified as they are less likely to show the daily price of gold.
- Government representatives regularly check that the quality of gold equates to that advertised by each shop.
Many Thai’s and Chinese invest their money in gold and wear 23k baht gold jewelry all the time, as gold has a deeper meaning than just a precious metal. It functions as a security and is a fall-back in harsh times, available for pawning, or as a hedge against paper money – perhaps as they remember times when fiat money lost all value.
Disadvantages of buying Thai baht gold jewelry.
- There is no hallmarking system for Thai gold.
- There are many scams associated with Thai gold.
Things to do and not to do when buying Thai baht gold jewelry
- Never ask a tuk-tuk driver to take you somewhere to buy gold.
- Take no notice of ‘special sales’ – there are none.
- Check if a shop has a return and exchange policy.
- Request receipts, purity certificates, and a VAT Refund Application for Tourists Form (P.P.10). A VAT refund is available to tourists on meeting particular Thai Government requirements.
Use common sense when buying Thai baht gold, as there are plenty of scam artists that will try to sell you fake gold or impure gold. Baht gold prices are very similar, so if offered gold at a price that sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.
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