Another buying trip in the books! As always, the trip had some shortcomings and unexpected bright spots.
Finding good quality rubies has been difficult and prices have been high, but managed to close deals on seven of them in the one to one and a half carat sizes. Also procured half a dozen very fine sapphires in the 3 carat to 5 carat size range, but good sapphire in the 2 carat size ranges were hard to come by.
Among the unplanned purchases, is one hundred carats of very nice peridots in the three to four carat size range. I had all of the peridots recut to improve the polish and brilliance. Also, about 50 carats of very interesting bicolor tourmalines. Most of the tourmalines show minor visible inclusions, but the beautiful colors made them too compelling to pass over. These gems have also been recut to improve the luster of the facets.
After the close of business, some gem brokers and friends had sort of a going away party for me at a local restaurant which is owned by one of the friends. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner featuring fish, pork, chicken, and vegetable dishes. The fresh Thai spices give the dishes wonderful flavors, although one needs to be careful about those little Thai chili peppers! One of the spices I enjoy most is freshly picked sprigs of pepper. This is something we can’t get back home because it’s only available near the source. They have a flavor which really can’t be matched by dried peppercorns or ground pepper. Another favorite dish which we can’t get back home is freshly roasted cashew nuts which are picked from the groves of cashew trees in this area. After they are roasted, they are rolled in sea salt and served with scallions, chili peppers, and a little bit of lime juice while they are still warm.
Naturally, along with the delicious food are a variety of beverages. Ladies tend to drink water, tea, or fruit drinks as consumption of alcohol by women isn’t considered socially acceptable in Thai culture. On the flip side, men tend to consume liberal quantities of beer and Whiskey so brewers and distillers are still assured of a solid customer base.
As the evening progressed, and other customers began drifting out, someone started playing old fashioned American county music on the restaurant sound system. My friend, Mawn, and myself, both store bought cowboys, had a great time kicking up our heels as the music played. It was a festive day. Already looking forward to my return trip next year!