Ceramics of Phuket is an interesting place to find such products. Started in 1990 with the unique living arts concept to make the most delicate and memorable souvenirs, Ceramics of Phuket has produced distinctive art products that enhance liveliness of your living space. Their vibrant arts can make your dining table or garden mesmerizing.
The art products at Ceramics of Phuket are made from Phuket’s natural clay and compound clay and they are normally fired at temperature between 1250 and 1300 degree Celsius. Local clay is of prime durable quality and has classic natural tones and texture. It is used for making gardening products, decorative tiles and sculpture. Meanwhile compound clay combined with tin powder creates the unique fine lined patterns and can be glazed with most nontoxic glazing. Thus, the products are safe and can be used as food containers. They are also microwave and dishwasher-safe.
You may discover that their product appearances are elegant and very tropical. It is an attempt to bring the sense of the southern ocean into the objets d’art. In addition to the distinguished designs and exceptional quality; all their art items are perfect either as practical daily household utensils or as decorative items for your lovely home. An extensive array of their products includes candle holders, fruit baskets, incense holders, lamps, dinner sets, flower pots, etc. They can be special gifts from Phuket.
As Ceramics of Phuket creates the ceramic accessories that are functional and more like art works, many luxury hotels and resorts are interested in using their ceramic products for hotel decorations. Le Meridien Hotel, Phuket Arcadia Hotel, Banyan Tree Phuket, Sheraton Grande Laguna, and Holiday Inn Resort Phuket are just some examples of their fans. Some five-star hotels in Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, and Switzerland have also ordered hotel accessories from them. Besides, their exclusive living arts can also be found at restaurants in Phuket, Hong Kong, Brazil and Singapore. At Ceramics of Phuket a complete range of ceramic products can be custom-designed and manufactured according to customer requirements.
For many people, it is not always easy to find the nice pieces of decorating arts for their home. But from the wide ranges of Ceramics of Phuket’s beautiful art products, even the choosiest will sure find articles to their liking. If you happen to be in Phuket, a pick of fine pieces of ceramics back home is recommended. Ceramics of Phuket is located on Vichitsongkram Rd., Kathu (tel: 0 7632 1917).
Benjarong is another ceramic style unique to Thailand, usually formed into a round pot with a lid with rich colours and intricate patterns. More modern styles of this craft, which was once exclusively for the use of the Royal family, are found on plates, cups or ornamental pieces. Most souvenir and houseware shops have Benjarong items for sale.
For large earthenware jars, pottery and other ceramics including the blue and white Chinese styles, check out some of the garden shops or department stores around the island.
As one of Phuket's best buys, cultured pearls offered here are both in good quality and large in quantity. They are available either individually, as a strand or as part of a piece of ornament.
Cultured pearls, produced locally at Naka Noi Island are also a good buy. You can find them at many local shops in Phuket City, specialist jewellery places, or right on the island where they are cultured. Tours leave daily to Naka Noi Island and include a pearl demonstration and the opportunity to buy at discounted prices.
The Gems Gallery and Wang Talang are large stores devoted almost exclusively to jewellery. The range, especially at Gems Gallery, is huge, with modern European and Asian styles and certificates issued when you buy. Located on the bypass road on the edge of Phuket City, near Tesco-Lotus. For lovers of rare and antique jewellery, The Banyan Tree Galleries feature interesting pieces from around Asia.
Unless you're an expert in gems and jewellery, it is not recommended to buy such goods with the intention of reselling them back home for huge profits. Some elaborate scams have been set up to fool people into paying a high price for gems that are low quality at best or even worthless fakes.
Gems & Jewellery
Thailand became a new leader in the world of gems and jewelry in the 1980's. Phuket is also an ideal place where you can find a large supply of gems and jewelry in various designs.
Jewelry shops are found mainly in Phuket town and at Patong beach. Thai jewellers are famous for both their skills and low cost of labour, and custom-made jewelry is available in every jewelry shop. The best buys are items made with local gems like rubies and sapphires.
Thai silk produced in the north and northeast is well known all over the world. It is readily obtainable in Phuket at prices comparable to those in Bangkok and other cities, making it unnecessary to go and buy it at its places of origin.
When talking about Thai silk, it almost impossible not to mention the legendary American businessman, Jim Thompson, who played a huge role in reviving Thai silk and making it known all over the world. He arrived in Thailand at the end of World War II, fell in love with Thai silk and started a silk business that thrives to this day. Thompson himself disappeared mysteriously in the jungles of Malaysia in 1967, adding to the mystique of his name.
In Phuket, there are six Jim Thompson outlets, at Canal Village in Laguna, at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, the JW Marriott Resort & Spa, the Kata Thani Beach Resort and Spa, Central Festival and The Courtyard on Chao Fa West Rd.
Thai silk is on the top of most visitors’ shopping lists. It is sold in a range of colours, and in various widths, lengths and thicknesses, or as bespoke products such as shirts, blouses, men's suits and ladies’ silk jackets, bedcovers and furnishings. Some of the most popular silk items in Phuket include handkerchiefs, scarves, pillow cases, photo frames, handbags, cosmetic bags and evening bags.
Batik cloth of Phuket is unique in its brilliant colours and distinctive designs inspired by the natural surroundings, the sea and marine lives. Besides cloth, there are several types of batik products, for example, shirts, sarongs, skirts, bags and handkerchiefs. They are available at many stores around Patong and Phuket town.
Most batik is sold by small shops in Patong, Rawai and Phuket City. The best-known is Chai Batik on Chaofa East Rd, owned by award-winning artist Chai Chansongsang. Tel: + 66 (0) 76 354099
Phuket is one of the Thai cities where nielloware is produced on a commercial scale. Thai nielloware is very attractive in appearance and very durable in use because the niello alloy is fused, and not just welded, to the silver object.
Nielloware, One of Thailand's more unique handicrafts, nielloware is a traditional craft of the southern province of Nakorn Si Thammarat and therefore a good buy in nearby Phuket. Nielloware is the art of applying etched designs made from an alloy of lead, silver, copper and sulfur, onto silver or gold receptacles. Items ranging from coffee and tea sets to fittings for handbags and buttons are available in shops around the island.
Seashells are made into ornaments and gift items, such as necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches, mobiles, lampshades, photo frames, etc. These, together with other marine products, are among the most popular souvenirs.
Bronze artwork in Thailand dates back to ancient times. Hindu deities, Thai dancers, elephants, bowls, cutlery and more are beautifully rendered using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. Many lovely items from spoons to large sculptures can be found at a bargain in Phuket's boutiques and department stores
Lacquerware in Phuket
A specialty of northern Thailand, neighbouring Burma, and now Vietnam, a wide range of contemporary and antique lacquerware can be bought in shops on Phuket Island. You can find the distinctive gold and black household objects such as trinket boxes, trays and chopsticks originate from Chiang Mai, Thailand (Try Andaman Trade Centre on Srisoontorn Rd, Thalang, Tel: 076 272 304).
Some shops also carry the antique matte red cylinder picnic boxes and covers inlaid with black and/or green detail that are characteristic of Burma's lacquerware industry. More recently, the creatively coloured and decorated trays, bowls and homeware originating from Vietnam have also become available in Phuket - all of these items make an ideal, lightweight collector's item or gift.
Pewterware, an alloy of tin with a touch of lead, adds a classy decorative touch to any home. The silvery sheen of pewter is both subtle and longlasting, requiring a minimum of care. Anything from sturdy cutlery to large bowls or mugs with intricate engraved details are sold at most souvenir and gift shops.
One of Phuket's lesser known local industries is the production and preparation of cashew nuts. A much loved and oft expensive treat in some parts of the world, here you can purchase cashews inexpensively in their natural raw state, or prepared with a variety of spices or flavours. Visit the Methee Cashew Nut Factory on Tilok Uthit 2 Rd in Phuket City to buy cashews at their source, or look for them at any of the food markets around the island.
Furniture and Houseware
Wonderful antique, contemporary or handcrafted furniture from Thailand and the entire Asia region is available on the island. Cabinets, tables, dining room, bedroom and outdoor furniture can also be made to order in a variety of wood, including teak, rosewood, rattan and bamboo.
Island Furniture and Phuket Intercraft, on the edge of Phuket City (Chao Fa Nok Rd) have a good range of household furniture made from teak, rattan and bamboo. Ban Boran Antiques, next to Ka Jok See restaurant on Takuapa Rd in Phuket City, specialises in antique pieces from Burma and other Southeast Asian countries. Take a stroll in Phuket City around Takuapa, Rassada and Yaowarat roads for boutique shops offering antique furniture and collectibles.
Thai-made houseware items can add a colourful, funky or elegant accent to a home, depending on your taste. In addition to pieces made in a traditional Thai designs, every season brings a new stock of inventive styles as Thailand's designers aim to compete at a global level. One could easily furnish an entire home with Thai housewares -- cutlery, chopsticks, pillows, placemats, lamps, incense holders, tablecloths, wall hangings, bathroom accessories, bedding, dishes, glassware, vases, functional items such as newspaper racks and bookends, and much more, are sold in a bewildering array of styles and materials.
All the furniture shops listed above also carry houseware goods, which are also found at specialty shops within the department stores. Street vendors in Patong, other resort areas and Phuket City sell smaller items that are easy to carry and pack. Canal Village at Laguna Phuket, and the shops just outside Laguna's entrance, are good places to pick up decorative accessories. Jim Thompson has two home furnishing factory sales outlets in Phuket, at Canal Village in Laguna Phuket and The Courtyard on Chao Fa Nok Rd, that sell fantastic, luxurious fabrics.