The history of Baan Thong Somsamai

Baan Thong Somsamai, Thong Sukhothai

     Gold is collected as one’s  wealth for it’s  value that equals to money. And for it’s aesthetic beauties in representation. Since the old days, gold has been used as a valuable present for special occasions.

        The Gold of Sukhothai, or what we call the Traditional gold is the name for the products that are made from the gold in the purity of 99.99%, manufactured by the local villagers, by the usage of simple handmade tools depicting the traditional motifs of the gold wares.

     The first goldsmith that established the style of the Gold of Sukhothai, or the Traditional Gold, is Somsamai Gold.

        The story of the establishment of Somsamai Gold is as follows. 

        There once was a Chinese goldsmith from Bangkok, travelling on a boat searching for a perfect place to settle. Having seen plenty of water and rice fields, decided to settle in Sisatchanalai.

        The Chinese goldsmith, due to the fact that he was a foreigner, had to rely on the local people in starting his business, Chua Wongyai, the father of Somsamai was the one who helped him in the beginning. In return the Chinese goldsmith taught the method of manufacturing gold works. Eventually Chua was able to master all the skills, and established an atelier. which developed to be the shop, Somsamai Gold, which we see today, in the beginning, Chua created accessories, of which he received orders from the customers.

        When Chua first established the shop, there were no products shown  at the display since he made only the pieces which had been ordered. Whoever came to order an accessory, brought the gold by oneself. In those days. there were preferences towards simple designed chains, which did not differ from other gold shops. However, Chua made an effort in creating by hand, utilizing simple handmade tools. Despite the purity of the gold was 96.5%, which was similar to other shops, the pieces produces by Chua was different in it’s way of creation handmade.


     Later, Chua instructed his daughter, Somsamai who loved aesthetic arts, and she soon was able to create all what had been taught. When it was the time to manage the shop, she collected 1 Baht of gold. From this 1 Baht, Somsamai Gold began to be prosperous. In the beginning, Somsamai took the method as her father did receiving orders.

        The decorative style of the Gold of Sukhothai or the Traditional Gold had been established within the last 10 years or so. There once was a customer who brought on old chain made of Samlid. (an alloy of gold, silver and iron.) Somsamai, having received the order, studied the old chain, utilizing the knowledge taught by her farther. She carefully undid all the parts and made new pieces exactly the same as the old. Having created all the pieces, by basketry artists in the same village. Utilizing the method of basketry, Who was able to knit all the gold pieces into a chain. This was the start of what we call the Traditional Gold today.

        The Gold of  Sukhothai, in the beginning, could not gain a lot of money since the gold was brought in by the customers, who ordered the accessories, All a Goldsmith could receive was creative fee.  In the beginning, the orders were mainly in the form of chain, as in the other shops, and they were not so decorative. Later, by studying motifs, knitting methods, and colours, The Gold of Sukhothai improved to be the form that we see today.

        In the beginning, the customers were mainly the wealthy people, who had special interests in antiques, art, or fashion. The characteristics of the Gold of  Sukhothai lays in it’s usage of 99.99% pure gold, unlike the gold of 96.5% that were used in other shops at that time. In addition, totally hand made by the highly skilled artisans, requiring a long time leads to the high cost of the products.

From investigating the old gold that had been excavated by the villagers, Somsamai came to notice that the gold that will be utilized in the gold  craft that she creates, should be pure, of 99.99%  The colour of  the gold should be shining in the reddish yellow. lf it is in the lighter yellow, it is not as pure as the darker coloured one. Therefore every piece of accessory with the traditional motifs that Somsamai produces, utilizes 99.99% gold, so that the glory of the gold could fully be appreciated. The Gold of Sukhothai, highly original and rich in variety, requires a long time in creation, which restrict the number of pieces


        When the Gold of Sukhothai was widely known among the people, There were more needs, By then, The Gold of  Sukhothai  was preferred by all ranks of society, due to it’s individualistic representation. All the works are produced attentively by the hands of the skilled goldsmiths. Gold designed in delicate representation, full of elegance is the gold of Sukhothai.

        It became impossible to receive all the increasing orders, since there, at that time was only 4-5 goldsmiths. Therefore Somsamai decided to teach the method of gold craft to the villagers and raise them into goldsmiths. The villagers in thoses days  were not highly educated and they lived in poor condition. Except from working in the rice fields, they had to work at the factories in the major cities. Otherwise it was difficult to support their lives. Left at the village were children and the elder people.

     Somsamai gathered the children of the village, and opened her atelier to teach the methods in creating gold accessories. She instructed them free, and in addition, gave them wages. The Somsamai’s idea lead the Local people to gain income. On 29th May, 1994, her idea and effort was recognized, and Somsamai received an award from the National Association of the Women, which is under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

        Almost all the goldsmiths at Somsamai Gold are the children of Sisatchanalai. The Gold of Sukhothai, therefore is created by the hands of the local people. In order to produce the works in the best quality, the elder goldsmiths would teach the younger and he himself would study harder skills. In this way. the goldsmiths are trained up until today. Among the goldsmiths, Somsamai gave advice, and looked after then, so that they could improve their skills. Therefore atelier always in a warm, bright atmosphere, with all the artisans respecting each other. From this atelier comes the gorgeous, and delicate Gold of Sukhothai.

        Due to the increase in the popularity of The Gold of Sukhothai, there are new gold shops having opened. Almost all the goldsmiths working for these shops are people to of Sisatchanalai, but some are gold smiths, or diamond artisans from other regions. In 1996, the survey shows that were total of 12 gold shops in Sisatchanalai.

  1. Somsamai Gold
  2. Somsak
  3. On Anong
  4. Nantana
  5. Supaphon
  6. Egarat
  7. Sakhon chang Thong
  8. Sisatchanalai
  9. Sichaliang
  10. Lavinie
  11. Thong Oraphin
  12. Thong Sanga

  The economic depression in 1997 had great effect to the gold shops in Sisatchanalai. There were only 5 Shops survived, and among them is Somsamai Gold. Somsamai Gold, creating gold pieces according to the customer’s selection, with delicate skills and elegant expression, will continue to preserve the Traditional Gold that had been passed on to us today.

Production Process

Production Process

The traditional Gold of Sukhothai, the art that the godesmith, who is a fine art expert, meticulously crafts with caring and thoroughly elaborates gorgeous patterns. Any style is able to be made by the spirit of Thai goldsmiths, The value received is not solely the value of the 99.99% gold, but also the value of the elegance of scrupulous fine art beyond time. Moreover, it also builds on this precious wisdom to Buddhist Art in which people with strong beliefs offer as Buddha worship. Therefore every pieces of work are splendid that should be united with the land of Siam, having the title of being gold ornaments filled with Thai spirit.

Quality Guaranteed