Samui and its surroundings are full of surprises, and one of the most enjoyable shopping experiences in terms of sheer satisfaction is stumbling across the two Nature Art Galleries that are to be found on the island, along with a third on Koh Pha-Ngan. The trio of stores definitely stand out as venues for all things to do with precious stones, metals and jewellery.
Many a shopper to Samui is familiar with the typical kind of jewellers to be found in holiday destinations. There’s often something a bit doubtful about the sales philosophy – the idea being the old one of pile-it-high and sell as quick as a melting ice-cream in Benidorm. That works, but it’s not the approach that Nature Art Gallery brings to jewellery. Step inside any of the three stores and you’ll immediately see that they take the very opposite stance.
That first essential impression: everything’s spotlessly clean, excellently presented and a cinch to browse. You’ll enjoy spending time in these stores. There’s nothing in them that can be classed as mass-produced; these are creations that draw the eye, and many have been hand-crafted by artists who send in their pieces from places as diverse as Bali, Israel and India. From Bali, there are luscious leather and silver bracelets with buffalo bone which has been finely sculpted. Meanwhile, an Israeli artist presents electro-formed silver which has a slightly chunky look whilst being surprisingly light, and a Thai designer offers unusual bracelets made of stingray skin and dyed into a whole range of pleasing pastel shades.
Not only does Nature Art house a wonderful collection of jewellery from Thailand and beyond, it also has in-house artists who make jewellery to order. A team of three gold/silversmiths can produce pretty much anything you can dream up. Their only real concern is that they can get hold of the materials needed – though most are already in the store – and that if you’re on holiday you have enough time on Samui for the artefact to be completed. The three artists are on hand on Samui to answer questions, and all you need is to have some idea, however vague, of what you’d like them to make. An extra plus point here is that they all speak English (even the assistants do) and communication is rarely a problem.
They’ll often rely on the stores’ own supplies to make your jewellery and this brings us to a further bonus about Nature Art Gallery. It stocks semiprecious stones, and these are on display for browsing. It makes it a lot easier to make jewellery if you’ve actually chosen the very stone that will be inset.
Plenty of people also delight in simply choosing stones and rocks for their properties. Each stone has its own energies, and if you pick them up you may well be able to feel them. But no matter if you’re not a believer in the powers of rocks and crystals, they’re definitely beautiful in themselves and ideal for jewellery-making.
Whether you’d like a one-off artefact from the stores, or would like something special made from scratch, owners Michael Trav and Shai Nissim have an eye for what is aesthetic and pleasing. They’ve curated their stores to reflect the best in design, and have also assembled an inspired range of raw materials. A lot of love and effort has gone into the business, and the results exceed customers’ expectations. The stores are located opposite Central Festival on the beach road, in Central Festival itself, on the upper floor, and over on Koh Pha-Ngan in Haad Rin.
When it comes to price, many visitors to the stores are in for a pleasant surprise. Despite all the creativity and the sophistication of the showrooms, everything you see at Nature Art Gallery is very well-priced. There’s nothing exorbitant and whether you’re looking for something very simple for a couple of hundred baht or a piece that’ll become an heirloom in its own right, at Nature Art Gallery you’re sure to find it. With durable designs that are made to last and extremely creative handiwork, this trio of stores is always bound to please its diverse clientele. Expect to spend quite a while browsing what’s on offer.
For further information, telephone 0 7742 2594.