Samui Wining & Dining
Souvenirs of Thailand are everywhere, but for something that’s really special the only choice is a visit to Nature Art Gallery!

Souvenirs of Thailand are everywhere, but for something that’s really special the only choice is a visit to Nature Art Gallery!We all do it. It’s a part of the fun. Because, when our holiday gets near its end, things start to get serious. We make lists. We keep our eyes open. We make special trips. Because everyone wants to take home souvenirs and mementos. But although there are dozens of shops all selling gifts, it’s hard to find the good stuff. Craftsman made. Quality items; bags and wallets and belts and jewellery. The sort of thing you just know has to be somewhere, if you keep on looking. Fortunately, you don’t have to look very far, because Nature Art Gallery has it all.


Before you’ve even gone into the shop, it’ll grab you from outside on the street. It stands out – especially if you’re out at night. It glows. In fact, the warm, mellow presence of Nature Art beams out in a gentle contrast to the cold neon glimmer that surrounds it. It’s partly the fact that every single surface – ceiling, walls, and floor – is clad in the same golden wood. It’s partly the warmly diffused tungsten lighting. Perhaps it’s the reflecting shine from all those glass surfaces inside. But, as soon as you’re in, you’ll know there’s something special here.


Just walking inside is an experience in itself – there are so many things! You’ll wander at first, trying to take everything in, but really just scanning what’s on display and trying to organise things in your mind. You’ll find a gigantic selection of jewellery, mostly made of silver, set with a whole variety of stones and crystals. The styles range from the elegantlyclassical to modern and chunky. But there are also superb leather handbags, purses, wallets and belts, many of them subtly inset with semi-precious stones or crystals. Even if you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, it’s not easy to look carefully at everything; there’s just so much to see!


But there’s something else going on at Nature Art Gallery, too. After a while you’ll start to feel it, although it’ll take you a few minutes to work out what it is. It’s really quiet here – you can’t hear any noise from the road at all. But it’s not only quiet: it’s more than just that. It’s actually noticeably tranquil. There’s a strange sense of calm in this shop. You’ll even see that people slow right down as they come in. Without realising, they talk in hushed voices. Chill out right on the beach at Bang Kao’s weekly night market.It’s hard to pin down! But the fact remains; this isn’t just a shop full of treasures, it’s something strangely different, too.


Perhaps it’s got something to do with the people there. Certainly partners, Michael Trav and Shai Nissim, are well-versed in the lore and energies of crystals and stones, having had more than 20 years’ experience of working with them. They began with two shops over on Koh Pha-Ngan. And then they opened this one here in 2009, just across from the main entrance to Central Festival. And now there’s another one, too, over in Central Festival itself, up on the first floor above Uniqlo. And between them, and their team of skilled craftsmen working in the workshops upstairs, the there’s very little that they can’t do when it comes to making jewellery – particularly in connection crystals and their energies. Because, at the heart of the store, there’s a huge array of crystals of all sorts of sizes, colours and shapes. Each crystal is endowed with a different property and, if used wisely, can align you with more-positive physical health or energise you, whether physically or in other ways, such as enhancing concentration or confidence.Chill out right on the beach at Bang Kao’s weekly night market. Either Michael or Shai will be on hand to discuss this with you, and to advise you in your choices. Additionally, there’s a lot of literature on the subject which you can study at your leisure.


However, unlike other shops, here the choice is far greater than the already-impressive display suggests. Because, as well as the wares on display, if you fall for one particular ring or necklace but would prefer it with a different stone or crystal, this can easily be done in the workshops upstairs. And this has proved particularly popular with people celebrating an anniversary or birthday, as the stone of choice can be matched to your personality or ambitions.


But it’s not all about jewellery, as already mentioned. There are also some really exquisite hand-made clutch bags, purses and wallets for both men and women, beautifully designed and constructed, in a range of not just calf leather but also shark and stingray skin, ostrich, snake, and crocodile skin, too – the stingray range is spectacular!


You can pick up pretty-looking jewellery almost anywhere; the same with cheap copies of designer bags and belts. But the work here is high-quality and made to last – even the leather and coral earrings and bracelets that start at just a few hundred baht. And, thanks to the two shops right in the centre of Chaweng, whichever way you turn, you’re not far away from the power and the beauty of Nature’s Art!


 Rob De Wet


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