Korean jeweler’s shops in street 3rd Jongno Seoul, also being near to Changdukgung Palace, used to be where many eunuchs who served the king of Chosun dynasty. The name of Bongik-dong actually comes from the Chinese characters, ‘Bong’ meaning the king and ‘Ik’ meaning a wing, and it literally refers the eunuchs who wielded power by the side of the king. Bongik-dong had been a place where people seeking for success mingled to from old days, and it was the place where the first photo studio was opened by UnYong Jee in 1884.
The reason that jeweler’s shops started to flourish in such historical site was the increase in the demand of jewels in the 1980s. As the demand for jewels increased, more and more jewelry and wholesale businesses opened in Bongik-dong, forming into a street of Korean jeweler’s shops at last.
Before the 1980s, jewels were crafted by hand at the site of the retail businesses, but as the casting products were introduced in early 1980s, jeweler’s shops started to flourish around Yeji-dong, Bongik-dong and Myo-dong in Jongno.
By the middle of the 1980s jewelry industry, a system of mass order and production was established. With the special procurement from the 88 Olympics, the jewelry industry met the biggest prosperity of its history and Jongno became the Mecca of the jewelry industry in Korea.
However, under the IMF economy recession period of 2007, when Korean economy was devastated, the jewelry industry had to go through a big change and many businesses had to move outside the country for export.
The jewelry industry of Korea has a long history. From the artifacts from the period of Three Kingdoms periods in AD3~5 century, it can be inferred that the gold craft skill was very developed. Various gold crowns, earrings, and shoes show us that our ancestors had a very high level of knowledge and technique on the jewelry craftsmanship.
Recently, the best quality of ordered jewelry products are being made from the combination of high craftsmanship and professional jewelry designer . The hand-made jewel products with high quality, creativity and class separate themselves from other casting mass products and satisfy the various demands of modern consumers who seeks for their own unique jewels.
A designer’s jewelry shop Bonagem jewelry in Jongno is co-working with highly skilled hand craft men for the consumers to seek the life style jewelry shop in Seoul.