In case you’ve been living in Siberia rather than in Bangkok, let us introduce to you Leila Amulets. Possibly the hottest it-girl jewellery brand in the city right now, and the fastest growing one, Leila takes the long history of religious lucky charms and gives them a modern, stylish makeover. Juntra “Jun” Junpitakchai is the creative and culturally appreciative mind behind Leila. A young it-girl herself (as her globetrotting ‘grams will attest), Jun has had a rich background in jewellery, Thai cultural history, and business-savviness. All that has helped her become the leader of one of the most incredible fashion trends Bangkok has seen.
Spotted on streets, beaches, and flights, Leila Amulets are being worn everywhere on earth, water, and air. The popularity of Leila is unrivalled; few brands in Bangkok have found so much success so quickly. Seeing all the crowds queueing outside stores, we can’t help but wonder what it is about these fashionable lucky charms that seem to just completely click with Bangkokians.
But we shan’t say more. Let Juntra tell you herself how she came up with the idea for Leila Amulets, and why religious lucky charms are such a popular jewellery trend in Bangkok right now.
I was working on OLVD. Ever since I was young, I’ve had a passion for Thai cultural art. I graduated from Silpakorn University and most of my thesis was concentrated on adapting traditional Thai art for the modern day jewellery scene. ‘Olivia Diamonds’ is my family’s jewellery brand and, after I graduated from university, I started the sub-brand ‘OLVD’. That was what paved the way for the design of the famous fish-egg amulet frame with Leila.
My auntie – who has been running the jewellery store for the family and is an avid collector of Thai amulets – once told me that she wished the new generation of Thais would appreciate the traditional Thai amulet. That was a spark for me, and since I had the educational background in transforming Thai art to suit today’s fashion, I started my project for Leila Amulets.
If you look up the name in a dictionary it actually means ‘dark oriental beauty’. And when you say it in Thai, the word means “to keep moving forward”. Both concepts of the name are exactly what we wanted the brand to represent.
Besides both having aesthetic beauty, the history of fashion jewellery originates from religious charms, so really they’re inherently linked.
In this modern world, I feel that the true culture of Thais hasn’t changed much. Some people were at first afraid to worship amulets such as these because they might perceive charms as being “sacred and scary”. But these charms were made to have positive impacts., So, by making the design more accessible and relatable to a wider audience with new looks and designs, it’s easier for people nowadays to embrace charms as both fashion and as something to cling onto for luck, either in work, or love life, or health – not as a worshipping of some black magic as how it used to be perceived.
Yes, for us Thais. We’ve inherited superstition through a long history. It’s part of a national identity and it makes us a community by having shared beliefs.
There are several branches:
G/F Emporium, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 (10am-8pm).
1/F Siam Centre, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm).
3/F Central Chidlom, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-9pm).
1/F Central World (Topshop), Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm).
B/F Central Ladprao
You can also order them online: