Here’s my advice for people who intend to shop for a proposal ring in Hong Kong.
Did you know that the average carat size of a proposal ring in Hong Kong lie within the range of 0.50 carats to 0.70 carats? Don’t be fooled by the huge 3 carats or large stones that are often displayed in the windows.
These are stuff the mega rich Chinese buy and are usually way above the budget of the general shopper. If you actually walk into the store for browsing, there are often decent selections of smaller sized diamonds.
In Hong Kong, the preferred choice of color lies with the colorless range of D-F. Likewise, diamonds with higher clarity grades above VS2 are perceived to be better and higher quality. Here’s what I was told by a local friend of mine. “When people buy jewelry in Hong Kong, the factor of “face” and social status is a huge consideration in their purchase decision.
Also, the Chinese are generally superstitious people who believe in feng shui. For example, the figure 8, pronounced as “faat” in Cantonese, is an auspicious number believed to bring about wealth and fortune. Needless to say, a stone with a carat weight of 0.88 or even laser inscriptions bearing digits of 8 would be a huge selling point used for marketing.
With that said, the general cut quality of diamonds found there is much higher than most other places around the world (although there is still significant room for improvement). Diamonds with GIA triple excellent grades are highly sought after by consumers and they tend to shop for stones with such certifications in mind.
However, when it comes to buying top notch diamonds cut for supreme light performance and precision craftsmanship, the market falls short. The truth is, the majority of GIA triple excellent diamonds has huge variations in light performance. In my opinion, most of the stones I had seen in stores fail to make my standards for being purchase worthy.
In terms of pricing, I find that lower prices in Hong Kong only exist if you intend to get rings from branded stores like Cartier or Tiffany’s. The reason behind this is that there isn’t any luxury tax imposed by the government. With that said, the pricings in local chain stores such Chou Sang Sang or Chou Tai Fook are relatively high compared to local chain stores in other parts of the world.
In fact, they are almost as expensive as big international brands. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium for an unrecognizable local brand when you could top up a little more to buy something similar at Tiffany & Co.
On the whole, it just doesn’t make sense to be shopping in Hong Kong from a consumer’s point of view unless you intend to purchase branded goods.
Here’s a quick price comparison against my favorite online vendors to show you the stark differences. Besides paying significantly lower prices, you really get the cream of the crop selections of finely cut diamonds by going online.
|Vendor||Price Range (in $USD)|
|Whiteflash.com||$13,000 – $14,000|
|JamesAllen.com||$11,000 – $14,000|
|Local Chain Stores
(based on 5 quotes from 3 different brands)
|$19,000 – $25,000|
*Price comparison of 1 carat D VS1 round brilliant cut was performed in 2013. Current prices may have changed. Price range representative of how precise the diamond is cut to and also other factors like presence of fluorescence. Read this article for more details…
My most expensive purchase of the trip is this little plastic stone holder which is used as an attachment for the standard microscopes or as a stand-alone device for holding diamonds.
Could you make a wild guess how much this little piece of plastic costs? It costs a whopping US$100! These little gadgets used for gemology purposes don’t come cheap. Nevertheless, I went ahead to purchase it as I see it as an investment for the website. With this stone holder, I am planning a series of videos that feature close-up views of diamonds under high magnification.
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In the 4th and final post of my adventures in Hong Kong, I am going to do a blog post on the touristy places I visited. If you plan to visit Hong Kong in future, it might be a good reference for you.