Buying Diamond Rings And Jewelry in the Chinese Market

If you intend to shop for a diamond engagement ring in Hong Kong or China, there are 3 important things you need to know before hitting the stores. Also, I’ll reveal the best places to buy a diamond where you can save money and get better quality at the same time.

big time jewelry chain stores in China and Hong Kong queens road central

Large jewelry chain store along Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong

#1 – Superstitious Belief of Fengshui & Cultural Stereotyping

The Chinese (especially those in Hong Kong) are generally superstitious people who believe in feng shui and quirky beliefs. 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 diamond with a carat weight of 0.88 or even laser inscriptions bearing digits of 8 would be a huge selling point for marketing.

On the other hand, the number four (4) is considered an inauspicious number as it sounds like and represent death in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Because of this, you rarely see diamond rings in sizes of 0.44ct or 1.44ct for obvious reasons.

Besides superstitions, one of the key things to note about the Chinese market is the misconceived stereotyping of high color/clarity diamonds as being more “beautiful”. In the Asian market, the preferred choice of color lies with the colorless range of D-F.

Likewise, diamonds with higher clarity grades above VS1 you are perceived to be better and of 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.

So, what does these all mean to to you? Well, if are shopping for a diamond engagement ring, the amount of available selections is going to be limited and extremely costly because of the higher color/clarity ratings.

#2 – Jewelers Have Extremely Poor Knowledge About Cut Quality

types of diamond analysis performance scope images

In the Chinese diamond market, there is a lack of tangible data like the ASET, Idealscope and H&A images.

Now, I want you to get this straight. Better clarity or color means jack if the diamond’s cut quality is mediocre. Cut is the main factor that directly affects how much sparkle and brilliance a diamond has.

I find the general cut quality of diamonds in the Chinese market to be slightly better 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 most people 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 have huge variations in light performance.

The fact that most Chinese jewelers have poor knowledge in cut quality means there isn’t any tangible cut data available for you to make educated decisions. Furthermore, most salespeople employ high pressure selling which makes shopping in a physical store an unpleasant experience.

If you are looking for a diamond ring that has superb craftsmanship and brilliance, I recommend checking vendors like White Flash, Blue Nile and James Allen.

#3 – Prices of Diamonds in the Chinese Market

5 digit price tags in HK dollars

Most people have a misguided belief that diamonds are cheaper in the Chinese market. 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 when compared to the US.

The same cannot be said with non-branded diamond rings. Due to high rentals and overheads, the pricing of private jewelers and local chain stores such Chou Sang Sang or Chou Tai Fook are extremely high when compared to chain stores in other parts of the world.

In fact, the non-branded diamond rings are almost as expensive as big international brands. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to pay a huge premium for an unrecognizable local brand when you could top up a little more to buy something similar at Tiffany & Co.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t make sense to be shopping in the Chinese market from a consumer’s point of view unless you intend to purchase branded goods. Why would you want to pay high prices for sub-par quality anyway? It’s dumb and a huge waste of money.

Shop Smart: You Can Get Better Quality And Much Lower Prices Online

Here’s a quick price comparison against 2 highly recommended 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
Big Brands (e.g. Tiffany, Cartier) $23,000 – $28,000


  

* This price comparison was performed using a 1 carat D VS1 round brilliant cut at the time of writing. Current prices may have changed but the relative costs will remain the same. The price range is representative of how precise the diamond is cut to and also other factors like presence of fluorescence. Read this article for more details…

Here’s the thing. Getting better prices is not the main reason to go online. The most important factor of going online is that you get FULL transparency of what you are buying and much better diamond selections.

Instead of encountering pushy salespeople who simply want to make a commission off a sale, you get to shop in a calm mind and make decisions based on tangible data like magnified 360° videos and scope images.

sample listing with performance data in diamond

Besides ideally cut diamonds, vendors like White Flash, Blue Nile and James Allen have very consumer orientated sales policies and you are fully protected with risk-free guarantees. NONE of the local Chinese vendors will offer this to you.


In the 4th and final post of my adventures in Hong Kong, I am going to do a blog post of the touristy places I visited. If you plan to visit Hong Kong in the near future, it might serve as a good reference for you.


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