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Buying Diamonds in Hong Kong – Read This Before You Buy

By Mike Fried,

Bottom Line: Hong Kong has large jewelers and a busy shopping atmosphere. Overall, though, the service is not phenomenal and the diamonds are overpriced. That’s why we recommend looking for a diamond online at a reputable vendor like Blue Nile.

Shopping for Diamonds in Hong Kong
Ready to Shop for Diamonds in Hong Kong

Over the past few years, the Diamond Pro has seen a significant increase in interest coming from Hong Kong and other areas in Asia. We believe that it is important to provide as much local and specific information as possible for our readers, regardless of where they are. Moreover, to be honest, I don’t need much of an excuse to hop on a plane. So Jenny and I packed up for a whirlwind trip east, starting with Hong Kong.

In this guide, we’ll cover the bulk of the retailers we secret shopped on our trip. We’ll also talk about which areas are best to go for your shopping as well as specific tips for buying a diamond locally in Hong Kong.

As a native New Yorker, Hong Kong speaks to me as few cities do. It’s an incredible melting pot of cultures; you can start your evening with some tapas and wine at a Spanish bar, grab some hotpot to fill you up and finish the night off at a New Orleans-style speakeasy. The place where East meets West is the city where you can find anything, including diamonds.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.
Out on the town in Hong Kong
Grabbing a Bite to Eat in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has slowly turned into a vital hub for the diamond industry on both the wholesale and retail sides. When I was first learning the ropes of the diamond industry 15 years ago, Hong Kong was a very small part of our company’s business. In just a short time, Hong Kong has turned into a hub rivaling New York. In fact, according to data published by Statistica, despite its small size and population of 7.4 million people, Hong Kong ranks third worldwide in diamond import value, after India and the United States.

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Buying a Diamond Online vs. Buying at a Local Retailer in Hong Kong

Let’s get this out of the way first. As we explain in our article, the best place to buy a diamond engagement ring is from a reputable online retailer like Blue Nile or James Allen. We provide some comparisons below and you can read much more about it in the reviews of specific shops. Even after negotiating, the rings at the retailers we visited in Hong Kong were typically 30%-40% more expensive than comparable rings we found online.

We understand that not everyone wants to buy diamonds online, so we will go through the local options below. But it is important to remember the premium that you are paying in order to purchase from a local retailer and to make sure the place you choose justifies that premium.

Where to Buy a Diamond in Hong Kong

Kowloon – Nathan Road

This is the most obvious place to start. Affectionately known as the Golden Mile, this area blew me away. Never in my life have I seen so many jewellery shops crammed into one area. It boggles my mind that the larger jewellery companies (like Chow Tai Fook) have about a dozen locations ON A SINGLE ROAD.

This is the best place to go if you want a concentration of options in a short walk. We were able to see Chow Tai Fook, Luk Fook and Chow Sang Sang on the very first corner where we exited the MTR. I don’t think there is a place on earth with a higher concentration of jewellery shops. Throngs of people pass in and out of the shops.

Causeway Bay – Hennessy Road

Hong Kong Shopping Center
Hong Kong Shopping Center

This area doesn’t have the same concentration of jewellers, but they do have plenty of other retail and food options. If you are planning on making a day of shopping, this area may be better suited to breaking up the monotony. It was easier here for us to grab some food or wander into a Nike shop when we needed a break. But have no fear; there are still tons of options for finding the perfect engagement ring.

Central – Queens Road

park in hong kong
Park in Hong Kong

This was the calmest area we found. If large, bustling crowds aren’t your thing, you are better off staying in this area. This area is more spread out, and there are far more businesspeople milling about than there are tourists or shoppers. You may have to do a little more walking to get from shop to shop, but it is very manageable.

5 Tips for Buying a Diamond

There are many things you need to watch for when buying an engagement ring or any diamond. This is one of the reasons we recommend buying online. Here are the five most important items to check off when walking into a shop.

  1. Certification: This is the most important consideration. The diamond must have a GIA certificate. There is no way to know whether you are getting a good deal unless you are certain what the diamond characteristics are. Unfortunately, there are many less stringent laboratories that will inflate the quality claims. This makes it easy to fall into a trap of unknowingly overpaying for a lower quality diamond. Fortunately for you, the overwhelming majority of places we went to in Hong Kong strictly offered GIA certified diamonds.
  2. Diamond fluorescence: This issue normally isn’t so high, but the shops in Hong Kong were better than the typical retailers we have seen around the world. Certification and Cut weren’t as much of an issue as in other places, though you should still be careful. Fluorescence was a lingering nuisance while shopping. Many of the colorless diamonds had medium or strong fluorescence, which is a big no-no.
  3. Diamond cut: Most of the round diamonds we saw were excellent cut diamonds. That is a great start. To make sure the brilliance is maximized, try to keep the depth percentage below 62.5% and the table below 60%. If you are buying a shape other than round, be sure to consult our diamond shapes guide.
  4. Diamond clarity: In many ways, this is the simplest issue to look out for. Unfortunately, many people trip up on this one. You should never buy a diamond with inclusions that are noticeable to the naked eye. When in a shop, be sure to move the diamond away from the super-bright lighting; the lighting causes more sparkle which will hide the inclusions. You may think the diamond is eye-clean and then notice an inclusion when you are sitting in your living room. This will then gnaw at you every time you look at the diamond.
  5. Timing: Consumers are most likely to drop the ball on this consideration. We tend to get excited when we see the “perfect ring” and ignore other factors. Salespeople, especially those working on commission, tend to be very pushy and will pull out all the stops when they see you’ve found “the one” for you. This puts you in a position to make a rash decision you may come to regret later.

Take your time, sleep on it and make sure to compare the ring to online options to see if you are getting a good deal. Feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to look at the details (try to write down the GIA certificate number) and give you our thoughts.

Best Places to Buy a Diamond in Hong Kong

Here is a list of our favourites from our secret shopping. We’ll start with the big boys.

Chow Tai Fook (click here to read our review)

This is the largest jeweler in Asia with well over 1000 retail locations. Sometimes it felt like Hong Kong should be renamed Chow Tai Fookville. Most of the Chow Tai Fook shops in Hong Kong had a fairly generic vibe. Nothing very luxurious, and the shops were always crowded with people buying cheaper gold items.

You can read more in the review, but we found them to be about 40% more expensive than comparable diamonds from Blue Nile. For example, this 1.51ct round solitaire engagement ring was 45% more than this comparable diamond from Blue Nile put in this beautiful setting.

Luk Fook (click here for full review)

Another retail powerhouse in Hong Kong and China. Like Chow Tai Fook, the shops didn’t have a particularly luxurious vibe. Once again, the shops were heavily focused on gold jewellery.

For the most part, the diamonds were nice but very overpriced. The largest diamond we saw at Luk Fook was a 2.03ct round diamond for HK$ 252,300. Here is a stunning 2.04ct round diamond from Blue Nile for HK$ 139,854. If you place the ring in this comparable setting the total is HK$ 144,553. So the Luk Fook ring was 75% more expensive than an identical diamond ring that you can buy online from Blue Nile.

Other Major Hong Kong Diamond Retailers

Other notable locations are Chow Sang Sang and TSL and Prince Jewellery and Watch. While these retailers don’t have the same overwhelming presence as Chow Tai Fook or Luk Fook, they still offer plenty of options around Hong Kong. The most luxurious experience we had was at Prince, but their diamonds left a lot to be desired. They seemed like a fantastic option if you are looking for luxury watches.

Smaller Independent Retailers

Hong Kong may be blanketed with large retail chains, but there are still plenty of independent retailers. We found much wider variety in quality when visiting the smaller locations. We found some terrible diamonds like this poorly cut diamond from Fook’s Jewellers, and we experienced very aggressive sales tactics at Lao Feng Xiang.

On the other hand, Difeee was a diamond in the rough that we found in a random little shopping center. Not only were the diamonds there fantastic, but the salesperson was also great and the prices were fair. Sure, they were still 10% more than what you can get online. But if you are adamant about buying in person, they are a great option.

Options for Buying Online

Blue Nile (click here to read our Review).

Example of an engagement ring setting from Blue Nile
Heirloom Petite Milgrain Engagement Ring

It’s no secret that we think buying online is the way to go, and it’s quite obvious that we love Blue Nile. They are the world’s largest online retailer and they have a significant presence in Hong Kong and China (one of their three major bases of operations is here). They offer high-quality jewelry and diamonds at very competitive prices. Their website offers a seamless shopping service where you can tailor your selection down to the most specific details and their service is unbeatable. Typically, they can get your selected ring and diamond to your door within one week.

Darry Ring

This was a confusing place for me. We went to their retail location in Hong Kong and were stunned by how little they offered. We were told it would take two weeks to build the ring and they weren’t able to show us any diamond specifics beyond the color, clarity and weight. That is simply not enough information to go by. Even assuming the best of the diamond, the prices were almost double what you would pay at Blue Nile. If you are going to pay that premium, you may as well go into Chow Tai Fook or Luk Fook and get the ring right away.

Darry Ring’s website is no better. Their “advanced search” offers what Blue Nile’s basic search offers. There is no way to filter for fluorescence, depth, table, or other factors that are incredibly important when purchasing such a valuable gem.

Recommendations for Buying Diamonds in Hong Kong

Shopping for a diamond in Hong Kong is a memorable experience, especially on Nathan Road in Kowloon. An abundance of jewellers is packed into one area. Its busyness rivals the NYC Diamond District.

While Hong Kong is home to many large jewellers, like Luk Fook and Chow Tai Fook, we found the shopping experience to be less than fantastic. The service wasn’t incredible, and the diamonds were approximately 40% more expensive than comparable diamonds we could find online. If you’re determined to buy a diamond in Hong Kong, we suggest a small local retailer called Difeee. Their diamonds were beautiful and their salespeople were quite helpful.

Overall, though, we recommend buying a diamond online from a reputable vendor like Blue Nile. You’ll have a wider selection, excellent customer service and much lower prices.

If you want an expert opinion as you shop for diamonds, reach out to us. We’ll look for something stunning that matches your style and budget.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

Please enter your email address to receive your 25% off coupon code:

What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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