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Bottom Line: Hong Kong has large jewellers 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.
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.
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 rivalling New York.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a list of our favourites from our secret shopping. We’ll start with the big boys.
This is the largest jeweller 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 put in this beautiful setting.
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 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.
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 centre. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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