Chow Sang Sang Diamonds Review: Nice Diamonds, High Prices

By Michael Fried

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Overall Score:2.5
Price:1Selection:3.5Customer Service:3
Pros
  • Nice selection

Cons
  • High prices
  • Value
Other Recommended Retailers

Bottom Line Recommendation

I would not recommend purchasing an engagement ring from Chow Sang Sang. As you will see below, you can buy a comparable diamond engagement ring from a reputable online jeweler like Blue Nile or James Allen and save around 32% compared to Chow Sang Sang’s pricing.

Even if you were to shy away from buying a diamond online, I found no reason to choose CSS. Yes, the diamonds were nice, but they were comparable to most of the other retailers we saw in Hong Kong and Macau. The service and ambiance left something to be desired and better deals can be found elsewhere.

The History

Chow Sang Sang is one of Hong Kong’s largest jewelry retailers, with more than 50 stores in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan alone. The company also has more than 150 locations in the Chinese mainland selling gold, diamonds and other jewelry.

First established in 1934, Chow Sang Sang was originally located in Guangzhou. In 1948, the company was moved to Hong Kong by three members of the Chow family, where it’s grow into one of the territory’s largest jewelry businesses.

Chow Sang Sang has been publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since the early 1970s. Today, it’s an easy business to find in Hong Kong, with retail locations on almost all of the city’s main shopping streets.  

Chow Sang Sang Kowloon: Nathan Road

The Experience

Outside Chow Sang Sang in Hong Kong
Outside Chow Sang Sang in Hong Kong

Chow Sang Sang was one store we certainly did not want to miss while exploring Nathan Road. Alas, the store didn’t quite live up to the expectations we had.

The store we visited had a much darker interior than any of the other stores we went to in Hong Kong. It reminded me of some of the more old-fashioned stores in Europe. Unfortunately, a dark interior doesn’t give you the best lighting to inspect a diamond.

After looking around the store and not finding the engagement rings, a salesperson showed us to a small case in the back corner of the room. The salesperson was shy, but nice. I understand that gold is far more popular in Asia than diamond engagement rings, but none of the other stores we went to had such a neglectful display for their engagement rings.

The Product

First Diamond at Chow Sang Sang Hong Kong
First Diamond at Chow Sang Sang Hong Kong

One fortunate aspect of buying diamonds in Hong Kong/Macau is the fact that the overwhelming majority of retailers use GIA certificates only for their diamonds. As we mention in this article, that is of utmost importance. CSS is one of those places that sells GIA certified diamonds.

The first diamond we looked at was a 1.50ct G color, VVS1 clarity round diamond. Despite the diamond being a G color and an excellent cut, it was not as brilliant as I’d have hoped. This is probably a byproduct of the 63% depth on the diamond.

It was mounted in an 18kt white gold solitaire setting and the cost of the ring with the diamond was HK$184,000 after negotiating a discount (all prices stated are after the discount).

The second diamond we saw was a 2.01 J color, SI1 clarity round diamond. Despite this diamond being three color grades lower than the G color above, it was noticeably brighter due to the better cut. Also, the diamond was 100% eye-clean.

This one was also paired with an 18k white gold solitaire setting and cost HK$160,209.

Chow Sang Sang Macau – Avenida De Almeida Ribeiro

The Experience

outside chow sang sang in macau
Outside Chow Sang Sang in Macau

While the experience in Kowloon had been drab and dark, the opposite was the case in Macau. CSS was the first stop we made on Avenida De Almeida Ribeiro, the main shopping area of downtown Macau. The store was bright and had a modern feel to it. The salesman was forward and friendly.

The Product

Here we looked at a few smaller diamonds. The first one we saw was a 0.53ct F color, SI1 clarity round diamond in a platinum setting for MOP$23,500. The diamond was lovely and the inclusion was eye-clean.

SI1 Clarity Diamond at Chow Sang Sang Macau

The second diamond we looked at was a 1.02ct H color, SI2 clarity diamond. The cut grade was excellent, but the 60% table was quite noticeable. Unfortunately, so was the inclusion. This diamond was also set in a platinum solitaire setting and the cost was MOP$57,760.

The Value

So, how did these diamond stack up to the competition? Let’s take a look.

We can start with the 1.50ct G color, VVS1 clarity diamond we saw in Kowloon for HK$184,000. Here is a 1.54ct G color, VVS1 diamond from Blue Nile that is HK$125,161. We paired it with this elegant white gold setting and the total price is HK$128,276. That saves you 30 percent.

2.01ct J Color, SI1 Clarity Engagement Ring at Chow Sang Sang
2.01ct J Color, SI1 Clarity Engagement Ring at Chow Sang Sang

The second diamond was the 2.01ct J color, SI1 clarity for HK$160,209. Here is a stunning 2.02ct J color, VS2 clarity diamond for HK$101,974. If you pair it with this solitaire setting, the total cost is HK$104,675, giving you a saving of 35% compared to the CSS diamond.

The first diamond we saw in Macau was the 0.53ct F color, SI1 round diamond for a price of MOP$23,500. That was my favorite diamond from the ones I saw at Chow Sang Sang Macau. With that said, the price doesn’t add up.

Here is a beautiful 0.52ct F color, SI1 clarity diamond from Blue Nile for MOP$12,562. Add in this platinum solitaire ring and the total cost for the diamond and setting is MOP$16,693. All in all, this is 29% cheaper than the ring from CSS.

The last diamond we’ll compare is the 1.02ct H color, SI2 clarity diamond in a white gold setting for MOP$57,760. We were not fans of that diamond, as we mentioned above.

Here is a similar 1.01ct H color, SI2 clarity diamond for MOP$36,815. If you add in this solitaire setting, you are saving 32% compared to what you’d pay for the diamond ring from CSS.

In Conclusion

Like other brick and mortar jewelry chains, Chow Sang Sang has a nice selection of diamonds, but the prices are about 25 to 35% more than what you’d pay for similar diamonds online.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re shopping for diamond jewelry is the amount of profit the store takes. With retail stores in prime locations, a company like Chow Sang Sang will almost always charge more than a reputable online retailer.

Chow Sang Sang’s 190+ locations in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Mainland China make it a convenient place to look at diamond jewelry in person. However, when it comes to value, it’s not the best place to shop.

Final Thoughts

While most of the diamonds sold by Chow Sang Sang were good quality, the prices were a lot higher than reputable online retailers like James Allen and Blue Nile, even after negotiating a discount.

If you’re after a high quality diamond at a good price, it’s better to shop online than from Chow Sang Sang. If you want more personalized help finding the right diamond engagement ring, feel free to contact us.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. For a limited time, take advantage of their 25% OFF Mother's Day sale!
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

Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
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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