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|Michael Fried||Overall Score:3.5||Price:4||Selection:2.5||Customer Service:4|
House of Hung is one of the better retailers we’ve been to while secret shopping. All of the diamonds were GIA or AGS certified and the salespeople were knowledgeable. As you will see below, you can save up to 30% by purchasing by purchasing a similar engagement ring from Blue Nile (with diamonds that have the same quality). While we don’t think it’s worth paying that premium at House of Hung, their products are reasonably priced.
House of Hung was founded in 1973 as a family business and was one of the very few jewellery stores in Singapore. The first store was located in Tanglin Shopping Centre, along the Orchard road shopping district. In the beginning, they offered electronic goods and jewellery products. In 1975, a decision was made to specialise in finer jewelleries and an in-house team of skilled craftsmen. They provided customization services with traditional hand-sketched drawings. In that same year, the store was relocated to Far East Shopping Centre and was the largest jewellery store in Singapore. Over the years, they established themselves to be one of Singapore’s largest diamond wholesalers and manufacturers. Till date, it still operates in the same location and offers an extensive range of gemstones and jewellery products.
Our first stop in Singapore was, coincidentally, our best stop in Singapore. We started our day by visiting The House of Hung. Walking in felt like I was walking in to a large American retailer. There were rows and rows of showcases, mostly dedicated to engagement rings.
We wandered around for a few minutes with the sales people keeping an eye out for us, but also letting us peruse the inventory on our own. When we slowed down on our own, Ranjit was there to help us out.
We had a fantastic time with Ranjit. He was very knowledgeable when it comes to diamonds and he took the time to explain many different aspects of the diamond that we should pay attention to. He wasn’t pushy at all. Too often you get the feeling that the salesperson is trying to sell something they want to get rid of. That was not the case here. Ranjit made us feel like he was trying to find exactly what fits us.
We looked at a few diamonds while we were there. The first one was the worst of the bunch. It was a 1.02ct F color, VS1 clarity round diamond. While the cut was ok (the table was too big for our tastes), the big problem was the strong blue fluorescence. The diamond had a noticeable milky look to it which sapped the diamond of its brilliance. Fluorescence was the only issue we kept having while shopping here. The diamond was mounted in a twisted pave 0.15ctw setting and the total price was SG$15,000.
The second diamond we saw had medium fluorescence. While we don’t recommend that for G+ diamonds, it’s not as bad as a strong blue diamond. Check out our fluorescence article for more information. The second diamond was a 1.40ct G color, VS1 clarity round cut set in a pave setting for SG$19,500.
Let’s start with the first diamond (the 1.02 F color VS1 round with strong blue fluorescence for SG$15,000). Here is a similar 1.00ct F color, VS1 clarity round diamond for SG$ 9,257. If you add it to this engagement ring, the total price is SG$10,537 (that is including all taxes). The settings aren’t identical (different styles), but we are using this to compare the value. That is 30% less than the virtually identical diamond from House of Hung.
Another way to look at it is what could we buy for that SG$15,000. Here is an absolutely stunning 1.20ct F color, VS1 clarity round diamond with no fluorescence for SG$13,719. You would get a superior quality diamond that is 20% larger and still save almost 10%.
Now let’s move onto the 1.40 ct G color, VS1 clarity round diamond for SG$19,500. Here is a similar 1.41 ct round cut, G color, VS1 clarity diamond for SG$13,678. If you add the diamond to this setting, the total price is SG$14,998. That is a savings of 21%.
As I’ve covered before, you’ll almost always pay more to buy loose diamonds and other jewelry from a physical retailer than from an online diamond vendor. House of Hung is no exception to this, with prices that were about 21 to 30% more expensive than Blue Nile or James Allen.
With this said, the value for money offered by House of Hung was better than many of the other jewelry retailers we visited in Singapore. Overall, we felt that their products were quite reasonably priced for a retail jewelry business.
From a service perspective, House of Hung gets a great score. The store we visited had a variety of engagement rings on display and a feeling similar to an American retailer, with friendly, knowledgeable and non-pushy staff.
The diamonds we saw at House of Hung were all GIA or AGS certified, which is a very good sign. The two diamonds we looked at had some fluorescence issues, although the second wasn’t as bad as the first.
Overall, while we don’t think it’s worth paying the 20/30% extra at House of Hung compared to what you’d pay for a similar diamond from Blue Nile, the friendly, knowledgeable staff and GIA or AGS certification make this worth considering if you prefer to shop offline.
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