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Without a doubt, Singapore was my favourite city of my month-long secret shopping journey in Asia and Australia. As a native New Yorker, I immediately felt at home with the skyscraper city and bustling lifestyle. It was a pleasure spending four days here.
We feel strongly that buying a diamond online gives you the most beauty and value for your budget. Reputable online retailers like Blue Nile and James Allen offer extensive collections at competitive prices. Even after negotiating with shoppes in Singapore, the prices were 30-40% higher than comparable rings we found online.
We understand that not everyone wants to buy a diamond online. That’s why we visited and reviewed diamond jewellers local to Singapore. As you read through our guide, keep in mind that buying a diamond in a shoppe costs a premium, so you want to make sure that premium is worth it.
The most prominent shopping destination in Singapore is the ION Orchard Shopping Centre. There is a wide array of options in the jewellery sector, including high-end luxury (like Harry Winston or Tiffany & Co) as well as a presence from all the Singapore-based retailers in the Diamond Promenade.
While their prices were very high, we had a great experience at Goldheart’s Diamond Promenade shoppe. The customer service was fantastic and they had some unique setting options. The quality of the diamonds varied, so be sure to write down the GIA certificate number and ask us to look at the cut specs.
In the unique neighborhood of Little India, you can find smaller jewellery shoppes scattered around. These retailers focus heavily on gold jewellery, but you can find a smattering of unique engagement ring options. Of all the areas we visited, Little India was the biggest disappointment we had while secret shopping. I would not recommend searching for a diamond engagement ring in this area.
Malabar is a perfect representation of the area. We were unimpressed with the service and the diamonds were not only horrifically cut, but were insanely overpriced.
Aside from ION, there are dozens of smaller shopping centres along Orchard Road with a few stand-alone retailers occasionally dotting the landscape. All of the major Singapore retailers can be found somewhere along this boulevard. If the weather is nice, you may prefer walking up and down the street instead of being confined to a shopping mall.
House of Hung (known as Jannpaul online) was our favourite retailer in Singapore. They had a massive collection of engagement ring styles and plenty of beautiful diamonds (make sure to check the fluorescence grade on any diamond you look at there). The prices were a tad high, but reasonable. And their salesperson was the most knowledgeable one we met in Singapore.
While there aren’t many options wandering around the streets and alleyways (at least for jewellery, the food was fantastic and plentiful), there are a few shopping centres in this area that had a very different vibe than ION Orchard. We spent quite a bit of time in the People’s Park Complex.
We had a much better experience at SK in the People’s Park Complex than the Diamond Promenade at ION Orchard. The store is much larger and has a more luxurious vibe. The salesperson was more helpful and we managed to look at a wider array of diamonds. As you can read in our full review, the diamonds weren’t really up to snuff.
To get a high-quality diamond at a great price, you need to consider a few important factors. Here are the five most important tips for shopping for a diamond in a store.
1. Look at the Certification – Any diamond you consider should come with a GIA or AGS certificate. These are the two most reputable lab entities in the world. When a diamond comes with one of these certificates, you know that what you’re buying is what the jeweller says it is.
A certification will include details like the diamond’s Clarity grade, Color and Fluorescence. If a jeweller is encouraging you to buy a diamond without a certificate, or a certificate from a less reputable lab, you should pass and shop elsewhere.
2. Watch for Fluorescence – We normally don’t talk about Fluorescence as a main characteristic to look for. However, while shopping in Singapore, we noticed some stores offered colorless diamonds with medium or strong fluorescence. This is a big no-no, and decreases the beauty of the diamond.
3. Focus on Cut Quality – The number one factor that impacts a diamond’s beauty is its Cut. A diamond’s cut dictates how well light reflects back to your eye — producing the sparkle of brilliance and fire.
Narrow down your search to only Excellent and Ideal Cut diamonds. From there, look for round diamonds with a depth percentage below 62.5% and a table percentage below 60%. For recommendations on other diamond shapes, check out our diamond shapes guide.
4. Go for Eye Clean – When it comes to evaluating a diamond’s Clarity, we stress to readers that they should be looking for an eye-clean stone. Assess the diamond by pulling it away from the store’s bright lights. Look at the diamond in regular light. Do you see any blemishes, inclusions or imperfections in the diamond? If so, the diamond is not eye clean. The goal is to find a diamond that doesn’t show any imperfections to the naked eye. Generally, you can find an eye clean diamond in the VS1 to VS2 range without paying the higher prices of a VVS1 or FL grading.
5. Take Your Time – It’s easy to feel pressured or rushed to buy a diamond, especially when you’re shopping in a store. The salesperson is likely working on commission and has an incentive to sell you a ring. Remember that you are in control of your shopping experience. It’s OK to take time to think about your decision, compare the diamonds to what you can find online, or get an expert opinion. We’re happy to assess any diamond (just give us the GIA cert number) and we can give you our honest thoughts on the purchase.
Plenty of vendors sell diamonds online. But where you shop makes a huge difference. When you shop with a top-tier vendor, you’ll get the best selection and prices.
Whether you buy a beautiful diamond online or in a shoppe, choose an engagement ring you love. With the best ring in hand, you’ll be confident and excited.
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