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|Michael Fried||Overall Score:2.67||Price:3.5||Selection:2||Customer Service:2.5||Pros||Cons||Other Recommended Retailers|
I don’t like to start with the negative, but this is important to state. TSL was one of rare jewelers we visited in Hong Kong that had something other than GIA certified diamonds. It’s important for anyone considering purchasing from TSL to beware of this.
When it comes to value, we just didn’t see it at TSL. You can read the full details below, but we compared three diamond engagement rings to similar options from Blue Nile (the largest online retailer in the world) and the average savings from Blue Nile were about 37%.
Granted, no physical retailer can compete on price with online retailers, but I’d like to see less disparity when I walk into a physical retailer.
Many physical retailers make up that gap by offering a premium experience at the store. There was nothing wrong with the service at TSL, but there certainly wasn’t a level of service there to justify the premium pricing.
Founded by Hong Kong jewelry legend Mr. Tse Sui Luen in the 1960s and incorporated in 1971, Tse Sui Luen Jewellery has grown into one of Asia’s largest jewelers. From its headquarters in Hong Kong, the company operates more than 400 boutiques in more than 110 Asian cities.
TSL is both a retailer and a jewelry designer, manufacturer and trader, offering everything from retail jewelry to custom designs and wholesaling. The company has won more than 60 jewelry design awards, including the 2002 Gold Virtuosi, or “gold jewelry Oscar” in Vicenza, Italy.
With more than 25 boutiques in Hong Kong and two in Macau, TSL’s retail stores are easy to find in either city. We visited the Nathan Road location in Hong Kong, as well as their Avenida De Almeida Ribeiro boutique in Macau.
We started out our first day of secret shopping at the bottom of Nathan Road and worked our way up. Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard was a bit quieter than the bustling section of Nathan Road near the Tsim Sha Tsui stop.
Stepping into the TSL store, we couldn’t help but notice a light and airy vibe to the place. It was definitely calmer than our previous experiences on the street here. I enjoyed the modern feel of the location.
We meandered around the showcases for a few minutes, all while the salespeople looked on ready to help. After a few minutes looking at the engagement rings, a saleswoman came on over to help us. She was cheery and very attentive in helping us find the right ring.
Unfortunately, something caught my eye in the showcase. Right underneath the sign proudly proclaiming that they sell GIA certified diamonds, we saw an IGI certificate. This is incredibly rare to find in Hong Kong.
Sadly for TSL, the fact that they have IGI certified diamonds for sale in their store makes them stand out in a bad way. You can read more about the topic in our diamond certification article and our guide to the main reasons to avoid IGI certified diamonds.
Having been disappointed to see the IGI certificates there, I was determined to give TSL a fair shake. I asked to see only GIA certificates.
The first diamond we looked at was a round 1.00ct D color, VVS1 clarity in a white gold solitaire setting. Unfortunately, the diamond had a very odd look to it — it seemed lopsided. Normally, a ‘good’ symmetry doesn’t have such a noticeable effect on the diamond, but it did with this one.
The price for the ring was HK$128,312 after negotiating a discount (all of the prices mentioned in this guide are after negotiating a discount with the jeweler).
The second diamond we looked at was a 1.02ct E color, VS1 clarity round diamond. Like the first diamond, it was set in a white gold solitaire setting.
Unlike the previous diamond, this one was stunning. This goes to show you that you shouldn’t get hung up on the color and clarity grades. This diamond was incredibly bright and amazingly brilliant. The price for this ring was HK$95,992.
Walking down the street in Macau, the TSL location struck me as completely ordinary. While the store on Nathan Road was particularly airy and modern, this location just seemed like a generic retail store. The salesperson was prompt but not particularly helpful.
On the plus side, this store did not have any IGI certified diamonds — instead, we only saw GIA certified diamonds here.
The first diamond we saw here was a 1.60ct I color, VS1 clarity round diamond in a white gold solitaire setting.
We didn’t get to see the certificate for this diamond. However, the diamond looked nice, so we’ll assume there were no major issues. Since we don’t know the specifics, we can’t really compare it to another diamond.
The second diamond we saw was a stunning 1.02ct G color, VS2 clarity diamond in a white gold solitaire setting that blew us away. This diamond was incredibly brilliant. This ring was priced at MOP$82,624.
Let’s start from the top. The first diamond was an underwhelming 1.00ct D color, VVS1 clarity for HK$128,312.
Here is a comparable 1.04ct D color, VVS1 clarity round diamond from Blue Nile for a price of HKD$67,036. If you add the diamond to this solitaire setting, the total price will be HK$70,151, giving you a similar ring at a whopping 45% discount compared to the TSL price.
The second diamond we looked at was a beautiful 1.02ct E color, VS1 clarity round diamond in a white gold setting for HKD$95,992.
Here is an equally stunning 1.01ct E color, VS1 clarity round diamond for HK$60,573. Adding this solitaire setting, the total comes to HK$ 63,688. This gives you a total saving of 34% when compared to the ring from TSL — more reasonable than the other diamond, but still significant.
The last diamond we’ll compare is the 1.02ct G color, VS2 clarity round diamond we saw in Macau. This diamond was priced at MOP$82,624 and came in a white gold solitaire setting.
Here is a 1.01ct G color, VS2 clarity round diamond from Blue Nile, priced at MOP$53,755. If you add in this setting, the total price is MOP$55,180. By buying an almost identical ring from Blue Nile, you’ll save 34% compared to shopping at TSL.
Overall, the diamonds available from TSL were a mixed bag. Some diamonds had noticeable issues, such as a lopsided appearance, while others were absolutely stunning.
As I mentioned earlier, I was disappointed to see that the TSL location we visited in Hong Kong displayed IGI certified diamonds. We don’t recommend IGI diamonds for several reasons, so it was disappointing to see them for sale alongside GIA certified diamonds.
The pricing from TSL also wasn’t particularly great. While their diamonds weren’t as overpriced as some of the other retailers we visited in Hong Kong, they were about 35 to 40% higher than reputable online diamond retailers like James Allen and Blue Nile.
The TSL locations we visited in Hong Kong and Macau offered reasonably good service and a fair selection of diamonds. However, the premium pricing (35 to 40% more than online) and use of IGI certified diamonds are both disappointing.
If you’re searching for a high quality diamond, you’ll get better value by purchasing online from a reputable retailer such as James Allen or Blue Nile. You can also get in touch with us directly for personalized help and advice.
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