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SHOPPING IN SHANGHAI--Pearls, "antiques," and all else

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I hope to compile some info and addresses for good shopping spots in Shanghai. I've already come across this excellent thread by our very own Shanghai expert, Shanghainese:


http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/notes-from-shanghaineses-13-days-in-shanghai.cfm

Near the top of my shopping list are pearls. I am not interested in the finest quality--I want fairly inexpensive "coin" pearls and would like to find a place similar to the Pearl Market in Beijing where one chooses strands and has them strung into a necklace.

It appears that there may be better places to buy than at Pearl City; see this info from an expat site, dated 2008:


"Pearls: As long as you stay away from Pearl City on Nanjing Lu you should be OK. I did price comparison on pearl products this week and Hong Qiao market is about 40%-45% less on the asking price from Pearl city even on identical item in identical store at both locations. YuYuan and Hong Qiao have similar pricing and I have yet to check out S&T museum to compare them to 3 others. Volume discounts are pretty good both at Yu Yuan (288 Fuyou) Lu and at Hong Qiao for wholesale purchases. Pearl City on Nanjing is about 50% higher than US online pearl services and ebay on similar items.

I am not sure how deeply they will discount on Nanjing as their asking price is so high to start with I don't think they will deep discount. Started to haggle there but lost patience and did not buy. Pretty good discounts available from asking at Yu Yuan and Hong Qiao, but you must know what you are looking at. Discounts there appeared to be more related to how long they have been stuck with a particular item. Also depends on initial price point and of course setting. Higher end material in 14k gold not as negotiable in HongQiao and Yu Yuan and looked like about 40% off on one off purchases was best that they would give. Other run of the mill product could yield 50% off or more from asking.

Asking prices on same material appears to vary by about 20%-25% between stalls at Hong Qiao. Of course, the higher the asking, the more discount you can haggle.

I am not GG/MGA or GIA certified but have been investing in jewelery for years and have a pretty good idea what i am looking at. Hope this helps."


Question: Is the Hong Qiao referred to above near the domestic airport? How far from the Nanjing Road area is this?



Please feel free to offer your own shopping tips; last time (2007) I had a pretty good experience and lots of fun on DongTai Road..is this area still recommended? Anyplace else for "antique/vintage" Chinoiserie? Porcelain beads? Anyplace at all similar to the dirt market in Beiijing?

Many thanks!! I am very excited about the prospect of returning to Shanghai!

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