Hong Kong - Kathie & others

Oct 20th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Hong Kong - Kathie & others

I was in Bangkok 2 years ago and loved going to the jewelry store that Kathie recommends (SJ?) Such great prices and great quality. I'm going to have 24 hours in Hong Kong on the front and back end of an Asia trip, and wondered if there was a store like that in Hong Kong. I'd love to get something nice for my girls as a keepsake, but not looking to spend $1000s. Are there good quality pearls at a good price? Other shopping suggestions if jewelry prices are prohibitive? Thx!
kebwcb is offline  
Oct 20th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Jewelry is not the bargain in Hong Kong that it is in Bangkok.

The kinds of things I buy for gifts from Hong Kong are things like the carved stone stamps (customed carved same day for you), Yixing tea pots and teas (especially the presentation teas that unfurl into flowers - hard to find elsewhere), carved stone items from the "jade" market, etc. I bought a whole batch of bracelets made from old Mahjong tiles - great little gifts!
Kathie is offline  
Oct 20th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Chinese cultured pearls are a good buy in Hong Kong, as they may be in many places in the world by now, I have not priced them elsewhere, but the PRC has pretty much cornered the market in lower-quality cultured pearls. These are not Mikimoto-quality, but are not Mikimoto prices either. Some suggestions are below:

Golden Mile Jewelry
Shop 114 A
1st Floor
Hutchison House
10 Harcourt Road
Tel: 852-2525-6760

This is a shop I have used for many years and have no trouble recommending them. The shop is not upscale in any way, but they have a nice selection and do good custom work. I think they are a good choice for pearls and for gifts. I have dealt for a long time with a woman named Candy, but her brother Anthony is also helpful as well. The shop is located on upstairs in a building not too far from the Mandarin hotel in Central. Closed on Sundays.

Gaily Jewellery Co Ltd
54 A Queen's Road
tel: 2526-0202

One of my Chinese colleagues uses this jeweler and has brought visitors to the office there, I have gone with but have never bought anything. They have some very pretty designs and good prices. This would be a good place to look for pearls for yourself and for gifts as well. This is quite near to the start of the pedestrian escalator in Central. Open every day. Ignore the marked prices, you should get things for about 40-50% below the marked price.

For other jewelry, I would agree that Hong Kong is not as good a bargain as Bangkok, but you should still find it cheaper than the US (plus no tax). You could try any of the above plus these below:

Lane Joaillier
106 Prince's Building
10 Charter Road, Central
Tel:.852 2869 8819

I have purchased a few things here over the years. This is a much more upscale shop in a quite expensive shopping centre in Central. They have a good selection. I believe they are open every day. This building is located across the street from the Mandarin hotel and not far from the Star Ferry pier.

Tayma Fine Jewellery
Shop 252
2nd Floor Prince's Building,
10 Chater Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone: 2525 5280

This is a well-known expat jewelry designer who has a lot of very modern jewelry, I don't know what your taste is so I have included it in case you want something in a very modern setting. You can see some examples on her website. She is in the same building as Lane Joaillier so you could see both easily.

I would agree that there are many other options here for interesting gifts, the “Jade” Market (not a lot of real jade there) has all sorts of inexpensive trinkets that would be fun gifts. Do not spend a lot of money here.

Another place you might enjoy is something like Shanghai Tang, which has fashion-forward clothing and small gift items, including jewelry, see http://www.shanghaitang.com/ for an idea of what they offer. Their main shop is in the Pedder Building in Central, they have smaller outlets in Pacific Place Mall on the Hong Kong side and the Intercon, Canton Road and Elements Mall on the Kowloon side. The Pedder Building has some “cashmere” shops (watch for fakes here) and some discount designer shops selling things like Chanel suits at good prices (mostly in tiny sizes, but perhaps would fit your daughters).

You could of course go to Stanley Market, a fun bus ride and then tons of stuff there. I like the artwork they have, from “peasant” paintings, to old Hong Kong photos and drawings with ink, to scissor papercut art, and lots of zodiac artwork for each year in Chinese astrology. They come in large and small sizes and most are already framed, and for a price which is substantially less than you would pay for the framing alone back in the US. They also have tons of “pashminas” mostly fakes, but at dirt cheap prices and in all sorts of colours and patterns.
Cicerone is offline  
Oct 20th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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Sorry, the carved stamps Kathie is referring to above are called "chops" and do make nice gifts. They come with a little ink pad and usually in a nice presentation box. You can have them made with your daughters’' name translated phonetically into Chinese (this does not always work, as the combination of characters they pick to phonetically sound out your name might have quite an awkward or bad meaning; my name for example does not translate particularly well) or pick a word like “strength” “peace” “happiness” “love” or some word that already has an established Chinese character(s). Happiness is a lovely looking character, so is double happiness. Or the name of your favourite flower, esp peony, lotus or chysthanimum which are very auspicious flowers. The peony is a traditional Chinese symbol for female beauty and a chysthanimum is for good luck.

You can have them made in Stanley, also try Man Wa Lane at the corner of Bonham Strand in Sheung Wang which is the district next to Central on Hong Kong Island.
Cicerone is offline  
Oct 20th, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Thank you, Cicerone. For some reason I could not come up with the word "chop" this morning when I was posting.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 09:06 AM
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Is there someplace reliable to buy jade? I'm interested in a jade bangle or a jade beaded bracelet. What would a price range be in Hong Kong? Would it be better to buy jade in Beijing?

Thank you
Luisah is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 10:43 AM
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> Would it be better to buy jade in Beijing?

Definitely not. If you are not fully able to assess the quality of and market value of jade, and to tell real jade from fake (no casual matter), you shouldn't be shopping for this kind of thing at all, and certainly not in Beijing where there are no reliable sources. Even amongst the very limited quantities of real jade available very little actually comes from China but is imported (historically from neighbours such as Burma, but now also from Chinese holdings in British Columbia and New Zealand, for instance). There are no bargain prices for the real thing.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 12:12 PM
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Jade - Like pearls & junk antiques, it's another 50% kickback merchandise for Chinese tour directors/local guides in Beijing & Xian.

Chops - Made of soup stones. Some Beijing local guides sell chops to tourists in the bus for $25 each. Usually go by Zodiac designs.
The lowest place to buy chops in China is in Guilin nite market on Zhongshan Zhong Lu, $5 each, same quality & good craftmanship.
Cat12345 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 12:16 PM
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soup stones = soap stones
Cat12345 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Peter & Cat - you two made me think about the pearls I bought. I am sending them to a pearl appraiser as it seems the Chinese are masters at faking pearls. They are real cultured pearls (not freshwater) but not what I thought I was getting. Amex is involved now. They are still very nice but not worth what we paid for them and they weren't what they were represented to be. Our first appraiser thought they were real and and worth what we paid, and this is a highly respected jeweler but suggested we send them to xyz company to be certain. Glad we did.

Our 'friend' who has purchased thousands of dollars worth of pearls there hasn't been told yet as I'm not sure how dh wants to approach this matter.

Buyer beware.
BeachGirl247 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Beachgirl, thanks for posting back with this information. As I remember, you bought the pearls in Beijing, is that correct?
Kathie is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Yes, Kathie. Knowing what I know now, I would not buy any pearls in China.
BeachGirl247 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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***Just an update on the pearls I bought in China.***

I sent them off for another appraisal and they are legit and real. Worth every penny that I paid for them in Beijing. "Sharon's Pearls"

The original jeweler here in town didn't do an extensive look into them and that's why they suggested we send them out for a formal appraisal.

We are breathing a sigh of relief and now I can wear them with pride knowing they are the real deal.
BeachGirl247 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Best pearl deals by far is Manila. No one beats the deals you can get at Greenhills mall in Manila.
BillT is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Before everyone now rushes off and buys pearls in Beijing, let's just think this through:

There are innumerable accounts of massive overpaying for low quality and fake pearls at this market, followed by long, tearful tussles with credit card companies. Shopping there in the expectation of getting value for money is a very risky enterprise indeed for anyone not fully informed about pearl quality and market prices (and if you are you still won't be shopping).

The (wildly innacurate and frequently contradicted by experience) claim about Hong Qiao is that pearls can be bought there for amazingly low prices. Setting aside that this is contrary to common sense, note that the claim being made here is not that a super bargain was obtained. Pearls 'worth every penny' can be bought far more safely at home, and with much easier legal recourse should there be any problems.

In short, since the market is selling an item with a notional high value, easily faked, requiring special expertise to evaluate, and targeting foreigners with more money than sense (don't be one), the chances of a happy outcome from shopping here, let alone getting a bargain, are not great.

As with antiques, other jewellery and precious and semi-precious stones, and carpets, only shop in China if you have a sufficient level of expertise (and if you do, you won't be shopping). There are no real antiques available, jade is almost universally something else, and faking pearls is a large and sophisticated industry in which China is a world leader.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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I agree with you, Peter.

>>faking pearls is a large and sophisticated industry in which China is a world leader.<<
You are correct. That is what worried us about our purchase.

I just felt I should follow up with the facts of my purchase and not leave bad information.
BeachGirl247 is offline  
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