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Hong Kong / Singapore Pearl Fairs & Pricing

Bojambles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 30, 2020
Messages
5
Hi all,

So this is a question that will probably not be that relevant this year given the COVID-19 lockdowns, but are prices for pearl merchants cheaper during the fairs? ie. local merchants like Golay whom one can pay a visit to even without the fair.

I've never been to one and thus am wondering whether it's more of a "sale" or more of an exhibition for pearl lovers and buyers to view alot of wares at the same time.

I'm sure that each merchant might have at least a few "specials" of things they want to clear, but in general, for classic items such as round / near round south sea pearl and tahitian pairs, would the pricing be cheaper? And if so, how much more?

Thank you!
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
6,574
I can only comment on my own experience, when I went to one of the big shows in late November that was opened to the public, twice. Great fun!

There were pearl vendors there, and I could have picked up more bargains had I had the money to spare.

My advice would be to know your pearls and know their prices, so that you can make quick decisions when you find a bargain, as they will be snapped up by the savvy shoppers!

DK :))
 

molinePDG

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
32
The answer is both yes and no.

As a straight apples to apples comparison the answer is "yes" in that many times at such shows even when open to the public, you can often find comparable goods cheaper or even significantly cheaper than you might at an equivalent retail setting.

BUT (and it's not an insignificant one), you also have the chance to pay more than you might at retail. If you don't know your pearls very, very well, it can be easy to get sucked in and overpay for something. The exhibitors at such shows do know pearls extremely thoroughly, and they know their pricing and market. If you're not careful, they'll take advantage. There's a lot of trading and negotiation with some vendors as well, so if you're not sharp, you may also overpay in that regard.

If you've had experience looking at hundreds to thousands of pearls, and you know what quality looks like, and you aren't a stranger to negotiating, go for it. Otherwise, tread carefully.
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
3,294
In my experience, cheaper prices. I do tend to buy from some of the Japanese vendors that I’ve bought from over the years like Eiko and Raystar (and a few others that I can’t rem the names of but I recognize the vendor by face). Walk around and ask for prices, compare and then buy. Great fun.

Wear comfy shoes.
 

Pearlescence

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
455
I should be making a list for the Sept Hong Kong fair at the moment. I suspect the next likely show will be in Feb/March, and then only with a vaccine.
There are around 150 different pearl wholesalers at the HK show. The price does vary by how much they want to sell to you and what day it is. As a buyer I am balancing between buying the best which I can do on the first day and probably paying more, or scooping up something which hasn't been selected on the final day when the seller would rather not have to pack it up and haul it back to base if possible.
Mind you I do most of my buying in the offices around HK before the show even starts. I may pay a bit more but I've got the best before they even pack for the show!
It's perfectly possible to spend all five days of the HK show just in the pearl hall
 

Bojambles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 30, 2020
Messages
5
Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and tips!

I am considering purchasing a loose Golay WSSP pair from a private seller, who told me the original price of the studs. If the seller's prices are right, the WSSP pair is being offered to me at a ~50% discount from the list price (although prices might fluctuate over the years?).

I don't have any good photos of the studs and will defer decision till I see them in real life, but wanted to do some sense checking here, hence my question about the fairs.

On another note... I cannot wait to go for one of these fairs :pray: I have family in Hong Kong, so there's always an excuse to go there too :lol:

I was looking at some old fairs threads from 2013 to 2015, especially Icy_Jade's finds and marveling at them. You are also quite the designer, love your tiffany bean

Pearlescence, I believe you when you say that it's possible to spend all 5 days there... even if I walk away empty handed

Thanks too, Moline and DK, I do have a tendency to throw pricing caution out of the window when I get excited, so will have to do homework prior to attending so I can get what I want without overpaying
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
6,574
My mum has a base in HK, and I discovered the November fair by chance. I believe it is the manufacturers fair.

It happens at the same time as Christies' Magnificent Jewels auction sale in HK in the same building, with pre-sale viewing that is opened to the public.

I would plan my visit to HK around this fair, however, with the uncertainties in HK, it is unlikely for me to go back anytime soon as my mum is not too keen to go back herself.

I would not go in June or September as it would be too hot for me!

DK :))
 

katbran

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
744
I have no experience with shows that are open to the public so I'm not sure how their pricing would compare to the Trade only events. I do attend the Trade only but who knows when that will happen again. I find it hard to believe that it will happen in February given it's already September and no end in sight.

As for the prices..as Wendy said there are many sellers at the large shows. Lots of them are lower end 'fashion' pearl sellers . Then you have the companies that sell the mid range on up to high end.
Without a doubt you can find pearls much cheaper than retail but it's really only cost effective it you are buying enough to make the trip pay off. factoring in Plane fares and accomodation you need to spend quite a bit to make it worth while.

Essential is knowing your pearls. The best thing is to look at lots of pearls in stores and hopefully someplace like Mikimoto to see what the top of the top looks like.
 
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