At the northeast of the Temple of Heaven lies a well-known pearl market. Every day it attracts a great many people from home and abroad. Recently I paid a visit there, and was greatly impressed with Fanghua Pearl and Jewel, the largest shop in the market. If you want to find a beautiful natural pearl necklace, and give yourself a more elegant and nobler look, don't miss this shop.
As soon as I entered the well-decorated shop, I felt myself dropped into a sea of pearls. Numerous pearl necklaces were neatly displayed in showcases. The colors mainly included milk white, golden yellow, pink and black. Some overseas customers were sitting at tables, talking to the shop assistants.
A shop assistant named Ms. Carrie greeted me politely. She told me her company is the No.1 retailer of high-quality pearls, which had been in the business for twenty years. According to her, the pearls here were in three categories: fresh water pearls, sea water pearls, and South Sea pearls.
A common fear of people is buying fake pearls. But Ms. Carries explained to me how to distinguish real pearls from fake ones: First, scratch two pearls, real ones sound and feel smooth. Second, scratch a real pearl with a scissors, a bit of white powder will drop. Also there's a rule to judge fine pearls: the rounder and shinier, the better.
I also noticed the photos on the wall showing foreign dignitaries visiting the shop. There were Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of UK, Putin¡¯s wife, the Queen of Spain, and the Queen of Belgium. The photos are proof of the charm of the Oriental pearls.
In this shop, you can ask the shop assistants any questions about pearls. They speak fluent English.
What I appreciated
Precious and elegant pearls, famous pearl dealer
What customers appreciate
Natural pearls, much inexpensive than in Western
On the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum lies a large pearl store, which specializes in both freshwater pearls and seawater pearls. As the shop attracts a number of foreign tourist groups every day, it gets the name "Group Pearl Store".
Arriving at the store, I was pleasantly surprised to find several shop assistants separately introducing their produces in English to some overseas customers. Each assistant was doing her best to offer foreign friends a pleasant shopping experience.
In showcases and on shelves, I found a wide variety of pearl jewelry to choose from. The pearls are pure in color and come in different sizes. All feature beautifully creative designs. A string of necklace with big pearl beads cost around RMB 4,000. Also, a necklace pendant in the shape of a cross caught my eye. The pearl was pure, soft white, and the four ends were made of gold. It was priced at RMB 1,883. At the earring section, a pair of earrings made of shining blue pearl beads and 925 silver stood out over others. It cost 1,281 yuan.
For men, the shop also offers pearl ties, stickpins, and cuff links.
What I appreciated
Delicate pearl jewelry, a wide variety for choice
What customers appreciate
Genuine pearls, creative designs
Hongqiao Market is located at #46 Tiantan Donglu, Chongwen District, Beijing, only three minutes away on foot from the eastern gate of the Temple of Heaven. The market is famous for pearls, attracting many foreign customers every day.
Hanging on the main entrance of the market, there is a plaque inscribed with ¡°The First Pearl Market in Beijing¡± (in Chinese). Business hours are from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm every day. Aquatic products, grain & oil, vegetables & meats are on sale at the basement; digital products, articles of everyday use, clocks & watches, small electrical appliances, cosmetics, table covers, bed covers and scarves are on the first floor. Silk, clothes, shoes and hats, suitcases and wallets are displayed on the second floor. Pearls, jades, jewels and craftworks are on display on the third, fourth and sixth floor.
At the market, most shop assistants greet customers and promote articles actively and enthusiastically -- especially to foreign customers. They speak fluent English to catch the latter¡¯s attention. It is apparent that they have many opportunities to communicate with foreign customers, and have a good command of promotional English. Most consumers are indeed from overseas, they are very interested in pearls.
Prices for pearl necklaces range from several hundred yuans to over two hundred thousand yuans. Be patient when you bargain with a shop clerk. Generally speaking, they will go down to the lowest price they can offer, and give you an even lower price after consulting with their manager.
First, if you¡¯re going to Hongqiao for purchasing, go with a Chinese friend who will help you get discounts.
Second, in this noisy and crowded place, take care of your personal belongings.
Third, to make a good purchase, you must be familiar with the articles you intend to buy, and be able to distinguish whether it is genuine or not.
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