Viet Nam News
A little market, tucked away in a corner of Hà Nội, may be the best choice when it comes to buying gemstones and jewellery. Sellers and buyers can meet and talk about the different stones, and all items are checked for quality. Thu Trang reports.
If you are interested in buying gemstones or jewellery, you naturally think about visiting a jeweller’s shop or a luxury store. But now you can buy quality gemstones at this nondescript market in Hà Nội.
It resembles a traditional market that sells vegetables; however, this particular market attracts dozens of small gemstone traders and gemstone lovers.
The neat little market, which is some 500sq.m, is in Alley 456 on Hoàng Hoa Thám Street in Cầu Giấy District.
The market opens once a week, every Sunday, from 8am to 2pm.
There are nearly 20 stores in the market selling artificial and natural gemstones, necklaces, bracelets and decorative stones. Most of the gemstones are exploited from Lục Yên District in the northern province of Yên Bái and from Quỳ Hợp District in the central province of Nghệ An.
Sellers at the market need only a table and chair to set up a stall. The gemstones are displayed on plastic trays or on a piece of card board so that buyers can select and inspect the products thoroughly. Buyers are free to carefully examine the gemstones.
Prices vary depending on the material, quality and size of a gem.
Nguyễn Ngọc Tú, a small trader from Yên Bái, said the most expensive gemstone is ruby and the cheapest is black stone.
The harder the stone, the more expensive it is, Tú added.
A rough ruby of about 160 carats could be sold for as much as VNĐ100 million (US$4,400).
“A gem is suited to a person according to his fate. Suitable gems are believed to bring luck, good health and prosperity, while unsuitable gems can affect people’s health and luck,” Tú said.
“Buyers should consult with experienced sellers in the market about gems that are right for them,” he said.
Stalls aplenty: The neat little market, which is some 500sq.m, is in narrow alley No 456 on Hoàng Hoa Thám Street in Cầu Giấy District. — VNS Photo Thu Trang
Nguyễn Thị Nhung, another small trader from Nghệ An, said she used to sell ruby for VNĐ400-500 million ($17,700-22,200).
However, Nhung also sells gemstones for some VNĐ50,000 ($2.2) for those who cannot afford the expensive variety.
At the market, necklaces for VNĐ100,000-200,000 ($4.4-8.8) are also available.
Many buyers who visit the market are gems sellers with small shops in Hà Nội or experts in the field of precious stones.
Nhung said the simplest way to classify the different kinds of gems is under a certain light. Natural precious stones have more sparkle than artificial ones. Under the light, the good stones are illuminated with shapes of stars; they are pure and do not have cracks.
Pricey pebbles: Small traders believe that the most expensive gemstone is the red ruby and the cheapest is black stone. — VNS Photo Thu Trang
“Each seller here has one or two most favourite items which are only displayed if the customer is genuinely interested,” she said.
Lê Tuấn Anh, deputy chairman of the Hà Nội Gemstones Club that founded the market, said the market opened at the end of 2015 with the expectation that it would become a must-visit destination for domestic and international tourists to Hà Nội.
It was also expected to spread the image of Việt Nam as a gems market.
“In the market, small traders and gem lovers can meet, exchange information and introduce unique gemstones from different places,” he said.
“All items for sale in the market have clear origin and are carefully checked,” he said.
To instill confidence in the quality of the gems, the organisers, who are members of the Hà Nội Gemstones Club, carefully check all products and reject substandard stones, besides strictly penalising sellers who intentionally try and cheat buyers.
The market’s organisers would soon ask gemstone sellers to donate a portion of their sales to set up a fund, which would be used for charity purposes and other social work to help the community, Anh said.
Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, a customer living in Hà Nội, said, “I like gemstones but do not understand much about them. I often go to the market to study and learn from the experiences of sellers here.”
"One of the most unique factors of the market is that all clients, including those who do not know anything about gemstones, can select and buy precious stones suited to their demand thanks to the enthusiastic guidance from the sellers," Hùng said,. — VNS