Hoi An may very well be most known for its tailors but if you really want to get something designed that’s going to last longer than the first wash then jewellery is a very safe and surprisingly affordable option. Scattered among all the tailors, shoe makers and spas you will find a multitude of tiny silver shops packed full of conical hat shaped earrings, sampan pendants and trays of blinging rings, and almost every one of these shops will also make up a personal design for you in less than 48 hours, employing local jewellers who create each and every piece by hand.
Lotus is one of the more trusted, established and copied of all and has two shops located in town on Le Loi and Tran Phu Street. The jewellery here is a little more expensive than most but the quality of the materials and craftsmanship standards stand it head and shoulders above the competition. Waterlily located on Nguyen Duy Hieu near the Life Resort has its own workshop where you are welcome to oversee the jewellers creating your designs. If you want something really personal The Original Chain of Life, which has a show room in aVana on Le Loi make up personalised leather thong and silver necklaces and bracelets made from imported silver, with your choice of engravings worked in to the designs.
Prices start from about $30 for a simple silver ring depending on weight. If you want to add gemstones they are priced individually, based on clarity, cut and rarity. Gold prices vary depending on the daily market price, platinum is premium but if you want to be sure of quality, save money and you have some old family heirlooms that you never wear, you can get them to melt them down into something more personal and just pay for the labour.
One thing to be aware of with quality is that the metals and gemstones offered by most shops is not quite what they claim them to be. Cheaper shops will tell you the silver is 92.5% but it generally is not and the prices reflect this. The craftsmanship in Vietnam however is among the best in the world. Bring your own silver or other metal and you’ll be onto a winner.
Like the tailors, a lot of the jewellers have catalogues packed with popular designs that they will copy for you should you wish, but why pay for a knockoff Tiffany bracelet when you can have something unique with its own story? Far more personal than a polyester mix $100 suit.
82 Tran Phu Street/53A Le Loi Street, Hoi An
311 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, Hoi An
Original Chain of life
aVana , 57 Le Loi Street, Hoi An
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 13th November, 2014.