CHINATOWN — The Diamond District is about to be outshone.
With the first Chinatown Jewelry Week set to kick off Friday, New York's other bling district is vying for a bigger slice of the lovers market as Valentine's Day approaches.
Modeled after the city's Restaurant Week promotion, a host of stores near the intersection of the Bowery and Canal Street will be offering a range of discounts for the 14-day event.
Chinatown Jewelry Week also coincides with the Lunar New Year, another big time for business for the downtown jewelry merchants.
"Not everyone knows about the area here," said Siowai Sang, who has operated his store, Golden Jade, at 189 Canal St., for 40 years and was also the president of the Canal Street Jewelry Merchants Association for 25 years.
"Our price is much better than uptown. Our operating costs are lower," explained Sang, adding that his quality can match anything sold on Fifth Avenue.
While there are about 260 jewelry retailers in the area — the second largest in the country, according to Sang — so far only 17 stores have agreed to participate on the inaugural event, including Golden Jade.
Each store had created its own "Sweetheart Deal" to draw in both new and old customers. At Golden Jade, Sang will offer a discount of between 25 to 40 percent on most of his inventory, as well as on custom-made jewelry.
"We are hoping people are going to fall in love with Chinatown and shopping in Chinatown," said event organizer Julie Huang, who also heads up Chinatown Restaurant Week, held in March.
"It is the most diverse group of businesses inside of Chinatown," she said. "Not everyone is Chinese — Italian, Irish, Cuban and many others have been doing this for generations."
For Sang, not only do the Chinatown jewelry stores match the quality of the Diamond District and beat their prices, customers who shop around Canal Street will most likely deal directly with the store's owner.
"These are family businesses," he said.
For a list of businesses involved in Chinatown Jewelry Week visit the website.