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Richmond jeweller goes viral as 'CEO of Diamond Testing' on TikTok

Can you tell the difference between a real and a fake diamond?

Is this diamond real or fake?

A Richmond TikToker has been going viral with his diamond testing videos that answer just that question.

Andrew Kwong, co-owner of Richmond’s Christine Jewellers, is the mastermind behind the social media phenomenon, which has amassed 3.2 million followers on TikTok and 82.4k on Instagram.

“We do diamond testing for every customer that comes in to get their jewellery cleaned or resized, and it became something everyone was interested in watching,” said Kwong.

People were often surprised to find a ring they had been wearing for a while was fake. Some were even more surprised to discover what they thought was a fake turned out to be real, he added.

Initially, Kwang started making videos to help educate people about diamonds in general, but that went nowhere.

“There weren’t many views on the videos I posted, and it seemed kind of hopeless. But after I posted the diamond testing videos, it just went crazy from there.”

He’s since been dubbed the “CEO of Diamond Testing” on social media. But he’s not just an online celebrity, TikTok fans have been flocking to his store in Aberdeen Centre in person just to get their rings, bracelets and necklaces tested.

One of the jeweller’s TikToks shows a child bringing in his mother’s jewellery -- just to see the diamond testing pen in action.

Despite being an introvert, and not even that interested in jewellery, Kwong said he enjoys video editing and the social media side of the business.

However, his new-found celebrity status takes a toll.

In the beginning, it was manageable as he would create and edit his videos as well as answer questions during the business’ “down time.”

“With luxury goods, our store doesn’t have super high traffic like a food court. Not everyone comes in to buy jewellery every single day.”

But as his popularity grew, so did the demands to the point that it became “overwhelmingly difficult to keep up.”

Thankfully, his brother, who’s also his business partner, has been able to pick up the slack. And, for the most part, it’s been a good problem to have.

“We’ve been reached out by jewellery and diamond supplies because they know we’re kind of going viral, and sometimes we’ve been offered sponsorships too. It also helps encourage people to come in because they’ve seen us on social media.”

However, the larger purpose of the videos is still to educate, said Kwong.

“We want to make sure people are careful about where they’re buying jewellery. That’s really the main message we want to share with people,” he said.

“There isn’t too much to worry about in Canada, but sometimes buying from sketchy online stores like Facebook Marketplace or through someone else and not at an actual store is not the safest way.

“Overall, for social media, there’s no better way than to use social media as a way to educate people about diamonds … in an entertaining way.”