ENTERING Chinese Arts and Crafts (CAC) Silvercord branch from Canton Road is to leave the forbidding city behind. Inside, calmness prevails, infecting the curious traveller or hardened local with the international desire to browse a day away. Either way, the staff dotted like a terracotta army around the ground floor is enough to transport anyone away from Kowloon. And that is what the shop is all about. Spacious and luxurious, the branch is a far cry from its competitors; this is not a place where bargain hunters will find the cheapest examples of China's mass production but, rather, customers are faced with a sea of glass cases, jade jewellery, agate beads and gold and silver trinkets. The ground floor is also home to the more decadent imported goods. The watch department has a large collection of European and Japanese famous names. In the far corner of this level, tucked away from the rest of the shop, is the carpet and rug department, where an incredible array of carpets in every hue and shape are piled hip-high. There cannot be many places left where it is possible to buy a tapestry to rival the Bayeux. One on display was an impressionist arrangement of irises and priced at $26,000. Prices depend on the size, quality and where the carpet or rug was manufactured. For instance, Shanghai-made carpets and rugs are more expensive than those made in Beijing. The rugs are thick and luxurious and come in a range of colours. They are made from silk or wool, in both traditional and modern designs. This is one of the best areas of the shop to see how Western ideas have influenced the designs of Chinese weavers and is distinctly different from the rest of the area. Even after browsing through the European sections, customers are always charmed by the precious stone 'trees' made from different brightly coloured precious and semi-precious stones, wired artistically on to a bonzai miniature tree. The cost again depends on size and the stones incorporated into the design, but they are rarely less than $1,000. Other highlights of the ground floor include carved agate pots, which retail at about $70,000 and stone carved lucky fu dogs for the entrance to a home or office. These are priced from $3,800. Centrally located, the escalator to the first floor is guarded studiously by two enormous bright blue fu dogs. A visit to ground floor will be enough to tempt anybody to part with their hard-earned dollars.