PDA

View Full Version : Where should we buy jewelery in the Caribbean?


Miss Tracey Lacey
October 26th, 2009, 10:20 PM
My mother and I both like our jewelery, and are interested in buying a blue diamond piece on our trip, now we don't have a fortune to spend, and were wondering where are reputable places to go?

our stops are

St Thomas
St Kitts
St Lucia
Barbados
Antigua

Thanks so much! We leave in a week!

klfrodo
October 26th, 2009, 10:41 PM
Unless you are a very educated jewelery shopper, I'd recommend nowhere except from a jeweler at or near home.

That beautiful piece that you bought for $500 in XX store on XX island sometimes turns out to be worth $200 maybe. The settings come loose, where you going to get it repaired for free? An excuse to take another cruise? :D

Unless you are a very savey shopper and experienced in fine jewelery, you'll find close to the same prices at home with better warranty service.

Those cruiseline shopper guarantee's??? Be very careful. Read the fine print on the guarantee that the cruiselines offer and then make your decision.

Travelcat2
October 26th, 2009, 10:50 PM
I second the "nowhere" - for all the reasons mentioned.

Miss Tracey Lacey
October 26th, 2009, 11:13 PM
Thank you for the advice, I don't plan on blowing a bundle (neither does mom) we have a few nice pieces, and I am a bargain shopper, so if something isn't on sale, I'll usually leave it in the shop.

We are more interested in unique pieces you may not find at home, and do know that you are taking a chance by buying on a cruise.

I am by no means an expert on jewelery but do know a little bit about it, I just think it would make a nice memento of our mother daughter trip to get a matching piece somewhere.

velvetred
October 26th, 2009, 11:27 PM
I would try St. Thomas before the other ports you mention. There are lots of reputable stores in the US Virgin Islands. I am not certain but I would think a lot if not all of the US consumer protection laws apply there. It sounds like you are not planning to blow a fortune so I would just shop around and buy a couple of pieces that are pleasing to you and your mom as souvenirs of your cruise.

alcpa1
October 27th, 2009, 12:29 AM
Quality and value are two components to jewelry. I am from a family of jewelers and worked in the business years ago. Now that the family has retired and I can shop without a sense of guilt I can recommend gifted jewelers after twenty Caribbean cruises and a number of land trips.
Bernard Passman in St. Thomas is expensive but the Passman work in black coral is worth a look. They have shops at Havensight and in town. I first met the late Mr. Passman in 1986 in Grand Cayman and have been smitten by his work ever since.
Another unique jeweler I never miss is Goldsmithy on Antigua. As you exit the pier the shop is one block over to your right. All of the jewelry is made in house and there are beautiful pieces at many price points. I can't remember the designer/owner's name but he is quite nice and takes great pride in his work.
If you are leaving from San Juan, Joseph Machini has a shop in one of the hotels. When we were there last November the downtown shop was closed but we were by there at an odd time and it may not have opened for the day. Many Alaska cruisers are familiar with his beautiful leather goods as well as his exquisite cut stones.
You will find chain stores in all of the islands. Since you are not going to St. Maarten then you may find St. Thomas the best place to shop at these stores. But as others have advised you may indeed find better values in your own neighborhood. I mentioned the three establishments above because they are stores owned and operated by gifted jewelers and artisans.
Good luck.

jollycruise
October 27th, 2009, 11:33 AM
We shopped at Little Switzerland in St. Thomas. They had some beautiful blue diamond pieces. We were very happy with our purchase from there and will go back next time we are in St. Thomas. Have a wonderful cruise!

queenbead
October 28th, 2009, 10:45 AM
We found them by accident in St. Thomas and ended up buying my anniversary band there. I love it and it was appraised at much more than we paid. We have since bought several additional pieces at their store. Great customer service. They are downtown.

mr green
October 28th, 2009, 11:11 AM
If you 'must buy', do yourself a favour and avoid Diamonds International.

john

6rugrats
October 28th, 2009, 11:58 AM
I am assuming you are aware that there are very few natural blue diamonds, and most "blue" diamonds are inferior colored stones that have been treated to be blue, which makes them more salable.

That said, IMO, there are few real jewelry bargains to be found in the Caribbean, and I would save my purchases for a reputable jeweler in my hometown, so if there were problems, I could bring it back. You never need to pay the marked price for jewelry, even at home. The mark up is so high, you can always offer less.

The exception would be for very unique pieces, such as the black coral ones as mentioned by alcpa1.

Marie51
October 28th, 2009, 12:16 PM
I agree with the others that there are few real jewelry bargains to be found in the Caribbean. The last piece of jewelry I bought (sapphire earrings) was appraised for much lower when I got home. If you just want a souvenier of your trip then so be it, but it may not be the bargain you are looking for.

MDSue
October 28th, 2009, 11:27 PM
I actually disagree with those who warn you not to buy jewlery in the Caribbean. Competition drives pricing, and there is plenty of competiton on the islands. I have bought multiple pieces of jewelry [in the few hundred dollar range] and have never been dissatisfied. I always do a comparison shopping in my hometown shops first. I have not purchased a blue diamond, but agree they are beautiful. I have read that true blue diamonds are rare and expensive, so I would suspect that the ones for sale are a manufactured version.
I would recommend checking out a variety of stores, get prices at each store and the ship stores for comparison. Then pick the piece that you love for a nice keepsake. You do, of course, have to be mindful that any purchases will not be returnable. You can get the warranty by purchasing thru "cruise-sponsored" stores, but I have read that it is a difficult process.
I have never had any quality problems with pieces I have bought. I generally stick to Tanzanite and the caribbean has a way better selection than my local stores, which tend to have small inferior stones.

eandj
October 29th, 2009, 12:27 PM
If you don't know how to tell a fine piece of jewelry from an inferior piece, don't purchase in the Caribbean looking for a "deal" on a high quality piece.
The blue diamonds indeed are beautiful...if you buy a real one of quality.

Now if you are looking for an inexpensive souvenier of your trip and NOT for the deal of the century, go ahead and buy something you like. But don't look back. Buy it because you like it and can afford the money you spent.

I would not count on the ship recommended shops. They are not in any way "connected" to the line. They are their own businesses paying the ship to be their frontman. The guarantee is not the end all that it claims.

If you are looking at rings or pendants, look at the setting. That is where MOST unhappy purchasers find the problem. Doesn't matter what stone is in the piece if the setting isn't quality. Do a forum search and you'll see many cases of women losing the stones before they even get home. And if the store does not have an American base, good luck trying to have it replaced.

Moral of the story....
Souvenier yes....deal of the century, no.

St. Thomas

Gablin
October 29th, 2009, 04:31 PM
If you do not have a good jewelry store in your town, it might be worth your while to look for one in a nearby town.

If you only plan to spend a few hundred dollars on a piece of jewelry, as a souvenir of your vacation, St. Thomas may be an OK choice.
For unusual designs, large stones, 18K (or more) gold, I would buy in my own home town from a gemologist.

lovemylab
October 29th, 2009, 08:54 PM
My advice is to research prices at home before you go.

My DH bought a watch in St. Thomas two years ago for 30% cheaper than we could buy it here. We got it at Little Switzerland at Havensight Mall. However, I also saw lots of jewellry that I didn't think was a great price.

eandj
October 30th, 2009, 01:17 PM
My advice is to research prices at home before you go.

My DH bought a watch in St. Thomas two years ago for 30% cheaper than we could buy it here. We got it at Little Switzerland at Havensight Mall. However, I also saw lots of jewellry that I didn't think was a great price.

Yes, things like a name brand watch, camera or designer sun glasses are easy to price compare to shops at home. But when looking at precious stones, gold pieces etc. not so easy to do.

blindrid
October 31st, 2009, 12:51 PM
I've bought plenty of jewelry in the islands and have had good luck. Just remember the current gold prices can really screw up the current prices to be paid so I'm not sure that now is a good time to buy.

In saying that, your reasoning is sound as to why you want to. I would probably do the same. Just be careful and pay what you want and don't be afraid to negotiate and be prepared to walk if they don't. They know when the ships are in and when they leave.

ducklovemama
October 31st, 2009, 11:06 PM
I've bought plenty of jewelry in the islands and have had good luck. Just remember the current gold prices can really screw up the current prices to be paid so I'm not sure that now is a good time to buy.

In saying that, your reasoning is sound as to why you want to. I would probably do the same. Just be careful and pay what you want and don't be afraid to negotiate and be prepared to walk if they don't. They know when the ships are in and when they leave.



This is so true. Don't buy on the first price. They will come down in price. Also if you buy in cash you get even a lower deal. I have several blue diamond pieces from the caribbean and no problems with them. I got great buys on them and I would only buy them in the caribbean. Also most cruiseline ships price match if they have the same item and you find it cheaper on the island. It happen to my son in law. He bought a watch on the ship and saw it cheaper on the island and got back the difference from the cruiseline. Have a great cruise. When you get off the ship I will be getting on.:)

ducklovemama
October 31st, 2009, 11:12 PM
Thank you for the advice, I don't plan on blowing a bundle (neither does mom) we have a few nice pieces, and I am a bargain shopper, so if something isn't on sale, I'll usually leave it in the shop.

We are more interested in unique pieces you may not find at home, and do know that you are taking a chance by buying on a cruise.

I am by no means an expert on jewelery but do know a little bit about it, I just think it would make a nice memento of our mother daughter trip to get a matching piece somewhere.

I did a mother daughter cruise back in march with my daughter. We just had a great time but gee I didnot think of us getting the same piece of jewerly as a momento. Thats a great idea. I will remember that next time:)

justforkicks
November 1st, 2009, 07:31 AM
St. Thomas gets my vote. Have puchased jewelery from the "Grand Jewelers" several times and the pieces has always appraised much greater that what we paid for. If you go there, tell them the lady with the witch necklace sent you!

swampfox28
November 1st, 2009, 04:37 PM
If you are looking at rings or pendants, look at the setting. That is where MOST unhappy purchasers find the problem. Doesn't matter what stone is in the piece if the setting isn't quality. Do a forum search and you'll see many cases of women losing the stones before they even get home. And if the store does not have an American base, good luck trying to have it replaced.


VERY TRUE.

My dad bought my mom a Tanzanite ring from Diamonds International (you know, the store that the cruise lines ALL claim is HONEST and TRUE with QUALITY products!!

Um, no.

It lost a stone within 2 days. We went through heck trying to get it fixed "for free" as is supposedly guaranteed and had to keep going up the chain of command. Oh, and their customer service numbers? Usually in the country you bought the item. What fun to call BELIZE... (not!)

Anyway, got it fixed and guess what? Lost the SAME stone again within a few months (after she didn't even wear it for a long time!)

By then it was out of the "free repair" period. I had to write some really strong worded letters to get D.I. to fix the ring again, but honestly, I wonder if it'll ever be "fixed"...!

STAY AWAY!

blindrid
November 2nd, 2009, 11:45 AM
VERY TRUE.

My dad bought my mom a Tanzanite ring from Diamonds International (you know, the store that the cruise lines ALL claim is HONEST and TRUE with QUALITY products!!

Um, no.

It lost a stone within 2 days. We went through heck trying to get it fixed "for free" as is supposedly guaranteed and had to keep going up the chain of command. Oh, and their customer service numbers? Usually in the country you bought the item. What fun to call BELIZE... (not!)

Anyway, got it fixed and guess what? Lost the SAME stone again within a few months (after she didn't even wear it for a long time!)

By then it was out of the "free repair" period. I had to write some really strong worded letters to get D.I. to fix the ring again, but honestly, I wonder if it'll ever be "fixed"...!

STAY AWAY!

We've had good luck with DI but have shopped other places as well.

When one loses a stone, I always question if the buyer thought about how the setting is designed and whether or not the setting protects the stone and holds it securely.

For example, since Tanzanite is a relatively soft stone, I bought a setting that not only protected the stone, holding it securely but one that also protected the face of the stone that helps protects it from accidental bumps.

So certainly, it is up to the buyer to make a wise decision and don't rely on representations from either cruise lines or the stores themselves.

mr green
November 2nd, 2009, 02:55 PM
I keep looking at your title, and, without being sarcastic I believe that it should be changed to 'Why should we buy jewelery in the Caribbean?' It is still my firm belief that your local jeweler is normally your better bet.

john

familyofd
November 4th, 2009, 12:47 PM
I have purchased rings from Ajanta jewlers in St Thomas small stones in 1 of the rings I was very happy with both rings purchased years apart from
each other, I never took them to another jeweler, last year I accidently
threw away a bunch of jewlery I was cleaning and those were part of what
went into trash, I also cannot not find anything similar to what I purchased
in St Thomas.

PrincessCarolyn
November 4th, 2009, 02:52 PM
Why does everyone think they're going to get a "deal" in the Caribbean?
When I am buying jewelry or DH is buying for me we drive into NYC the diamond district and Chinatown has phenomenal jewelers/prices.
I looked at some stores in St Thomas (people were going nuts spending money) and there were NO bargains to be had.

While I've seen gorgeous jewelry at stores on the islands there is NEVER a deal. They see us tourists coming a mile away.

K&RCurt
November 4th, 2009, 04:04 PM
Why does everyone think they're going to get a "deal" in the Caribbean?
When I am buying jewelry or DH is buying for me we drive into NYC the diamond district and Chinatown has phenomenal jewelers/prices.
I looked at some stores in St Thomas (people were going nuts spending money) and there were NO bargains to be had.

While I've seen gorgeous jewelry at stores on the islands there is NEVER a deal. They see us tourists coming a mile away.


I have to agree with you on this one.

We were in Charlotte Amalie last week and the prices were really nothing to get excited about. We saw some nice pieces (and some crap), but all in all we can get the same or better quality as the best we saw for an even better price by taking a 30 min. ride to 8th Street (Jeweler's Row) in Philadelphia

mapsmith
November 4th, 2009, 10:59 PM
I have always enjoyed watching people try to get jewelry bargains in the Caribbean. Since we usually cruise in January, we know that when we get home, we will have the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show to attend and buy. We know that we can get better gems and jewelry and have it set however we want at close to true wholesale prices. (because we can buy wholesale because my store does sell some things available at the gem shows)

We have had tablemates come back with nice jewelry they bought on shore. Then find out they paid roughly 10 to 20% more than they really needed to.

My advice for anyone thinking of buying jewelry in the Caribbean. Go to one or two local jewelry stores in your hometown. (Jared's has a nice selection but most of the "mall stores" will have slightly better quality. Even Macy's has decent jewelry) Look at what you might buy, and check the prices. Become educated before even shopping in the Caribbean.

navybankerteacher
November 5th, 2009, 12:57 PM
People often leave their brains at home when they travel -- unless price is no object, any purchase of a few hundred dollars or more should come after two steps:

1) Comparison shop at home before you go so you will have a good idea of what you want and what it should cost.

2) Make sure you know what (and where) you are buying - are you really able to tell 8 kt gold from 18 kt or 24 kt, can you competently appraise a gem, will you be able to exchange unsatisfactory goods without inpossible hassle.

Finally, whatever gives you the idea that corner stores in the Caribbean have better inventory, a more honest approach to business, are more accessible for after-purchase service, or might be inclined to see you as a possible repeat customer if treated fairly than would a hometown dealer?

Snoofer
November 7th, 2009, 08:00 PM
Be VERY careful! I was dupped! Bought what I thought was a diamond and turned out to be moissanite. A mossanite will show positive on a diamond tester! Luckily, I had it checked when I returned home. I did get my money back (the shop was right on the main street where the ship docks!) AND I turned the company in to the Atty. General!

Miss Tracey Lacey
November 30th, 2009, 01:19 PM
Well I bit the bullet and bought a ring that I fell in love with. I did a LOT of comparison shopping and went into all the stores around to check what I wanted and who would give me the best price.

I ended up choosing a blue and white diamond ring. I love it, and got a good deal.

When I got home I took it to my jeweler and all the diamonds are real, and she was VERY impressed with the price I paid, and how unique it is.

The appraisal is double what I paid for it. So I very highly recommend Nobel's jewelery. They are family run, and have a store on a few different islands. I visited the stores on St. Thomas, and St. Kitts.

You do have to be comfortable with talking them down in price, as the initial prices seemed a bit high, but they were more than happy to compromise on the price of their pieces.

bigedwin
January 24th, 2010, 05:29 AM
Cardow Does have a large Variety But they DO NOT stand behind their Guarantee.
We had done many purchases over the years in CARDOW in St Thomas.
This last time in March My wife purchased a Gold neckace.
Once we were home we noticed a Link was Badly damaged.
We called they gave us a return authorization number then we sent it back .
We recieved a Call that even when we sent it back within the 30 day period they could not refund us.
They reported it was tear a wear. !
HELLOOO!
New Knecklace Less than one month used once, Damaged link , NORMAL TEAR AND WEAR?????
I do not think So!
We spoke with the manager and same response they are not refunding.

I had never dealt with them on a return but this was the firs time and oviously not a good experience.

I would not Spend one penny there ever again.

Little switzerland had taken care of a Rolex watch we had purchased Many years ago they were very curteous and willing to work with the customer.
CARDOW IS A BUST!
Thanks
Ed

moniquet
January 24th, 2010, 05:55 AM
Worst thing about all the ports are the diamond shops wouldn't touch them with a bargepole. You can get cheaper and better design etc. in the USA or UK. Why do you think Diamonds International etc. have the smartest shops:rolleyes:

BruceMuzz
January 24th, 2010, 05:57 AM
On the rare occasions when I allowed my wife to purchase jewelry in the Caribbean, I had her go alone and make her best deal.
Then I went along - in my Cruise Ship Hotel Manager's uniform - and they gave us an 80% discount on top of her best price.
Do you think they were losing money on the deal? Doubtful.

It's usually only newbies and nimrods buying "duty free" anything in the Caribbean.
Has anybody seen any diamond mines there?

MrSchwump
January 24th, 2010, 08:31 AM
On the rare occasions when I allowed my wife to purchase jewelry in the Caribbean, I had her go alone and make her best deal.
Then I went along - in my Cruise Ship Hotel Manager's uniform - and they gave us an 80% discount on top of her best price.
Do you think they were losing money on the deal? Doubtful.

It's usually only newbies and nimrods buying "duty free" anything in the Caribbean.
Has anybody seen any diamond mines there?

Bruce, I've got an old Boy Scout uniform. Do you think that would be snazzy enough to garner a hefty discount for me and the little lady? If not, could I borrow your uniform next month?

saksn4
January 24th, 2010, 09:34 AM
any recommendations for reliable jewelers in the Alaskan ports? specifically Juneau, Skagway, and Ketichakan?? Now I am scared to shop!

gatoranddawg
January 24th, 2010, 12:09 PM
St. Thomas at Bobby's. Have been trading there 13 years and always have gotten a good deal.:) Karishma is the jewelry designer and they have some lovely pieces. We will be going in April again. Good luck.

Also, Diamonds International is good but more expensive.

MrsPete
January 24th, 2010, 05:37 PM
I have to go with the "no where in the Caribbean" crowd. The cruise ships take you to touristy areas, and you're simply not going to find great quality for a value price. You can find multiple threads on this site with stories like, "The salesman on ____ island said this was worth $500 and sold it to me for half price, but when I got it home it only appraised for $120." They can SAY an item is worth whatever they want to say it's worth; doesn't really mean it's true.

I'd buy something inexpensive, if it was something that I liked and would use -- but I wouldn't spend more than $100. Actually, I probably wouldn't spend more than $50 on a single item.

room010
January 24th, 2010, 05:48 PM
I avoid Diamonds International for several reasons but mainly because their sales staff are incredibly pushy. The minute you walk through the door they pounce and won't leave you alone and that guarantees I won't be buying anything. The nicest piece of "cruise jewellery" I bought was a little pinky ring made from an Alaskan gold nugget which I found in a small independent gallery/store in Skagway. Can't remember the name, sorry :(

Zambini
January 24th, 2010, 05:53 PM
Inexpensive mementos- fine:)
Expensive Jewelry- NO!:(

dmndlil
January 24th, 2010, 08:22 PM
We usually buy from Ballerina Jewelers if we buy anything. They are in downtown St. Thomas and also have a store at the port in St. Maarten. We have also purchased from Columbian Emeralds without issue.

Miss Tracey Lacey
May 24th, 2010, 11:45 AM
Well I finally got the official appraisal done, every jeweler was guessing it would come in minimum at double what I paid, so I figured that would be what my appraisal would be here back home.

I paid $460 for the ring, and the appraisal is for $2,410!
So definitely got a great deal! :D

MCC retired
May 24th, 2010, 02:41 PM
St Thomas seems to be nothing but one jewlry store after the next now.
Use to have many Electronics, Camera , etc. shops but no more.
Just jewelry stores one end of town to the other, with a couple of liquer stores still surviving.:(

If you can stand the pressure and know good jewelry , St Thomas may be the place.:o