Ok. We bought a diamond ring at Diamonds International (the Wal-Mart / McDonalds of jewelery stores!) in St. Martin.
I know absolutely nothing about diamond rings by looking at them (and I'm convinced most people don't.)
I was lucky enough to run into a cruise-savy girl who expained to me how the discount system worked, based on the number (the price?) in the tag on the ring. So, the price of the ring was "X" dollars, and right away the guy was down to less than half that amt. I borrowed his calculator, and worked out the lowest price the girl said they would likely go to.
So I offererd the guy 10% less than that again. He went to check with the boss ( haha just like a used car salesman!) & came back & said "OK".
So I got the ring for like, 25% of the first "cost" (or like, 75% off)
How the heck do I know if I got ripped off or not??
AND ANOTHER THING: Why is there this crazy system of starting at a price of say $25000 for example, and then you end up getting it for $999!!!
If these places are so legit & offering such good deals - why not just put the price on it of $999 - that's it! no haggling , no bargaining. Just like McDonalds or Wal-Mart!! why this haggling system?????
You can take the ring to a gemolist to get an appraisal. If you want an accurate evaluation don't take it to jewlery store's gemologist, because their appraisals can be as inflated as their prices, and not the real value of the ring.
As to your question of why they do it this way.... because some people will simply pay the asking price, others will offer and pay perhaps 50% of the price. Whatever they do accept for it, they make money. They'll never sell a piece without a profit.
How big a profit they make is up to the person trying to buy it.
...but.... does anyone have a handle on whether the "starting price" has any relation at all to what the ring may actually be worth? This "Diamonds International" was one of the "reputable" companies recommended by the cruise ship people.
So if the price on the ring is $2000, and you get it for $500.... can you tell if you are getting a fair deal or not?
How does the system work?
First of all unless you are very knowledgeable of gem stones, I would never purchase a diamond ring, diamond jewlery or even varities of gemstones outside the USA..... simply because if you have minimal knowledge of what is good or what is trash... it's a Buyer Beware game you are playing from the start. Only way to see if you got a reasonable deal is to take the ring to a jeweler and have it appraised. Many times a large purchase like that is better off if done in the USA where you have recourse if problems with the stone or setting arise vs. purchasing outside the USA. Electronics too can be something to watch out for as many times they may not be the exact item as if purchased in the USA, but with electronics, you can shop the price in the USA and then compare.
While the caribbean used to be the mecca for great deals on jewlery and electronics..... the US operated stores can often offer the same or at a lower price if shopped properly.
PS.... Diamonds International and many other stores pay a fee to the cruiseline to promote their "reputible" status.......Cruiselines get a kick back from all sales made, just for reccomending them to you !
__________________ Your Travel "angel" ~~~ Curtis
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I would think if u think u got a fair price; then just go with that; don't have it appraised; because if it comes back below what u paid; that will upset you. If it comes out more than what u paid; u will be happy. If the ring looks nice and you like it; than just go with that.
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when it comes to items like precious gem stones, you have to be an educated consumer, with diamonds its all about the 4C's - cut, color, clarity, carat weight. For future reference if you are thinking about making a gem purchase on a cruise, go to your local jeweler before you sail, get educated, get a general idea of what you want, and what the price would be if you bought it at home. If you love the piece that you bought, and you feel that you got a good deal, thats fine, if it is bugging you as to what the "real" value of your piece might be, then by all means take it to a local jeweler that you trust and have it appraised.
Look for the four Cs of diamonds. These are clarity, cut, color, and carat weight. Clarity signifies the presence or absence of irregularities or imperfections in the stone. Imperfections may appear as bubbles, spots, or lines. The clarity is often determined by the passing of light through the diamond. The fewer imperfections the diamond jewelry has, the more valuable it will be.
If you got a certificate with the diamond defin ing the four "C"s of your stone then there are plenty of web sites online that sell diaminds that have calculators that will tell you exactly what they would sell that stone for...