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Old June 24th, 2002, 11:55 PM
coachsoftball
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Default Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

St. Thomas or St. Martin

Which one is better for jewelry shopping?

Also which one is better for buying alcohol?

Thanks for your input.
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Old June 25th, 2002, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

We once had a cruise director recommend St. Martin because most cruise ships stop there before going to St. Thomas. The merchants know you're headed to St. Thomas next so they are willing to give good prices to get your money before you spend it at the next stop. We tried it and have had good luck there.

We have had good luck at Joe's Jewelers, who has 5 shops in St. Martin. Our purchase last year, for $1100, was just appraised by a local jeweler for insurance purposes, at $7000.

To get to the store we used, from the water taxi dock, go to the main street, turn left, and it's in the first 2-3 shops on the right. Joe's didn't dicker at all and told us there were shops that would and we could go to them if we wanted.

However, quality was a concern and we felt comfortable with our salesman so we took a chance and didn't get burned.

The jeweler who did our appraisal at home said she just did an appraisal that was a Caribbean purchase on some Tanzanite that turned out to be glass.

Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer. As for us, we're going back to Joe's in January.
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Old June 25th, 2002, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

the ship's staff will tell you when stores to go to for jewlery and alcohol. Only shop at those stores - they know which are reputable. We bought our alcohol in St. Thomas. It nice because they box it up for you and deliver it to your ships cabin.
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Old June 25th, 2002, 11:23 AM
MikeInPgh
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

I have to agree with 10X, St Maarten is the best. And with the Joe's Jewelers, but Diamond Creations also will cut you a pretty good deal. If you know what you are going to be buying, get a good idea of the price at local shops or on the internet before you leave. That way you can judge if you are getting a good price. Also if you are shopping for diamonds, have an idea what the quality and color terms mean.

St Maarten is OK for booze, but St Thomas is better. One thing you can get in St Maarten is Guavaberry liquor (makes for great Pina Coladas).

After you are done shopping in St Maarten, go to Everyting Cool (don't buy the ship excursion to there). Admission is free and the drinks are out of this world.
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Old June 25th, 2002, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

Some jewelry hints:

The best thing to do is some advance shopping at home to educate yourself and know what prices are.

Always use a credit card. If your piece turns out to be glass, at least you have the credit card company between you and the vendor.

On a recent cruise, a lady admired my "everyday" bracelet. She and I parked our husbands and went shopping. Same bracelet on Antigua at one of those "reputable" shops was 3X what I had paid in the US.

Know the jeweler who will be doing an appraisal of offshore jewelry. It is common practice to charge a percentage of the appriased value for doing the appraisal. Ask for a flat fee.

The example above is extreme. Retail jewelry is usually "triple keystoned" which means the full retail price is wholesale times four. In other words, the wholesale price is 25% of the retail price.

Also, insuring a piece for $X does not mean that if it is lost you will get $X. The insurance company has the prerogative of replacing it. Jewelry policies where the jewelry is scheduled, often at inflated values, are expensive. I'd rather pay the insurance premium on $1100 than on $7000. And I also would have offered the piece of jewelry to the appraiser for 25% of the appraised value and made a few bucks on the deal Try that some time and see how quickly they back off from a high appraisal.

In general, the better appraisers work in the area of estate/antique jewelry.

Sparkle on, but do it with care !!!

"The word" is that the K-Mart in St. Thomas is THE place for getting the best deals on liquor. If you really want to stock up, don't worry about the limitations. The duty is nothing compared to prices at home, especially for high-end products. Our experience has been that even if you do declare an overage, the Customs guys don't want to do the paperwork. ALWAYS declare overages. You don't want to get caught smuggling.

The government is a mighty thing. If they catch you smuggling a couple of bottles of rum, they may look REALLY hard at your 1040 next year.

As to the "recommended" stores, they are almost always the priciest.



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Old June 26th, 2002, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

To be quite honest - the way the ship determines which shops it will recommend is by whichever ship is willing to pay to have them do so. I HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY A RECOMMENDED SHOP. It was on my first ever cruise and it was resolved, but you need to go with your gut feeling - just as you would any store in the states. My most recommeded shop in St. Thomas is not a ship recommeded shop, but has multiple repeat customers - I have heard on board and while in the store, people saying that they were in there last year or last time in St Thomas. If you don't believe me, ask the CD - I have in the past asked a couple of them and told them to be totally honest with me, because I had heard from the stores - both recommeded and not recommeded that they pay the fee. Both CD's told me there is a fee the stores pay.

Also as Pamda said - pay with credit card - it will provide some form of protection if you have a problem.

Jodi

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Old June 26th, 2002, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

Jodi is correct about how shops get "recommended." Because of their high visibility (the "recommendations"), it's unlikely that they will attempt to cheat customers other than higher prices than one might pay elsewhere.

There's always someone out there who swears than he/she was in a shop, saw the Cruise Director come in and leave with a heap of cash. Frankly, I doubt this is true because the cruise lines usually work through a company who solicits the vendors' participation. I don't know where the money goes, but I doubt it goes into the CD's pocket.

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Old June 26th, 2002, 11:16 PM
coachsoftball
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

Thanks for all your imput, it is great.

We aren't looking to do major jewelry shopping, just something for our 9 year old daughter and a "dainty" ankle bracelet for my sister-in-law.
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Old July 3rd, 2002, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

Coach, buying jewelry for kids is often harder than for an adult female. There is not much selection in "smaller size" pieces like earrings, rings or bracelets. I shop for my grand daughters all the time and have paid more than I would for a great pair of earring for me. Try Omni, Royal, Beverly's, or Sona at St. Thomas. Keep in mind a 9 year old may loose it too. I just found out our 10 year old lost her birthstone ring that I went crazy buying for last Christmas.

I also like Kay's in St. Martin as they set stones in premade setting in less than an hour. As mentioned, be a smart shopper. Carnival now even tells you their recommended vendors pay a premium for the "advertising".

Bon Voyage
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Old August 1st, 2002, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Re: Which island is better for jewelry shopping?

Are you aware the cruise line gets a kick back from the shops the cruise line plugs?
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