The two destinations are the shopping capitals of the Caribbean. You will find literally hundreds of shops selling all forms of jewelry. To get a bargain it is essential that you do your homework at home before sailing and that you KNOW what you are buying and how much a comparable item would cost at home. The same goes for the stores on your ship.
Keep in mind that if you are a US citizen the duty allowances are doubled for purchases made in ST. Thomas.
The best bargain on a ship could be Loose Gem Stones. Although not all ships offer this sale in a weeks cruise. If yours does, you can have it set at Kay's on St. Martin in an hour. Kay's prices are fair, too. Personally, I find prices better on St. Martin but I still do my fair share of jewelry shopping at Havensight Mall at the pier in St. Thomas. Feel free to email me for the names of my most frequented stores.
St MArtin is where we found the better prices. If you stop in St. Thomas on Sunday forget it - they don't bargain much and most stores are closed. Find a shop that will give you the same price for cash or credit - they seem to be more repitable and put it on credit card in case you have to defute the charges back home. Look to make sure the thing says say 14K and not just on the clasp - I found in St. Thomas much was only on the clasp which means they put a 14k clasp on a cheap bracelete. Know prices before you go - most prices are about the same as the states before bargaining. There is always bargaining - we even asked for another something for the fact we brought people back with us and they spent $3000 in his store - he said ok and gave us another $30 off. Doesn't hurt to ask. Debbie