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marybeth November 18th, 2004 10:28 AM

Jewels :-)
We are taking our first cruise to Eastern Carib 2/19 on Caribbean Princess and visiting St. Thomas, St. Marteen and Princess Cays. I'd like to know any idas on buying diamonds (my 50th Bday gift!) - best island, pricing, what to avoid, customs and ripoffs! Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks and happy cruising to all.

Darcy November 18th, 2004 10:58 AM

Re: Jewels :-)

Do your homework before you leave. Check the prices locally for the size and grade of diamond you're looking for. I've found prices can differ greatly from shop to shop and sometimes you can get a better deal at home. St. Thomas is probably where you would get the best deal, but I can't recommend a store. Also, check on board ship. I've gotten some of my best jewelry on the ship.


marybeth November 18th, 2004 11:34 AM

Re: Jewels :-)
Darcy - thanks much for the reply to this post plus the one on seasickness and my son -- helped a lot. Cannot wait till Feb to get out of upstate NY snow! MB

LisaK November 18th, 2004 12:47 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
as Darcy told you, do your homework before you go. Know your prices. The prices can be all over the place depending upon the diamonds cut, clarity, quality and weight.
Attend the port shopping lectures they are very helpful.Shop the recommended stores, that way you get a guarantee from the cruise line. Either St. Maarten or St. Thomas are great shopping ports. If you find something in town that you totally love and must have, buy it , don't wait and hope that you will find something better or cheaper at the next port. Check the ships sales also.

Kuki November 18th, 2004 03:42 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
Shop the recommended stores, that way you get a guarantee from the cruise line.

There's a bit of a myth here. Recommended stores are not "recommended" because of their honestly and integrity. They are "recommended" because they pay the cruise lines a fee to get on this list. Plain and simple!!!

You really should have at least a ball park figure of what you're looking for, grade etc, and what it might cost at home!!!

The Caribbean truly isn't the shopping mecca it once was. What I think you will find is a great selection... which possibly makes it attractive to many.

St. Thomas gets far more cruise passengers visiting than some of the other islands, and therefore they don't seem as willing to bicker, and offer pricing as low as they used to.

If you're determined to shop, I'd recommend St Marteen more than St. Thomas. Less ships visiting, more incentive to make the sale. Don't be shy about making low ball offers!!

Pootersdad November 18th, 2004 03:53 PM

Re: Re: Jewels :-)
Kuki, I agree with your comment about St. Maarten vs. St. Thomas. When I was shopping for a digital camera, I had a salesperson in St. Thomas promise me their first born child if I could find a lower price somewhere else. Well, I got my camera for less in St. Maarten, but haven't gone back to get the child......

Darcy November 18th, 2004 04:25 PM

Re: Jewels :-)

You're welcome. Hope you have a great cruise!


Michael Bouck November 19th, 2004 12:57 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
I would reccomend Joe's jewelry shop in St. Maarten if you are planning on doing any jewelry shopping. We shop there whenever we are there and it is reccomened by the cruise line. We normally shop for gold(rings, earrings etc) but not for diamonds there. They give you a good price and and well worth the money. They treat you with respect there and do not rip you off. I usually have our purchases appraised when we get back home and have yet to find one not worth the money I spent. Sometimes the price I paid should have been more accoring to the jewler at home.

Sea Princess 03/01
Golden Princess 10/01
Sun Princess 03/02
Sea Princess 03/03
Diamond Princess 03/04
Island Princess 03/05

Stella November 19th, 2004 02:04 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
Here's another vote for St. Maarten:
Admired (but did not buy) a gold bracelet in St. Thomas, saw the same one a few days later in St. Maarten, almost $100 less, and they threw in a freebee thin gold bracelet for no particular reason.
Less frantic in St Maarten, also, much nicer shopping atmospher, in my mind.

PS, Go on the yacht racing in St. M. for a one of a kind shore excursion. Not sure if Princess offers it, but you can book indep, as well, once you get there if they do not. Most of the cruise lines do offer it..

marybeth November 22nd, 2004 12:02 PM

Re: Re: Jewels :-)
Thanks to everyone for the 'tips' -- I will do my homework beforehand! thanks again. MB

Jen13070 November 22nd, 2004 12:05 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
I bought a Breitling watch at A.H.RIISE in St. Thomas. They were great...but I did quite a bit of research way before hand. The three stores that I would consider buying a diamond from are the following: LIttle Switzerland, H. Stern, and A.H. RIISE. These stores are very reputable...and they definitely stand behind their merchandise. However, when you are shopping for diamonds, know exactly what you are looking for before you leave. Any reputable store will allow you to look through a microscope to see the interior/exterior of the diamond. If they don't let you do that...I would walk out. I would go to your jewelers...explain to him/her what you are looking for...and have them teach you the basics of the diamond...have them show you what a diamond looks like under the microscope. If the diamond is huge, and the price is super might mean that there is something significant going on inside the diamond flaw-wise. You want to have enough education under your belt to know what all of the different flaws look like. Have a great trip and happy sparkle shopping!


cari s November 22nd, 2004 02:26 PM

Re: Jewels :-)
I have to agree with Jen about the stores to buy at. We always buy watches, and smaller pieces. I would never buy a big diamond in the islands. Buy it at home. There are so many wholesalers that are reputable. The watches all come with the same warrentees and will always be stood behind. Columbian Emeralds and Diamonds International are two other really good stores. I also used to buy electronics in St. Maarten. I have stopped because it seems like I get the same deals back here in Chicago.

marybeth December 10th, 2004 08:53 AM

Re: Re: Jewels :-)
Thanks to all for the advise. I have started some 'homework' on diamond shopping and have found that I do, indeed, have "good" taste....hmmm maybe I need to look at a teeny bit smaller diamond. LOL.....thanks again.

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