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Old October 21st, 2008, 06:47 PM
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Default Diamond shopping in Caribbean

What has your experience been in buying jewelry, preferably daimonds, in the caribbean? Do you think you got a better deal then in the states? Has anyone ever felt cheated?
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Old October 21st, 2008, 07:26 PM
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Unless you truly know diamonds, you'll never really know if you're getting the quality of stone they are telling you that you're getting.... even with whatever certificates they are willing to give you.

No question there are some good dealers in the Caribbean, but there are also plenty that aren't.

Not telling you to not shop, but shop at home first, and get somewhat educated before any major purchases.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 09:03 PM
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Hi!
We were in St-Martin last December,my DH bought a very nice diamond
ring with a certificate.Back home I went to a jeweller to apraised for insurance.The price was 3 times he paid for.He did not tell where he bought it. Good luck on your shopping.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 09:35 PM
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DW and I have a jeweler in St. Thomas that we have been doing business with for about 10 years now. She is very good. Kuki is right, do your homework before you leave then when you get to the islands you have a good idea of what a good price is. For us we found that we would much rather have quality over quantity. For example, you could buy 2 karats of some very good diamonds instead of 5 or 6 karats of some so-so diamonds. Any jeweler can give you a chart of how diamonds are rated. Everything we have bought has appraised for double or triple what we paid.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 09:49 PM
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We looked a little in Aruba, I agree with kuki do your home work before you go shopping. We ended up purchasing a ring in New York, through a dealer we have known for many years. I might have been able to save some money some where else but the peace of mind is worth the extra bucks. Happy shopping , Mike
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Old October 21st, 2008, 10:23 PM
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My wife purchased diamond ear rings in St. Thomas 3 years ago and they appraised for double what we paid for. This past cruise, she purchased a diamond bracelet in St. Maarten and it just appraised for 2.5 times what we paid. In both cases, we shopped at popular and well known jewelry stores, we shopped around A LOT for the best price, and we were careful to never let the diamond jewelry out of our sight after we decided to purchase it.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 11:18 PM
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I would echo the other posters about buying diamonds in the Caribbean. One other place to diamond shop is Curacao. There are some shops there that are competitively priced. Again - know your stuff. You might even find a good deal aboard ship !
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:23 AM
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We cruise alot & have a few stores we go to on a regular basis. But, yes, you have to do your homework. We buy most of our jewelry on St. Maarten. So much cheaper than St. Thomas. Most of the reputable shops keep track of what you have bought & will let you upgrade. Majesty Jewelers & Diamonds International lets you do this. They will give you credit for what you originally paid.
Find what you want first. When you are good with the price, then give them the piece you want to trade in.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:42 AM
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One thing to know about appraisals.... they'll always be HIGH, unless you go to an independant gemolist not affiliated with any jewelry store.

Mrs. Kuki has several pieces that have been appraised, and I told the Appraiser I'd take $2000 less right now if they wanted to buy it.
That's when we started going to an independant gemolist for appraisals.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 12:02 PM
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During my years working at a jewelry store, my boss did many appraisals for people, who, bought diamonds in the islands, & left feeling they had made purchases, they wish they hadn't..The appraisal pendulum swings both ways...

Any significant purchase of a diamond, could be, with some diligence, purchased at home, from a jeweler that would be close by for any issues.

Over the years I have made many diamond jewelry purchases on the islands, but not a single stone. Education is key.......Good luck, in your quest....
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:38 PM
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You always hear about someone buying a piece of jewelery on some island, getting back home and taking it right away to Fred the friendly neighborhood jeweler and HE said --it's was worth much more than they paid, etc. etc.
First of all, you usually do not get something that's actually worth $ 4000.
for $ 1500.
If they trust Fred the friendly neighborhood jeweler to tell them what it's worth, why not trust him enough to buy from him in the first place ?
I would wager that most of these jewelers back home won't put in writing what they tell you re/ your purchase.
My wife has been in the jewelry business, managing a store for one of the largest jewelers in the country ( approx. 1200 stores nationwide ) for well over 30 years.
They don't do appraisals as it was beginning to be a problem when they told people what the item was worth, instead of telling them what a great deal they got.
I'm not at all saying you can't get a good deal on some of the islands--I'm repeating what has already been said--be very careful and know your stuff and your prices at home prior to plopping down a bunch of money. The person you are buying from isn't giving you a great deal because they like you--they may come down in price but they have to make a profit or go out of business.
The only people my wife ever tells she's in the jewelry business when we cruise are the people who try to entice you into their stores--when they find out she's in the business, they will immediately back off and wait for the next " customer " to come by.
Remember-- tourists and their money, in a lot of cases, can easily be separated.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
You always hear about someone buying a piece of jewelery on some island, getting back home and taking it right away to Fred the friendly neighborhood jeweler and HE said --it's was worth much more than they paid, etc. etc.
First of all, you usually do not get something that's actually worth $ 4000.
for $ 1500.
If they trust Fred the friendly neighborhood jeweler to tell them what it's worth, why not trust him enough to buy from him in the first place ?
I would wager that most of these jewelers back home won't put in writing what they tell you re/ your purchase.
My wife has been in the jewelry business, managing a store for one of the largest jewelers in the country ( approx. 1200 stores nationwide ) for well over 30 years.
They don't do appraisals as it was beginning to be a problem when they told people what the item was worth, instead of telling them what a great deal they got.
I'm not at all saying you can't get a good deal on some of the islands--I'm repeating what has already been said--be very careful and know your stuff and your prices at home prior to plopping down a bunch of money. The person you are buying from isn't giving you a great deal because they like you--they may come down in price but they have to make a profit or go out of business.
The only people my wife ever tells she's in the jewelry business when we cruise are the people who try to entice you into their stores--when they find out she's in the business, they will immediately back off and wait for the next " customer " to come by.
Remember-- tourists and their money, in a lot of cases, can easily be separated.
So what you're saying is the friendly neighborhood jeweler is a liar when he appraises jewelry purchased in the Caribbean? What possible motive would he have to lie?

As to why someone would buy jewelry in the Caribbean and not from the friendly neighborhood jeweler, how about the price? How about the fact you pay no duty or taxes on the purchase, unless it is over the duty free allowance for bringing it back into the US (I firmly advocate everyone follow the rules and regulations for customs declarations when returning to the US from a cruise)? That is why we purchased in the Caribbean. Here in the Chicago area, we have the HIGHEST sales tax in the entire US, over 12%! Why would I pay that here and send my money to the corrupt Cook County government and City of Chicago when I can purchase it in the Caribbean and not have to pay that money in addition to the price? Both the major jewelry pieces we purchased in the Caribbean cost us much less than when we went looking for similar pieces here in the Chicago area with the outrageous taxes we pay here. I contacted our insurance to cover our jewelry purchases, and we went to the appraisers they sent us to. As I said, they both appraised for at least double, if not more than double, than we paid for them. Since that is what the insurance would pay (minus the deductable of course) if we filed a claim, why would they lie and appraise it higher then it was really worth?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 04:46 PM
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I surely must stand corrected and congratulate you on all the fine items you have acquired at great prices.
Peace be upon you and may you continue to find and acquire the greatest of bargains.

And, I'm sure that Kuki meant no harm when he too stated that appraisals were usually HIGH , but of course, I'm not Kuki !
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
I surely must stand corrected and congratulate you on all the fine items you have acquired at great prices.
Peace be upon you and may you continue to find and acquire the greatest of bargains.

And, I'm sure that Kuki meant no harm when he too stated that appraisals were usually HIGH , but of course, I'm not Kuki !
Perhaps I misunderstood what you were trying to convay. I'm not in the jewelry business, and I am by no means an expert. I do have a pocket guide for buying diamonds I got when I was buying my wife's engagement ring 6 years ago. I just don't understand why a jeweler would appraise jewelry purchased from somewhere else higher? Especially if being done for an insurance company. But perhaps I misunderstood.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:44 PM
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I think that buying jewelry in itself can certainly be confusing enough.
We all want to think we are getting what we pay for, whether it's jewelry, clothing or whatever.
I think that mainly everyone agreed, including me, that yes, you can get some good buys in the Caribbean. But--one needs to do a little homework first so they can have something to compare with prior to going.
I certainly agree with you re/appraisals--the key words are certified or licensed appraisers. Everyone who has a corner jewelry store is not a licensed appraiser.
Kuki phrased his post a little differently than I did mine re/ appraisers.
He was kidding that he had had some items appraised and that he had offered to sell it to them cheaper than what they appraised it for--he followed up by stating he then started going to independent appraisers.
I have no doubt that what you bought was good quality pieces, as you had stated you had looked around, dealt with quality shops and kept an eye on your jewlery. That shows you had done some homework.
Also, if your insurance company recommended an appraiser, I'm sure he/she was a licensed, quailified appraiser who knew their business.
Bottom line, not everyone takes the time to educate themselves or look around at home to get a good idea of prices prior to going to the Caribbean. So, as most everyone has said, yes, there are some good buys --but-- some caution is called for.
My wife, as I stated , has been in the jewelry business for many years and has a lot of quality jewlery. BUT---her wedding ring, which is now 44 years old, cost me exactly $ 19.95 at that time. It was all I could afford and she still wears it proudly today ( although it's had to be sized up a couple of notches since it was new ),

So, happy sailing and shopping to all who may venture forth upon the high seas.
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