Thanks SuzieQ. I know of Passman. Their prices are outrageous. I was kind of looking for some bargains. I had heard that black coral was inexpensive in Cozumel. I guess we will just look around when we get there.
Passman stuff is fabulous. The best place for black coral is Grand Cayman, by a long shot. Be very carefull if you try to buy it in Cozumel. There is a lot of phony or inferior stuff out there. Passman is the #1 name in black coral and is sold in many stores, in beautiful settings.
Did you know that Black Coral jewelery is endangered and is illegal to bring back in to the United States? So before you consider spending money on this jewelery, you may want to consider that it will never make it back home with you if you are from the U.S. I read this directly from Frommers Caribbean Ports of Call book if you were wondering the source of my information.
If Frommer's said that they are mistaken. Fresh coral is illegal. If you buy coral in GC or elsewhere it must be certified to bring to the US. If you purchase jewelry or artwork from reputable dealers they give you a certification with every piece. No problem.
Yes Frommers said that, checked it again to make sure I did not misread. Even so, I would not buy any kind of coral jewelry what so ever because I don't believe in the destruction of the ocean. Its my number one pet peeve. There are plenty of other beautiful jewelry pieces to buy with out taking something that was once alive and on an endangered list.
I just got back from Grand Cayman and my friend just purchased a ring at Bernard Passerman studio. The story is they are one of three store you can buy from that you can bring Black Coral to the US. They say they only use coral that is washed up on shore. The price was ridiculous. The ring she bought is a very small piece of coral and cost $1400! They are the masters of salemanship too, she will be making payments on that ring for a year (interest free of course). It's a nice place but I just can't see paying that much money for a piece of dead coral. To each thier own.
Suggest you check the U.S. government import regulations before you invest in black coral jewelry. It is an endangered species and subject to confiscation if brought back into the States. It is readily available in Mexico but much like Cuban cigars, "if you pays your money, you takes your chances..." on bringing it back across the border.
There is a secret about Grand Caymen that all cruisers should know, and that is the American dollar there is only worth $0.80. They have their own Caymen money. Another thing to remember is that if you dine anywhere on the island, they tack on an automatic 15 per cent gratuity onto your bill. What this all means is: your dinner check is going to cost you a total 0f 35 per cent more than you would pay on other islands. Grand Caymen is a very expensive place to spend your Yankee dollar. My sister and brother-in-law have a time-share condo there that I have stayed at for a week with them, and learned a great deal about the island. Take a taxi somewhere, and it will cost a bundle! When we hit that island on a cruise, we stay on ship!
Passman studios are in Alaska also and as that is considered an American state I believe, his black coral is legal. I also believe that items purchased there can be brought into Canada as yes, they only use dead coral washed ashore and that partly explains why it is expensive but only partially. I guess the other part is that he likes to live well and if u pay his prices he will - right?? However, that said I do admire the workmanship & variety and they will, as do most quality items that are well made, become more valuable as time passes. The sculptures at least look like a fish, seal, etc. unlike most modern art that can't even really be described-- it's the 'Emperors New Clothes' stuff'! Happy cruisin' & shopping!