What are the best deal on here? I love jewelry gem stones of all kinds, where are the lowest prices? I've also heard fine China is found here is it hard to ship these items? How is the prices on Rum? Not big on perfume are the prices really better? Any thing inexpensive that is made here that makes good gifts? I like to buy things actually made on the islands. In Costa Rica I brought a real unique carved wooden chess set. In Panama an emerald ring.
St Thomas, especially the downtown Charlotte Amoile shopping area, is the premiere shopping capital of the Caribbean. There are dozens of jewelry stores , big and small. Some of the "major" shops are Diamonds International (and affiliates like Tanzanite International), Columbian Emeralds, Little Switzerland, Cardows, AH Reise. There are dozens if not hundreds of smaller shops.
Rum is cheap, there is one brand , Cruzin Rum made in St Thomas. Your liquor allowance jumps up dramatically in St Thomas , but one bottle must be locally produced, that means at least one Cruzin Rum. Cigarettes are cheap as well. Perfume can be 20% less than your home store (sometimes more). Linens , china, personal electronics, cameras and porcelin items are also cheap.
The main thing to know is how much the item you are looking at costs at home. The second thing to think about is that you can't bring it back tomorrow.
Armed with those two things, and an attitude that you can walk away from the deal, have fun. Arrange for delicate items to be shipped home. Put everything on a credit card and make sure everything is insured for full value when shipped.
You can get good deals on jewlery - the key is to be an informed consumer, have a good idea of what a similar item would cost you back home. Attend the port shopping lectures- good information. If you are looking to purchase a big ticket item i would stick with the major retailers just in case.
Liquor, cigarettes, perfume, linens you can get good deals on.
The deals on electronics aren't what they used to be, you can probably do better at your local Best Buy or Circuit City for these items. Cameras are still decent, again know your prices.
If you are looking for local arts and crafts then you would need to shop downtown Charlotte-Amalie.
Tanzanite is getting more and more expensive everyday as the supply is slowly running out. If you want it buy it.
IF you see a piece of jewerly that you love, buy it, don't wait hoping that another store will have it at a better price.