I'll be in St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk in September and I want to buy myself some bling bling, only something reasonable. I am not a flashy person, I just want simple gold earrings, a bracelet, and perhaps a ring. I'd love for it to have a gemstone, but if it doesn't c'est la vie. I want to get a good deal, but do the stores have set prices or can you wiggle it down a bit in price? I don't want to spend more than $300-$400 so, I hope I can get a decent deal.
I'm going to see what is abvailable on the ship and maybe I'll get something nice in the shops. I know I won't do the $1, $2, or $3/inch deal again since the bracelet I had made already has the gold wearing off, same with the anklet I had made too, only it's taking long since I don't wear it everyday. Therefore, I want to get the real thing for a change...heck, it'll be my birthday while I am in St Thomas might as well treat myself!
Very general rule of thumb is that if the shop has A/C, they are less likely to bargain. Also, the chain stores probably won't, since the sales people are employees who really aren't allowed to bargain. The shops where the owner runs the place may dicker a bit.
In Grand Turk, I did bargain on a pearl rope necklace. I was genuinely interested, but then I noticed that the pearls had not been individually knotted, so was not as ready to buy. Offered a lower price and got it. Also, it sometimes helps to bargain when no iother customers are around. If there are others around, owner may not want to let everyone know that they will agree to a lower price. I din't really see anything in Grand Turk that you are talking about, though. Lots of it in St. Thomas, but check ship's prices first, then shop in port.
My husband and I just returned from a cruise to Key West and Cosumel. We bought a ring with 2 tanzinite stones, a sapphire stone and small diamonds from the shop on our ship. It was a beautiful ring and the price was right. When we returned home we took it to our jeweler and she said it was well worth what we paid for it and probably a little bit more and totally genuine.
Good luck with your shopping.
On the flip side of shopping on the ship....
I paid about seven hundred dollars for pearls on the Ryndam a few years back.
The appraiser told us we could spend 35 bucks at the drug store and get the same thing.
To their credit, HAL brokered a full refund.
Peace through superior firepower.
Love shopping for jewelry in St. Thomas. I found a shop about 15 years ago, ran by a family, and have always gotten great deals. I do haggle with them and always get a lower price. It is good to do your homework on what you are considering for purchase. Check out your local stores and see what prices they have for the items you are interested in. Then if you find a deal on the cruise go for it. I can say I have never purchased anything that has not appraised higher when I got home. Some more than others, but I am still happy with my purchases. I will be in St. Thomas next month and have already got my shopping list ready. Have fun and early Happy Birthday!
Also, shop around in the ports. I am always amazed how much difference there can be in price between a store that is close to the ship and/or stands out and a very similar store a few blocks away. Years ago, I shopped for mystic topaz in St. Thomas. First big jewelry store wanted $400 for the largish studs I wanted. Ended up paying $85 for almost identical ones simply by walking a bit. And, my jeweler here said they were real gold, etc....wasn't sure at that price difference.
Remember one thing, when you sail away from the port, the shopkeepers are waving good by mentally. Typically with moderate jewelry, make your deal, and you will be happy. But with major purchases, and usually no recourse. a local jewleler at home, might serve you better.
I was in the business, and hear the stories..
I also think gold by the inch should be thrown overboard;)
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
You need to do your homework first - check our your local stores and price the items you may be looking for in the islands. If you don't know the 5 C's of buying diamonds - your local jeweler should be happy to educate you. (Clarity, Color, Carat, Cut, etc.) Also try to learn how to
use a jeweler's lope to examine the stones for flaws/imperfections. Just
asking to do this may get the store personal "thinking" about what they
are showing you!! Attend the shopping lectures on ship - granted the
cruise lines probably get some type of "kick-back" from the stores the
passengers actually spend money at (they claim this is not the case, yeah
right !) but most times the cruise line will "back-up" any purchases made
at those recommended places once you arrive home and the purchase
is not what the store claimed it to be. Also, ask for a receipt with the
actual descriptoon of the jewelry (14kt gold, type of stones, carat weight)
and what the full retail price was). This is for your info, only. The store
will probably give you another receipt for the actual price paid for customs
declaration. I have been very plesed with the jewelry bought on my last
3 cruises but, then again, I knew what to look for and had done my homework. Enjoy - you only live once !!
NCL offers "gold by the yard". Check it out. If you are just shopping for something inexpensive, you can do this right on the shop. I have purchased a couple of bracelets with australian crystals. they are beautiful, and everyone thinks they are real tennis bracelets with diamonds.