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buying jewelry in St. Thomas

Discussion in 'Know Before You Go' started by gator, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. gator

    gator Guest

    I would love to purchase a diamond and tanzanite ring and bracelet while in St. Thomas. Not being very jewelry buying smart I need advice. Is it a good idea to buy jewelry there and if so maybe someone could tell me a good reputable store to shop.
    I have heard prices are good in St. Thomas but not sure how to know if I am getting a good deal or not.
    Thanks for any info and help.
  2. One of the advantages to buying jewellry in St. Thomas is that you get a little break on your customs limitation. Frankly, if you are planning on making several nice purchases, you are bound to exceed your customs limitation anyway. My mom and I found some great deals on jewelry all over the Caribbean. Tanzanite of all colors, shapes and sizes is amply available at all the fine stores. Bottom line, look around and find something you like. I collected my souveniers at Tanzanite International in Barbados (very reasonably priced Tanzanite and Diamond ring) and at Amsterdam Jewellers (or something like that) right at the water taxi dock area in St. Maartin (beautiful, unique looking Amethyst and Diamond ring). Both were very nice stores with great selection and reputation. The store in St. Maartin was a wonderful place to go if you were looking for something costly or (in my case) something more affordable (in their upstairs gallery). Of course, Diamonds International has a great reputation and fabulous selection of all types of items in varying price ranges (you should see the ring my mom bought there!). My mom and I were finally able to find a good quality pair of diamond stud earrings for my sister for a very fair price in Cardow's on St. Thomas.

    There is no shortage of stores anywhere in the Carribean. Every other shop, at least, is a jewelry store - and such beautiful pieces!!!! Wow!

    Enjoy your shopping adventure!
  3. hstrybuf

    hstrybuf Guest

    If St. Maartin is also on your itinerary, then you might want to purchase jewelry there instead of on St. Thomas. The prices should be even better. However, if you're set on shopping in St. Thomas, my very favorite store is Cardow Jewelers. I've found them to have very good prices and, most important, they give you a guarantee.
  4. Oh, I forgot to mention. The price they quote you is always negotiable, even in the fine establishments. Make sure you tell them you're from a cruise ship and they apply some sort of discount (or at least tell you they do) and then bargain them down from there.
  5. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    When you shop in the "ship approved stores", be aware these stores are paying the cruiselines a commission...or more accurately, you are paying the ship's commission.
    The duty free exemption is double in St. Thomas (USVI) what it is in any other ports. If you exceed your duty free allotment, you will have to declare the "overage" and the usual amount of duty you will pay is 10%.

    We buy whatever jewelry we buy in St. Thomas but not in those stores listed on the ship's maps. You have to TRUST whatever store you are shopping in as the cz's and synthetic stones are so excellent today that even jewelers cannot tell them from real gemstones without appropriate testing. Buyer beware.
  6. CruzNut

    CruzNut Guest

    Go with hsrtybuf! St, Maarten has far better prices on almost everything. Liquor is about 20% less in St. Maarten, and jewelry a better deal.
    Word of advice; on any island, stick with the "names;" A.H. Riiise; H. Stern; Columbian Emeralds Int'l; Diamonds Int's; Little Switzerland; etc; Many of the smaller shops will leave you on the "short end;" 10 kt gold sold for 18kt; low-grade gems; watch out!
  7. Ok, my two cents. Do your homework before you go there to buy. I have a tanzanite/diamond ring. Prices were competitive in the jewelry marts around here (So Cal) on SOME items. Tanzanite colors can vary dramatically, and or course the quality of diamonds can as well. Buy a loope or borrow theirs and examine the gems carefully. Check the settings too. Always bargain and always be prepared to walk away. I never buy from the ships stores. They are always higher. I have bought at the little shops and the larger ones. Ya gotta look around. I've bought opals in St. Martin, but overall I prefer St. Thomas...get away from the pier, tho. Good luck.
  8. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    What I find interesting is that so many of the small "family owned" jewelry shops....not the ones on the "ships recommended lists"....have stores in Aruba, St. Maarten and in St. Thomas. Their uncle or their cousin or some relative runs the "branches" located on the other islands.
  9. Angelica

    Angelica Guest

    For the most original and spectacular settings and gems, you cannot go wrong at H.Stern. My family has bought pieces from them in their stores in Europe and Israel, and when repairs were needed, they honored it all over the world in their stores. I was wearing an H. Stern ring, gift from my parents, walked into the St.Thomas store and the saleslady recognized it because of the original design.

    I have also bought simpler pieces at Cardow, they have a great selection of nicely priced items from the everyday to the "eye-poppers" And......Tanzanite? Make sure you have seen the really "top of the line" in so far as color and depth....there are so many shades that are usually just a pale imitation of what Tanzanite should really look like, deep, gorgeous, a myriad of blue/purples.......see the Tanzanite stones that run in the thousands of dollars, then make a selection in a lesser price, but trying to get as close to that true deep color as possible.
  10. Andy

    Andy Guest

    First off--St.Martin is way cheaper than St.Thomas nowadays---

    BUT, if your ship does not stop in St.Martin , and only give you the option of ST.Thomas, then Cardow's is a long standing favorite--Also the post that listed H.Stern ( they have a back room for stuff on sale=terrific deals!!) , A H Riise and Little Switzerland..
    All of these are SUPER reputable and have been around for the last 30 years....

    I bought a tanzanite ring on St Martin as the price was cheaper and the stone was better--but it was from one of the LARGER stores on St.Martin( I cannot remember the name of the store for the life of me.....just rememberd that I had to climb one step up--the owners were Indian-and they were open to bargaining- Do NOT accept the first price tossed out to you....

    Now, a word that NO ONE has mentioned- IF I knew ahead of time, that Al-Queda (Osman Bin Laden) owned most of the Tanzanite mines in Tanzania, I would NEVER have bought the stone!!! NEVER EVER!!! And it cost a small fortune-- it is one of the ones you see in the cruise ship mags and Town and Country--and it is a dark purple blue shade with diamonds--But it has NOT been on my finger in over a year!

    Personally, if I had to do it over again, I would buy some other stone.......................
  11. Angelica

    Angelica Guest

    Andy, I can understand your distress at buying a stone that could have a possible connection to the nefarious individuals you mention.

    The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and others mention that possibility back in 2001. It is easy to understand that shady characters of all types can easily smuggle loose gems thru the porous borders surrounding Tanzania, just as they do the diamonds from the Angola/Mozambique regions. However, in what i read then and looked up again, the mines themselves were not owned by these individuals. As a result of those reports, jewelers such as Tiffany, QVC, Zales, etc., stopped selling tanzanite.
    However, about one year later, in 2002, they again began selling after the reassurance of the U.S. State department that direct links or ownership of mines is negative. Also, the boycott encouraged the government of Tanzania to establish a control and regulation of the mines, a large monopoly now also regulated by South African mining concerns, and also the government now tracks the buying and shipment of loose gems, cut and uncut.

    Perhaps you have more information, but that is what I remember reading and again looking up. And, of course, it is always a personal decision as to what one feels comfortable or not in wearing, using, etc. I just thought to write here that the mines themselves, according to the authorities, were never owned by those nefarious individuals.
  12. gator

    gator Guest

    thanks to all for the info. Now I have to remember all the helpful hints.
    Leaving on the Dawn Princess March 10.
  13. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Angelica ==thanks for the heads up= Now I can take the ring out of the safetly deposit box and wear it--

    I would hate to think I was aiding in the destruction of the US....................
  14. mrsrocster

    mrsrocster Guest

    We purchase our jewelry at Dazzlers in the Havensight Mall. We have never been disappointed.
  15. sherriz366

    sherriz366 Guest

    We've had good luck with Ballerina Jewelers in St. Thomas. Family owned. They also have stores in St. Maarten. I have a tanzanite diamond pendant, a fire opal that has tanzanite accents and tanzanite bracelet. Different settings that what you see in the states.

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