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Jewelry Shopping in St. Maarten

Discussion in 'Caribbean Ports' started by jane-atlanta, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. jane-atlanta

    jane-atlanta Guest

    Breeze is planning on buying me my wedding ring in St. Maarten while on our honeymoon cruise on the Carnival Legend in November (also going to Barbados & Martinique). I've looked at the website for Caribbean Gems on Front Street, and they have some very nice rings that are reasonably priced. See attached website: http://www.caribbeangems.com/search...'))))+ORDER+BY+PRICE+ASC+&ScrollAction=Page+4
    Has anyone bought anything from them? Is there another jewelry store that you would recommend? I'm interested in an unusual band - either carved, like a "posie" ring or with inlaid stones, like tanzanite & diamonds, which Caribbean Gems has. Any suggestions will be most appreciated!


    34 days till we leave for Ft. Lauderdale & the Happy Honeymoon Cruise on the CARNIVAL LEGEND!!! :)
  2. MikeInPgh

    MikeInPgh Guest

    I have had good purchases at both Diamonds International and Joe's Jewlers. All the stores are really within 2 or 3 blocks, so it would pay off to hit them all and then make a decision. FYI, any store with "International" in the name is more than likely part of the Diamond's International company, so selection and price will be somewhat similar.
  3. Colleen

    Colleen Guest

    I love the Caribbean jewlery chain known as "Colombian Emeralds." They have all varieties of gem stones, the quality of the stones and the settings are fabulous. They are on many Caribbean islands as well.
    Happy cruising!
  4. BP

    BP Guest

    Price around in the states before you look in the Caribbean. Remember there is a Duty
    to be paid when coming back to the states if you spend over $800.00 combined for the two of you if you buy in St Martin.
  5. Dan and Liz

    Dan and Liz Guest

    I was going to buy my wife jewelry and she was going to put it on so we did not have to claim it. Am I missing something?
  6. BurBunny

    BurBunny Guest

    Wearing it or in the box, if customs decides to question you, it won't matter. You think the agents can't spot spanking (or shall I say sparkling) new jewelry? If you can't prove you owned it before, and haven't declared it, they won't be very nice.

    Wearing it does not mean you don't have to declare it.
  7. jane-atlanta

    jane-atlanta Guest

    Thanks for all your help & suggestions - I sent emails to both Caribbean Gems (who were very helpful) & Columbian Emeralds (who had a lovely ring on their website, but sent back a reply that it isn't available & weren't very helpful or encouraging). We'll probably do as MikeinPgh suggested & try several, then make our selection.

    32 days till we leave for Ft. Lauderdale & the Happy Honeymoon Cruise on the Carnival Legend - can't wait!!! :)
  8. BP

    BP Guest

    You should read the back of the customs card that you sign and read what the penalty is for not declaring an item you purchase and getting caught.
    The fine could pay for a life time of cruises.

    Custom agents make a living catching people who think they can out smart them.
  9. Al

    Al Guest

    "If you can't prove you owned it before ...." Are you supposed to bring receipts for every piece of jewelry you take??? C'mon, now! I can guarantee that the vast majority of items purchased on cruises gets by customs with no problem. Not that I advocate such devious behavior, but it's done all the time. Dogs aren't trained to sniff out diamonds or emeralds; and wearing a nice ring or necklace doesn't automatically bring suspicion upon people. But to avoid being conspicuous, folks usually bury the expensive purchases in their suitcases. Since there are two of us traveling, we have no problem dividing the merchandise, so that our purchases fall within the allowable limits. While I'm not encouraging anyone to be dishonest, it's a fact of cruising life that most jewelry reaches its ultimate destination undeclared.

    Speaking of deception and dishonesty, there's plenty of that all over the Caribbean. Many stones are "laser-enhanced" (i.e. treated to make bad stuff look good), "lab-created" (i.e. man-made) and otherwise helped along (e.g. soaking emeralds in oil to hide the imperfections). Technology has advanced so much, this trickery often fools experts. If you purchase one of these clunkers, you're out of luck, as your credit card company will not place items purchased further than 100 miles from your home state in dispute. If you're shopping in St. Maarten, Caribbean Gems and Joe's Jewelry (same company) are beyond reproach. There's some wiggle room with the prices; but both shops are very reliable. I personally don't buy anything from Colombia (including coffee!) since most of the money ends up in the hands of the cocaine cartels (I'm in law enforcement; trust me on this one), so I avoid purchasing emeralds. I also stay away from the "recommended" merchants. They pay thousands in kickbacks to the cruise lines, and you ultimately foot the bill. Merchandise is as represented, but you can do better. If, however, you need the comfort of the guarantee, you won't be hosed - you'll just pay a bit more. If you have a bit of will power, you won't pay the ticketed prices; so sharpen your negotiating skills.

    Go to a couple of diamond-oriented websites (diamonds.com is a good one), and get a quickie education. Price similar stones here (e.g. a 1-carat brilliant cut, G color, VS-2 clarity), then compare when you get to St. Maarten. I've purchased a considerable amount of jewelry, and usually save 30%-40% over US prices. 14k gold should sell for no more than $10/gram (about $25-$30 here). You also save the sales tax, as there's none in the Caribbean. I do my homework, and it pays off.

    Don't fall for the "appraisal" scam. There are all sorts of values placed on jewelry (wholesale, retail, insurance replacement, etc.). If you buy something for $1000 and it's "appraised" at $3000, you haven't purchased it for 1/3 of its value. In fact, the jeweler who sold it to you won't even buy it back for the $1000 you spent. If it sounds too good to be true ....

    Congratulations, and have many happy years together. Enjoy your cruise, and buy something nice!!
  10. Hmmmmm

    Hmmmmm Guest

    So, if you're wearing new-ish fine jewelry (I've got a very nearly brand new wedding set)...what do you suggest? The proof that it wasn't purchased in the Caribbean is sitting on my desk. Do you take along the receipts????

    (Then again, by the time I get this ring all filled up with hair spray, hand lotion, mousse, sunscreen, etc., it looks like I've had it the entire 18 years! LOL!)
  11. BurBunny

    BurBunny Guest

    Technically, there's a form to fill out with customs to register jewelry, electronics, cameras, etc. to prevent there being any doubt when/where you bought it. You only have to register an item once, no matter how many times you travel with it. If you're traveling with new items, it's a VERY good idea to take that extra step. You won't have to travel with receipts, just the form.

    It is rather easy to determine if jewelry is new or not. Metals get a patina on them from wear, no matter how well polished they are kept. Yes, I'm sure a good deal of jewelry passes customs without being declared, but considering you're in law enforcement, Al, and cautioning people about buying Columbian-originating items, do you think you should be letting people know how easy it is to break our own laws? You say you're not advocating they do, but you're letting people know how easily it's done. Buying legal items from Columbia is a no-no, but letting people know they'll get away with breaking our laws is okay?


    There's nothing wrong with allocating your purchases between you - that is perfectly acceptable by customs rules. Just declare them! Even if you go over by a bit, customs is usually fairly generous with letting overages slip by until you get into thousands over. Extra declared alcohol is rarely a problem, though I've heard they're tougher on tobacco limits for some reason.
  12. Al

    Al Guest

    I'm not encouraging anyone to do anything - all I'm saying is that it's done every day, and in droves. No, I've not broken any laws, nor do I intend to. My decision not to purchase anything Colombian as a personal one. I even avoided cruises that stopped in Cartegena. Thankfully, the lines have come to their senses, and few, if any, ships stop there. We're all responsible for our actions; and taking a chance on sneaking items by Customs is one of those decisions we all have to make.
  13. JohninRI

    JohninRI Guest

    Goldfinger's is an excellent jewelry store in St. Maarten. It is very near the first water taxi stop from the ship (between there and Front St.). They have an excellent reputation..ask for Lakhey, he is very knowledgable and low key. Also, if you buy your diamond as a loose stone it does not have to be declared to customs. Buy it loose and set it back in the states. Good luck.
  14. linnie

    linnie Guest

    Have bought jewelry there many times. Find them better than st. thomas. You have to beable to haggle with them. I see what I want and then go from place to place to see the best prices.

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