I definitely agree with Tom. Be aware that prices can sometimes be a tiny bit better in St. Maarten, but there is a much larger duty free allowance made for purchases from St. Thomas. Based on the quantity and price of jewelry you plan to purchase those factors may weigh in your decision.
quote:Originally posted by RedWine:
I will be stopping in St Thomas, Barbados, Antigua, Totola and St Maarten.
For sure St.Thomas is #1, St. Maarten #2.
Routinely the ship will give you a list of shops they recommend. I have jewelers I have used for years on both islands. Have also made 2 camera purchases on St. Thomas.
keep in mind that the shops the cruise lines reccomend pay the cruise lines for the plug...
not to say the deals aren't good...but I've had better luck with the non-reccomended shops for jewlery, but, and this is a HUGE but (like mine *grin*)...I know jewelry...gemology is a hobby of mine, so buyer beware...
I bought a beautiful ring on my last visit to St. Martin (it was cheaper here than in St. Thomas) but Nancy is right. Be careful about the duty free allowance. I was unaware that there was a difference and had to pay a large portion of my savings to customs. Oh, well! I still love my ring.
If you have a interest in something check out your local jewelery store first. We have bought stuff in both St Maartin and St Thomas. Customs is really cracking down on collecting their duty. Also beware of the ship's guarantee. It does not guarantee anything except that you are not getting imitation stones. They do not guarantee that you are getting the best price or not paying too much. Talk to a gemologist in your area and he will probably have a lot of horror stories to tell you about "deals" people got. We took our jewerly to one to get it appraised and he said if we paid too much there is nothing that can be done. He has people come in all the time and many leave disappointed. Our stuff was appraised within $200 of what we paid for it. He did not know the price beforehand. A piece of jewelry that was purchased on board (tanzalite, $1900, was appraised at $1850). My wife said she still liked it and was happy with it. $5000 worth of other stuff was appraised at $5300. He said even though it is not worth the price that we thought it was we could have got ripped off as some of his customers have been. We should just consider it as a momento of our trip and don't get caught up in the hype again.