You will find good jewelry at Diamond's International, Columbian Emerald's, and Tanzanite International. Those should be on every island. Little Switzerland is also on most islands. St Thomas downtown has the Omni which is also good. You can trust using your credit cards in these stores. Also don't forget to check out the prices right on the ship.
The key is to look at prices before your leave Ireland and then compare in the Caribbean. Now days I'm not so sure the prices are that great. Even if they are close you will save on the VAT you would pay in Ireland. Haggle a bit on the price too.
The price of gold is driving jewelery prices higher now... we were amazed at the cost of rings (wife was looking for something) compared to the last time we cruised. The jeweler said that most of the increase was coming from the gold in the band....
I think bargains are going to be difficult to find...just had some appraisals done and gold is definitely forcing the prices up. I have never been comfortable buying any pricey items at any of the ports, I prefer to buy from local jewelers who I know. But that is just me.
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HI I have bought a few items over the years from Jewels Forever 98 Front Street St Maarten. Once home i have always got an independant valuation from one of the shops in Hatton Garden (the UKs diamond centre) the valuations have always been much higher (over 100%) and the jewels have been exactly as expected. Im always worried about buying fakes or not being sure of the proper price and this shop has always done great deals. I have found the ones recommended by the ship a little more expensive. I recommend you find the price of a plain set 1 carot diamond ear ring and find out the letter of clarity etc and then you can use this as comparison across all of the shops as you will then be comparing like with like. Happy shopping.
thanks for your input, sounds like a good idea, will definitely check, are the prices negotiable usually, or is it a case of the price on the item is the price you pay, just so I know, dont want to be rude haggling if its not customary.