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Diamond jewelry - Caribbean islands

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
I am going on a cruise and will be visiting the following islands:

St. Thomas
Antiqua
Dominica
Grenada
Aruba

I was planning to check out various jewelry shops. I am looking for recommendations which shops to avoid and which shops are must visit?

I am thinking of changing my engagement ring setting (happy with the stone) just the setting.

Any reputable vendors that you would recommend I visit?

Or maybe this has been asked in the past and you can point me to past discussions?

Thank you
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
29,108
I don't think Caribbean cruises are a good place or time to buy diamonds.
Caribbean cruises are good for snorkeling and indulging on food.

If you want high quality diamond cut, good prices and beneficial policies buy your diamonds from reputable PS vendors.
 

Sphene

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
666
1+ unless money is of no relevance and you can afford a top GIA grade stone from any store you visit
 

WillyDiamond

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 7, 2004
Messages
1,320
When I was in St. Martin about a year ago, went into a jewelry store on the main shopping drag and held a "Hearts on Fire", 3 carat diamond, it was beautiful.........so I might look for "premium" names like Hearts on Fire, but be prepared to pay a "premium".
 

Rivendell

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
156
I read the post to mean that the lady would like a new setting not a new diamond.

If you see a setting you like can't you just get a picture or a note of who made it? How are the logistics going to work if you buy a setting while you're on hols - these things normally take a few weeks to be made etc.
 

cflutist

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
3,934
kenny|1481964291|4107893 said:
I don't think Caribbean cruises are a good place or time to buy diamonds.
Caribbean cruises are good for snorkeling and indulging on food.

If you want high quality diamond cut, good prices and beneficial policies buy your diamonds from reputable PS vendors.
Listen to Kenny and buy your jewelry from PS vendors. I happen to be in Barbados right now boarding the Royal Clipper for a 10day cruise. Have been to St Thomas and St Maarten several times. Stay away from the ship's recommended stores, the fine print says they have paid a fee to be included in the shopping program. Have never been impressed with Diamonds International who prey on cruise passengers. PS vendors have them beat when it comes to quality and price.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,670
Ditto what Kenny and everyone else has said...the Caribbean is not the place to buy jewelry in my opinion (unless you just want
a small gold charm or momento). Window shop if you want but wait till you get home to buy. You have any trouble with a
ring/setting when you get home you are out of luck (unless perhaps you stick with HOF or other high end names). There are some
places I wouldnt even trust that HOF was actually a true HOF piece.
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
21,259
HI:

A friend bought a gorgeous 2 c GIA certed diamond in a gorgeous setting with a matching band while on a cruise. Her ring is stunning--and although i didn't ask, she divulged the price and it was very fair. Best price in the world....maybe not, but the diamond had great specs and was fairly competitive in terms of pricing.

cheers--Sharon
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
I go to St. Martin twice a year. The only two jewelers I shop at on the island are Oro Diamante and Ballerina Jewelers both on Front Street. I bought a 18 Kt yellow gold setting 3 years ago and till this day people stop me and ask where can they get my setting. It is gorgeous and Oro Diamante gave me a fair price than what I would have paid in NY. Their ring settings are great there and they have a large selection if your not going the custom made route.
I just bought a rose gold starfish with Diamonds also in St. Martin when I was there last month, love it death and again, couldn't find anything like this in NY, Every jeweler told me it had to custom made in rose gold all they had were silver with no diamonds. I paid a decent price for rose gold with 1ct of diamonds. Again, gotten tons of compliments on it and everyone asks where I got it because they haven't seen rose gold starfish with diamonds here in NY.
Certain jewelry pieces that you don't see in your home town is nice to get at a fair price. Both Oro Diamante and Ballerina Jewelers are on trip adviser if you want to read the reviews.

I would not however buy on a ship, I have heard too many horror stories.
 

pinkjewel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
2,210
I have also purchased from Ballerina Jewelers (in St. Thomas) although I believe they are the same store. Name brand diamond bracelet- I don't think I got a great deal but I like it and wear it all the time. I am sorry I did not buy a lovely 1 and 1/2 carat GIA graded pink diamond ring they had a couple of years ago. It was a good buy then and would easily be double or even triple the price now. It was even my size... :tongue:
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
pinkjewel|1482016889|4108030 said:
I have also purchased from Ballerina Jewelers (in St. Thomas) although I believe they are the same store. Name brand diamond bracelet- I don't think I got a great deal but I like it and wear it all the time. I am sorry I did not buy a lovely 1 and 1/2 carat GIA graded pink diamond ring they had a couple of years ago. It was a good buy then and would easily be double or even triple the price now. It was even my size... :tongue:
YEP, Same owners Ballerina has stores in St. Thomas and St. Martin. I love their jewelry as I always find something beautiful in their stores. I would love that pink diamond ring you saw pinkjewel :D
 

JLW05

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
587
I have never purchased any jewelry of great value while on a cruise. I haven't found prices to be any better than those of trusted PS vendors. In case of buyer's remorse or a poor appraisal, returning the item could be problematic unless you do some pre-vetting of recommended merchants.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
11,433
If you have a problem it's a long way to go for a return.
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
JLW05|1482031289|4108089 said:
I have never purchased any jewelry of great value while on a cruise. I haven't found prices to be any better than those of trusted PS vendors. In case of buyer's remorse or a poor appraisal, returning the item could be problematic unless you do some pre-vetting of recommended merchants.
I saved quite a lot of money (only paid $795) getting my Cartier Trinity in Grand Cayman a couple of years ago, but that's different. Most of those cheesy diamond stores are bad, bad news.
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
4,607
pinkjewel|1482016889|4108030 said:
I am sorry I did not buy a lovely 1 and 1/2 carat GIA graded pink diamond ring they had a couple of years ago. It was a good buy then and would easily be double or even triple the price now.
Wow, have pink diamonds really increased in price that much in two years, whilst colorless diamonds have decreased so much?
 

pinkjewel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
2,210
Pyramid|1482056975|4108121 said:
pinkjewel|1482016889|4108030 said:
I am sorry I did not buy a lovely 1 and 1/2 carat GIA graded pink diamond ring they had a couple of years ago. It was a good buy then and would easily be double or even triple the price now.
Wow, have pink diamonds really increased in price that much in two years, whilst colorless diamonds have decreased so much?
Pink diamonds have increased somewhat, but larger (over 1 carat) have increased a lot. And even at the time I knew at the price they offered it to me that it was a very good price- it was just more than we wanted to spend at the time. But it was very pretty-if you like lighter pink diamonds (which I do). :lickout: And it was in a delicate halo setting.
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
pinkjewel|1482064427|4108126 said:
Pyramid|1482056975|4108121 said:
pinkjewel|1482016889|4108030 said:
I am sorry I did not buy a lovely 1 and 1/2 carat GIA graded pink diamond ring they had a couple of years ago. It was a good buy then and would easily be double or even triple the price now.
Wow, have pink diamonds really increased in price that much in two years, whilst colorless diamonds have decreased so much?
Pink diamonds have increased somewhat, but larger (over 1 carat) have increased a lot. And even at the time I knew at the price they offered it to me that it was a very good price- it was just more than we wanted to spend at the time. But it was very pretty-if you like lighter pink diamonds (which I do). :lickout: And it was in a delicate halo setting.
pinkjewel, the light pink diamond ring sounds like it would fit beautifully on my finger :think:
I wish I was there now playing with all the jewelry. :D
 

ChristineRose

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
926
If you are buying a setting for a specific diamond, I'd think twice about buying it in the Caribbean. If the diamond doesn't fit you'll have a problem. If you try to get it set there, you may not have time at all and you certainly won't have time to deal with any problems or back and forth with the setters. You'll also not have much opportunity to research and choose your setter, and you won't be able to wait for the best setters to be available.

If you don't have it set there, you need to find a setter when you get back home. Many setters don't like to set third-party settings, as it isn't as profitable. But even the setters who do set third party products will want some back and forth with you, as there are a lot of nuances to setting and they might think your stone and setting were not a great fit. This is much more likely with a colored stone, or with a fancy cut stone (as opposed to a RB) but there are still a lot of possible problems.
 

Dani5577

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
37
I had a great experience at Bliss Jewelers in st Thomas. I upgraded my .75 blue diamond that I got in the states to a 1.31 and paid less. My setting came loose and they let me ship it to their store in New York and fixed it for free.
 

DNB

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
64
I've bought several pieces from Ballerina, in St Thomas and St Maarten and have no issues with quality or price. I've also upgraded a couple of bracelets. Prong set tennis bracelet went 3 ct to 5 ct and another tennis bracelet went 1.5 ct to 3 ct. Unlike most jewelers in the US, they do not require that you purchase twice the cost of the original piece to trade up. I actually have bought many pieces from jewelers in the Caribbean (mostly in St Thomas and St Maarten, although also in Falmouth, Jamaica, Nassau, Bahamas and Cozumel) and have never had a single issue or problem. I'm very careful about what I buy. Last time I was in St Maarten at Ballerina in Nov they let me try on a 10ct diamond solitaire with baguettes on the side and it was gorgeous. It was very expensive so it was just for fun, but they have a wide range and you can find good deals.
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
DNB|1482100366|4108222 said:
I've bought several pieces from Ballerina, in St Thomas and St Maarten and have no issues with quality or price. I've also upgraded a couple of bracelets. Prong set tennis bracelet went 3 ct to 5 ct and another tennis bracelet went 1.5 ct to 3 ct. Unlike most jewelers in the US, they do not require that you purchase twice the cost of the original piece to trade up. I actually have bought many pieces from jewelers in the Caribbean (mostly in St Thomas and St Maarten, although also in Falmouth, Jamaica, Nassau, Bahamas and Cozumel) and have never had a single issue or problem. I'm very careful about what I buy. Last time I was in St Maarten at Ballerina in Nov they let me try on a 10ct diamond solitaire with baguettes on the side and it was gorgeous. It was very expensive so it was just for fun, but they have a wide range and you can find good deals.
DNB, I was in St. Maarten too in November and visited Ballerina Jewelers. This is so funny we both were there in Nov. I also have never ever had an issue with anything I purchased from them. They set my own diamond while I watched, it was very nice to let me sit with the bench and watch how its done. I had no issues and they set it in the yellow gold setting which I bought from them. I also bought a diamond bracelet there too and have been very pleased with my purchases. They have a office in NY so they told me if there are any issues I can send it to their NY Bench to repair or size up or down. I have had wonderful experiences with them.
I love Ballerina and Oro Diamante on Front Street. These two stores are the ones I frequent whenever I am in St. Maarten.
 

asscher_girl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
1,155
I used to live in St. Thomas and would avoid most all jewelry shopping there. Unless you are buying something name brand (and the only deal you get with that is the tax savings) I would not purchase anything else. We did buy a watch for my DH a while back in St. Thomas, at the AH Rise shops (Rolex store) but I had friends who managed the building and connected us with the watch department manager. We did get a good deal as we already knew what we wanted and had pricing info from Stateside so it was easy to compare comps.

Now if you're just buying a small trinket/low cost jewelry item, I think that's fine. But I'd steer clear of anything with diamonds and quality gemstones, unless it's name brand like I mentioned above.

Have fun on your cruise! If you have time while on St. Thomas, check out Magens Bay, the best beach on STT. And if you want to do some shopping, leave the cruise ship shop area and go to downtown, many more options there. There's a great little island clothing store called Fresh Produce, our friends own it, check it out if you have time :) Just take a jitney (safari bus) for $1 instead of a cab into downtown (it's only 1.5 miles or so from the cruise ship port. You can also take the jitney to Coki beach which is amazing for snorkeling. Jitneys are the best deal, $1 each way per person :)
 

Madison2

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
507
Go to St. Martin you will love the great food, gorgeous beaches and great jewelry stores on Front Street.
Happy travels and Happy New Year!
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
@Rivendell You are absolutely right. I was only looking at setting and I have taken my original ring with me so that it can be reset.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
Madison2|1482930858|4110001 said:
Go to St. Martin you will love the great food, gorgeous beaches and great jewelry stores on Front Street.
Happy travels and Happy New Year!
Unfortunately, wasn't possible this time.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
Madison2|1482012606|4108015 said:
I go to St. Martin twice a year. The only two jewelers I shop at on the island are Oro Diamante and Ballerina Jewelers both on Front Street. I bought a 18 Kt yellow gold setting 3 years ago and till this day people stop me and ask where can they get my setting. It is gorgeous and Oro Diamante gave me a fair price than what I would have paid in NY. Their ring settings are great there and they have a large selection if your not going the custom made route.
I just bought a rose gold starfish with Diamonds also in St. Martin when I was there last month, love it death and again, couldn't find anything like this in NY, Every jeweler told me it had to custom made in rose gold all they had were silver with no diamonds. I paid a decent price for rose gold with 1ct of diamonds. Again, gotten tons of compliments on it and everyone asks where I got it because they haven't seen rose gold starfish with diamonds here in NY.
Certain jewelry pieces that you don't see in your home town is nice to get at a fair price. Both Oro Diamante and Ballerina Jewelers are on trip adviser if you want to read the reviews.

I would not however buy on a ship, I have heard too many horror stories.
A few years back, i was at St. Marteen and stumbled upon Oro Diamante. I have to say that I had a very pleasant experience with the owner there. I purchased a right hand ring and to this day i get stopped on the streets. It had unique design and I probably saved it least a few grands comparing to US prices. And to have it custom made, would probably be double in price.

My friend purchased 2 ct GIA stone from them, H&A. We spend a whole day in the store and while there, we also were doing research on Pricescope and i have to say Oro still got us better price for that particular stone. Similar stones in US, were at higher prices and the advantage was that we could see all the stones in person and etc.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
JLW05|1482031289|4108089 said:
I have never purchased any jewelry of great value while on a cruise. I haven't found prices to be any better than those of trusted PS vendors. In case of buyer's remorse or a poor appraisal, returning the item could be problematic unless you do some pre-vetting of recommended merchants.
I totally agree with you that is why i was asking here for recommendations of vendors.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
Now that I am back, wanted to share that I stumbled upon Gemini Jewelers while in Aruba.

They had great selection of various settings that I liked very much at very competitive prices (comparing to US). Dealt with Varsha who is the owner. They also have a service center in US (LA area). While there are still loose ends before I can comment on experience with certainty, so far I am happy.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
cflutist|1481985518|4107927 said:
kenny|1481964291|4107893 said:
I don't think Caribbean cruises are a good place or time to buy diamonds.
Caribbean cruises are good for snorkeling and indulging on food.

If you want high quality diamond cut, good prices and beneficial policies buy your diamonds from reputable PS vendors.
Listen to Kenny and buy your jewelry from PS vendors. I happen to be in Barbados right now boarding the Royal Clipper for a 10day cruise. Have been to St Thomas and St Maarten several times. Stay away from the ship's recommended stores, the fine print says they have paid a fee to be included in the shopping program. Have never been impressed with Diamonds International who prey on cruise passengers. PS vendors have them beat when it comes to quality and price.
Totally agree with you on that one and personally not a big fan of DI stores. Never purchased jewelry there.
 

Marina

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
54
Rivendell|1481981839|4107922 said:
I read the post to mean that the lady would like a new setting not a new diamond.

If you see a setting you like can't you just get a picture or a note of who made it? How are the logistics going to work if you buy a setting while you're on hols - these things normally take a few weeks to be made etc.
It has been my experience, that I am not the right person for custom made pieces. I need to see the piece and try it on my hand before I can commit. To me, dealing with custom made pieces is too much of the hassle and worry but that is just me.
 
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