It always amazes me how many people actually come home from a cruise or other holidays and want to have their purchases evaluated. Having worked in a jewelry store for many years, the last thing a client wants to hear is that they paid way too much for their piece and can even taint their holiday memories.
A client who bought a diamond in the Caribbean somewhere from a certified “cruise-recommended” store, came to our store to have it looked at. Luckily, it was a real diamond but of course he paid to much for it. He could have bought a comparable stone from his local jeweler for more than $500 hundred dollars less. ( At the end, he ended up buying a diamond from us and filed a claim for the other one with his credit card company.)
For a small jeweler who has built up his reputation on great customer service and maybe sometimes even has lost money to make a customer happy, it’s pretty much a slap in the face.
While I get the idea of bringing home a souvenir from a vacation, most people who have purchased something from abroad actually didn’t get such a great deal after all. It seems that people on vacation are pretty much throwing all caution into the wind and don’t do any research at all on what they are buying.
So many times after having consulted with a client in the store for multiple hours about their diamond purchase, I often wondered why “these cruise” people couldn’t just come to our store.
Why do you think the prices are better than at home?
Usually, people are not that trusting but somehow when a cruise ship recommends some store, most think it must be good then, right? For me it just means, the cruise ships get commission for every one of my purchases. Of course, they tell you that the stores can guarantee their items and you can bring it back should something be wrong with it. Of course, you won’t find out until it’s too late. Anyway, most of the time your credit card company can do the same thing for you.
Diamonds are not found in the Caribbean, nor are Tanzanites or Amolite!
If you were to go to the actual mine for these stones, you would maybe save some money by cutting out a middleman or import fees. These stones though are imported just as they would be in the US.
Even local outlet stores or so-called “whole-sale” jewelry marts, do not buy the diamonds at a lower price then your local jeweler can. If a diamond were to cost considerably less, there is probably something wrong with it. Maybe wrong is not the right word but there will be some price lowering feature on it, like a shallow crown which can make an ugly fish-eye effect or a specially thin girdle which can make the diamond easily chip should you decide to actually have it set some day.
How do you know, you get wholesale pricing if you don’t know how much wholesale for this item is????
Buying from the mines directly.
When I went to Sri Lanka, I went to a moonstone mine. They also sold sapphires that are mined in Sri Lanka. I bought a few sapphires and rubies. I didn’t buy them because I thought I was getting such a great deal but as a souvenir. Of course, if you know what you are doing and have the right resources with you to check everything out, you can sometimes get a great deal if you know how to negotiate.
The people who own these mines know exactly what their material is worth. Why would they sell it to you under wholesale? They know what the best quality of their gemstone sells for on the market.
If you buy something, buy it for a souvenir with emotional value and not for financial gain.
I think, the bottom line is that most of the time you just gamble with your holiday purchase. So, only spend what you can afford to loose. If you go to a place, where you know there might be some opportunities, do your research.
And last but not least:
Your local jeweler really deserves your business, because he is the one that cleans your earring backs or your watch band that is black with gunk… he is the one that repairs your silver jewelry for a super low price, because the “real” price would be more than the piece itself.
And most of all, it keeps OUR economy stable!