Cartagena's Emerald, Gold & Jewelry Stores

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Q. Why buy Emeralds and Gold in Cartagena?

A. In three words: Selection, Quality and Price. Colombia is the world's leading producer of quality Emeralds, and a top world producer of Gold. Our gem cutters and gold designers are internationally considered among the best in the world. And, with low Colombia wages, the finished piece can often be had for a very reasonable price-many say: "a bargain price". If you're visiting Cartagena on vacation, or you come on business, as a "buyer", for the best in: Selection, Quality and Price Cartagena is the place!

Q. Are there "Official Government Jewelry Stores"?

No. All shops which sell Emeralds must be licensed by the Government of Colombia. The license is not an endorsement as to quality, price or fair dealing. It is merely a license to sell, which can be revoked by the government. There is no such thing as an "official" government jewelry store. The economic importance of Emeralds, and Colombia's reputation as the source of the world's finest gemstones has prompted the Government to enact strict laws regarding the licensure of Jewelry Stores. Click here for locations and contact info. for all: Cartagena Jewelry Stores.

Q. What is: Duty Free?

A. Since the source of our gold and our Emeralds is Colombia, the popular term "duty free" does not apply to purchases of these items, as there is no duty involved. When other countries import from Colombia, without adding their normal tax or duty, they call it: "duty free".

When you buy direct from the source (Colombia) you eliminate the commission of a middle-man, plus the exportation markup which includes: shipping, handling and currency conversion costs. When you buy direct from the source, you do not have to pay sales tax which may be imposed in your home country. Many smart Emerald shoppers have paid for their Cartagena vacations with the savings in dealing direct with the source country (Cartagena, Colombia) for Emeralds and Gold.

Q. Do the cruise lines get "kick backs"?

A. No. Many different shore side businesses advertise with the cruise lines, as do some Cartagena Jewelry Stores. However, advertising and percentage kick backs are two different things. Advertising is a normal business expense. A kick back is usually based on a percentage of the total selling price-the more you pay, the greater the "kick back". Many don't think that this is fair. Kick backs are not a practice of Cartagena Jewelry Companies.

Q. How do I know that I'm getting a good deal?

A. Do your homework before you leave home. That is the sole purpose of this extensive Home Page. Familiarize yourself with the info. on this web site. Then, visit two or three of your home town jewelry stores to "price shop" on pieces that interest you. Keep good notes. Of course, your local stores will not have anywhere near the wide selection or good prices available in Cartagena, but this will give you an important starting point. We do not pretend that this Home Page, will make you a gemologist. You will, however, be more informed than 95% of other shoppers, and that can give you a buyer's edge. Additionally, you will gain more respect (which often means a better price) from the sales clerk, and owner of the Jewelry Store!

Since most cruise line shoppers are here for only 5-6 hours, it's just common sense to spend your brief shopping time buying exactly what you want, and at a good price, rather than getting an "education" which you can get for "free" right here, on your home PC!. Learn at home, shop smart, and save in Cartagena! Plus, when you are informed before you arrive in Cartagena, you are in a better position to know if an over enthusiastic salesperson is "stretching the truth". This is unlikely, but if you sense this is happening, use it to your advantage. Ask to speak with the owner, and tell him of your concerns. Your newfound knowledge may gain both his respect, and a better deal, as he will want to protect his reputation!

Q. How much can I save in Cartagena?

A. Savings of between 10% and 50*% off normal retail prices available in the U.S. and other countries, are not un usual. Some Jewelry stores may claim greater discounts, but generally you get what you pay for.

Two good Buying tips: always ask for your "promotional price". The largest discounts* are offered during the low seasons. This is why we call these periods, our: "Special Seasons".

Q. What about a Guarantee?

A. All Cartagena Jewelers are licensed by the Government of Colombia which is strict regarding fair and proper representation of merchandise and price. See the next question.

Q. What if when you return home, you feel you have been ripped off?

A. First, determine if you have been actually been cheated. The last thing you want to do is falsely claim that somebody is dishonest. If your accusation is unfounded, it will spoil both your day, and his! Jewelry is very big business in Cartagena, and the stores reputation is critical to their business success. They will not knowingly risk their years of establishing a good reputation through unfair treatment.

It is not unheard of, for a hometown merchant to tell you: "if you had traded with me, I would have given you a "better deal". If the merchant is insistent, ask him put his concerns and reasons in writing. Don't be surprised if he declines. In order to be sure of value, you must get an independent written opinion from a Certified Gemologist. Certified Gemologist Appraisals are reasonable in cost, and you must have one anyway, in order to receive the proper amount, in the event you report a theft to your insurance company. Those who offer "free appraisals" may offer opinions that are self-serving, or not valid when it comes to establishing fair value.

If a Certified Appraisal determines that you paid more than fair value for your jewelry, send an E- mail, along with scanned attachments of your receipts and Appraisal(s) to the Cartagena jewelry store where you made your purchase. Copy us on your E-mail, and all subsequent E-mails. (Note: If you do not have a scanner, or are not sure how to do this, ask a friend, or visit a nearby cyber café, where the cost should be less than a couple of dollars.) We will contact the store owner regarding your claim. We can, and will: "call it like we see it". The low annual cost of CartagenaInfo Home Pages ($100. U.S.) does not in anyway "cloud our judgment" in acting as an impartial mediator.

Note: Before Jewelry Stores are accepted as Home Page clients, owner/managers must first read, & agree to the accuracy of the entire contents of this informational Home Page: www.cartagenainfo.com/Jewelry/

Customs or duty payments-a word of caution

Never attempt to smuggle Emeralds, gemstones, jewelry or other valuables back into your home country. Customs Agents are trained, and very effective at spotting new merchandise. Keep all sales receipts. Do not joke around, or try to "fast talk" them, as the law is 100% on their side, and they know the laws!

To keep from having to pay duty on merchandise that you bought at home, register these items with Customs before you leave on your vacation or buying trip. At the very least bring along legible copies of all purchase receipts of items which appear in new condition.

Some Cartagena Jewelry Stores advertise in the glossy books found in each cabin aboard the cruise lines. This advertising is very expensive, but it does seem to bring tourists to their shops. What is discouraging, is that these expensive advertisements create interest, and some impatient shoppers buy from the more expensive, on-board stores. On a per square foot basis, some of the most expensive retail "space" available, is aboard the cruise lines. The expensive lease costs are passed on to the customers.

TIP: If you have not had time to study this tutorial: Buying Gold and Emeralds in Cartagena, may we suggest the following: Visit the on-board stores. Take notes. Look at the Emeralds through a 10X loupe. Ask questions, and get a good idea of quality and price. At this time, do not even consider buying on- board. Then, when you visit the stores in Cartagena, and have looked over the wide selection and good prices, make your purchases in Cartagena. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, and at a better price, when you re-board, go ahead and make your purchase. If the on-board stores sense that you are "window shopping" they may encourage you to "buy now", because the collection piece that you are looking at may be "gone". This may be true, for the simple reason that on-board stores carry very small inventories compared to what you will find in Cartagena. No matter where you buy your Jewelry, do not be pressured. Be an informed shopper, and bargain for the best prices. Among the DeBeers promotions is one that says: "a diamond is forever". History tells us however, that Cleopatra treasured her Emeralds much more than her diamonds!