We thought it was a good time to update this post! One of our favorite (and most supportive clients) just made two purchases while traveling, which have turned into a nightmare. Thankfully, they are taking it in stride (“It’s not the first time I’ve been taken”). Rings purchased at even the most reputable stores in tourist areas, recommended by the most elite of cruise lines, might not be what they seem. In this case, of the two purchased, one cannot be sized without falling apart and one is not as represented (an assembled gemstone instead of a solid gemstone and it’s glued in place, not set into the metal). Here’s a repeat of our advice:
We all love to travel. (Most of us do, anyway!) Bringing back souvenirs is one way to keep the memories of the trip alive. Jewelry is a popular one; it’s small and portable! However, we have a note of caution. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It may feel like a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Don’t spend more than you are willing to lose! We end up helping clients with their bad travel purchases every year! Values are misrepresented, rarity is exaggerated (“there are no more tanzanite being mined”), and many times our clients are just plain lied to. We’ve had clients buy what they thought were brand names at bargain prices at reputable stores only to find out the brand and quality were totally misrepresented. Colombian emerald has turned out to be chalcedony (They paid $1000. for jewelry worth $100. Yes, you read that right.) Getting money back, even from credit cards purchases, can be a time consuming nightmare.
Here’s how to minimize your risk:
*Make sure you have contact information from where you are purchasing. Name, mailing address, phone, email. These people count on never seeing you again and that you won’t follow up.
*Get recommendations from other sources besides the cruise and travel companies. Many times they work together. Talk to other travelers.
*If you are considering buying a bigger ticket item, do your homework. We’ve had clients think they bought Hearts On Fire Jewelry at a significant savings from a Hearts On Fire retailer out of the country. The ring was even stamped Hearts On Fire. It wasn’t.
Jewelry is a fun way to bring home the memories of your special trip. Just don’t spend more than you are willing to lose!