Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cruise Shopping (No Jade to be Found in the Caribbean!)

Usually when I take a trip, a cruise, I see a few women wearing jade.  This time, I didn't see any jade:  no jade pendants, jade bangle bracelets on cruise ship passengers or in the shops at the ports we visited.  People asked me about the jade bangle I was wearing, and were surprised it was really jade.

Kathleen's personal Qing Dynasty carved jadeite bangle bracelet

The shops in the ports had the usual cheap China costume jewelry, and I didn't even see any jade, or fake jade, in the shops.

I like to buy "something" in every port, even if it's a small piece of costume jewelry so I can wear it for awhile while I'm still basking in the memories of the trip.  Forte-de-France, Martinique was completely closed down for the Festival of the Red Monkey parade and celebration, their version of Mardi Gras before Lent begins.  So no shopping there.  San Juan Puerto Rico didn't have anything locally made.  I like the clothes, especially white dresses, tops, but they were all imports from China.  Just before we got back to the ship I found a seller who had magnets with photos of Puerto Rico that she made, so I bought one of those for $2.  Money was burning a hole in my pocket.  I have no idea why we went to the port of Samana in Dominican Republic.  That's the best place to buy larimar jewelry because it's mined there, but Samana is nothing but a row of houses, few vendors on the street selling (of course) Chinese novelties, but I found a booth with a women who hand croched items, and purchased a small bag for carrying my iPhone around, just because she was the only person trying to do something different.  Our last stop was Co Co Cay, and I knew their Straw Market is more Chinese novelties at high prices, so I was hoping Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos would still have the port shopping I remember from the last time I was there.  And it was there and thriving.

About three years ago I purchase a larimar stone and sterling silver necklace, nice quality and wear it often.

I considered purchasing another larimar necklace,  and there was a good selection in the same shop I bought from three years ago, so I decided to walk around to the other shops and think about it.

Blog readers know I always recommend that you purchase the jade that appeals to you the most, that you almost drool over when you look at it, because that's how you know it has the right qi energy for you.  I took my own advice, although it wasn't jade that attracted me.  It was mother of pearl and 18K gold.  And, oh my goodness, what lovely mother of pearl, like I had never seen that quality before.

Mother of Pearl and 18K gold pendant and chain

It glowed when I held it.  It gave me the feeling of calmness, spirituality, well being.  I have a knack for finding and falling in love with the most expensive pieces when I shop, and this was no exception.  The shop was Mark Henry Boutique, which has stores based in New York and ports that are know for good shops.  Of course I bargained for the best price they would offer, and was satisfied with what I paid.  When I got home, I searched online for similar items, didn't find anything as nice as this, and what I did find that was similar in size, with 18K gold and total weight was three times what I paid.  So if you ever stop in Grand Turk, and want a fabulous piece of jewelry at a good price, shop at Mark Henry Boutique.

That purchase was my splurge, but I couldn't leave Turks and Caicos with buying some larimar stone for gifts for my girlfriends (and myself!), so bought some very inexpensive pieces at a local market.

Larimar and silver necklace

Larimar and coral necklace

That was the extent of my shopping.  I didn't even buy jewelry on the ship.  The pearls on the ship were man-made pearls, and talking with jewelers it sounds like real pearls are becoming too expensive to purchase because there is so little profit when selling commercially.  A style of jewelry that was very popular both on the ship and in ports is the Pandora style bracelets with charms.  My friend who helps design and make jewelry from the jade we have was able to find good quality silver bracelets that we could add the hollow carved jadeite bead, which are on sale today since she got them finished this weekend.

Hollow Jadeite bead on Pandora Style Bracelet

I like to come home from a cruise or a trip with my suitcase bulging with things I bought but the mother of pearl and 18K gold pendant and the larimar necklaces and magnet  didn't take  up much room in the luggage.  I'm very happy with my purchases, and love the port of Grand Turk for it's beauty (and the shopping!)

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