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Old 12-14-2013, 05:23 AM   #1
alagille
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Tanzanite- what's the deal?

I'm cruising this spring and just remember hearing ALL about Tanzanite on our eastern caribbean cruise last fall. "It's so rare, but we still have a few for you to purchase though". The stuff was EVERYWHERE in St. Thomas and just wanted to know the REAL scoop vs the store paid (non-DCL employee) shopping consultants.

It's pretty, but I'm concerned it's just overpriced CZ in different colors.

Thoughts? I don't really have a trusted jeweler here locally so aside from shopping the chain stores and getting a sales pitch, I don't really have a go to person here.
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:39 AM   #2
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Tanzanite is beautiful and is found near Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa. It is not a CZ but a genuine mineral. When rough it is usually a reddish brown color and requires artificial heat treatment to bring out the blue violet of the stone. There are stores all over the Caribbean and even in Alaska. Must be a chain because they are all called 'Tanzanite International', Diamonds International, Emeralds International etc. I don't know the prices but I know there is no internationally recognized grading of the stones so I guess you buy what you like and pay what it is worth to you. Kind of vague I know.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:06 AM   #3
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All the "International" stores are a chain, located mainly in cruise ports.
My personal opinion, I wouldn't buy jewelry at a location where I couldn't easily return it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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Tanzanite rarity is a marketing ploy. I've heard the same spiel about how its going to run out soon for the past 15+ years on various cruises.

Buy it if you like the look but don't think of it as an investment.
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:45 AM   #5
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Tanzanite rarity is a marketing ploy. I've heard the same spiel about how its going to run out soon for the past 15+ years on various cruises. Buy it if you like the look but don't think of it as an investment.
Exactly what I was going to say. I bought my ring in 97 in St. Thomas and heard the spiel. I don't have any regrets, I bought the ring because I liked it. My husband was probably thinking investment though. Lol
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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The others said it well. I bought 15 years ago, albeit not on a cruise. I remember the same claim.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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I don't get all of the jewelry stores at the cruise ports. In Ketchikan there were 72 jewelry stores. This is a town of 13,000 people. A tour bus driver told us there were only 3 stores owned by locals and the other 69 were owned by the cruise ship companies. I can't imagine these stores offer better prices or service from any other jewelry store. Is it just people like to spend money on vacation???

Maybe Amazon.com could offer free wifi on board of the ship so people could shop away.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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If you're thinking of buying it because it's supposedly "rare" and might be an investment, don't. Jewelry purchased now will probably never be worth more than its original value.

Only buy something if you really, truly love it, and plan to wear it often. Otherwise, spend your money on something that you know you'll really enjoy.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:20 AM   #9
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Not specific to Tanzanite but if you know what you want or are looking for in advance you can save some money. My husband was looking for a specific Citizen watch. We've been watching prices for a year. In the states they were about $750 retail. The cheapest we saw it was $400 on sale. They had the watch on the ship for $375. We were going to buy on the ship but also checked in port. One shop in St. Thomas had it for $325. We jumped on it because we knew we were getting a good price.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alagille View Post
I'm cruising this spring and just remember hearing ALL about Tanzanite on our eastern caribbean cruise last fall. "It's so rare, but we still have a few for you to purchase though". The stuff was EVERYWHERE...
10 years ago, Alaska cruise, SAME nonsense. I hadn't ever heard of it then, but blue-ish-purple isn't really my thing, so we weren't tempted.

Later on I was able to buy a tanzanite ring from ice.com for almost nothing. Laughed really hard at the concept of it being SO rare blah blah blah.

And the people at the stores in Alaska came really close to making it sound like it's FROM Alaska. Like it's super-special for an Alaskan cruise. Weird.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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10 years ago, Alaska cruise, SAME nonsense. I hadn't ever heard of it then, but blue-ish-purple isn't really my thing, so we weren't tempted.

Later on I was able to buy a tanzanite ring from ice.com for almost nothing. Laughed really hard at the concept of it being SO rare blah blah blah.

And the people at the stores in Alaska came really close to making it sound like it's FROM Alaska. Like it's super-special for an Alaskan cruise. Weird.
They did the same thing with topaz. What they call "Caribbean" topaz in the Caribbean, is Mystic Topaz, and in Alaska they called it something else....making it sound specific to Alaska.
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MillauFr View Post
I don't get all of the jewelry stores at the cruise ports. In Ketchikan there were 72 jewelry stores. This is a town of 13,000 people. A tour bus driver told us there were only 3 stores owned by locals and the other 69 were owned by the cruise ship companies. I can't imagine these stores offer better prices or service from any other jewelry store. Is it just people like to spend money on vacation???

Maybe Amazon.com could offer free wifi on board of the ship so people could shop away.
I think it's especially sad to be in such a beautiful part of the world (Alaska) and to spend one's time in port shopping for jewelry and tacky souvenirs!
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:02 PM   #13
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I think it's especially sad to be in such a beautiful part of the world (Alaska) and to spend one's time in port shopping for jewelry and tacky souvenirs!
in Alaska, as well as other ports we plan an excursion or beachy-thing on our own and always have a good half hour pre or post activity to do some shopping. We do try to support the locally owned stores, just as we do at home.

I have an in-expensive ring made of tanzanizing tanzanite and enjoy wearing it now and again, to each their own.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:34 PM   #14
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I think it's especially sad to be in such a beautiful part of the world (Alaska) and to spend one's time in port shopping for jewelry and tacky souvenirs!
I think it's a free world and everyone is entitled to do what they enjoy.
Having time before or after exploring, or even instead of, looking for mementos, doesn't necessarily mean buying tacky souvenirs.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:53 PM   #15
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I did an Alaska cruise last year on Princess. When we were in Skagway, we booked an all day excursion into the Yukon. As we were leaving, the shopping guide tried to hand us the shopping guide. I politely explained that we would not be shopping due to an all day excursion, we were heading straight to the bus and then when we got back, straight to the ship. He seemed a bit peeved..... Had a hard time taking no for an answer. I am glad that for Alaska, for the port shopping talks the first words out of their mouths must be "I do not work for the cruise line. All stores I am going to talk about have paid to be mentioned."
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