How does one combine high-octane gem-studded retail therapy with the freshness of travelling? As it turns out, some of the best places to buy diamonds in the world are great romantic getaways. Here’s a list of where to go to buy diamonds while making a trip of it.
New York City - Home to the flagship store of Tiffany & Co, New York City is one of the top ranking cities to buy diamonds in the United States of America. The Diamond District located on West 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues is a great place to go diamond shopping. Close by are a list of major New York City attractions like Rockefeller Centre, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall and Broadway Theatre District to head to once your shopping is done. Another diamond buying district in New York City is on Canal Street. (www.diamonddistrict.org)
Paris - Rue Saint-Honoré and Place Vendôme are known for the jewellery stores. One can roam the streets in search of vintage jewellery, local craftsmen and of course everything from Tiffany & Co. to Cartier to Harry Winston.
Antwerp - The city's famous Diamond District has been in the business of processing diamonds since the 15th century. The Jewellery District offers buyers a wide range from antique diamond earrings to beautiful engagement rings. Located south and southwest of the Central Station, within an area of one-square mile, the district is full of primarily Jewish merchants, which also makes this a fantastic ethnic and cultural hub. One of the largest diamond showrooms of Antwerp is Diamondland located near the Central Station. Make sure you don’t go on a Saturday as no business is conducted.
Amsterdam Like Antwerp, Amsterdam also has a long history of diamond processing. There are many diamond factories in the city which offer guided tours. One has the chance to see how diamonds are cut and polished, and receive an extensive description of various diamonds. Amsterdam has many unique jewellery shops with work by local craftsmen along with the renowned brands like Cartier. It is also home to the Diamond Museum. (www.diamantmuseumamsterdam.nl)
London and Birmingham Two famous jewellery centres in the country are Hatton Garden in London and the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. Other places to visit in London are Jermyn Street, Bond Street and Piccadilly. One can find Harry Winston, Graff, Cartier, Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co, Chopard and many more here. There are over 300 jewellery-related businesses and more than 100 jewellery retail outlets at the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. One can take a tour of the many museums and galleries and visit a jewellery factory as well. (www.jewelleryquarter.net )
Australia Australian Argyle Diamonds are known for the stunning array of colours from pinks and champagne to white. One can either buy loose GIA certified stones or go in for set jewellery here. The polished stones are sold in various parts of Australia, especially Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well as exported to Antwerp, America, UK and Mumbai. (www.argylepinkdiamonds.com.au)
South Africa and Botswana South Africa is home to the Kimberley and De Beers mines which produce most of the diamonds of the European markets. Head to Johannesburg to find great deals from licensed gemstone dealers. Botswana produces 20% of the world’s diamonds and is a great place to go on a jewellery safari.
- Do your research before you buy. Well-known diamond retailers around the world usually have websites.
- Map out the merchants you want to visit beforehand.
- Make prior arrangements with your hotel for your purchases to be securely stored and have it insured at the point of purchase.
- Declare your purchases on arrival to avoid legal hassles and fines.
- Wherever you go, remember these C’s:
- Cut: Refers to the proportions of the diamond rather than the shape such as princess or round. A well cut diamond sparkles brilliantly by allowing maximum amount of light to enter from the top, be reflected and dispersed back through the top.
- Clarity: Determined by the number, size and location of flaws. The clearer the diamond, the higher its value. Most diamonds contain some inner flaw called inclusions or surface flaw called blemishes.
- Colour: The best colour for a diamond in the ‘white-range’ is no colour, to allow for the most sparkle.
- Carat Weight: The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. There are 5 carats to a gram and 100 ‘points’ to a carat.
- Certificate: Make sure the diamonds you buy are graded by certified professionals or diamond grading labs. The certificate is like a grading report.
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