You don’t have to be a shopaholic to enjoy a fine piece of jewelry or to spend a bit more than you’re used to on something which really is special. Now jewelry seems to fit this pattern; even though prices may be a bit spicy they can offer a degree of satisfaction hard to obtained by buying something else. Even our prehistoric ancestors could confirm this, so it seems that this passion is here to stay. And if you are also a travel enthusiast then there are a lot of wonderful places that can also provide you with the unique chance to get a little something to make someone happy when you return home. As much as I don’t approve on shopping-only based holidays, I know that a few tips on finding the right gift are more than welcome; so here they are: 4 places to definitely find what you were looking for and even more:
Gold and silver in Morocco
Morocco is clearly a destination not to be missed in a lifetime: its history, original culture and mixture between the modern and the traditional can only be found here. And there are few of us who haven’t seen at least o few photos of the gold markets which make you feel like you’ve entered Ali Baba‘s cave. Jewelry crafting has been a traditional occupation in this country for a long time, their unique style being developed for a long time. Of course, you can order imitations or even original creations on the Internet, but this way you would lose all the pleasure of feasting your eyes with these works of art and then bargaining for something that has caught your attention.
You can find great silver and gold jewelry in the so-called souks, which are organized in different days in different regions. Very good souks can be found in Marrakesh, Fes (the best place to find gold), Essaouira and Ouarzazate; visiting any of them would prove a fantastic cultural experience as you would get to see snake charmers, singers and sellers eager to prove to you how great their merchandise is. You can also enjoy the local food. Going back to jewelry, you should be careful where you buy it from. You may be happy about the price, but there is always the risk of buying a cheap plated replica. So, as tempting as some offers may be, buy from a place which offers a guarantee certificate so as not to find yourself in an unpleasant situation later.
Pearls in Shanghai
If you get the occasion to travel to China and also to visit this huge city, you may as well shop for pearls, for you or for someone back home waiting for a present. I’m sure it’s quite easy to get lost in such an agglomeration so try going to First Asia Jewelry Plaza, where you should find everything you need. You will be astounded by the variety offered by the sellers; you can get very good value for freshwater, but also for sea water pearls so you should give it a shot. You can also find all the jade and semi-precious stones you could imagine, all in just one place. You can even design your own jewelry and watch it being made in front of you.
However, it’s a very good idea to be careful right from the start. The sellers will do their best to make you buy from them, but you should check every shop before making a decision. Moreover, be careful about not being tricked into buying something worthless. The test is quite simple: rub the pearl across your teeth: a genuine one will feel a bit gritty while a fake one will be smooth. If you’re still not sure maybe it’s better to keep your miney in the wallet. Once you decide to buy a pearl start bargaining; you can offer 10 to 25% of what the vendor is asking and then go up from there; one idea is to walk away in order to get the price you want but there is always the risk of losing the deal…
Diamonds in Amsterdam
So here you are, in Netherlands: the land of freedom, tulips and… diamonds! Especially in Amsterdam, the capital city, you can find a lot of shops to buy diamonds from, many close to the center. Of course, this time there’s no room for bargain so shopping here is for the well-off. However, there’s still something to gain even if you don’t plan to buy a “rock”. You can visit one of this places to see how jewelry is made and even receive a small gift after visiting it. The offer is however very tempting and you can see from place to place people glancing from outside at the exhibited jewelry.
There is even a Diamond Museum to see, and it’s really worth visiting it. The entire diamond industry is presented to you and there is also a permanent exhibition to impress even the pickiest. The connoisseurs can admire famous diamonds and understand more about the way the little stones got to rule the world. One way to spend less but also to see more, including the Diamond Museum, is to get an Iamsterdam card which will offer you a 25% discount in this case, but also the possibility to visit other museums for free and get a short”cruise” on the channels, not to mention free pubic transportation.