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Buying A Diamond Overseas


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I will be taking a Carribean vacation in January. I have been told (through friends) that I can get a diamond cheaper than I can in the US. I have also been told that if I buy a loose stone (my intent) then I do not have to pay taxes when I bring the stone back to the US. I was looking at Diamonds International in the Carribean.


Thanks in advance for the help!

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HI Hearvet,

If you were comparing the Carribean stores to a higher priced US brick and mortar, yes, they are less.

But there's stores in the US that can compete with the Island guys.

Then there's the internet- in which case you can buy them for less in the US......



There's also a lot of other stores in the Caribbean that may even be better than the one you mentioned, depending on what Island, and what you're looking for...

SO-let me ask you- what island, and what diamond?



AS far as buying a stone loose...wouldn't you rather take care of the jewelry at the same time?

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I was looking for a princess cut 1.4-1.7 carat (1.7 looks a bit big on my finger). The stone will be mounted in a platinum setting so I thought I could go with H, I or J for color and SI1-2. We are going to St. Lucia.

Thanks for the help!


Wanted to buy loose because I wanted to put it in a Jeff Cooper band that I LOVE and can only find Jeff Cooper at certain stores. Also I was told there was a tax advantage to buying a loose stone overseas (ie. no taxes when you bring it into the states because in an unmounted form you can declare it as a gem/mineral)

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I have told them (Robbins Bros) I am intersted in supplying my own diamond. They would want me to be present during the mounting.

Of course they did show me several beautiful stones I could get through them!


So, am I opening myself up to being taken advantage of overseas (drilling etc)? Or can I save a significant amount of money (ultimately I want as much diamond as I can get for my money, wherever we choose to get it)?

Thanks again!

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I see quite a bit of jewelry purchased at the cruise ports and the clients are rarely happy. Perhaps that’s filtered by the fact that they don’t hire me unless they think they have a problem but I too have been on cruises, I’ve heard the pitches by the cruise directors and I’ve visited the stores. I’m not impressed.


The least expensive marketplace for diamonds in the world is the US Internet dealers. This is simply a reality. Shipping costs effectively nothing as a percentage of the value, FedEx and DHL offer fabulous service for a very reasonable price. This means that dealers from India to Aruba to Beverly Hills are all buying on a relatively level playing field. Dealer cost on a particular $10,000 diamond will be approximately the same whether the store is in Aspen or St. Maartin. The difference happens with taxes at the dealer.


First let’s clear up a common misconception. Import taxes on diamonds into the Unites States is zero. Check the website for US Customs if you don’t believe me. ‘Duty Free’ is meaningless for US shoppers since it’s duty free at every jewelry store in America. The only tax you owe is your local sales tax and you will need to pay that at US Customs when you come back into the country. Check your home states website or US Customs for details on how to handle sales tax for purchases made overseas. They have no inherent advantage on this issue.


Cruise port jewelers have among the most expensive business models in the industry, comparable to airport gift shops. This doesn’t make them bad, but it gives them an inherent disadvantage when it comes to price. They occupy among the most expensive real estate on the planet, they generally employ expensive multi-lingual workers, they carry huge inventories, they advertise heavily and they pay commissions to the cruise lines, cruise employees, taxi drivers and anyone else who will bring them business. Their return policies are generally extremely weak and, when problems arise, they’re resolved in overseas courts. Jewelry makes a pretty good souvenir of your travels because it’s easy to pack, it’s not perishable and the Caribbean is a romantic place to shop. These are all fine reasons but don’t expect a bargain anymore than you would expect to see a bargain in Aspen or at the airport.



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