The Very Highest Quality Advice...

Buying Jewellery from AbroadClick here to return to FAQ IndexChard 24 Carat Home Page

A Typical American Ring
A Typical American Ring
How Long Before that Unsupported Collet Bends or Breaks?
Buying Jewellery on Holiday & from Abroad

Every week, we get people who have bought jewellery in foreign countries, often while on holiday. It may be a diamond ring, a gold chain, uncut sapphires, almost anything. Sometimes they need it repairing, others want an appraisal and valuation to ensure they have not been cheated, some expect to be able to resell it at a profit. Nearly all expect our free expert advice. Some are merely bragging about what a great deal they have got. Some folk ask our advice because they are thinking about buying jewellery on an intended trip. So what are the benefits and pitfalls of buying from abroad?

Why Are You Buying It?
This might seem obvious, but before we can advise anyone whether or not they should buy abroad, they should ask themselves why they are buying it. The most obvious motives are:-

Lets take these reasons one by one, and examine the advantages and disadvantages.

Exactly What You Want
This is the best possible reason for buying jewellery from a different country. It is also the best reason for buying any piece of jewellery anywhere at any time. As far as the price is concerned you should ask yourself whether you will get an amount pleasure from owning and wearing it at least equal to its cost. If it passes this test, then buy it. It is worth while asking about guarantees or repairs, but this also applies at home. Obviously if you buy a piece of jewellery in Thailand which subsequently needs repair under guarantee, then it will be more difficult and expensive to return it, than buying it from your local jeweller. Do bear this in mind but don't let it stop you if you are contemplating buying something you really love. We once had a lady who had bought a very attractive pair of emerald ear-rings in Thailand, she asked us to repair them because a small fault had developed in a short time. We were slightly reluctant to undertake the repair because we needed to solder close to the emerald, or unset and reset it. There is always a risk when working with emeralds. We advised her that it might be worth writing to the supplier and asking their advice about the repair. She had obtained a valuation from the shop. We were slightly surprised but delighted when she told us that they had asked her to return the ear-rings, had repaired them expertly, and returned them to her very promptly.

Because It's Cheaper
This is not as good a reason as it may at first appear. First you should ask whether you are buying something you really want. If not, then you probably should not buy it. Some people are determined to get a bargain, even if is not something they will get any use out of. There is also the question of paying import duty or VAT, but look at the separate paragraph further down this page.

To Make a Profit
This is generally a stupid reason. If it were so simple to buy cheaply in one country and sell it for an instant profit in a different one, don't you think that UK jewellers would be on the next plane loaded with cash, and making instant fortunes on their return? Also as under the previous heading, what about VAT?
We had a local girl who spent over £1,000 on some jewellery in Thailand. She tried to sell in in Australia without success, and we ended up buying it from her at a reasonable price but at far less than it had cost her.

Because It's Different
This is quite a good reason to buy. Obviously , you should apply the same criteria as under the "Exactly What You Want" heading. Make sure that you will get your value by enjoying wearing or owning it. There may also be a practical reason why you don't see the same designs at home. It can also be easy to be carried away by a vast selection of different designs, so that you feel you must buy one of them, even if it is not perfectly what you wanted.

Romantic Holiday Purchases
Many people get into a "spending" frame of mind when on holiday, perhaps fired by a feeling of well-being, or merely alcohol. Perhaps it seems romantic to buy a diamond in Amsterdam or an opal in Andamooka. If you will get everlasting pleasure from your purchase, then go ahead, but if the novelty will wear off as quickly as your holiday suntan, then think twice before parting with your cash.

Everyone Else Was Buying Jewellery
This is probably a perfectly valid reason if you happen to be a lemming, however if you are an independent thinking human being, its rather a sad reason. Learn to think for yourself!

Other Considerations
Whatever your prime motivation for buying jewellery abroad, there are certain points you should consider.

Can you trust the vendor? Would you buy from this shop or person back home? It is not always safe to assume that a very impressive shop will be trustworthy, or that a backstreet one-man business will be cheap. Do you know anyone else with experience buying from the same source?

Guarantees & Repairs
What will happen if you have a problem with the jewellery which would normally be covered under warranty? Can you return it, and if so how much will it cost to post and insure? What about repairs?

Import Duty & VAT
It's all very well to smuggle your purchase into the country, and think it's smart to have avoided or evaded import duty and Value Added Tax, but it's not really very sensible when you take the time and trouble to think things out, yet we never cease to be astounded at the vast majority of otherwise sensible and apparently law abiding citizens who think it is smart to engage in the criminal activity known as smuggling. For the sale of saving about 17.5% of the value, some people take stupid and thoughtless risks. There is often a personal import allowance, so you would only pay tax on the excess. We believe that most customs officers presented with an honest citizen declaring their foreign purchases would treat them very reasonably, and perhaps even waive any small amounts. Certainly this has always been my personal experience. The dangers involved in smuggling are high.

The Price of Smuggling
If you are caught trying to smuggle goods, you are at risk that they may be confiscated. If not, you may be given the option to pay the tax plus the same again as a penalty. This will be based on Customs and Excise estimate of the value of the goods, not on your cost price, so you may end up paying not double, but treble or quadruple what you would have paid if you had declared the goods. If you try ever sell or exchange the goods, the purchaser may acquire your tax liability as it is illegal to deal in smuggled goods, and they remain subject to forfeiture and worse. You would be well advised never to take the items on holiday, because you could be stopped the next time, or even the twentieth time you entered the country wearing them. If you got caught smuggling, you could end with with a criminal record. Balance all these points, and we believe that any intelligent person would agree with our advice that it's a poor gamble to take.

A True Story
You may also be interested to read our version of a true story about a smuggled Rolex watch.

Buying Jewellery - New or Secondhand? the Lowest Possible Price

32 - 36 Harrowside, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 1RJ, England.
Telephone (44) - (0) 1253 - 343081 ; Fax 408058; E-mail:
The URL for our main page is:
Chard(1964) Ltd
Remake American Solitaire Remodel Rhodium plated solitaire from Turkey Repair CZ Eternity from Greece Watch from Turkey