World's Best Bargain Shopping

by Colleen Clark

Jewelry, Jaipur

Jaipur, India, is the world's capital of colored gems, where hundreds of millions of stones are cut and polished before being shipped off to (and marked up at) Barneys, Cartier, and Tiffany. Well-prepared shoppers can score precious and semiprecious pieces for a fraction of the cost back home. We suggest starting off at the granddaddy of Jaipur's jewel purveyors, Gem Palace (pictured), where ornate antiques and chic contemporary pieces have drawn everyone from Prince Charles to Mick Jagger, Jackie O to Bill Clinton. You'll pay slightly more here than in the city's other stores, but you're assured a regal (and honest) shopping experience, without hassles and pressure (but don't worry, you can still bargain). Even those on a limited budget can afford a shiny souvenir, such as delicate 14K-gold stacking rings lined with semiprecious stones (about $140). Also check out the turquoise necklaces, silver cuffs, and semiprecious stones at Amrapali (whose jewels have adorned glamazons like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Campbell). Fill out your collection with silver costume jewelry from the Johari Bazaar. Be prepared to bargain hard in the bazaars, starting at less than half the price. The more established shops require delicate exchanges, usually winning you 10 to 20 percent off the quoted prices. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend everywhere else, but you should choose a precious souvenir worthy of the riot of colors bursting from India's streets.

Watch a video of gem shopping in Jaipur, courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler.

Gem Palace
M.I. Road
Tel: 91 141 236 3061

Panch Batti
M.I. Road
Tel: 91 141 2362768

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