Discovering the hidden gems
With Valentine's Day imminent it’s no surprise that jewellery, being both personal and romantic, is a popular choice of gift. But the reality is that jewellery is a wonderful way to show that someone special in your life how much they mean to you whatever time of year it is.
The good news is that you can make the experience of purchasing your bit of bling unforgettable by combining it with a trip away, as across the world there are specific places that are synonymous with certain precious metals or sparkly jewels.
Also some destinations offer incredible value, making the whole experience cost less than you might think - and that's not even mentioning the wider range available.
So if you fancy heading away to pick up that special piece together here are the
Flexicover team's top suggestions.
Precious stones: Jaipur, India
While it's not a place where gems are mined, the bustling city of Jaipur is the world's centre for gem polishing: the art of turning the mined raw pieces into sparkling stones suitable for world-renowned stores. Around 90 per cent of gems are said to pass through Jaipur, making it an excellent choice to find a large selection at a fraction of the retail price. The catch is that it's important to research beforehand and know the trustworthy vendors from the questionable ones. That's also the caveat with buying diamonds in South Africa - if in doubt Antwerp is regarded as the diamond hub with the largest selection.
Gold: Dubai, UAE
Dubai is world famous for its gold shops - fitting as it's one of the most affluent countries in the world. Attracting both the Arab and Indian markets, both of whom buy gold as an investment as much as an accessory, gold can be bought from most gift shops, specialist markets and even in machines in some hotel lobbies. A quick travel hack: don't buy gold from machines. Instead, try the Gold Souk, which almost has 24ct gold dripping from its shop windows. Here, gold is sold by weight with workmanship an additional cost, providing better transparency to go with the reason for your purchase. It's also VAT and tax-free, meaning that prices are hugely competitive. Just remember you may have to pay a Customs Duty for items over a certain value - check with www.gov.uk for the current legislation.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Jewellery: Glasgow, Scotland
So ubiquitous is the art nouveau design that we've come to think of it as just another style of silverwear. But a trip to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's spiritual home of Glasgow is a reminder that the design was concocted from the incredible mind of the architect and designer. Here, you can visit many of the buildings influenced by his style, including the stunning Glasgow School of Art. It's also the place to buy jewellery pieces truest to his vision, with a large selection of authentic pieces in gift shops and specialist jewellers. It makes for a magical getaway for those who appreciate good design as much as good jewellery.
Silver: Bangkok, Thailand
With the silver mining industry set to decline and with the US and China growing as the biggest buyers, sterling silver isn't only a romantic present, but a smart investment choice too. One of the best places to peruse is Bangkok in Thailand, where the Silom and New Road areas offer plenty of choice. The Jewelry Trade Center offers competitive prices for both finished pieces and silver by weight. They're well-versed at creating custom items too - ensure you visit at the beginning of your trip and feel free to haggle a little. Purchases bought and heart won, head to the nearby island of Koh Samet for a well-deserved few days on a sparkling turquoise beach.
Jade: Kowloon, Hong Kong
The opaque-green Jade is a key precious stone in Chinese culture as it signifies good luck: if Jade jewellery breaks, it's said to be because bad luck was intended for the owner but was absorbed by the stone instead. While it's widely available across China, there's a large concentration at the Jade Market in Kowloon. Despite the change around it, it's been a hub of activity for years, offering a large array of products, from amulets to bracelets to loose stones, in designs suitable for a broad range of tastes and budgets.
If you’re planning to pick up some jewellery on your travels, or anything else that’s considered a valuable, it’s best to check your policy wording to ensure you have adequate cover in place. Also remember not to place valuables in your hold luggage but carry them in your hand luggage instead.
So wherever you head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.