Buying a Cartouche

Aug 1st, 2000, 08:17 PM
Carol Peddie
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Buying a Cartouche

Where should I buy a gold cartouche in Egypt? In the bazaar in Cairo, in one of the big hotels or would I do better waiting until Luxor or Alexandria ? Can you bargain on this purchase or is it calculated solely on the going price for gold?
Aug 1st, 2000, 08:34 PM
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You can buy them everywhere---I bought mine at end of trip for ease in packing.....
Aug 1st, 2000, 11:27 PM
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You can buy cartouche anywhere however major shopping centres will tend to be a little more expensive. Out of the way places will be cheaper but goods may not be of same standard. Remember, if you want a cartouche that spells out your own name in hierogliphics you have to order and have made, it takes a couple of days, however, make sure you see a design before ordering as you may not like the look of your name.

When you first go into a shop ask price of gold (they'll tell you in grammes) and then have a cartouche (of size you want to purchase) weighed and get price, that way you can work out (approximately) how much you are paying for workmanship and that is the section of price you can negotiate down, a shopkeeper will rarely move much on the gold price, but workmanship price is negotiable to a certain level. I suggest you learn above in a shop other than the one you purchase from as when you go to purchase it is to your benefit to let the shopkeeper know that you know about gold price, quality (9, 18 and 22kt)etc. I don't know about hotel shops but anywhere else remember to bargain.

If you intend to pay by credit card don't let shopkeeper know this until the deal has been made, many add more to price if they know credit card is being used. It's best to agree a price and then show credit card as shopkeeper is not going to want to lose a sale. You may have to do a bit more bargaining, but you are unlikely to have to pay the full 2% he would have added (without your knowledge) if he knew from the start you intended to use a credit card. Don't feel bad about bargaining, it's the way of life and the shopkeeper is not going to hurt himself.

Have fun.

Aug 2nd, 2000, 02:46 AM
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If you intend to use a credit card, it is best to do your bargaining in Egyptian pounds rather than dollars or other currency. The charge slip is usually made out in their currency and the shop will pass on the bank charge to you without telling you. Also ask what conversion rate the shop will give you; then make sure what is in the charge slip is what you expected to pay.
Aug 2nd, 2000, 12:42 PM
Wei Huang
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The best place to buy Cartouche is at Gouzlan's two Cairo locations. The store operator speaks good English. Their main store is in Khan El-Khalili and every other store owner in the Khan can direct you to Gouzlan.

I did web search of US Cartouche suppliers and their pricing is 3X of what I paid for the same thing - an 18K, lapis or malachite filled, 4-hierographic character Cartouche. It was LE 250 (USD 73) at Gouzlan and USD273 or so on the web.

Gouzlan will ask for a small deposit, LE50 (USD14.4)in my case, and will deliver to your hotel a day later. Very good work, my wife loves it.

Avoid buying Cartouche or other Egyptian items in hotel stores, unless you speak Arabic and know to bargain.

Aug 3rd, 2000, 03:42 PM
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Also, if you are on a tour, your tour guide may offer to put in an order to a factory for you and other group members. This was the best price we found. Depends on how you feel about your tour guide's honesty. We paid in cash (US or Egyptian) and she had them in 2 days. She also showed us samples and how our name would look beforehand. Just another possible option.

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