poland - amber for beginners

Aug 24th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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poland - amber for beginners

I would love to bring an amber necklace or bracelet back from our trip to Poland. I have to admit to being naive on this subject. Like any kind of jewelry, I am sure the pricing can vary greatly depending on quality, etc. Having said that, what can I expect as reasonable price for a simple necklace...in US dollars. $25?? $50??? Hundreds???

Also - does it make sense to only purchase in a jewelry store, or can the "uneducated" still get a good deal in the market places? My husband LOVES to negotiate, so I am sure he will be in his element (he is also fluent in Polish, which helps!!)

Thanks for your help!
paulalou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Amber isn't exactly diamonds, so jewelry stores are overkill IMO. The worth of amber is pretty much how much you like looking at it IMO, nothing else. Private jewelry shops may have more innovative designs and greater variety, but I just shop in outdoor markets in Poland and find nice stuff.

YOu can easily get a simple necklace for $25 (say a pendant of some design on a silver chain), but ones a little bigger or more elaborate may cost a bit more than that, especially with the low USD now (against all currencies, pretty much). I think I often pay around $15 for earrings, for example. I don't really like amber that well, but do like the green amber a bit.
Christina is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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BTW, I do not love to negotiate or haggle, and find it distasteful. I didn't see a lot of that going on anywhere I was in Poland in markets, but some places will give you a discount if you buy several pieces from them. But don't expect to name your own price and haggle all over the place. They aren't that desperate and the prices aren't that fluid as there are plenty of tourists to buy (at least in the market places I've been, like the main market square in Krakow, and the Salt Market area in Wroclaw.
Christina is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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I love amber. We were on a Clipper cruise in 2001 that stopped in Gdansk (sp?). We were warned by the ship's staff to avoid cheap amber.... it's often plastic. The way to determine if amber is authentic is to put it in a bowl of water. Real amber will float. Well... how can you do that in a market - So we went with a knowledgeble person to a highly recommended shop. I bought a lovely pendant set in 14 kt. gold for $200 plus. On our return to the ship we all compared purchases and mine was the best of the bunch. I love it still and it always attracts comments when I wear itl. So shop verrry carefully.
Grandma is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the information. I received a bracelet from my aunt as a child and always wanted a few more pieces. I like simple things, nothing chunky and large. I am looking forward to bringing home a necklace or earrings to remember this trip by.
paulalou is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Street markets deal in 'suspect' goods. Amber is apt to be counterfeit. Economical amber/bursztyn is available in 'Cepalia' shops along with authentic Polish hand crafts. Main streets in Polish cities have 'jubiler' shops that deal in quality jewelery. They exist to sell to Poles! You can buy there without qualms. You may even be able to get a VAT rebate. Inquire.
GSteed is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Thank you!! That is my main fear - if I buy in the market places, I do not know how to tell real from fake - and I will not be carrying a bowl of water around with me to float things in!! =) I will check into the Cepalia shops.
paulalou is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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You might want to take a look at this site:

Dukey is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:20 PM
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We were in Krakow last September 2006. We were able to get some beautiful pieces of amber jewelry from the various shops in the Cloth Hall. Prices were varied depending on the size of the stones and the designs. There are also numerous jewelry shops in and around the main square selling amber jewelry. I believe the amber we got from the Cloth Hall shops were of very good quality; the prices were not exactly cheap. Wroclaw also had some fine stores selling amber.
bandiroot is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Cepelia is VERY far from economical ... as for prices check this site (Polish Ebay) -> http://www.allegro.pl/search.php?string=bursztyn

or www.ebay.pl and search for bursztyn

Note that exchange rate is now about 2.80zl / 1$

If you can - visit Gdansk - not only a very nice old city but also full of amber shops...

As for a fake... very low price or made in china sticker would be a hint ;-)
PeterB is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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Beware of plastic "amber."
Dukey is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 09:31 PM
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Some shop owners held a match underneath their amber to show it wasn't fake or plastic.

When I was amber shopping I kept looking for pieces with petrified bugs in them.

But now that my amber craze has ended I have many pieces of buggy jewelry.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 10:10 AM
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hahaha....I will keep an eye out for that Made in China label!

As usual, thanks for the help - in general it sounds like the "use your head and trust your gut" theory is best!
paulalou is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Love Sea Urchin's sense of humor and her comments about her "buggy jewelry." The "bugs" are called inclusions and, as I understand it, make the pieces more desirable/valuable.

We just returned from Russia and I bought several bracelets and a ring there that I'm thrilled with. Also found a barrette with small pieces of amber clustered across it. Had never run across one before.

I too love amber and wish you well paulalou on your shopping spree!
Giovanna is offline  

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