The nice people at H. Stern will send a car for you, show you how gems are found and made into jewellery, sit you down with refreshments, and let you try on anything you like from their store. Obviously they want you to buy it, but there's no hard sell. My kids are teenagers, and I thought they might be bored, but they found it quite entertaining and liked the free small scoop of fruit-based ice cream they were given. Even my tomboy-ish daughter unwound enough to look at some of the more modern pieces they had on offer, and another friend who swears she hates anything like this place came out converted!
The people are delightful and the gems wonderful, and it's entirely possible to get a very good bargain compared to prices outside Brazil.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
April 19, 2006
From journal Living in Rio