by Ana Ramos
It took me one month to convince my parents but I have finally got them to say yes. My cousin and his wife, along with a sister-in-law and their children would be spending a week of vacation in Baja California and I convinced her and my parents to let me come along. I am not really that interested in the trip, although having a chance to wear my new bikinis and sarongs would be great. What I am really after from this trip to Baja California is the shopping.
It all started about six weeks ago when my best friend came home from a vacation in La Paz, Baja California wearing fine silver pendants and beautiful ethnic beaded bracelets. She brought me a turquoise necklace with a silver bumble bee pendant, all of which are made of authentic materials and cost her less than 20 dollars she said. She was also able to buy a silver locket, a silver ring with a geometric pattern of onyx studs, glass bangles, and a silver chained necklace with a fabulous flower pendant made of ivory and opals all together costing her just under 200 bucks.
Of course, that left me wanting to go to Baja California to go jewelry shopping just like she did.
And so for I month, I saved as much of my allowance as I can in the hopes that I would be granted permission to go to Baja with my cousin’s family and spend it all on fantastic jewelry pieces sold at bargain prizes. I was already imagining bazaars lined with stalls and booths overflowing with silver bangles, gold rings, glass beads, trinkets, ornaments and baubles. I also looked through different magazines and websites in order to get an idea of the different local jewelry designers and brands available in Baja California.
Surprisingly, when we did get to Baja California and I approached the first jewelry stall that I saw in a bazaar in Todos Santos, I found not just jewelry pieces designed by local craftsmen and artists but also imitations of designer jewelry collections from United States and Europe. Authentic silver necklaces, chokers, dangling earrings, cocktail rings, pendants, lockets, bangles, anklets and hoop earrings bearing the not-so-authentic emblems of Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany, Cartier and Bvlgari are sold for bargain prices that are just a mere fraction of the cost of the original ones.
I didn’t help myself to the imitation jewelry items though, but I did use up all my saved money on everything else. It was interesting to find modern designs sitting along side pieces that feature ethnic or traditional jewelry styles. I bought chunky silver bracelets that look as if they came all the way from Thailand or Tibet because of the carved designs as well as cute charm bracelet that has a poodle, Eiffel tower, martini glass, stiletto and handbag charm. I also got an amazing cocktail ring for my mom made of silver and glass beads for a really good deal. And as presents, I also bought hair baubles for my friends and a pair of silver cuff links for my dad.
In short, I had a fantastic time shopping for jewelry in Baja California and plan on coming back for clothes, shoes or bags the next time!