Mélange Caribbean Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

St. Maarten

The Caribbean Gems Love Story

It all started years, ago, when, at the tender age of 23, Manu Budhrani left his home town in Pune, India and travelled to St. Maarten. Upon his arrival, he opened a small store which he called Caribbean Gems. Shortly after, 15,000 km away from his home town, Manu met Neelam, a young lady from India who was visiting relatives in St. Maarten.

They fell in love.... yes, at first sight!

Incredibly, these two were from the same home town, Pune, in India. Even more incredible is that they lived just one street away from each other, but never met in Pune. It seems they were destined to meet on this tiny island in the Caribbean.

Their story continues... both Manu and Neelan are vegetarians and, they made the decision to become vegetarians the very same year, about 10 years before they met.

It gets better - their parents both share the same wedding anniversary date, May 4th!

So, there, on the beautiful island of St. Maarten where their love story began, Manu asked Neelan to be his wife and they were wed on the island of Puerto Rico in 1984. Thirty-two years later, their love story continues. Were these just coincidences or had the universe planned to bring these two souls together?

Manu & Neelam

Side by side, Manu and Neelam has worked hard to build Caribbean Gems to what it is today, one of the top rated jewelry stores in St. Maarten with two locations on Front Street, Philipsburg (the Dutch side of the island).

Their store started with the sale of gold and silver jewelry, slowly added fine jewelry including emeralds from Colombia, tanzanites from Africa and other semi-precious gems from South America. Today, they specialize primarily in certified loose diamonds but still carry a large variety of fine jewelry, watches and many brands of designer jewelry such as Frieda Rothman, Zeghani and more. They are also able to to custom-make jewelry per client's specifications, in their in-house workshop.

Throughout the year, Manu and Neelam travels to jewelry trade shows around the world seeking fine quality gems and unique pieces. By visiting the shows, they are able to personally hand select many of the amazing pieces their clients have coveted and requested over the years. Their taste has found wide appeal among their many clients who return to St. Maarten regularly on vacation and visit their store, confident they'll find a treasured piece.

Many visitors who own time shares in St. Maarten have become regular clients. Their vacation is never complete until they've visited Caribbean Gems, sometimes accompanied by friends. Manu believes cruise ship travellers oftentimes choose a cruise itinerary only because there is a stop-off in St. Maarten which gives them the opportunity to visit Caribbean Gems. The staff of this store is one of the main reasons so many customers return, time and time again. Their warm, welcoming demeanour presents a family atmosphere converting once mere customers into friends.

Reading reviews of Caribbean Gems on Tripadvisor, gives you an insight into why there are so many return customers! [ http://bit.ly/1Tk01eZ] The formula at Caribbean Gems is very simple - a high quality merchandise, excellent customer service, genuinely friendly staff and extremely competitive pricing.

This has been the mission statement of Caribbean Gems and now, thirty-three years later a new generation has joined the Company. Ahasan, the first son of Neelam and Manu, who carries the noteworthy title of Graduate Gemologist from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is continuing to espouse the values of his parents, ensuring that their legacy lives on. He previously worked in the diamond industry on New Youk's famous 47th Street and has brought this knowledge and expertise of the industry to the family business in St. Maarten. With this new addition to the business, you can be assured that Caribbean Gems will continue to flourish.

As one of the top tourist destinations in the Caribbean, Caribbean Gems invite visitors from around the world to visit their beautiful St. Maarten. When you get there, do pay them a visit. We guarantee youl'll love all they have to offer.