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I'm traveling by ship and, as long as anything purchased stays on-board, there's no duty payable. Technically, you could probably legally wear gold purchased elsewhere as long as you took it back on board with you.

A bigger "concern" is the adding of sales or value added taxes at time of purchase.

My current premise is that I am most likely to buy gold in Dubai and/or Thailand. In both countries, gold sales are duty free. The price of the gold is fixed at about bullion equivalent plus a negotiable add-on for the workmanship. Depending on the country/culture, gold is sold by different weight units and the chart gives me the ability to make sure that I understand the structure of the pricing being offered to me.

I have a bad habit of buying my wife a gold high karat (generally 22-23 K as 24 karat is too soft and deforms easily) one or two bangles of the same diameter at each stop where gold is commonly sold this way. I think she has about 10-12 by now. She keeps telling me to stop, but I think they look kind of cool because they are crafted in a number of different styles. Besides, I can hear her coming if she tries to sneak up on me :-)

In Thailand, this sort of gold jewelry (much of it is 24K) is used by the ethnic Chinese as a means of storing their wealth as they distrust paper money. It is not particularly highly styled, but is what it is. In Dubai, the styling (based on Indian and Yemani) is much more ornate, but I suspect the prices are higher as well as it is closer to being thought of as jewelry, rather than just conveniently shaped gold.


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