Hidden Gem

Santiago is one of South America's best-kept shopping secrets. With prices in their own countries skyrocketing because of inflation, well-heeled Argentines and Brazilians are flocking to the Chilean capital for their luxury purchases. Among the best buys—besides leather and wine—are gems like amethyst, malachite and lapis lazuli.

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Amethyst is locally prized for its supposed healing properties (it's common to find chunks of it lying in homes to counter bad luck). Malachite is used in popular fashion accessories, worn by Chilean women in bracelets and anklets as they sashay down the Parque Arauco Mall. But lapis, the most...

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