The famous jeweler H Stern allows visitors to get a glimpse behind the scenes at these gemological headquarters. A 12-minute audio tour shows the process of turning the rough stones into flawlessly cut jewels, and you can peer behind the laboratory windows to see craftspeople, cutters, goldsmiths and setters at work. There's a free shuttle service to and from major hotels in Rio.
While there you can also ask to visit the small museum with its display of rare mineral specimens and large collection of tourmalines. Following the tour, you'll meet with a sales rep, which some people find uncomfortable. A polite 'No, thank you,' will usually see you to the next level (the showroom) and then on to the exit.