Our Shocking Review About Zales’s Celebration Diamonds

Celebration FIRE™ – The Most Brilliant Diamond in the World?

Let’s head over and check out one of their listings – a 5/8 carat solitaire ring.

celebration fire 10 hearts and arrows

The scope images and diamond quality leaves very much to be desired

Based on the hearts and arrows images provided on the website, it seems that Zales didn’t set that high of a standard for their signature cut. For someone who had spent lots of time examining super ideal cut round diamonds, the flaws on the images can easily be discerned.

Unequal hearts, misalignment of the V tips, unsymmetrical spacing and etc are among many of the issues caused by poor cut precision. Don’t believe me? You can make your own comparisons and judgment with the guidelines for hearts and arrows here.

white gold ring from zales diamond specifications

Here’s my gripe. The consumer is expected to pay a fixed price of $3,999.99 for the ring and yet the diamond’s quality isn’t a fixed parameter. In the product specifications, it is stated that you would receive a diamond with H to I color and clarity of SI1 to SI2.

Seriously? Are we buying diamonds or playing Russian roulette here? Obviously, a H SI1 stone would be much more valuable than an I SI2 stone. If you made the purchase, what do you think you would end up with?

By calling itself the most brilliant diamond in the world, it has really big shoes to fill. Does it really look brighter than all other diamonds on the market? I highly doubt it and I’m not the only person who thinks so. In November 13th 2012, Sterling Jewelers filed an official lawsuit in the courts against Zales for misleading advertising claims made with the Celebration diamonds. It would be interesting to see how everything turns out in the court.

Celebration 102™ – More Facets Equals More Sparkle?

Zales isn’t the first company to use additional facets to modify a diamond’s appearance and they definitely won’t be the last. The claims made with these modified round cuts are always the same. That is, they are supposed to be more brilliant and provide a higher level of optical performance over other round diamond cuts.

gia report for celebration 102

celebration 102 diamond faceup view

Face up view of the Celebration 102™ diamond with a messy looking appearance

zales celebration 102 round diamond

You see, the thing with additional facets is they tend to make diamonds perform better under certain lighting conditions (e.g. super intense spotlights). Well, these are not the common lighting most people find themselves in most of the time. Under normal fluorescent lighting and natural daylight, the extra facets break up the diamond’s surface into many tiny spots which makes them appear kitschy and messy to look at. For that reason, I would advise you to stay away from such diamonds unless you have the budget to purchase stones weighing 1.5 carats or more.

Celebration Grand™ – Shine Bigger And Bolder?

Amongst the Celebration stones, the Grand™ diamond bears the most resemblance to a standard round diamond cut with modifications being made only to its diameter. The rationale behind this is to create more surface area for light to be captured and reflected. In turn, this creates a “grander” look so that everyone around you will notice the stone.

Yeah right… They would probably notice the huge ugly inclusions in the stone too.

What!!? Wait? What did I say?

You’ll see what I mean when you study the listings of the rings carefully at their official site here.

product specs for celebration grand diamond

Besides the questionable color grading range we had discussed earlier, have you noticed the I1 clarity grading? Well, I did a check on the listings for the rings and found that the majority of them utilize I1 diamonds as the center stones. That’s not a good sign.

If you don’t know what an I1 clarity means, let me spell it out for you. You will either see eye visible inclusions in your ring or the diamond has durability issues which makes it susceptible to damage. In terms of clarity, this grade is really close to the bottom of the barrel. Imagine proposing to your girlfriend with this ring and she sees a stark black inclusion in the diamond. How would she feel?

These Things Cost a Bomb – Are They Worth It?

Like other branded cuts, the Celebration diamonds command a hefty premium on their price tags. They can easily cost twice the amount of a 57 facet ideal-cut round diamond with similar specifications. I personally don’t hold the Celebration diamonds in high regards but they might still appeal to people with certain tastes.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What is most important is that you should inspect the diamonds physically and make comparisons to other ideally cut diamonds before coming to a decision.

Their 60 day return policy may sound very assuring. However, you should read the whole chunk of fine print and terms carefully before you commit to a purchase. You don’t want to become part of the statistics of customers who had negative experiences because you didn’t pay enough attention to details.

Where Do Smart Shoppers Really Go?

If you are looking for diamond jewelry with real tangible data for an accurate assessment of its quality, I recommend that you avoid general jewelry stores like Zales where they sell all kinds of jewelry like pearls to watches.

You will be better off shopping at James Allen or Brian Gavin Diamonds where they are equipped with the necessary equipment to help you analyze a diamond’s performance. Besides offering lower prices and higher quality diamonds than Zales, their knowledgeable customer support provides a level of service that is second to none.

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One Comment

  1. Jane Myers, GG, AJP-
    December 15, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Paul,
    This is a good lesson for the consumer and a good teaching lesson for those of us who value the 4Cs and the cost to our consumer.
    I am a Personal, Professional Jewelry Concierge…I save my client time and money through careful research and negotiation. Lately, I save a client approximately $15,000 on a stunningly gorgeous 1.80 GVS1 round brilliant….stunning. The appraisal came in at double his cost. To say I am thrilled is an understatement.

    The lay person shopping in the mall has literally no idea of what is really available to him when he works with chain stores (other than Bailey, Banks and Biddle, H Winston, etc.) Retail costs are prohibitive for one who wants top of the line gems. This is where I come in and I have established my business as one whose thrust is “Integrity above all else”. Each of my clients have been more than thrilled with their purchases, I owe that to my ‘finicky’ precision on finding the best quality from the most trustworthy source.
    Thanks, again, Paul, for your eye-opening lesson!
    Jane

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