Some companies start off with a bang, others grow slowly over time. Helzberg Diamonds was a bit of both. In this article, you can read up on a short history of Helzberg and how it became the iconic brand it is today.
In this review of Helzberg Diamonds, we will also review some of their items available for purchase (specifically diamond rings), which has gone far beyond a few diamonds to include other precious gems, jewelry, watches and more.
After finding out more about the company, you should have a better idea of whether buying a Helzberg diamond ring is right for you.
Helzberg Diamonds has been in business for well for over a century. In fact – they are 102 years old and counting at the time of writing!
Originally, the business was formed by a gentleman by the name of Morris Helzberg. Sickness prevented him from growing the company as he would have liked and his young son was left to take over the operation. He in turn trained his own son, and this tradition has kept the company within the Helzberg family.
However, in 1995, Barnett Helzberg Jr. made the decision to put the business on the market and it was purchased by a company under the ownership of Warren Buffet.
Today, the CEO of the business is Beryl Raff and the chain has expanded to hundreds of stores located across America. Some of their featured products include personalized rings, diamond and gemstone jewelry and bridal jewelry.
There is no shortage of ring designs to choose from in the engagement category. From the traditional round solitaire ring designs to the more sophisticated shapes such as the emerald or pear, there’s a massive selection available.
And even though their brand name may suggest otherwise, it doesn’t mean Helzberg Diamonds only carry diamonds! They sell a whole range of gemstone rings like rubies, amethyst, topaz and other types of birthstones.
Of noteworthy mention is that Helzberg Diamonds carry certain lines of branded diamond cuts like the Royal Asscher and Crisscut. These branded diamonds take on a different appearance (not saying it is any better or worse) and flavor compared to their traditional counterparts.
If you are planning that special day and need wedding bands, Helzberg Diamonds may just have the thing you are looking for. They have a slew of jewelry designs that range from being very simple to others of incredible detail. Prices start around $200 and scale upwards depending on merchandise.
Interestingly, Helzberg Diamonds also offer a selection of gifts for the bridesmaid, groomsmen and even the parents. So, if you plan on getting a gift of appreciation to your helpers and loved ones, this is something you may want to check out.
As you can imagine, the categories for diamonds are huge with this company. They have multiple options from earrings, studded or otherwise, to bracelets and necklaces and many more.
Create Your Own
Creating your own ring or building your own piece of jewelry is a popular feature that almost every jewelry site offer right now. Helzberg is no different and has kept up with the trend. You can choose to design your own jewelry in a few different ways.
You may start creating your own ring with a diamond or another gemstone, or you can even start with the setting. The options are fairly open which leaves a lot of room for imagination. But really, this is a standard feature that every other jeweler is able to provide in today’s world.
Anybody can sell a diamond online these days. However, what sets a great vendor apart from another lies in the business’s customer service standards and how easy it is for a consumer to make an educated purchase.
While Helzberg Diamonds has a great variety of settings and designs to choose from, buying a big ticket item like a loose diamond or diamond engagement ring from their website isn’t that easy even for a seasoned shopper like myself.
For starters, the lack of tangible data like videos or performance images makes diamond selection extremely tough. Granted, they do have listings with “3D views” where a Sarine scan of the diamond’s appearance is provided. However, these selections are very limited.
Here’s how a typical listing looks like on Helzberg.com:
Click this link to browse through the inventory Helzberg.com…
In contrast, here’s how a listing on James Allen (another online retailer) would look like with HD interactive videos:
Click this link to interact with the video and experience the user interface at James Allen.
Interestingly, Helzberg Diamonds offers a service where you can preview up to 2 loose diamonds in-store for free. This is clearly an effort to integrate online sales with their physical retail stores.
I must say it’s a good policy to have and adds some value to the consumer. However, it doesn’t change the fact that there is insufficient tangible data to help you narrow down your choices to preview in-store.
The Helzberg Diamond Masterpiece series is the company’s line of “super ideal” cut diamonds which have accompanying AGS certificates. Personally speaking, I love AGS graded diamonds because the laboratory employs scientific techniques to grade a diamond’s cut quality and light performance.
Naturally, this piqued my interest.
When buying a super ideal cut diamond, you would require tangible data in order to verify a company’s claims of a diamond being “super ideal”. More specifically, I look out for the diamond’s hearts and arrows cut precision, ASET images to verify light performance and Idealscope images to analyse light return properties.
However, when performing a review of Helzberg Diamond Masterpiece jewelry pieces, I couldn’t utilize an analytical approach like I normally do. This is because crucial tangible data like these were not made available on Helzberg’s website.
Sample ring listing from Helzberg.com
Another issue that bugs me is the lack of choices the consumer can make when buying a Helzberg Diamond Masterpiece online. Stated in the listing below (as well as the other listings on their website), the center diamond has an “I” color and “SI2” clarity.
There’s no option to choose or select your own diamond and as a consumer, you would be constrained by what the available diamond specs they stated. Now, I would go on the record saying that SI2 diamonds need to be eyeballed with a video or in person for eyecleanliness.
What happens if you don’t want a I diamond and want a colorless E color diamond instead? What if you want a VS2 clarity or an IF clarity for symbolic reasons? Likewise, the same issue arises if you are looking for a diamond with a specific carat size (e.g. 0.9ct diamond).
As a shopper, the last thing you would want to do is to jump through unnecessary hoops and hassle to find something you need.
Regardless of where you intend to buy your diamond ring, I’m pretty sure budget would be one of your main criteria when buying an engagement ring. So, how do prices of Helzberg Diamonds’s engagement rings stack up?
Let’s do a couple of price comparisons to find out…
Using the same Helzberg solitaire ring from the Masterpiece series above, the cost of the ring would be $3,399; with a center diamond graded by AGS that is assumed to be an I color and SI2 clarity.
At White Flash, I actually had to choose a diamond with higher specifications because they didn’t have any low clarity diamonds in the SI2 range at the point of writing. A simple solitaire setting made from 18k white gold was also selected for this price comparison…
If you tallied the cost of the White Flash ring with a center diamond of higher quality, the price comes up to be: $545 + $1,697 = $2,242.
This is 50% LESS than the cost of the Helzberg ring and mind you, this comparison was made using a higher quality diamond from White Flash. If we had to use a lower quality diamond that Helzberg offers, the White Flash ring would cost even less!
Let’s do another comparison of prices between Helzberg and a different vendor; James Allen. This time, a pave setting with a 1 carat center stone was selected from the Masterpiece series. In similar fashion, the diamond specifications of this Helzberg engagement ring is I color and SI2 clarity.
Over at James Allen, we selected a platinum ring with similar design and used a top tier AGS ideal cut diamond with H color and SI2 clarity.
By adding up the cost of the loose diamond and ring setting from James Allen, we get a total cost of $1,230 + $5,670 = $6,900. Once again, the price of the ring with a higher quality diamond (H color compared to Helzberg’s I color) is significantly lower!
Due to lower overheads and better efficiency of managing inventory, online retailers like White Flash and James Allen are typically able to pass on the savings to consumers compared to a traditional retailer.
Helzberg Diamonds is a reputable company with multiple stores across America and have a vast retail presence when it comes to the jewelry market. In a market where consumer habits are fast changing due to e-commerce and the availability of information, Helzberg Diamonds is definitely moving in the right direction. However, they still have a lot of catching up to do.
I personally find Helzberg Diamonds to be a great place to shop if you are buying smaller items and jewelry gifts. When it comes to important purchases like a diamond engagement ring, a discerning customer may find their offerings lacking and their higher price points uncompetitive.