Let’s head over and check out one of their listings – a 5/8 carat solitaire ring.
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.
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, an 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. On 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 court.
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.
Face up view of the Celebration 102™ diamond with a messy looking appearance
The Celebration 102™ diamond also has a nail-head like dark patterning.
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.
Amongst the Celebration series, 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.
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 have eye-visible inclusions in your ring or the diamond might have 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?
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.
If you are looking for high quality diamond rings at competitive prices, I recommend that you avoid general jewelry stores like Zales where they sell all kinds of jewelry like pearls to watches.
From experience, such retailers do not have specialized expertise in diamond jewelry and most of them utilize low quality diamonds in their jewelry. Also, the lack of tangible data for you to accurately assess what you are buying makes the shopping process very difficult.<< Prev Page
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!
Have you done a comparison of celebration diamond vs leo diamond? Would you say that the Leo Diamond is better quality than the zales celebration diamond 102?
Well, both are some of the worse diamond brands I’ve come across because of their poor consistency and lack of reliable grading reports. The Leo Diamond is typically graded by the GSI lab and their standards are far off GIA’s. In terms of sparkle and brilliance between the celebration diamond vs leo diamond, I would say that the Leo diamonds would edge out slightly.
Both are excessively expensive and their light performance is mediocre. I won’t even go near these 2 brands with a 10ft pole.
I’ve read your article and frankly it makes me unhappy to learn all this. I’m currently looking for a replacement wedding set because I lost mine. It was insured and the insurance company has settled. I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on diamonds and your article doesn’t leave hope for people like me who would want quality but also a good deal. I read recently that I1 is a good starting place but not to go lower. Is that true? I’m not looking for perfection but I would like for the size to be visible. I’ve found during my search that people like me have to give up one or the other. I was working with Sales but after reading your article, I’ll have to go somewhere else. Thanks for the honesty. This is good info. The only other question I have is does info pretty much apply to all chains like Zales?
Have you seen any I1 diamonds in person? If you haven’t, try to browse and make side by side comparisons against GIA certified diamonds with higher clarity grades. I1 clarity is actually not a good starting point for most consumers and more importantly, you need to look at who graded the diamond as I1. If it isn’t GIA or AGS, then you can be sure that the stated clarity grade is going to be worse than I1. Not all stores are like Zales and I say this because Zales’s target customers are geared towards the price sensitive consumer group. Regardless of where you decide to shop, make sure you look out for a reliable grading report.