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Helzberg have over a hundred years’ experience and are one of the oldest chains of jewelers in America. Observing changes in the industry and garnering a solid reputation, the Helzberg name is one held in esteem across the USA. But, can a company of rich history and strong roots compete with the new age world of jewelry buying, and do their diamonds measure up to the industry leaders? This review will take a closer look at Helzberg so that you can decide if they are the right store for your diamond needs.
In 1915, Morris Helzberg opened the first Helzberg store in Kansas City, Kansas. A short time after founding the business, Morris fell ill, leaving his son to take charge. By the 1970’s, Helzberg had seen rapid expansion and today has around 210 stores across in 36 states. In 1996, Barnett Helzberg sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire Warren Buffet.
Helzberg has created smart marketing tactics throughout the progression of their business including the introduction of an iconic pin badge, ordaining their associates so they can marry customers in-store and becoming a sponsor of the Make-A-Wish® foundation. Their future promises a closer look at lab-grown diamonds and advances in virtual services across their website.
It is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of Helzberg’s diamonds but the underlining issue is exactly that; inconsistency and very little focus upon diamonds quality. I am pleased that across the Helzberg website they offer GIA certified diamonds, but I also know that in-store, they hold diamonds of inferior certificates. Their pre-set rings will cause issues for customers as the lab isn’t given and nor are specific grades – I cannot fathom paying for a diamond of which the qualities are not truly known. It makes it impossible to know if you are being ripped off and usually the answer is yes.
They also offer branded, signature cut diamonds such as the Radiant Star diamond, which features 145 facets (a normal round brilliant has 57 or 58).
Helzberg do offer a Diamond Masterpiece collection of AGS certified diamonds that boast super-ideal cuts and hearts and arrows patterning. These diamonds are in a different league entirely to their run of the mill diamonds. The cut quality is remarkable and these diamonds do deserve the masterpiece title.
However, as we will examine shortly, they still cannot claim the top spot. Masterpiece diamonds can only be purchased pre-set in a ring and they carry a large premium. That is not to say the quality isn’t worthy of some kind of premium, it most certainly is, but you can find diamonds just as beautiful for considerably less.
Helzberg are still geared toward an in-store experience, but nevertheless, their website is e-commerce and therefore they must be held to the same standard as other online vendors. Given that their best diamonds (Masterpiece Collection) are only available in-store and that there is absolutely no diamond imaging anywhere on the website, I do not recommend them for buying diamonds online.
Helzberg Diamonds stores aren’t particularly lavish – nothing wrong with that if you’re pulling costs to offer best priced diamonds. Unfortunately, with so many stores it seems Helzberg simply require employees and it becomes a game of quantity rather than quality. Sales staff give off all the red flags that so many companies have tried to move away from, with false promises, hard-selling and a lack of industry specific knowledge (particularly with regards to cut quality). I feel for the diamond novice buyer heading into a Helzberg store, for they are surely throwing themselves straight into the shark tank.
I randomly picked a diamond with the average specs I search for (round brilliant 1.00ct H-VS2) and found the details of the diamond picture below.
The diamond is a Very Good GIA cut grade but from the specs, it’s not a particularly striking diamond nor one that I would recommend. The diamond is listed as $6,927. Let’s see what they money could get you.
This gorgeous 1.00CT H-VS2 by Whiteflash is part of their premium select range of carefully chosen, GIA certified diamonds that hit the top of the cut quality grades. Presented with high-res imaging, 360 video and light performance reports, you can see for yourself that it is a knockout. This diamond is priced at $6,750 so is cheaper than the Helzberg diamond but of far superior quality; and, you can actually see it before buying.