This article has mentions of products from one or more companies, and I may receive compensation if you purchase those products following reading my recommendations.
My experience allows me to give the best impartial advice to diamond novices and engagement-ring seekers across the world. Why? To protect customers (and their wallets) from the poor quality, overpriced jewelry and diamonds. To prevent disappointing experiences, buyers regret and diamond myths from being perpetuated.
This review is very much a cautionary tale, illuminating the pitfalls customers can face when shopping for an engagement ring. If you are familiar with Peoples Jewellers or considering purchasing from them, I implore you to read this guide – you will be glad that you did.
The Peoples Jewellers story begins over a hundred years ago. After forging their own path for much of the century, Peoples Jewellers were acquired by the Zales Corporation. Following this, they became part of the Signet group in 2014, whose brands include Kay Jewelers and Zales.
If you’re in the US, the association with Kay Jewelers and Zales might be a giveaway for what to expect from Peoples Jewellers. If you are in the UK, the Signet group also owns H. Samuel. The common trend here is a ‘rack them and stack them’ approach to jewelry, selling low cost, semi-precious jewelry alongside their ‘fine’ jewelry. Low quality diamonds, a lack of/inferior certification and unjustifiable prices plague these stores. Within jewelry groups, there are those brands that stand out as offering a higher level of service and quality – I do not tarnish every large chain with the same brush; I simply shine a light on those who let the side down.
Peoples Jewellers sell pre-set engagement rings. There are issues with this, namely that you cannot properly scrutinize the diamond when it’s in the setting; nevertheless, this is not always an indicator of a subpar brand – there are some beautiful pre-set engagement rings on the market.
However, when you try and delve into the details you will be hit with almost every red flag of buying a diamond engagement ring. First, let’s look at the basics:
- Peoples Jewellers do not sell GIA or AGS certified diamonds. They sell Canadian ‘certified’ diamonds under a number of collections (Prestige®, Canadian Luxe™) – try as you might, you will not find specifications for these collections or what makes them ‘prestigious’. The approach to certification is very cloak and dagger.
- Peoples Jewellers use GSI for their certification (not that you, the consumer, would learn this on their website). The GSI use entirely different standards to the leading labs resulting in looser grades, inconsistent grades and a low tier certification.
- There is a lot of ‘estimating’; approximate carat weights, bracketed color and clarity grades – nothing to give customers the assurance that they know what they are buying.
- The same goes for diamond specifications; cut quality, fluorescence, proportions and measurements, diamond clarity plots…all the crucial information is withheld making it impossible to truly understand the properties of your diamond.
- Peoples Jewellers have around 150 bricks and mortar stores across Canada, however, they still sell engagement rings online! This means they must be held to the same transparency standards as the leading vendors. Peoples Jewellers do not provide diamond imaging, instead they use generic images for their products making it impossible for buyers to see the diamond before buying – a recipe for disaster.
Beauty and trust must go hand in hand when buying an engagement ring. Over the years, vendors such as Whiteflash and James Allen have proved to be reliable, customer focused and genuine. To truly appreciate the standards that can be achieved buying a diamond online, take a look at the Whiteflash cut specifications for their A CUT ABOVE® super-ideal cut diamonds. Admire the competitive prices offered by James Allen - these vendors prove there is no need to settle for unclear diamond specifications and a limited choice.
Peoples Jewellers Engagement Ring Review
This 1.00ct round brilliant engagement ring is set in a simple, 14K white gold 4-prong setting. It is listed as a J in color and I1 in clarity. I would not recommend I1 clarity diamonds for an engagement ring – they are visibly included. Even without the necessary high-res imaging, we know the diamond will be included.
This is the only available information for the diamond specifications. Nowhere near enough to make a reasonable decision.
But, perhaps the greatest disappointment is the price. Peoples Jewellers use one of my most hated marketing ploys; listing an ‘original price’ alongside a drastically discounted price. Beautiful diamonds do not go on sale, particularly not a sale with thousands of dollars difference.
In this case, the original price is listed $6,999 but has been generously ‘reduced’ to $5,999.
Anywhere around the $2,000 mark is the expected price for a 1.00CT J-I1 round brilliant (I found this diamond with these specs on James Allen for $2,090). Pair with a 14k prong setting like this one for $440 for a total cost of $2,530.
With a difference of $3,469, the Peoples Jewellers prices are unfathomable. Although I would not recommend this particular James Allen diamond for an engagement ring, it is at the very least GIA certified, with high-res imaging and all the necessary specifications are provided.
The Final Word
I do not recommend People Jewellers for any of your diamond needs.
Protect yourself from disappointment by going for the best of the best. Whiteflash offer an in-depth diamond education for all their customers, transparency and support. This support is crucial for ensuring a positive buying experience. Furthermore, their A CUT ABOVE® diamonds are world class with a level of precision and performance that is unrivalled. As we have seen, James Allen is another great option who offer competitive prices and a great collection of fancy cut diamonds. Another great option is Blue Nile who hold a huge inventory of loose diamonds. Here are three popular vendors who prove there is no need to settle for less.