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Being able to trust a jeweler with your time and money is much more than how nice their website looks or whether they have inexpensive items for sale. In fact, there are always several questions to answer before buying from a specific jeweler:
- Do they know what they’re talking about?
- Am I getting a good deal?
- Do they offer high-quality craftsmanship?
- What benefits do they guarantee?
- Do they have my best interests at heart?
Answering these can be difficult, especially if you only have one moment of talking to them or perusing their store, be it online or in person. That’s where I come in.
Today, my focus is on Smyth Jewelers. They’ve have been running for over one hundred years, so it’s easy for me to say that when it comes to diamond jewelry, they know what they are talking about. But as I’ve said, being able to trust a jeweler takes more than that. So today I’ll be reviewing whether they are worth you spending your time and money with.
The History of Smyth Jewelers
Smyth Jewelers was opened in 1914 by Albert Smyth as a family-owned jeweler, with the original store sitting in the suburbs of Baltimore. Today, it’s still family-owned, but can boast of being one of the largest jewelry store chains on the east coast, and is run by Tom Smyth and Bob Smyth, two third-generation Smyths—something that’s always nice to see with smaller jewelry chains.
Smyth Jewelers operates in three locations: Timonium, Annapolis, and Ellicott City, all in Maryland. Timonium is their flagship store, which boasts a showroom that almost takes up 20,000 square feet of space.
Smyth Jewelers’ store in Timonium. The ring you can see is 17 feet tall and 14 feet wide. Image credit: PR Newswire
The In-Person Shopping Experience
Smyth prides themselves on ‘quality, variety, and expertise’, and works towards the local epithet that’s been given to them: ‘Where Maryland gets engaged’. You can see this within their locations, which are bright, ambient, and well-demarcated. The staff are welcoming and helpful, and they have a very impressive selection of jewelry.
I also wanted to see what other people were saying about Smyth Jewelers, as independent reviews by everyday people are one of the best sources of information you can find. Here are just some of the responses:
- “Their selection of engagement and wedding rings is unparalleled”
- “I have come to Smyth twice in the past couple of months and both times my experience has been perfect.”
- “Service was incredibly quick and professional.”
These are all good signs. Evidently, I’m cherrypicking reviews here from various sites, but of all the reviews I read, there seems to be larger positive feedback for Smyth Jewelers than there is negative ones—but please head to these sites yourself before making a decision.
The Online Shopping Experience
Smyth Jewelers are not predominantly an online diamond jewelry seller, and this becomes apparent when you try to search for loose diamonds. The first thing I did was to use their diamond search function, which is admittedly just as good as other well-known online sellers, despite looking a little old fashioned.
Image credit: Smyth Jewelers
The first thing I did was to search with the widest parameters—any cut, any cost, any size, any clarity. It didn’t give me a solid number of diamonds I could look through, but results were sorted by cost, with the least expensive diamond being a Princess cut 0.31 J I1 priced at $198. Would I ever recommend a diamond such as this? No. I’ve got nothing against Princess cuts or smaller carat weights, but an I1 clarity-graded, J-color diamond is not worth buying.
One very good sign about this, their cheapest diamond (at time of writing), was that it was GIA-certified, and they included this certification within the description of the item. One of the most trustworthy things you can do is include certification, and, in my opinion, the most trustworthy certification is given by the AGS or GIA. You can actually search diamonds by their certification on the Smyth Jewelers’ site, which is very impressive and something you don’t even see at predominantly online sellers.
At these very small prices in the beginning of my search results, roughly less than 10% included images, which isn’t a good sign but is to be expected from a physical retailer. Their diamonds are meant to be viewed in-house.
When I began to search with actual parameters, I chose Round cut diamonds within the D to F color range, VS2 clarity, Excellent or Very Good cut, and within 0.95 to 1.05 ctw. At this level of search, nearly all the diamonds had images. I chose a Round Cut 1.01 ctw D VS2 diamond to view, which was GIA-certified. The diamond description included a high-quality video for me to view, and so even if you were exclusively buying online, with the imaging and certification you would be able to see whether a diamond is eye-clean or not (even though it does not state this specifically in the description, a feature Smyth Jewelers should work to include in the future).
The checkout process is smooth and simple, and shipping is calculated at this point.
The Diamond Range
The range of diamonds that Smyth Jewelers boasts is undoubtedly impressive. They have a wide variety which are well described and include easy-to-access certification (something I cannot stress the importance of). It seems that both online and in-store you can access this certification, with staff being more than happy to print off diamond certificates then and there.
The view of my initial diamond search. Online results are well presented and easy to sort through. Image credit: Smyth Jewelers
Where to Find the Best Quality Diamonds
If you’re strapped for time and are looking for a quick answer to ‘where can I buy a great quality diamond?’, I would recommend the skilled purveyors at Whiteflash (best diamond quality available), Brilliant Earth (ethical company, great for lab diamonds, James Allen (great selection of fancy shaped diamonds, and Blue Nile (great prices).
These four giants of the diamond industry have the knowledge, passion, and experience to find you the perfect piece. Plus, the quality of their wares and the service they offer is unmatched.
Both Smyth Jewelers’ search function and variety when it comes to engagement rings is just as impressive as online purveyors. You can search by designer, with results from big names such as Simon G., Tacori, and A. Jaffe. You can also search by style, metal type, diamond cut, and price.
I chose an elegant Tacori Simply Tacori Round Solitaire Engagement Ring to look at, as I enjoy Tacori’s dedication to contemporary design and attention to detail. The quality of imaging included was very good, and the description was everything I needed to understand the characteristics and features of this ring.
Naturally, the ring does not include the centre stone, a fact I prefer as this means that:
- You can better control the diamond you’re getting;
- Your options are inherently customizable;
- You’re not left with a good ring that may contain a bad diamond.
If you were to combine this engagement ring with the cost of the VS2 diamond I viewed previously, it would cost $11,966.
The Prices at Smyth Jewelers
This brings us to the prices. Now, because Smyth Jewelers operate with physical retail stores, a franchise like this will always cost more on average than online sellers. For example, take our previous choice of diamond and compare it to 1.01-Carat Round Cut Diamond with similar characteristics from Blue Nile.
|Smyth Jewelers’ Diamond||Blue Nile Diamond|
|1.01 ctw||1.01 ctw|
|D color||D color|
|Excellent Cut||Ideal Cut|
|VS2 Clarity||VS2 Clarity|
The diamond from Smyth Jewelers is 20% more expensive than the diamond from Blue Nile. They’re both very good diamonds and would look stunning set within an engagement ring, so the fact the Smyth Jewelers’ diamond is more expensive is not a disparaging note, and not truly a reason to look elsewhere, as there are always ways and means to find an affordable diamond even at a more expensive place.
However, if sticking to a small budget is high on your list of priorities, it might be worth looking elsewhere. Naturally, online diamond purveyors don’t run up the overhead costs of operating physical stores, and this is reflected within their cheaper prices.
My Final Verdict
While Smyth Jewelers are undeniably knowledgeable about their wares and their service is of high quality, what they offer is on the expensive side. For those for whom budget is of no concern, this won’t be an issue, but for others on tighter budgets, you can find the same quality items from online jewelers at much lower prices.
Smyth’s price points are mainly due to the fact that they are a physical retailer with locations—and locations mean overheads. This naturally puts the price up. However, if you’re a fan of personable service and being able to physically see your diamond or jewelry, Smyth Jewelers is an excellent choice.
If you’ve found this review helpful, but are still looking to expand your horizons when it comes to where to purchase diamonds and diamond jewelry from, look no further. I’ve developed an extensive list of reviews that you can peruse at your leisure, to find which diamond seller—be they online or physical—is right for you. Click here to explore, I would recommend starting your search with my James Allen review, followed by Whiteflash and then Brilliant Earth.