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Gübelin is the oldest jeweler we have secret shopped to date. Their storied history goes back to 1854 when the first House of Gübelin watchmaker shop was opened in Lucerne. In the 1920s, Gübelin expanded to jewelry as well as watches. To this day, it is still a family owned and operated company. Today they have 8 locations in Switzerland as well as boutiques in Hong Kong and Kuala Lampur.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Gübelin . We visited the Lucerne location on the quay facing the lake with stunning views of the mountains. The saleswoman was helpful, friendly and even knew something about diamonds (unfortunately that is rare). She was not pushy at all. The place had a luxurious vibe, but it was not overbearing or stuffy. There were a couple of tour groups going through the store at the moment (I’m guessing it’s common for tour busses full of people to show up at this location) which made for a louder atmosphere than expected, but it was still a pleasant experience.
We were shown two rings, both with GIA certificates. The first was a 1.05 excellent cut F VS1 in an 18kt white gold solitaire setting for 17,830chf. The ring was simple and stunning. The diamond was gorgeous (very well cut). The second ring was a 0.60ct excellent cut G VS2, also in an 18kt white gold solitaire, for 5,070chf. This diamond was not quite as good (the cut wasn’t quite as spectacular) but still a nice diamond.
This is where things get tricky. I understand that going into a nice store and having a luxury experience while purchasing has value. But that value is highly subjective. Most people would agree that the far more important part of the experience is the quality and value of the product you receive. While the quality of the product was not an issue, the value certainly was.
Take this ring from Blue Nile as an example. Here is a stunning 1.01 excellent cut F VVS2 diamond with a similar solitaire setting for 8,016chf. The ring would look identical to the one I saw at Gübelin for double the price. That is a lot of money to spend on the “luxury experience” you feel in the hour or two you spend in the store. I would think that money would be better spent on the ring you (or your partner) will wear the rest of your life. Look at this beautiful 1.55ct excellent cut F VS1. Putting it in the same ring, you are still spending 15% less than you would for the original choice at Gübelin .
You would think the smaller diamond would be a better value (or at least the same). Unfortunately this is not the case. Comparing that ring to this 0.60 G VS2 from Blue Nile and you see that they are charging 2.5 times the price at Gübelin for a similar ring.
While the quality and experience were up to par, the value just doesn’t seem to be there. You are better off getting a much larger diamond (or saving a significant amount of money) for an identical ring from a reputable online jeweler like Blue Nile, than spending more than double at Gübelin for a comparable jewelry piece.
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