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|Michael Fried|| Overall Score:4.17|| Price:3.5|| Selection:4|| Customer Service:5||Pros||Cons||Other Recommended Retailers|
Cerrone Jewellers were, hands down, the best retailer we secret shopped in Australia. Yes, you can save money by shopping online. And we recommend buying online for a myriad of reasons (we explain here). That said, there is something about having the experience of purchasing in a store. If you are willing to pay a premium for that, there is nothing wrong with that.
Cerrone Jewellers had the best sales team we came across in Australia, they had a fantastic selection of diamonds and settings and were eager (yet patient) to help us find the perfect ring. As explained below, you will save roughly 25% if you purchase online. That is a significant yet reasonable premium, especially considering the whole package Cerrone offers. Pretty much all of the other jewellers we secret shopped had higher premiums with inferior service.
Born in Lanciano, a small village on the east coast of Italy, Nicola Cerrone immigrated to Australia when he was 12 years old. Following his schooling he was employed as an apprentice to a master jeweller in Sydney’s central shopping district, thus igniting his passion for what would become his life’s work.
Cerrone travelled the world and learned from masters and artists throughout Europe before opening his flagship store in the backstreets of Leichhardt in 1972. Within five years his workshop grew from two to 20 employees and he now operates the largest handmade jewellery workshop in Australia.
In 1991, Cerrone was commissioned by the Argyle Diamond Mine to design and execute the largest diamond necklace ever made in Australia. The brief from Argyle was to create an exhibition piece for investors. Cerrone’s answer was to craft what would become known as the Million Dollar Necklace, an awe-inspiring piece that includes hundreds of cognac, champagne and white diamonds, totalling an unprecedented 230 carats.
In recognition of his success in Australia, Cerrone received the Key to the City (il Frentano d’Oro) in his hometown in Italy in 2006. The award celebrates individuals who have succeeded abroad and made a positive difference to arts and the community. The presentation officially opened a three-day festival that included a parade showcasing his 2007 Passione collection, plus Italian cuisine, wine, horseracing, picnics and nightly fireworks displays.
In 2008, Cerrone was honoured to create three vessels that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI used at World Youth Day’s Closing Mass. He designed a Chalice, Paten and Ciborium to reflect native Australian flora with Australian cognac and pink diamonds. In 2009, a new retail store in Sydney’s Martin Place and the 2011 reopening of the Castlereagh Street store marked another chapter in Cerrone’s climb to success.
We didn’t manage to visit Cerrone in Sydney or Brisbane, so our first experience was walking into the St. Collins Lane shopping centre. St. Collins Lane was a very nice location and the Cerrone Jewellers was a stunning centerpiece there. The store had a clean, modern look and the store was surprisingly comfortable despite the luxurious vibe.
We went to the store on back to back days, working with two jewellery and diamond consultants. The first one was Hannah when we focused on white diamonds. The second time we went to Cerrone, we looked at pink diamonds and Rebecca helped us.
I cannot overstate how amazing Hannah and Rebecca were. It is incredibly rare for me to rave about the customer service, but I have no choice here. They were both very knowledgeable, patient and friendly. There was no hard sale, and they were constantly looking for an option that fit us perfectly. Both Jenny and I were impressed; maybe even a little overwhelmed.
The first ring we looked at was a unique looking round solitaire engagement ring for AU$8,700. The diamond was a 0.74ct D color, VS2 clarity triple excellent cut. It was well cut and eye-clean and the brilliance was noticeable on the diamond.
The second ring we looked at was a 2.01ct E color, VS2 clarity oval cut diamond set in a white gold solitaire setting. The oval cut was eye-clean and very brilliant. There was a bit of a bow-tie, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Personally, I didn’t love the diamond, but it wasn’t bad. The price for the ring was AU$42,700.
The third ring we saw was a 1.20ct D color, SI1 clarity pear shape diamond in a white gold halo setting for AU$18,970. This diamond had no bow-tie and seemed to be well cut, but the inclusions were noticeable to the naked eye.
The whole time we were looking at these, Hannah was clear that they can source any diamond we want (she’ll help us pick it out from their “internal database”). There was no attempt at a hard sale.
Rebecca was equally helpful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make much sense to compare the diamonds as pink diamonds are very rare and it’s hard to find something to make an apple to apple comparison.
It was fascinating to me that one location of Cerrone had three pink diamonds in house for viewing. That is very impressive. To be sure, they were all smaller (0.14ct – 0.35ct) but it is not common to find any selection in house.
Let’s start with the first engagement ring. That was a 0.74ct D color, VS2 clarity round diamond in a gold solitaire setting. The diamond was beautiful. Here is an equally stunning round cut 0.74ct D color, VS2 clarity diamond from Blue Nile for AU$4,691. If you mount the diamond in this setting, the total will set you back AU$6,053. That is a savings of 30%.
The second diamond we looked at was an oval cut 2.01ct E color, VS2 clarity diamond set in a white gold solitaire setting for AU$42,700. Here is a similar 2.01ct E color, VS2 clarity oval cut diamond for AU$32,912. Adding it to this setting and you will save 22%.
The last diamond we looked at was a 1.20ct D color, SI1 clarity pear shape diamond in a white gold halo setting for AU$18,970. He you have a similar 1.20ct D color, SI1 clarity pear shape diamond from Blue Nile for AU$10,362. If you add it to this setting, the total cost is AU$13,336. That is 30% less than the Cerrone engagement ring.
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