We are reader-supported. Buying through any red colored link on our site may earn us commissions. Learn More.

Maison Birks Review: Good Service, Bad Value

By Mike Fried,
Overall Score:2.833 Rating3 Rating
Maison Birks
Price:1.51.5 Rating1.5 Rating Selection:22 Rating2 Rating Customer Service: 55 Rating5 Rating
  • Nice ambiance
  • Beautiful diamonds

  • Limited selection
  • Premium pricing

The History

Of all the stores we’ve reviewed, Birks’ history is about as storied as you can get. Their roots go back a couple of centuries, with company founder Henry Birks opening their first store in 1879 in Montreal with a grand total of $3,000 in capital. The business has moved around a bit but settled on their location in Phillips Square a couple years later and have been there ever since.

Birks slowly expanded and their reputation burgeoned throughout the 1900s. Like Tiffany & Co, Birks was known for their signature blue box. In 1993, Jonathan Birks sold the family business to the Italian investment company Regaluxe Group.

Now 140 years later, under the name Maison Birks, they now operate 28 stores around Canada. Some are freestanding boutiques, while others are mall locations.

The Experience

Jenny and I spent the afternoon strolling around Square One Mall in the suburbs of Toronto. Just around the corner from a Starbucks, we saw Maison Birks. Now there is no doubt that there is a mall feel to the experience, but Birks genuinely makes an effort to give that homey standalone store feel. The store had a very nice entrance and a calm interior.

Once inside, the staff immediately descended on us. They were incredibly friendly (at first I thought that was just a Canadian thing but, after visiting several stores afterwards, their friendliness stood out) and eager to help.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

We started chatting about diamonds and rings. The sales rep was a bit confusing when explaining the certification process, but she asked the store manager to step in and he clarified that every diamond in the store had a GIA certificate.

Deal Alert: Get 30% off lab-grown diamonds during a limited time sale at James Allen.

The Product

Birks does not have the widest selection of settings but their quality is impeccable, both when it comes to settings and to diamonds. We looked at two diamonds in a solitaire setting. The first one was a 1.06 I SI2 Excellent cut round diamond for C$13,000. The cut was just a tad off (I’d like to see a lower depth), but it was a brilliant diamond and it was eye-clean.

The second diamond we saw was a gorgeous 1.01 I VS2 excellent cut for C$15,000. I loved the look of this diamond. It was also eye-clean and a bit more brilliant.

The Value

The diamonds were excellent choices and the ring was very nice, but the price seems too high for me. Here is a comparable setting from Blue Nile for C$1,574. I also tried to find some comparable diamonds. Here is a 1.06ct G SI2 from Blue Nile that has similar specs. If you add this diamond to the ring, the price comes out to just under C$8,000. That is a significant savings.

The difference is more pronounced when you look at this 1.01 I VVS2 excellent cut from Blue Nile. Add that to the ring and you come in at C$8,569. This diamond is superior in quality to the I VS2 from Birks and it costs almost 40% less.

Bottom Line Recommendation

For a mall store, Birks offers a great experience and outstanding quality. I don’t think the price is particularly unreasonable. You will not be disappointed by the product. But if you have no particular preference for buying in their store, you can save about 40% by purchasing from Blue Nile.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
Arrow down
Arrow up
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
Arrow down
Arrow up

Still afraid of getting ripped off?

Before you buy a diamond, get personal buying advice from industry veterans. We'll help you get the best diamond for the money.

Ask your diamond purchase question here

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

DISCLAIMER: We don't use your email for marketing. Period.

You Might Like

  • Diamond Prices: A Complete Guide

    A diamonds’ price is determined primarily by the 4 Cs of the diamond. On the wholesale level, diamond prices are first based on a diamond shape and

  • The Best Places to Buy Engagement Rings

    Buying an engagement ring is often one of the first major purchases in a person's life. The process can be fraught with tension as there are so m

  • 1 Carat Diamond Price & Buying Guide

    A wide range of 1 carat diamonds exist both in online markets and local diamond jewelry stores. Not only are there significant differences in beauty

About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

Please enter your email address to receive your 25% off coupon code:

Here is your coupon code: GFDSF3GF

Diamond Pro

Diamond Pro

  • Unfortunately, the AI chat we worked so hard training is not helping our readers the way we would like. You deserve the best advice you can get.

    Would you like to contact a human diamond pro? Just fill out this email form and we will answer you ASAP (usually within one day).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.