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Reeds’ beginnings started more than 70 years ago by Bill and Roberta Zimmer. A true family run business, one of my first ever business trips (when I was working on the manufacturing side of the business) was visiting Jeff Zimmer. Since that time, Reeds Jenss has expanded to eight stores over three states.
Jenny and I walked into their Amherst store and felt a bit like we were transported back in time. The store looked like it was straight out of a 90s movie set. There was this oddly kitschy feeling as well that emanated from the right side of the store where they sold houseware gift type things.
That said, it was eminently more comfortable when we made our way to the diamond section. Sue, the sales associate, sauntered over and we felt immediately at home. She was very friendly, and immediately added some cheer to our day.
As we started to go through the diamond selection process, Sue shined even more. She was very knowledgeable of diamonds and really seemed to try to help us find the right diamond for us. While I didn’t agree with the diamond she settled on (more about that later), she was giving sound advice (we can agree to disagree) and really adapted her message and offerings based on our feedback (as opposed to a robotic response that was printed out on an instruction sheet).
Sue only showed us GIA certified diamonds. I’m not sure if they had other certificates or non-certified, but she noted that we had a keen eye (, and this is what we focused on. The first diamond she showed us was a 1.26ct G VS1 excellent cut for $10,995. The diamond was very nice, but not exactly the best cut (depth and angles were a tad high).
The diamond Sue really pushed was a 1.61 K SI2 ex cut for $7,995. Both diamonds were set in simple white gold solitaire settings. The K SI2 was slightly better cut, but still just a tad high in the depth/crown angle areas.
Sue was fantastic in explaining that you shouldn’t pay a premium for color and clarity upgrades if you can’t tell the difference with your eye. That is in agreement with our feelings on the matter, but we didn’t agree in terms of where to draw the line. I could clearly see the inclusion in the SI2 and Jenny noticed the yellowish tint. It was borderline in both cases (after all, we both have quite a bit of experience), but I would have gone with a nicer SI2 and a J color.
Sue, however, was not pushy at all. She was giving us her honest opinion and was trying to be as helpful as she could be. I had zero qualms with her actual recommendations.
This is where, as is often the case, Reeds Jenns fell a bit flat. The prices weren’t unreasonable, but you can get better value elsewhere. Lets compare that 1.26ct G VS1, to this identical 1.29ct G VS1 from James Allen. This diamond comes it at $9,820 or 11% cheaper.
The gap widens when you look at their 1.61ct. As I mentioned, I thought the inclusions were quite noticeable. Compare that diamond to this 1.59 K VS2 from James Allen for $6,190. The diamond is superior (higher clarity) and it is a whopping 23% cheaper.
The store experience is a bit mixed (dated ambiance, fantastic service) and the quality of the diamonds are ok. However, you are better off shopping with a company like James Allen. You will get far better bang for your buck. If you have a specific reason to go with Reeds though, they are not a bad choice.
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