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Robbins Bros Diamond Review

By Mike Fried,
Overall Score:3.834 Rating4 Rating
Robbins Brothers
Price:2.52.5 Rating2.5 Rating Selection:44 Rating4 Rating Customer Service: 55 Rating5 Rating
  • Excellent customer service
  • Nice store experience

  • Low quality diamonds
  • Overpriced
Other Recommended Retailers

Bottom Line Recommendation

Robbins Bros is one of the better physical retailers I’ve had the opportunity to secret shop. Their in-store experience is superior to all but the high end luxury retailers. They have excellent salespeople and an incredible selection of engagement ring settings. 

Unfortunately the value just wasn’t there on Robbins Bros diamonds. In our most recent secret shopping experience (May 2022), the natural diamonds were decent, but not amazing. The prices on both natural and lab-grown diamonds were just too high.

On our most recent secret shopping at their Seattle store, we saw this lab-grown diamond for $11,295. Here is a superior diamond from James Allen for $5,350. That is a whopping 53% cheaper than the diamond from Robbins Brothers.

The natural diamonds were better, but not by much. This natural 2 carat cushion cut cost $21,495. It was well cut and the inclusion was noticeable, but not too bad. Here is a superior cushion cut diamond from Blue Nile for $15,530 (a 29% savings).

History of Robbins Brothers

Robbins Bros in Fullerton, CA
Annie in front of Robbins Bros in Fullerton, CA

Robbins Brothers has a long, storied history on the west coast of the US. They have expanded successfully in Texas and had a brief, unsuccessful, foray into the Chicago market. They have also re-entered the Seattle market and opened a new store in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

While its roots are embedded in the family operated independent jeweler, calling them this now is a bit of a stretch. The Robbins family long ago ceded control of the company to investment firms after it entered into bankruptcy in 2009. In 2022, the company’s leadership team, with co-investors, bought back the business. Today, Robbins Brothers operates 15 stores throughout California, Arizona, Washington and Texas.

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.

Secret Shopping Robbins Brothers

You can see from our other reviews (ie, Shane Co.), that we are quite unimpressed with most store experiences (with the exception of high-end retailers like Tiffany & Co). Walking into their Houston store was quite refreshing. The employees were friendly and the ambiance was not overpowering. There was no aggressive salesmanship and I felt comfortable the whole time.

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We had a chance to visit one of their other locations on a recent secret shopping trip. Annie and I went to Robbins Bros in Fullerton, California. While the Houston location had a very modern vibe, the California location had a more traditional feel (though they still had some of their edgy aspects, like the cute signs in the bathrooms). The salesperson was, once again, very helpful and friendly.

Annie at Robbins Bros in Bellevue, WA
Annie at Robbins Bros in Bellevue, WA

One suggestion I would make is not to fall in love with what you find in the display. By all means check out all of their setting styles. But we found that the diamonds in those settings were far less impressive than the diamonds we saw loose (which they can then mount in any setting they have). The diamonds in the display case had notable flaws and we did not see any with GIA certification. The loose diamonds we were shown were a vast improvement.

Robbins Brothers in May 2022

Annie and I managed to pop into their Bellevue WA location on a Sunday afternoon. We didn’t have an appointment and there was only one salesperson. Someone from the back office (we never caught her name) showed us around and was very helpful until the salesperson was free. 

A comparison of a 1.52ct H/VS2 Round cut diamond and a 2.01ct H/SI1 Cushion cut diamond
A comparison of a 1.52ct H/VS2 Round cut diamond and a 2.01ct H/SI1 Cushion cut diamond (Robbins Bros – Bellevue, WA)

The salesperson was fantastic. She started out by walking us through the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds with clear distinctions and minimal marketing. We then sat in one of their sales booths and were shown 7 or 8 diamonds. I was impressed with her knowledge and ability to focus on the important qualities. The diamonds we mentioned at the beginning of our article were right in the range we recommend. We did look at an E color, VVS2 clarity diamond, but she agreed that it probably wasn’t worth spending extra for those qualities.

E/VVS2 Round cut diamond from Robin's Bros
E/VVS2 Round cut diamond from Robin’s Bros

Robbins Bros Diamond Quality and Prices

Unfortunately, the diamonds they showed me were a huge letdown. They started off by showing me several “Echo” diamonds. These are typical gimmick cuts with IGI certificates. The saleswoman was not pushy at all and switched to GIAs when I mentioned my preference.

Alas, GIA merely grades the diamond — they can’t make an ugly diamond look any better.

Certificates of Diamonds seen at Robbins Bros
Certificates of Diamonds seen at Robbins Bros

Every diamond I saw from them was more disappointing than the last. After seeing six different versions of poorly cut diamonds, I settled on the “best” option of the lot; a 0.69ct, good cut, E SI1 round diamond.

“Good” cut is a bit of a misnomer, as more than 90% of GIA diamonds receive an Excellent or Very Good grade for diamond cut.

This diamond was at the bottom of the barrel. The most egregiously out of bounds parameter on this diamond was the 64.3% depth — way outside acceptable norms.

To be fair, the settings they had were very nice and were not insanely overpriced. I can see someone having their interest piqued by the settings. Unfortunately, I could not recommend a diamond from them.

Robbins Bros Packaging
Robbins Bros Packaging

Robbins Bros Diamonds Offer Poor Value

The sticker price is what sent this train wreck off the rails.

If the product is sub-par quality, the price should be in line with that reality. I paid $3,783 for that diamond and a simple 14kt white gold solitaire setting. There is simply no justification for that price.

Here is a virtually identical diamond from James Allen. If you pair that with a comparable ring, the price comes out $2,510.

They may offer a nice in-store experience, but I can’t see how that experience alone is worth a 50% premium. If I were buying a diamond, I would rather spend that money on an actual ring that will be worn for many years to come than on the store experience.

Receipt from Robbins Bros
Receipt from Robbins Bros

Money Better Spent

I was visiting their Houston store, so I decided to compare this ring to one from Brian Gavin Diamonds. They had a 0.64ct G SI1 Signature Hearts and Arrows in a beautiful 18kt solitaire setting that came out to $3,371.

I was able to compare the two diamonds side by side and the BGD diamond blew the E SI1 from Robbins Brothers out of the water. As a consumer, you would be getting a far superior product and you’d still save 10%.

While the service is pretty good at Robbins Brothers, their diamonds don’t stand up to the test. If you are someone who is dead set on buying in person, I understand being willing to pay a premium for that service. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of the final product.

The Second Time around

1ct F/SI2 Princess Cut diamond GIF

The second time we had a chance to visit them, we had a somewhat improved experience. The first diamond we looked at was a stunningly cut 1.01ct F color, SI2 clarity princess cut diamond. The diamond’s proportions were fantastic and it was bright and brilliant. The inclusion was noticeable (SI2 clarity inclusions usually are) but only to a very sharp eye. The price for the diamond was $5,895.

Here is a comparable 1.06ct E color, SI1 clarity princess cut diamond from Blue Nile. This diamond has superior specifications (weight, color and clarity) and is just as well cut as the diamond from Robbins Brothers. This diamond costs $3,864, 35% less than the diamond from Robbins Bros.

0.90ct H/VS1 round cut diamond GIF

The next diamond we looked at was a 0.90ct H color, VS1 clarity round cut. Unfortunately this diamond was not as impressive. The cut was too deep (64.4%) which made the diamond look dark and lacking of brilliance. This diamond was priced at $5,795.

Here is a similar 0.90ct H color, VS1 clarity round diamond from Blue Nile for $3,630. I would not recommend this diamond to a reader, but it is a good choice to compare ‘apples to apples’ to the Robbins Bros diamond. The diamond is 37% cheaper than the one from Robbins Bros.

The last diamond we looked was a 1.01ct I color, SI2 clarity round diamond for $6,595. This diamond was fantastic. It was well cut and eye-clean. This is the exact type of diamond we try to recommend to our readers.

This 1.01ct I color, SI2 clarity excellent cut round diamond from Blue Nile is a great comparison to the Robbins Bros diamond. This diamond is just as stunning as the Robbins Bros selection for $4,162, a savings of 36%

Summary of Robbins Bros Secret Shopping

You can get a stunning diamond at Robbins Bros, but you need to be a discriminating consumer. Feel free to contact us with questions about any diamond while purchasing. Just be sure to write down the certificate number.

The first time we secret shopped Robbins Bros, we found that you can save 50% by purchasing online from a reputable retailer like Blue Nile or James Allen. The second time secret shopping, we found that you can save about 35%. That is a far more reasonable number.

There is no way a physical retailer can compete with an online retailer when it comes to price (as we explain here). That said, Robbins Bros does offer a superior in-store experience. While I personally don’t think that is worth 35% premiums, most physical retailers have similar (or higher) premiums without offering anything in return. At least at Robbins Bros you are getting something in exchange for that added cost.

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
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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
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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.

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