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Windsor Jewelers Reviews: High Prices

By Mike Fried,
Overall Score:3.173 Rating3 Rating
Windsor Jewelers
Price:1.51.5 Rating1.5 Rating Selection:3.53.5 Rating3.5 Rating Customer Service: 4.54.5 Rating4.5 Rating
Pros
  • Luxurious Experience
  • Fine Selection
  • Excellent Service

Cons
  • Moderately High Prices
Other Recommended Retailers

Bottom Line Recommendation

I had a great time at Windsor Jewelers. They are a fantastic retailer. As we explain here, there is no way a physical retailer can compete with online retailers like James Allen or Blue Nile. Our secret shopping bore that out pretty clearly.

That said, Windsor Jewelers is still a great retailer. For those people who decide that they want to go to a physical retailer and there is a Windsor Jeweler in your area, they are a fantastic choice. You will pay a premium by going to a physical store, but at least you are getting something for that premium.

The History

From reading about Windsor Jewelers’ history it looks like the founder, Robert Simon, had similar starts in the industry. After a brief stint in the retail side of the business, Robert ended up working for a wholesaler as a traveling salesman. When he was ready to settle down, Robert opened up his own store in Winston-Salem in 1986.

Windsor Jewelers’ business grew to the point where they needed to open a larger store, which they did in 1991. In 2013, with the addition of Rob’s son Ben to the team, Windsor Jewelers opened up their second store in Charlotte. Today, the business specializes in diamond jewelry and, as covered by Hodinkee, luxury watches.

The Experience at Windsor Jewelers

I should get this out of the way first. Windsor Jewelers was the best experience we had in Charlotte. Upon your arrival, you are immediately engrossed in a luxurious buying experience. The store has a calm, yet elegant ambiance to it. Unlike many of the places we go, they aren’t trying too hard to be trendy or giving off some cheap feel. You feel like this is the place to make a luxury purchase.

We were directed to the engagement ring part of the store, and Dave introduced himself to us. He was friendly, and gave us space to look around on our own. He was close enough to help, without giving us the impression he was hovering over us.

I know this seems like salesmanship 101, but it is incredible that the overwhelming majority of stores we walk into have salespeople that are either super pushy and aggressive, or overtly standoffish and aloof. I’m not trying to minimize the amount of skill it takes to find that sweet spot, but I would think stores selling such high ticket items would make a concerted effort to find those people, train them and compensate them enough to retain them. Windsor seems to have that part of their business down pat.

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.

The Windsor Jewelers Diamonds

After some perusing, and with Dave’s help, we settled on two rings. Both of the rings had round center diamonds. The first one was a 1.61ct G color, I1 clarity diamond in a platinum baguette setting for $16,995. Both Annie and I were very impressed with the brilliance of the diamond, but we were able to see the inclusions quite easily. I guess we aren’t your typical consumers when it comes to noticing inclusions, but I would be hesitant to recommend a diamond like that to one of our readers. I1 grade is very low on the diamond clarity scale. But to be fair, Dave was upfront about this. He mentioned that the price is far more favorable and some people prefer to make that trade-off.

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

The second ring we took for a test drive was a 1.51ct G color, VS2 clarity diamond in a rose gold solitaire setting for $21,950. This diamond was eye-clean, and had some brilliance, but I felt the table was a tad too big. Unfortunately, Dave had some trouble finding the GIA certificate (he assured us the diamond was GIA certified while noting that the other diamond was not certified), so we couldn’t look at the details. If I had to guess, I’d say the diamond had a 60 or 61% table. That would be within the range of Excellent by GIA standards but higher than we’d recommend for our readers.

The Engagement Ring Comparison

Let’s start with the 1.61 G I1. We didn’t see a certificate but we will take them at face value and assume it really is a G I1. Here is a 1.64ct G color, SI2 clarity excellent cut round diamond from James Allen for $10,300. If you add the diamond to this tapered baguette ring, your total cost will be $12,220. So the Windsor Jewelers’ piece will cost you 35% more than a comparable piece from James Allen.

The second ring was a 1.51 G VS2. Here is beautiful 1.50ct G color VS2 clarity excellent cut diamond from Blue Nile for $12,339. You can add that diamond to this rose gold setting and it will cost you just over $13,000. If you put the two rings side by side, it would be almost impossible to tell the difference. Yet the ring from Blue Nile is about 40% less than the ring from Windsor Jewelers.

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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