Windsor Jewelers Reviews: High Prices

By Michael Fried

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Windsor Jewelers
Overall Score:3.17
Price:1.5Selection:3.5Customer Service:4.5
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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Exclusive to us for the 2018 Christmas shopping season - Pick Up a single-use Blue Nile Coupon Here for $100 off!
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

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. Take advantage of their ongoing 25% Off Holiday Sale.
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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