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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 has long ago ceded control of the company to investment firms after their bankruptcy in 2009.
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.
The Disappointing Product
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.
Every diamond I saw from them was more disapointing 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 cut grade.
This diamond was 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.
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.
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.
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.
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