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Designer Or "unbranded" Ring?


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Hello I have been reading through the forum here and theres *so* much information!

I have arrived at a point where I visited Tiffany/Debeers and their rings looked considerably better than the high street brands. This could have been due to the lighting being tailored to do so in the premium stores?


They both provided a lot of information and lead me to believe that they only select the finest diamonds and have specific cuts that are superior to the high street brands? Is this just marketing or is there truth behind it?


I know there are a lot of questions for a first post but im also searching the forum to find out answers myself but need to know whether these brands are worth paying extra for?


thanks in advance!

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It depends on what you mean by "high street brand" - Cartier could be considered one, and it has nothing to fear from either Tiffany or DeBeers (who incidentally is a very recent newcomer to the world of retailing and jewellery).


Even in more pedestrian chains such as Kay's or Jared's there are collections which are - frankly - crap and there are collections that have some of the best stones and pretty reasonable quality metalwork. The lighting is likely to be optimised for showing jewellery well in either store - the difference may be that the average quality is indisputably higher in Tiffany or DeBeers, or even that they simply keep their show pieces cleaner (one of the advantages of having more staff!).


Do they have specific, own-brand cuts? Yes, they do. So do a lot of others, including the aforementioned Jared's and Kay's. Are these worth the premium? Not to me. Do they look better? They look different; some people like them more (and in cushion cuts for example there is so much variety available in the "unbranded" market that chances are you can find most things without having to pay the premium).


Are the brands worth paying extra for? If your only parameters are quality of (centre) stones and of metalwork, no they aren't; you can find as good or even better for much less. If part of what you value is the cachet of the brand - which is undoubtedly there with Tiffany, far less so with DeBeers - and the thought that you may be able to get this type of long-term service http://www.diamondreview.com/forum/topic/7009-tiffany-makes-it-good-after-34-years/ , then the value proposition changes.

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thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly, that story about Tiffany makes a good case for them!


Another alternative is the bvlgari griffe but I haven't had time to actually view it :) I think generally if its big shiny and branded it will go down better than a technically superior diamond from a lesser known jeweler ...sounds stupid I know!

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Make sure you note one thing about the Tiffany story: they provided exceptional service, but the gentleman posting the story has been a regular customer (presumably of the same, large branch) for over 30 years...


Big shiny and branded works well without a doubt. But it will typically leave a big pain in the wallet. Big shiny and extremely well cut won't be cheap, but it may be as little as half the price of branded. As to which one works better it rather depends on what type of person is receiving the ring and the extent to which she has been involved in the choice.

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US prices are - in my opinion - way more competitive than the majority of those in the UK. However, choose your vendor carefully, because returns can become a bit of a palaver.


Unfortunately, US sales tax is not refundable. However, there are ways around that:


1. Some merchants will accept a passport and your return ticket as proof of your non-residency, and will take the sale as "at your home address". Not many people are prepared to do that, because even if (marginally) legal it is a bureaucratic mess for them.

2. Paying cash may help - though I would not recommend it for a diamond.

3. If purchasing from a NY based retailer, get yourself an hotel on the Jersey shore or in Connecticut. Half the price for the room, 20 minutes on a ferry (or a train) and you are in Manhattan, and the vendor can ship to NJ or CT without having to charge US tax.


In all cases, UK VAT at 20% and - on set stones/jewellery - duty at 2.5% should be paid when you import the item in the UK. I haven't seen too many people wearing a diamond ring on their finger being stopped by HMRC at Heathrow, though. ;)

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