Shopping for specialty jewelry is an overwhelming task, whether you’re searching for bridal and engagement rings or looking for unforgettable gifts. But if you’re not a jewelry connoisseur, it’s even more daunting!
It’s not just about deciding what style appeals to you or your loved one. You also have to figure out where to shop! And there are so many jewelers on the market ready to show off their wares.
One jewelry shop that you may have come across is REEDS Jewelers. They’re often located in malls and shopping centers. But if you’re not familiar with what they have to offer, now may be a good time to find out.
Want to know more? Let us introduce you to REEDS! We’ll share our honest opinion, as well as the experiences of past customers and a few industry experts.
REEDS Jewelers is a family-owned jewelry retailer founded in 1946 by Bill and Roberta Zimmer. Its headquarters are still located in North Carolina, where the couple opened the first-ever REEDS location.
Since then, REEDS has expanded significantly. Today, the retail chain operates both online and in-store. Despite its expansion, REEDS remains a family-owned business, which is quite unusual given its size and scope.
Besides having a large selection of its own designs, REEDS now carries products from several fine jewelry brands, such as Pandora, Gucci, Swarovski, Rolex, Alex and Ani, Bulova, and more.
When it comes to diamonds, there’s more to them than what you see. It’s not all about the style, the silhouette, or even the various settings there are to choose from.
Of course, the way the diamond looks should please the eye! But there’s a lot more to learn, and a smart customer will want more information before pulling out their wallet.
First and foremost, it’s important to check whether the jeweler carries certified diamonds. The most trustworthy certifications come from the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)—the organizations that created the universal system we now use to evaluate every aspect of a gemstone.
This certification is a significant step in the right direction, but it’s only the beginning.
Once that’s out of the way, it’s time to address all the nitty-gritty details.
A diamond’s value is determined by four basic qualities known asthe four Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat). Each of these attributes is measured on a grading scale so that the diamond’s value can be accurately assessed by jewelers or by the customer.
These considerations address how beautiful the diamond looks and how precious it is—and as you can imagine, this has everything to do with how much it should cost.
As you can see from the table below (taken from James Allen’s website, a prominent diamond retailer), there are even more specifications to share when evaluating how much a diamond is worth.
Educating yourself about diamonds takes some time and dedication. But if you’re open to it, what you learn could make a huge difference in the quality of the gem you buy and how much you end up paying.
Now that we’ve covered some gemology basics, let’s take a look at what REEDS has to offer in terms of diamond quality.
The truth about REEDS diamonds
When it comes to REEDS diamonds, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is, REEDS diamonds are AGS and GIA certified. This certification adds a level of credibility to the brand that should give the customer some initial confidence.
However, unlike some other major diamond retailers on the market today, REEDS tends to share limited details about the diamonds they use—almost as if those details aren’t very important.
Descriptions online are somewhat vague, lacking certain gem specifications. If there is a way to learn more information, the customer would have to spend more time scouring the website or getting on the phone and asking to speak to a specialist.
As you can see above, REEDS specifications leave much to be desired. For example, the descriptions of Color and Clarity as “J or better” and “12 or better” are problematic—especially compared to the precise specifications of the James Allen diamond you saw earlier.
As any jewelry expert will tell you, such a vague description omits crucially important information about the diamond in question.
Diamond specialist Richard Jenkins ofYourdiamondguru points out, “Giving the promise of a ‘J or above’ in color can have price disparities that will go into the thousands.”
The concern here is that, without exact specifications, you could end up paying much more for a gem than it’s worth.
And with that, we’ll tackle a question that’s very closely related:
Is REEDS jewelry fairly priced?
Many take the lack of emphasis on information as a bad sign—specifically, a sign that the prices are higher than they ought to be. Unfortunately, their low-info approach also indicates that REEDS, as a brand, doesn’t prioritize customer education. The point is, if you don’t know, you don’t know. And unless you’re willing to put significant time and energy into your search for all the important details, you’re unlikely to find a price you can be truly confident in at REEDS.
Customer service experiences at REEDS
Although REEDS Jewelers does have an established presence online, it’s always helpful to know what the in-store experience is like.
After all, the way store associates interact with and serve customers says a lot about the brand’s overall approach.
What are REEDS stores like?
Because REEDS is a relatively large chain with several locations, there are conflicting reports of experiences in-store. Some customers come away thrilled with their new purchase and employee attitudes.
Of course, you can’t always please everyone. Others have higher expectations and are underwhelmed by the run-of-the-mill feel of your typical mall retail environment.
One major drawback of this business model is that most store associates will have minimal expertise in the world of jewelry and precious stones. Because retail outlets experience high worker turnover levels, this lack of training and industry knowledge is somewhat inevitable.
So if you walk into a REEDS shop at your local mall on a Saturday afternoon, maybe the manager will be able to answer your specific questions about the jewelry you see. But most associates, well-meaning as they may be, are not specialists and won’t be able to share much beyond the basics.
This poses some issues for items as pricey and complex as diamonds—and for some, such as diamond industry expertMichael Fried, it hurts customer confidence in the brand overall:
“The level of training the staff had was clearly minimal. We asked some pretty basic questions and the answers were all over the place.”
It’s also worth noting that Fried was unimpressed with REEDS diamonds’ quality upon closer inspection. In his professional opinion, what he saw was both overpriced and of subpar quality.
But for those who go by the look and style of the jewelry and not its specifications, many customers rate REEDS Jewelers with four or five stars. Some of the happiest customers are those who order custom pieces and love the result.
Some customers encounter problems with their REEDS jewelry, such as diamonds coming loose or falling off entirely after only a short time.
These reviews go one of two ways—some are pleased with the terms of the replacement and how quickly they get it back. Others share that they are heartbroken at the loss of a sentimental engagement or wedding piece that was carefully picked out and ceremoniously given.
And of course, some cannot see past poor craftsmanship when something like this happens—no matter how promptly the matter is resolved.
Our final recommendation
There’s nothing quite like new jewelry. It’s beautiful, shiny, classic … and it makes the perfect gift for special events and important milestones.
But in today’s vast marketplace, there are many places to buy diamonds and fine jewelry. Standards are higher than ever, and customers are often reasonably well-informed.
If you’re shopping for Rolex watches or a new Pandora charm to bring home, you might enjoy the convenience of REEDS locations while also getting the chance to try name brands you already have your eye on.
Many customers who buy expensive diamond jewelry have good things to say about REEDS Jewelers. Sometimes, a design catches your eye, and you fall in love!
On the other hand, experts with broad knowledge of industry standards and pricing have raised concerns about the longstanding jewelry chain. And it would be a mistake to take those concerns lightly.
If you do choose to give REEDS Jewelers a try, make sure your due diligence is done before walking into the store or perusing their site. Otherwise, we’d recommend choosing a jeweler that can readily account for every available detail of its pieces. That way, you’ll end up making an informed purchase that you can both trust and treasure.
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