While the US has a vast and intricate number of diamond retailers, so do other countries. The UK in particular has a long and illustrious history with diamonds. In fact, the British Royal Family owns some of the largest and most famous diamonds in the world.
But away from the glitz of Buckingham Palace, there are diamond retailers that are far more accessible for non-royals like me and you. Today, we’ll be focusing on H. Samuel, and very well-known diamond retailer that can be found gracing the high streets of Great Britain’s largest cities. But if you find yourself in the UK and are looking for a diamond, are they worth a visit?
Here’s my H. Samuel review:
- Who Are H. Samuel?
- Buying From H. Samuel?
- How Much Does H. Samuel Jewelry Cost?
- My Final Recommendations
Who Are H. Samuel?
Samuel is arguably one of the oldest jewelers operating in the world, having started in earnest sometime around the mid 1800s. The first H. Samuel retail store opened in 1890 in Preston, a small city in the North of England, and the company was registered on the London Stock Exchange in 1948.
The company is now owned by the Signet Group, which also owns UK-based jewelry brands Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis. With around 300 stores in operation, they’re one of the most well-known ‘high-street’ jewelry brands in the country.
Buying From H. Samuel
While some retail stores are a real treat to visit, it’s usually the rarer retail stores that guarantee an incredible buying experience. H. Samuel, while it has some good offerings, is a retail store that doesn’t look for exclusivity within its customer base. You’ll be able to find a H. Samuel in every major city in the UK, and even in some of the smaller towns, yet some of their larger stores are to be found in London. There’s one on Regent Street, one of the best-known high-class shopping districts in the UK capital.
In all honesty, the retail stores themselves could do with a little updating, and the staff aren’t guaranteed to be trained on diamond knowledge to a high level. Their website is easy to navigate, and seems to be full of chances for you to save some money on your shopping.
One thing I immediately noticed about their website is that they don’t sell loose diamonds. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but does limit your ability to search for items you truly want. With their diamond jewelry you can search through items via filtering things like metal type, carat weight, and stone shape—but you can’t search via diamond clarity or cut quality. For the serious diamond buyer who is looking for quality, this is a problem
H. Samuel Diamond Jewelry Review
I’ve been in many diamond jewelry retail stores in my years working within this industry, and my visit to H. Samuel didn’t stand out amongst the many I’ve ventured into.
The main problem is this; the jewelry just isn’t good enough. If, like me, you care about quality and happen to walk into a H. Samuel, one of the first things you may notice is that they sell I3 clarity diamonds—the lowest clarity grade you’ll be able to find on the market today. It’s such a low quality that it shows me that H. Samuel aren’t serious about offering the best of the best and, as such, tarnishes their reputation in my eyes.
In my experiences at H. Samuel, I’ve seen people look at diamond jewelry but haven’t been provided with a certificate of authentication regarding the quality of the stones set within the jewelry piece. At this point in the transaction this represents an issue with both the service (unreliable staff who are unsure of the importance of certification) and an issue with the stones themselves (there’s no guarantee of their quality).
However, this isn’t to say that all H. Samuel diamonds are poor quality. I’ve seen examples that look very good even under scrutiny, but it’s something to bear in mind.
Additionally, another negative that stands out to me is that they offer IGI-certified diamonds. The IGI is a well-known independent diamond grading lab, and yet it’s not one I particularly trust. They’ve been known to inflate the grading reports to make diamonds seem better than they actually are, and many of the high-level diamond retail brands refuse to sell IGI diamonds because of this. Yet another thing to be aware of. You can read all about my take on IGI diamond certification here.
How Much Does H. Samuel Jewelry Cost?
Cost is the be-all and end-all for some people looking for diamond jewelry. And the prices at H. Samuel look higher than they should be. Look at this The Forever Diamond Platinum 1ct Ring, currently on sale for £6999, down from a whopping £11999. For a one carat diamond ring, this seems excessive at first. And the fact that they can reduce their prices by almost 50% tells me this ring didn’t cost that much to actually make and doesn’t have its true value reflected in the price.
The clarity of the diamond offered in this engagement ring is I1, and it has been certified by the GSI. These are both bad things, as I1 is a poor clarity grading and the GSI has been shown to be too loose with its grading processes to begin with. I’ve set the record straight on this topic here.
Let’s do a little price comparison with diamond jewelry from a jeweler that can be trusted: Whiteflash. If we combine this Platinum Vatche U-113 6-Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring (which is actually for two-carat diamonds and above) with this 1.008 ct H VS1 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond, the full price is $10,096. In Great British Pounds, this is £8184.42 (at time of writing).
If the H. Samuel’s engagement ring above were bought at full price, the Whiteflash equivalent—which is arguably much higher quality and more trustworthy (AGS-certified)—you’re paying £1,903 less. That’s a 15% saving on something much more worth your while.
My Final Recommendations
Overall, I wouldn’t promote H. Samuel as a worthwhile place to buy diamond jewelry. While you might be able to find good quality items, they will most likely be overpriced and you’re not guaranteed a staff member who really knows their stuff about diamonds.
Online Diamond Retailers You Can Trust
If you’re unsure about these three big names, have no fear. I understand where you’re coming from and it’s a wise stance—being skeptical is the first and best practice I recommend when it comes to buying diamonds in any setting, be it online or in person.
Head to my diamond retailer reviews section to discover what I truly think about all the major vendors.
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