Robbins Brothers review
Should you buy your engagement ring or wedding ring from Robbins Brothers?
Robbins Brothers a rich history – they were founded in 1921 and therefore recently celebrated their centenary.
For any business to survive that long, it must be doing something right!
In this Robbins Brothers review, we will primarily examine them from the point of view of buying a diamond engagement ring. However, the findings are equally relevant for any other type of jewelry.
Robbins Brothers ring selection
Robbins Brothers offers a huge selection of engagement rings styles, in a range of precious metals and with a great choice of different shapes of diamond to feature as a center stone.
Unlike many retailers, for some reason Robbins Brothers don’t seem to allow you to see all of their ready-made engagement rings in one place; instead they ask you to choose either by metal, diamond shape, ring designer or ring styles.
While this is great way to find your ring if you know what you are looking for, sometimes it can be good to see everything in one place and just browse. But Robbins Brothers’ method does make it slightly less overwhelming as they do offer such a huge number of ring styles. For example, they offer 800 ring styles just for round diamonds:
Round is not only the most popular shape, but it’s also the best shape for the most sparkle.
Robbins Brothers offers its engagement rings in gold, platinum and two-tone (a mixture of white and yellow gold), with white gold being the most commonly offered. White gold is a popular choice due to is classic and signature silvery hue, and durability which makes it a great choice for a ring which is going to be worn every day.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring setting styles and diamond shapes on offer from Robbins Brothers, which means you should be able to find something that fits your taste.
Robbins Brothers diamond quality
Engagement rings are all about the diamond, and being able to choose a diamond that will sparkle brilliantly will make the difference between a truly stunning engagement ring and one that looks dull and unimpressive.
In this section of our Robbins Brothers review, we’ll examine the quality of diamonds they offer, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
Robbins Brothers offer some engagement rings with a diamond pre-paired to a setting, while others you can choose the diamond and setting separately. Chosing a pre-set ring can make the buying process more straightforward, while the extra personalization available when choosing the diamond and setting separately can mean that you get exactly what you are looking for.
Looking at the diamond section of Robbins Brothers’ website, they discuss the 4Cs of diamonds (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat) of the diamond and acknowledge its importance in selecting your dream engagement ring.
Knowing the importance of the 4C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat) of a diamond – Robbins Brothers’ diamond search tools allows you to narrow your search based on individual characteristics:
This is a great feature, and not something that every jeweler offers.
However, you may find that when you try to search for something in their loose diamond finder, the number of diamonds available is limited.
For example, the most common combination of characteristics I recommend to people are:
- Round shape
- 1 carat, round,
- Ideal cut,
- VS2 clarity
- H color
With some of my recommended retailers, they usually have hundreds of diamonds that fit these specs, which then allows a ring buyer the opportunity to review many options and then choose the best diamond. Robbins Brothers, on the other hand, didn’t have any diamonds that fit these specs:
This is pretty disappointing to say the least!
This lack of selection may be because Robbins Brothers appears to be moving more towards lab grown diamonds for the majority of its engagement rings. The majority of their rings with a center stone included here use lab grown stones.
The reason for this is pretty obvious – ring buyers can get more for their money with a higher carat weight and better color and clarity. If we look at a ring with a natural diamond, Robbins Brothers are using a low quality stone to keep the price down. The Utwo ring is listed as 1 ct tw, which means 1 carat of total diamond weight ie. the weight of all of the diamonds added together:
This is definitely something to be careful of – this is a 1 carat total weight ring, rather than a 1 carat ring.
Robbins Brothers do make it clear in the product description that the center stone itself is only 0.46 carats. They also give the rest of the specs of the center stone, including that the clarity is I1:
I1 clarity is very close to the bottom of the diamond clarity scale and means that inclusions are likely to be obvious. Although the diamond on the Robbins Brothers website picture looks perfect, an I1 clarity diamond actually looks more like the diamond below, with obvious flaws like the large mark across the center table of the stone:
I1 clarity is lower than I recommend you choose for your ring if you don’t want flaws to be easily seen.
While carat weight may be the biggest determinant of diamond price, the factor that determines how much a diamond sparkles is diamond ‘cut’.
This is another important thing to consider in choosing a quality diamond – it is the most important factor that controls how much a diamond sparkles. If a diamond has a bad ‘cut’ then light will not be reflected back and it won’t sparkle:
Diamond is too shallow:
Light passes through the diamond and is lost, meaning the diamond looks dull and sparkles less than it should.
Diamond is too deep:
Light is bounced off the bottom facets at the wrong angle and is lost out of the side of the diamond, reducing sparkle.
Excellent / Ideal cut:
Light is reflected off the bottom facets and back through the table to your eye, meaning the diamond sparkles beautifully.
For this reason, we recommend that you only consider buying a diamond which has been graded as either ‘excellent’ or ‘ideal’ for cut, otherwise it may not sparkle. Robbins Brothers does allow you to filter by cut quality in their loose diamond finder, which is great. However, for preset diamond rings they don’t include this – see the product details above. No ‘cut’ quality is listed, which means that there’s no way to tell whether this diamond will sparkle brilliantly, or be dull and lifeless.
Robbins Brothers diamond grading labs
As with diamonds from all retailers, the diamonds that Robbins Brothers sells are graded on four key factors – carat, color, clarity and cut – and a host of smaller factors too. Diamonds which score higher are generally more expensive – an F color diamond will be pricier than an H color, if everything is the same.
It’s important therefore that diamond grading levels can be trusted – you don’t want to pay more for an F color diamond if it is actually an H. This is why independent diamond testing labs are important. An independent testing lab doesn’t have any incentive to say that a diamond is higher quality than it is, as they don’t make any more money if they do. In fact, if they bump up diamond quality grades, it may mean people trust them less, which might mean they make less money.
We recommend only GIA or AGS if possible as they are the strictest and with other grading labs, the quality of the diamond may be lower than stated.
One thing that is not good for Robbins Brothers is most of their ready-made rings do not show a grading lab on their product details and you need to send a message to their customer service to get this information.
This could definitely be improved by making the diamond cert easier to see, to allow a ring buyer to make an informed decision.
Robbins Brothers service
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that Robbins Brothers will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Robbins Brothers are predominately a ‘bricks and mortar store’ with 15 stores across the United States, which means you have the option to visit the store to see a design you like in person, and try it on.
If you are unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, you can obtain a full credit, refund or exchange within 30 days of the date of purchase – significantly better than many other stores which only offer a 14 day return policy.
Robbins Brothers also has 110% lifetime diamond and gemstone warranty, and free cleaning and free inspection of the diamond you purchased for life – great services which ensure you will be well looked after your purchase. Looking at reviews on Google, Robbins Brothers scores 4.7 stars from 143 reviews:
4.7 from 143 is pretty impressive, and indicates that people are happy with the service they have received from Robbins Brothers.
Robbins Brothers value for money
Buying a diamond ring is a big commitment – both financially and emotionally. So it’s important that you ensure sure that you are getting good value for money and aren’t spending more than you need to.
After all, if you’re buying an engagement ring, it’s likely that you will have a wedding to pay for soon.
When comparing, we’ll keep the ring style, diamond clarity, color, carat as similar as possible. A good way to compare is to look at Solitaire diamond rings as they are simple and timeless, without an ornate setting to make the comparison more complicated.
Looking at Robbins Brothers, they offer an engagement ring in Platinum with a 1 carat, H color, SI2 clarity, and round shape for $10,375 – this ring is certified by Forevermark.
One slightly alarming thing to note here is the ‘Center stone min weight’ is given as 0.95, which could mean that the actual weight of the diamond is less than a nice round 1 carat.
A 0.95 carat diamond is worth significantly less than a 1 carat diamond and if I was considering this ring, I would want to be 101% sure that I was getting a full 1 carat, rather than 0.95 carats.
Moving on, the purpose of this section is to compare the price of this ring to one of my recommended retailers. If we look at Robbins Brothers’ price of $10,375 compared to my recommended retailer Brilliant Earth, we can see that a 1 carat, super ideal cut round diamond with, H color, SI2 clarity, GIA certified in a platinum setting is priced at just $5,740:
This is a significant difference! Robbins Brothers is $4,635 more expensive than my recommended retailer Brilliant Earth, or 80% more expensive!
While you may not be looking for a diamond of this size or price, it is indicative of the high prices Robbins Brothers are charging – over $4,635 more for what may an equivalent quality diamond, but may actually be lower quality (we don’t know because we don’t know the cut quality).
Of course, this is just an example, and the you are looking for may be very different to this. However, it’s worth noting that with the money you would save by buying from Brilliant Earth instead of Robbins Brothers, you could:
- Increase the carat weight of the diamond
- Increase the quality of the diamond
- Spend it on a really special proposal
- Put it towards your wedding cost
Or possibly all of this!
The prices at Brilliant Earth may be different on the day you look – maybe higher, maybe lower – it’s worth clicking through to see today’s prices for exactly what you’re looking for.
Robbins Brothers review
Value for money
Do we recommend Robbins Brothers?
Robbins Brothers has 15 stores across United States and the ability to visit to see rings in person is undoubtedly a benefit. While it may be tempting to go to a Robbins Brothers because of the convenience, by reviewing their online store, we can see that the expensive real estate in shopping malls has resulted in high prices. Robbins Brothers has good service policies and their online reviews indicate that people are happy with them.
However, ultimately it’s difficult to look past the lack of value that they offer. An online specialist like Brilliant Earth can offer significantly more value than Robbins Brothers, which means more money to put towards your big day.
- Huge number of ring styles
- 30 days return-policy
- Offers good service
- Limited choice in loose diamond finder
- FMK and IGI diamond certifications should be avoided
- Very expensive prices