Should you buy your engagement ring or diamonds from Beaverbrooks?
Beaverbrooks has a rich history – having been founded in 1919 and recently celebrating its centenary. For any business to survive that long, it must be doing something right, and it has grown to 69 stores across the UK.
In this Beaverbrooks 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 jewellery.
Beaverbrooks engagement ring selection
Beaverbrooks offers a total of 584 styles of diamond engagement ring to choose from:
The rings are a mixture of cluster set diamond rings (where several smaller diamonds are placed close together to give the impression of a larger stone), while other rings have larger centre stones. A cluster of smaller stones generally costs less than one larger diamond, so cluster settings can be a good option for those with a lighter budget.
Beaverbrooks offers its engagement rings in yellow gold, platinum and white gold, so you can choose the colour that fits your taste and budget.
The large number of ring styles available through Beaverbrooks means that they offer a wide range of diamond shape – more than many other British jewellers. The most common shape they offer is the round brilliant – it’s not only the most popular shape, but it also the shape that sparkles the most.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring setting styles and diamond shapes on offer from Beaverbrooks, which means you should be able to find something that fits your taste.
Beaverbrooks 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, we’ll examine the quality of diamonds Beaverbrooks offers, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
Beaverbrooks make it easy for you to choose a diamond by diamond colour and clarity:
The most common colour offered is G, which is a good grade – it looks nice and white, without asking you to overpay for a higher colour grade where there is no visible difference in the diamond.
The majority of the clarity grades offered are SI1, which is lower than I would recommend you choose if you want your diamond to not have any visible flaws.
SI1 Clarity means ‘slightly included’ and sits here on the diamond clarity scale:
Beaverbrooks don’t show any images of actual diamonds on their website, which makes it difficult to know exactly what a diamond will look like.
However, this retailer does, and if you click through and have a look at SI1 diamonds, you should be able to see that a lot have inclusions or flaws which are pretty easy to see.
However, the factor that determins how much a diamond sparkles is diamond ‘cut’.
Diamond cut is a measure of how well the diamond has been formed and it is essential that a diamond has good proportions to reflect light, otherwise it will be dull, lifeless and unimpressive.
If a diamond is too tall or too shallow, it won’t reflect much light:
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.
Understanding the cut quality of a diamond is absolutely essential to be able to understand whether it will sparkle.
If you don’t know the cut quality then you may very well be wasting your money and getting a dull diamond that doesn’t sparkle.
In their ‘Engagement Ring FAQs’ section, Beaverbrooks acknowledge the importance of cut:
Beaverbrooks says:, ‘the most important of the 4Cs, it’s the cut that releases the inner beauty of a diamond. Incredibly complext and difficult to analyse, the quality of the cut will determine the final look of the diamond and especially the sparkle’.
Despite this, Beaverbrooks don’t show diamond cut grade for the diamonds on their website. Instead, when you look at the details about a diamond, they show the diamond shape, rather than the cut:
This means that despite knowing that diamond cut is the most important factor in determining how much a diamond sparkles, they don’t give customers this information!
When I asked Beaverbrooks about this on their livechat, they said:
“This is not something we do in the UK. It is just not common practice to provide this specific information as of yet in the UK. I would say this is more of an American / other country thing to do”:
The lack of information on their diamonds’ cut quality is a huge red flag for Beaverbrooks. Many other jewellers do include diamond cut quality on their websites – some of which make it one of the filters on their search tool to make it as easy as possible to find a high quality diamond that will sparkle.
Beaverbrooks diamond grading labs
Diamonds are graded on four key factors – carat, colour, clarity and cut – and a host of smaller factors too. Diamonds which score higher are generally more expensive – an F colour diamond will be pricier than an H colour, 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 colour 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.
Retailers do have an incentive to increase diamond quality scores, as it will mean that they can sell a diamond for a higher price. For this reason, I recommend that you always look for a diamond which has been graded by an independent authority – my usually recommendation is the GIA, although there are other good diamonds ‘labs’ too.
Beaverbrooks don’t offer many GIA certified diamonds, but instead have their own testing lab at their head office.
When I asked about this, I was told that while some of the higher end diamonds do have GIA certificates, most don’t:
This is another red flag for me for Beaverbrooks – I wouldn’t rely on an assessment of a diamond by an organisation which has an incentive to increase the quality score and therefore make more money from selling that stone.
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well during while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Beaverbrook has 69 stores nationwide, which means you have option to visit the store to see a design you like in person and try it on.
Returns-wise, if you feel the ring isn’t right for you they will give you a full refund or an exchange within 30 days, which is better than a lot of jewellers.
Looking at reviews on reviews.io, Beaverbrooks scores 3.48 from 29 reviews, with 62% of people saying that they recommend Beaverbrooks:
As with many online reviews, the reviews for Beaverbrooks seem to be 5* and glowing, or 1* from people who were not happy with their experience – there isn’t much inbetween.
It’s always worth taking online reviews with a bit of a pinch of salt, but as an average, 3.48 would indicate that people are happy, but not ecstatic with the service they have received from Beaverbrooks.
Beaverbrooks 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.
To see how Beaverbrooks value for money compares, we’ll compare it to one of my recommendations as the best place to buy a diamond ring in the UK – Blue Nile.
Blue Nile is an American jeweller who has a manufacturing and distribution centre in Ireland, so is a good place to compare.
When comparing, we’ll keep the ring style, diamond clarity, colour ad carat as similar as possible. A good way to compare is looking at solitaire diamond rings as they are simple and timeless, without ornate settings to make the comparison more complicated.
Looking at Beaverbrooks, they offer Platinum Diamond Solitaire Ring in platinum, with a 0.90 carat E colour, VS2 Clarity and Round Brilliant shape for £10,750 including all taxes:
The specs that we know about this diamond are good, but as discussed earlier, Beaverbrooks don’t show us the cut quality of the diamond, only showing the shape of the diamond where they should be showing the cut quality:
If we look at this price compared to my recommended retailer, a 0.9 carat diamond with E colour and VS2 clarity, the same as Beaverbrooks, the cost is just £4,550.83:
The Blue Nile ring also has an ‘Ideal’ cut diamond, so we know it will sparkle beautifully, and has been graded by the GIA – an independent grading lab which has no incentive to bump up the grading score.
You can view Blue Nile’s current diamond selection using their diamond search tool here.
This is a huge difference in price – the Beaverbrooks engagement ring is over twice as expensive as an ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile. In fact, it’s £6,200 more expensive!
This is obviously a significant difference in price!
With the £6,200 you would save by shopping at Blue Nile instead of Beaverbrooks 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 these!
The prices at Blue Nile 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.
Value for money
Do we recommend Beaverbrooks?
Beaverbrooks offer a huge range of diamond rings and the ability to visit them in one of their 63 stores is a benefit. The downside of having so many stores through is that they have a lot of overhead costs, and this is reflected in their high prices.
The lack of transparency over the cut grading of their diamonds (which is the biggest factor that determines a diamond’s sparkle) and the lack of independent grading for many of their diamonds are other red flags.
The biggest determinant of whether I can recommend a jeweller though is value for money, and Beaverbrooks really falls down here in our comparison test. You can get a higher quality diamond for a lower price at Blue Nile, which makes it a smarter choice for you.
- Wide selection of ring styles, including cluster rings for lower budgets
- 30 days return policy
- Financing options – 48 months with 0% interest.
- Very expensive
- No diamond cut quality information
- Low clarity for most diamonds
- No independent grading