Helzberg Diamonds Review (2023)
Helzberg DiamondsUSD 2999
- Decent selection of pre-set and loose diamonds
- Readily available diamond certiticates
- Grading by reputable institute
- Exorbitant prices
- Unknown or low quality diamonds (pre-set)
- Uninformed support
- Unstructured and confusing website
- Strict return policy
Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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Summary of Helzberg Diamonds Review
Helzberg Diamonds is an established jewelry retailer with more than 100 years of experience. Starting in 1915, Helberg has been on a steady ascent to become one of the largest jewelers in the US. So the chances are that you have come across one of their stores, maybe even taken a glimpse inside.
Helzberg Diamonds now also sells lab-grown diamonds, and they offer a good selection of lab-grown diamond jewelry. So we wanted to see how a traditional seller stacks up to our highest-rated online jewelers and decided to review Helzberg Diamonds and see if they do better than mall favorites Zales, Kay Jewelers, and Pandora.
Our 2023 updated Helzberg Diamonds review evaluates them based on their online shopping experience, prices, and offerings. Still, we note that they also have the option to visit a physical store location.
We were hoping that the traditional jewelers in 2023 would fare better. Helzberg Diamonds would be an excellent example of a brick-and-mortar jeweler embracing online selling and lab-grown diamonds. But, alas.
As the case was in our Zales review and review of Kay Jewelers, we were greatly disappointed. To be fair, the shopping experience is better, and the ability to, in some circumstances, inspect diamonds puts Helzberg Diamonds ahead.
However, astonishingly, in our Helzberg Diamonds review, we find that their prices are even higher than those of Zales and a whopping 3 times higher than what you’ll find at places like James Allen, Brilliant Earth, Ritani, With Clarity, Grown Brilliance, or Clean Origin.
So, our Helzberg Diamonds review finds that they don’t live up to the expectations of shopping for diamonds online. Their support lacks basic knowledge, their website is not working correctly, and they do not share essential information about the jewelry and diamonds they are selling. Except for when choosing your own diamonds, but those are grossly overpriced.
For these reasons, we still generally won’t recommend Helzberg Diamonds. However, if you happen to find the perfect piece of jewelry with high-quality diamonds, we suggest you have the quality confirmed. If it checks out, we don’t have any reservations, and the company is reputable and trustworthy.
However, the chances are that you won’t find that and you’ll be overpaying for it. Therefore, in our Helzberg Diamonds review, we land on a 2.5 out of 5 review rating.
3 diamond jewelers we like better than Helzberg Diamonds
To learn more, keep reading our Helzberg Diamonds review.
- Who are Helzberg Diamonds?
- Helzberg Diamonds sells lab-grown diamonds
- Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown selection
- Helzberg Diamonds buying process and inspection
- Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown prices
- Helzberg Diamonds shipping and returns
- Helzberg Diamonds Review Verdict
- Helzberg Diamonds customer reviews
Who are Helzberg Diamonds?
To start our review of Helzberg Diamonds, we’ll first summarize their company history and assess their trustworthiness.
Helzberg Diamonds was founded in 1915 and thus has over 100 years of experience in the diamond industry. Through the years, Helzberg Diamonds has risen to become one of the more prominent brick-and-mortar jewelers with hundreds of stores scattered throughout the country.
The company has been in the same family throughout history, passing from father to son in generations (today, perhaps fitting, it’s led by a woman). In 1995, the founding Helzberg family sold the business to Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate famously led by intelligent investor Warren Buffett.
Since 2009, Helzberg Diamonds has been led by former JC Penney, Macy’s, and Zale executive Beryl Raff, who has decades of experience in the traditional diamond and jewelry industry.
Helzberg Diamonds is a traditional jeweler reliant on selling through hundreds of physical stores. However, like most other retailers, they also sell online through their website. As we’ll reference throughout our review of Helzberg Diamonds, their offline retail legacy carries over to their online presence (not in a good way).
Does Helzberg Diamonds sell fake diamonds?
Helzberg Diamonds sells both real diamonds and synthetic gemstones, and naturally occurring gemstones that may resemble diamonds. Helzberg also sells lab-grown diamonds, which are real diamonds exactly like mined diamonds.
Is Helzberg Diamonds legit?
Helzberg Diamonds has existed as a company for over a century. They are one of the most well-known and established brands in the jewelry market. Helzberg Diamonds is a legit and trustworthy company. However, that does not mean that you should buy from them. Learn why not in our Helzberg Diamonds review.
Next, in our review of Helzberg Diamonds, we’ll look closer at their lab-grown diamonds.
Helzberg Diamonds sells lab-grown diamonds
As a traditional jeweler, historically, Helzberg Diamonds has been selling mined diamonds. However, with the rise of the cheaper and ethical choice of lab-grown diamonds, Helzberg now also includes lab-created diamonds in their inventory. That is great.
Helzberg Diamonds’ website features a comprehensive diamond educational section, part of which is dedicated to educating users about lab-grown diamonds. As you will have learned by reading our articles on the benefits of lab-created diamonds vs. mined, lab-grown diamonds are the obvious choice for anyone who values the environment and wants to save money.
Unlike Zales, Kay Jewelers, and Lightbox Jewelry, Helzberg largely stays true to the facts and honestly compares the benefits. The only real advantage to mined diamonds is their rarity. Helzberg transparently points visitors to the fact that lab-grown diamonds are cheaper, and you get much more sparkle for your budget.
However, Helzberg fails to mention the many drawbacks of the mining industry, which are just as critical as saving money. In addition, perhaps as a reflection of catering to an older audience, they forget to highlight the environmental and societal benefits of lab-grown diamonds over mined.
In our Helzberg Diamonds review, we applaud them for including lab-grown diamonds and emphasizing some of the key benefits. However, we would have preferred that they include all of them.
Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown selection
One thing is Helzberg Diamonds’ pages that are dedicated to lab-grown diamonds, but what about their actual inventory? We’ll examine that next in our Helzberg diamonds review.
Being a sizeable retail jewelry chain, it’s no surprise that Helzberg Diamonds’ inventory is enormous. That also goes for lab-created diamonds. At the time of the review, they had 11,658 lab-created diamonds for sale. Out of these, 5,468 are round brilliant diamonds (the most popular and sparkling share).
However, filtering for lab diamonds of the best diamond cut quality, which in the case of their mostly IGI-graded diamonds is ideal, the inventory shrinks to 787. This is because we constantly remind our readers that diamond cut is the most important aspect of any diamond (though only round brilliant-shaped diamonds are consistently graded).
If you are shopping for a brilliant-shaped diamond (or any of its siblings), then your main concern should be cut quality. Learn more about diamond shapes and how to evaluate them.
787 ideal cut lab-grown diamonds is a decent amount, but for such a large outfit as Helzberg, we’re not that impressed.
When writing our Helberg Diamonds review and all other lab-grown diamond seller reviews, we usually use a reference diamond to gauge inventory and prices.
This is a lab-grown diamond around 1 carat (we allow for some deviation since that typically is where you can get a good deal), with VS1-VS2 clarity and I-J color grades. And, of course, the highest cut grade, which is ideal if graded by IGI. So depending on your use case, this is one of our recommended quality ranges to look for (learn more in our lab-grown diamond buying guide).
When we narrow our search down to these criteria, no diamonds are available. That’s not uncommon as jewelers tend to buy within specific ranges, sometimes to be used for pre-set jewelry (which we’ll return to soon). And that is also the case with Helzberg.
Relaxing our criteria to include SI1-SI2, 80 eligible diamonds are returned. The slight inclusions 1 and 2 grades are often acceptable and a range where you can make a great deal. However, when purchasing a diamond with slight inclusions, you must examine the diamond in detail to ensure that the particular inclusions are not too large or impact brilliance too much. More on that later.
Moving in the other direction and including higher-quality clarity does not lead to more inventory. However, increasing the color grade does. Some diamond jewelers have a bias for higher color grades, notably James Allen. Depending on the jewelry setting, this can make sense. Still, often you will be overpaying for an expensive color (or rather lack of color) that does not have a material impact on the quality of the diamonds (learn more in our guide to lab-grown diamond colors).
This is also the case with Helzberg Diamonds. With the same diamond grades as above but with color grades above I, Helzberg’s inventory swells to 31 lab-grown diamonds, which, again, is decent, and you should be able to find at least a few good stones in the lot. However, increasing the color grade comes at a significant cost increase, which we’ll get back to later.
But first, we’ll continue our Helzberg Diamonds review by taking a look at their inventory of pre-set lab-grown diamond jewelry.
Helzberg Diamonds Pre-Set Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry
Most people shopping at Helzberg Diamonds are likely buying pre-set jewelry. That is, you don’t choose your own diamonds but go with whatever Helzberg has decided to match.
We generally advise against buying pre-set jewelry because you cannot inspect the diamonds you’re buying. And often, the diamonds that jewelers pair jewelry with are not the best (notable exceptions count Ritani and James Allen, who uses top-quality diamonds in their ready-made jewelry).
The question is if Helzberg is another exception to the rule, which we’ll look into next in our Helzberg Diamonds review.
At the time of writing, Helzberg Diamonds boasts 333 different jewelry designs featuring lab-grown diamonds. That’s a fairly decent amount, though fewer than some of the leading lab-grown diamond sellers. In addition, the 333 are individual SKUs and thus have a pre-set diamond pairing without an option to pick carat weight or any other parameter.
However, the chances are that you will find the jewelry type and design you are looking for. Except if you’re looking for spectacular creations such as those Barkev’s sells or fancy-colored diamonds where New Worlds Diamonds probably has the largest selection.
So while Helzberg Diamonds has a satisfactory selection of pre-set diamonds, the question of the diamond quality remains. We’ll look at that next in the Helzberg Diamonds review.
Helzberg Diamonds buying process and inspection
The next step in the buying process is to go to the detailed jewelry page. Here, only limited information about the diamond and jewelry piece is available. You have to click the “details” tab to learn more about the diamond.
You may have to squint your eyes a little to see the details, but you can see the color and clarity grade when you look closely. But nowhere is the diamond cut grade available. It does say “stone cut,” but it’s not the cut that is revealed but rather the diamond shape. Which is not what you’re searching for.
As we feared, this is where the problems start. Unable to tell the diamond cut quality, we have no way of assessing what we are buying. Buying a diamond is a very costly endeavor for most people – even if lab-grown diamonds are cheaper than mined ones. So it seems reasonable that you know the most critical aspect of the purchase you’re about to make.
Since the cut grade is not listed on their website, we tried asking their online support. We almost wished we didn’t. First of all, the instant chat is anything but that. But maybe they were busy with other things. Second, when we asked what the diamond cut grade was for several pre-set lab-grown diamond jewelry pieces, we were informed, after a 10-minute wait, of all the other grades except for the cut. So we only asked for the cut grade.
Seemingly, the otherwise lovely chat person was acutely unaware of what diamond cut grade was. If you assist customers with buying diamond jewelry, it seems reasonable that you are aware of this key aspect.
Upon asking if they were someone at the company who might know more, we were advised that this was all the manager had been able to find. So, yes, even the manager could not tell us. However, we were informed that there was no need to worry since the diamond jewelry would come with a certificate, so upon receipt, the cut quality would be known. That, in fact, is very worrying.
Under no circumstances should you wait until you receive your goods to know what you are buying. Instead, this essential piece of information should be readily available upon request. We are fairly sure that the reason is that the diamond cut quality is low. In comparison, Ritani and James Allen have no problem informing us that their pre-set diamond jewelry pieces are graded with the highest rating (ideal).
Helzberg Diamonds Create Your Own Lab-Grown Jewelry
Luckily, Helzberg Diamonds also allow you to choose your own diamonds from their loose diamond inventory. This is more than you can at one of the other mall jewelers, Zales and Kay Jewelers, or pre-set-only sellers, Lightbox Jewelry. This is Helzberg’s chance to redeem themselves from the disappointing experience with the pre-set jewelry. So let’s assess that process next in our Helzberg Diamonds review.
As we noted above, Helzberg Diamonds has a good selection of lab-grown diamonds in their inventory, even if there are grades they do not cover.
In our Helzberg Diamonds review, we’ll start by searching for a lab-grown diamond ring. The process for other jewelry pieces varies slightly, which we’ll describe below.
Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown engagement ring (create your own)
Once you have performed a search with your desired diamond grade criteria, you’re presented with a list of available stones. Unfortunately, unlike most other diamond sellers, there is no detailed page for each stone (perhaps because you can’t buy loose stones, only pick for use in jewelry settings).
Instead, you click on an info button similar to what other sellers use as a preview.
That said, the preview does present you with helpful information such as the grades and dimensions, including cut diagrams. There’s also a link to the diamond certificate (grading report), which is excellent. This is typically where you conduct a large part of your quality investigation.
Note that Helzberg Diamonds can show the diamond cut grade when you’re picking diamonds to create your own jewelry, so that’s already a massive improvement over the experience of buying pre-set lab-grown jewelry.
Helzberg Diamonds mainly use IGI as the grading institute for their lab-grown diamonds, a reputable grading institute and the leading one for lab-grown diamonds.
However, critical features are missing from the diamond overview, namely the ability to view the diamond stone through HD images and video. Examining high-quality images and a 360-degree video of the diamond stone is, together with the report inspection, the most critical step in evaluating the quality of a diamond (unless you’re a professional who uses lab equipment).
Regrettably, no images or videos are available on Helzberg Diamonds. Compared to our highest-rated lab-grown diamond sellers such as James Allen, Ritani, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin, who all offer these features, Helzberg Diamonds falls far behind. In fact, we do not recommend that you buy a diamond without carrying out a proper inspection.
When you have decided on a diamond, the next step in the buying process is to choose a ring to match it. Again, the selection is somewhat limited but covers the most classic styles (for more creative designs, consider Barkev’s Jewelry or With Clarity, two of our favorite places to buy lab-grown engagement rings).
The final step is an overview page which contains information about the rings and diamond stone but still no images or video of the diamond. So at this point, you’re stuck with whatever diamond you have found and the certificate but cannot further assess the quality of the diamond you’re buying.
As mentioned, the process is a little different for creating other customized jewelry, so we’ll also walk through that, hoping that there are better options for inspecting the diamond.
Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown engagement ring (create your own)
In this part of the Helzberg Diamonds review, we’ll examine the other approach to “create your own jewelry.”
We don’t know why the process differs, but it is well-aligned with our general perception of a very unstructured website and sometimes a confusing user experience. In fact, the alternative approach can also be used for engagement rings, but you’ll have to go through the menu item “jewelry” instead of “engagement.”
Pick the last category, “all gemstone jewelry” (we don’t know what it is about not capitalizing words, but perhaps it’s an attempt to appear more modern and hip).
This presents you with (another) overview page. For example, under “gemstone,” pick “lab diamond.” Now you can see all the jewelry designs that you can create on your own.
However, it turns out that you can’t really create your own. This is actually just another list of their pre-set jewelry! When you pick a jewelry piece you like, you’re transferred to a detailed page where all you can change is the gemstone and metal. Which is the same as the filters on the previous page.
This is where we would have expected to pick from their sizeable inventory of lab-grown diamonds but, alas.
Helzberg Diamonds even highlights the lack of ability to pick your own diamond very clearly. And please note that the cut grade is omitted, just like it was with the pre-set jewelry. However, Helzberg does promise it will (sparkle with brilliance – it won’t, the cut is low quality).
So again, we’re disappointed in our review of Helzberg Diamonds. Yet, the problems do not end here. In the following section of our Helzberg Diamond review, we’ll take a closer look at their prices and compare them to the market leaders.
Helzberg Diamonds lab-grown prices
It should be pretty clear that we do not recommend that you buy pre-set jewelry from Helzberg Diamonds due to the low quality of the diamonds that they use. And the “create your own” is no different and, in reality, also just pre-set jewelry. So the only option you have for selecting a lab-grown diamond yourself is if you are shopping for an engagement ring.
That’s why we’ll focus primarily on their prices of loose diamonds in this part of the Helzberg Diamonds review, where we look closer at their prices.
We’ve already alluded to it when we assessed Helzberg Diamonds’ inventory of lab diamonds, and we noted that increasing the color grade to increase the selection came at a cost.
In fact, all their diamonds come at a cost and a very high one at that.
Let’s start by looking at our reference diamonds. Recall that we were not able to find any within our recommended range. So instead, we’ll lower the clarity grade to include SI1 and SI2. This gives us 80 lab diamond stones. The cheapest, an I-colored and SI2 clarity-graded with an ideal cut coming in at 1-carat, is priced at $3,522. That is 3 times more than a similar diamond sells for at Clean Origin, Ritani, Brilliant Earth, and James Allen!
Note that all three use precisely the same grading institute, IGI, so while no diamonds are the same, they are comparable. We have no idea why and how Helzberg Diamonds is able to charge prices 3 times what others do. Even compared with overpriced Zales and ridiculously expensive Kay’s, this is shocking.
At this point, we really should end our Helzberg Diamonds review. But we still have a few more things to go through before we wrap up and conclude our review.
Helzberg Diamonds shipping and returns
The last thing we evaluate in our Helzberg Diamonds review is their shipping, return, and shopping terms.
Helzberg Diamonds has free shipping on orders over $100, noting their exceptionally high prices, it should not be a problem. However, the free shipping is standard ground shipping, and you will have to pay for faster or weekend delivery. Our top-rated places to buy lab-grown diamonds all offer free expedited overnight / 1-day delivery, which should be expected for such a high-ticket item.
You also have the option to pick up your order in a store, should you live close to one. And in some cases, you can also get same-day delivery if you live within 20 miles of a store. That can definitely be valuable if you find yourself without a present on the 24th of December or February 13th.
Helzberg Diamonds offers free exchanges and returns within 30 days of purchase, which is pretty standard but far from Clean Origin’s 100-day period. In addition, return shipping is free and, presumably, also insured. However, any customized jewelry, which we take to include create-your-own jewelry pieces, is not included (similarly to what we saw in our Brilliance.com review). And since we do not recommend that you buy any of Helzberg Diamonds’ pre-set jewelry, this is very critical, and in essence, there is no free return policy.
Helzberg Diamonds Review Verdict
If you have been reading through the whole Helzberg Diamonds review, it should come as no surprise that we cannot recommend that you buy lab-grown diamonds or diamond jewelry there. There really are no positive changes in our updated 2023 review, so the review score does not change this year.
While there are some positives, such as a decent selection of pre-set lab-created diamond jewelry and loose diamonds, these come with caveats. The quality of the lab diamonds used for their pre-set jewelry is simply too low or unknown (in 99% of cases, it means low quality). And the prices of lab diamonds that are of excellent quality cost three times as much as elsewhere.
Adding mediocre support, shipping, and return policies, we find it challenging to spot redeeming qualities that can balance the exorbitant prices and lack of diamond quality transparency.
Our final rating in our Helzberg Diamond review lands on a disappointing 2.5, absolutely not sparkling stars out of 5 possible, neck and neck with Zales, but slightly ahead of our lowest lab-created diamond review of Kay Jewelers.
Instead, we suggest you consider any of our top-rated places to buy lab-grown jewelry.
If you’re looking for an engagement ring, take a look at With Clarity and their unique offer of free engagement ring replicas (also read our Home Preview review) or Grown Brilliance, where you can create a virtual replica of any diamond and setting. You can read more about them and other sellers in our lab-grown diamond seller reviews section.
Helzberg Diamonds customer reviews
The internet agrees with our Helzberg Diamonds review and low ratings.