Michael Hill ring selection
Michael Hill offers a total of 158 ring styles of diamond engagement ring to choose from:
Michael Hill’s engagement 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 tighter budget.
The majority of the engagement ring styles that Michael Hill sells are either solitaire or halo settings – two classic styles that have stood the test of time. Solitaire settings are generally a less expensive setting than other styles and are great for keeping the focus on the centre stone, while a halo setting can make your ring stone look larger and impressive.
The most common shape they offer is the round brilliant – it’s not only the most popular shape, but it also the best shape that sparkles the most.
Looking at the precious metals use by Michael Hill in their settings, we can see that the most frequently used is metal 14kt white gold.
14kt white gold is a commonly used metal in engagement rings, it is fairly durable, relatively high pure gold content, and widely available in the world of engagement rings. It is also affordable so it’s a great option for customers who are looking for a quality metal on a tighter budget.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring setting styles and diamond shapes on offer from Michael Hill, which means you should be able to find something that fits your taste.
Michael Hill 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 Michael Hill offers, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
The biggest determinant of the cost of a diamond ring is usually the diamond itself and Michael Hill allows you to choose your desired carat weight depending on your budget. In their product filter they have the following categories from under 0.25 carat to 1.70 carat, although most fall into the 0.25 carat – 1.25 carat range:
Michael Hills also offers a large number of cluster rings, which use ‘TW’ when detailing the carat weight e.g. ‘1 carat TW’ ie. ‘Total Weight’.
The difference between 1 carat and ‘1 carat TW’ is that ‘1 carat’ refers to a single stone, rather than a collection of stones that add up to a total of 1 carat. A single large stone is much more valuable than many small stones that add up to 1 carat.
While carat weight may be the biggest determinant of diamond price, the factor that tells us how inclusions, or flaws, a diamond has is the diamond ‘clarity’.
Michael Hill don’t show clarity information in their product filter but show it on the individual product page for each ring. Many of their diamonds have been graded as ‘I1 clarity’ (Included 1), which is a low grade on the clarity scale and means that inclusions will be very easy to spot e.g. the large slash across the middle of the diamond below:
We normally recommend clarity grades of VS2 and above to ensure that a diamond looks ‘eye clean’ ie. has no obvious flaws visible.
The factor that determines 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:
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.
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.
Michael Hill doesn’t show diamond cut grade for their diamonds on their website. Instead, they show the diamond shape, rather than the cut:
When I asked Michael Hill about this on their live chat, they said: “Cut grading are only available on independently certified diamonds, this info is recorded on the certificate that comes with certified diamonds”
The lack of information on cut quality is a huge red flag for Michael Hill. Many other jewellers do include diamond cut quality on their websites – some have it as one of the filters on their search tool.
Michael Hill 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. Michael Hill doesn’t show any information about grading laboratories on their website, instead they only show if the diamond has certification or not in their product details.
When I asked Michael Hill about this through livechat, they said; “no unfortunately we can’t list that information online” and when I asked why they added; “because we have more than one of each ring design we can’t guarantee which diamond certification company will have been used for the ring.
This is another huge red flag for Michael Hill because they have different grading labs, they are not sure who will grade for every ring they have.
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 usual recommendation is the GIA because they have the strictest standards, so you will be sure that you are getting the quality that you are paying for.
Michael Hill service
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Michael Hill has over 300 stores in Canada, Australia and New Zealand; which means you have the option to visit the store to see a design you like in person and try it on.
They offer a three-year or lifetime Michael Hill Professional Care Plan to cover repairs and services at no charge. This covers things like ring sizing, re-tipping of prongs, stone tightening, refreshing and polishing, cleaning and inspecting, rhodium plating white gold, resetting diamonds & gemstones, earring repair and clasp replacement.
Michael Hill also has 30-day return policy and lifetime diamond warranty. Looking at reviews on Google, the reviews are split out by individual store. The Michael Hill Londonderry Mall store in Edmonton has a very impressive score of 4.5 from 26 reviews, indicating that people are very pleased with the service they have received from Michael Hill.
Michael Hill 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 Michael Hill value for money compares, we’ll compare it to one of my recommendations for the best place to buy an engagement ring – James Allen.
James Allen is an online retailer with high quality, magnified images of each diamond they sell so you can see exactly what you are buying.
When comparing, we’ll keep the ring style, diamond clarity, colour, carat as similar as possible. A good way to compare is looking at solitaire diamond rings as they are simple and timeless, without an ornate setting to make the comparison more complicated.
Looking at Michael Hill, a good ring to compare is the “Whitefire Solitaire Engagement Ring with a 1 Carat TW Diamond in 18kt White & 22kt Yellow Gold”.
The diamond’s specs for this ring are;
- 1 carat
- DEF-Colourless colour
- I1 Clarity
- Round Brilliant shape
There are a couple of things to note with this: this ring apparently has diamond certification but as discussed, they don’t show the name of diamond grading company.
In addition, Michael Hill doesn’t show any information about cut grade so we don’t know how well this ring will sparkle, or whether it will look dull and unimpressive..
This ring is priced at $7,299 plus tax – the total will depend on your province.
If you’re in Alberta, tax will be just $364.95, so the total price for the ring will be $7,663.95.
However, if you’re in Quebec, the tax will be $1,093.03, bringing the total to $8,392.03.
If we look at this price compared to my recommended retailer – James Allen – a 1 carat solitaire diamond ring is priced at just $5,077:
Like the Michael Hill ring, this ring has been graded I1 for clarity, but has been independently graded as having an ‘excellent’ cut grade, which means that it will sparkle brilliantly.
The good news is that there is no import duty to be paid on this ring if you import from USA to Canada, but there will of course be your province’s sales taxes to pay.
If we just take the price without sales tax though, the difference is over $2,000, plus the James Allen diamond has been independently graded as having an excellent cut.
This is obviously a significant difference in price! With the $2,200 you would save by shopping at James Allen instead of Michael Hill 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 James Allen 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.
Michael Hill review
Value for Money
Do we recommend Michael Hill?
Michael Hill offers a huge range of diamond rings and the ability to visit them in one of their 300 plus stores across Canada, Australia and New Zealand is a benefit. The downside of having so many stores though 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.
Overall, I would recommend that you save a significant amount of money when buying your ring and visit my recommended online retailer instead.
- Many ring styles to choose from
- 30-day return policy
- Three-year or lifetime Michael Hill professional care plan
- Very low offers low clarity grade
- No cut quality information
- No grading information
- Expensive prices