Gabriel & Co. represents pretty ubiquitous within the fine jewelry world. Their bridal jewelry caters to a wide variety of shoppers, and it’s certainly not unusual to encounter one of their designs ‘out in the wild’.
The original ethos behind Jack and Dominick Gabriel’s brand is one that we side with wholeheartedly. Inspired by the work of their father and master jeweler, Elias Gabriel, the two brothers founded Gabriel NY out of a desire to really capture the significance and meaning of a proposal, a wedding, an anniversary, or any other moment special enough to be celebrated with a piece of fine jewelry. Their long, combined history, first as apprentices and then as pioneers of the craft, means that they are able to boast a keen appreciation of the raw elements of fine jewelry, as well as the designs themselves.
Gabriel NY’s prices are much, much more affordable than the prices of some of the other well-known jewelers we have reviewed in the past. Their approach is very different to the luxury, high-end brands and, in some ways, a little more akin to the approach taken by some of the online retailers – particularly when it comes to value.
Our rating: 2 stars
The positives: Plenty of choices for shoppers
The negatives: Designs are produced on a large scale, and there is no contact between the creator and the customer.
Gabriel & Co. has been on the scene for more than 30 years – and, from relatively humble beginnings, has grown into a pretty prominent name on the engagement ring circuit. They’re pretty well regarded online, and have a pretty clear philosophy.
But, despite the fact that you’ve likely heard the name before today, it’s not one you’ll be familiar with seeing on the street, or at the mall. Similar to other prominent brands like Verragio, their designs are available to see and pick up from authorized retailers around the United States, rather than having any stores dedicated to their brand.
In other words, you browse their rings online, then use their virtual ‘Concierge Team’ to book an appointment at an authorized jewelry store in your area. You can only arrange to see two styles at a time during a consultation, but, thankfully, you don’t have to pay any deposit or advanced payment in order to view them.
On the surface, it sounds great – it checks all our boxes in terms of allowing you to see the ring in person before it’s shipped to your door, and being able to speak to a jeweler about what you need and want from the design.
But, at the same time, you’re not speaking to the jeweler – you’re speaking to a jeweler. This means that, instead of being able to take full advantage of your consultation, you’re still very much dependent on an unknown third party.
Sure, the unknown third party is highly reputable, has been around for decades, and boasts plenty of great reviews, but we can’t see the true value in trading in the full experience for something that sits halfway between mail-order and in-person shopping.
But, more on that below.
Gabriel & Co.’s ring designs offer a little of everything. They offer plenty of classic and vintage styles, as well as some more ‘off the wall’ designs like their Nova Collection, which offers some pretty novel, statement adaptations of the split shank. In other words, their collections appeal to everyone, from those who are looking for a traditional solitaire to those who want something totally off the wall. Across all of their collections, you’ll find a lot of halo settings – some traditional, some with unexpected twists – and decadent styles evocative of Verragio’s highly ornate styles.
There are, after all, a lot of choices – so many that browsing their selection almost started to feel like browsing one of the online jewelers’ websites.
Gabriel & Co. also offer the option of designing your own engagement ring from scratch but, again, this seems to run into the same problem: that you’re not going to be talking to the jeweler who will create your ring. It means adding in an additional step, and overlooking the fact that a reputable jewelry store will be capable of seeing the entire process through to the end, without sacrificing on quality.
When it comes to certain luxury brands, like Tiffany & Co., some shoppers can’t help but gravitate towards that hallmark, even if it means paying thousands and thousands of dollars more than they could have paid elsewhere. But Gabriel & Co. is a lot more middle of the road.
Sure, it’s a pretty popular brand, but its prices are more ‘on a par’ with the prices that you will pay at a bricks-and-mortar, independent jewelry store, only with the added issue of having to communicate with a third-party.
Any shopper’s experience with Gabriel & Co. will depend pretty heavily on the retailer they choose to visit. We can’t vouch for the company’s selection process when it comes time for them to pick out a new authorized retailer, and that does leave the door open for (potentially) a fair amount of inconsistency between one person’s experience and the next.
At WillYou.Net, we’re also big proponents of the idea that it’s a lot better to get your bearings, browse designs, and do your research online before you head into what can be a daunting situation – until, of course, you actually arrive. Of course, after that, a good jeweler will make you feel at-home and comfortable very quickly; they’ll build upon that baseline of knowledge you’ve got from your online research, and make you feel as though creating an engagement ring is second nature.
But the trouble with Gabriel & Co.’s setup is that you never wind up meeting your actual jeweler. Sure, you meet a jeweler – a jeweler who could be highly knowledgeable and experienced – but you won’t be in a consultation with the person (or even the company) who will be making your ring.
Also, since their authorized retail partners are located up and down the country, it seems fair to presume that Gabriel & Co. meet an incredibly high number of orders each month. Their designs are produced on a much larger scale,
Gabriel & Co. is a lot more affordable than some of the other brands we’ve reviewed in the past – and, as we mentioned above, a lot more aligned with the sorts of prices we’d expect from independent jewelry stores.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that Gabriel & Co. do not supply the center diamond. This means that their customers will not only want to set aside the lion’s share of their budgets for the diamond, but that they will also need to consult with the jeweler at their Gabriel & Co. Authorized Retail Store to find an appropriate diamond.
If you’re already having this conversation with your jeweler – and you already find them trustworthy enough to do so – then we wonder why there’s any particular value in then using them as a middleman for the ring design.
So, while Gabriel & Co. is one of the more affordable brands, it doesn’t seem to offer any financial benefit to those who are prepared to head into a jewelry store in the first place.
Any other questions you may have, answered…
The brand was first established in 1989, after brothers Jack and Dominic learned the craft from their father.
The brand continues to reside in New York City, where it was initially founded.
Gabriel & Co. is a reputable and highly regarded brand, but we’re not sold on their approach to buying an engagement ring.
This is, after all, undoubtedly one of the most important things you will ever buy. Particularly if you’re going at it alone, without your partner weighing in with their thoughts and feelings, we can’t imagine any process surpassing the traditional consultation between jeweler and customer.
Sure, Gabriel & Co.’s approach comes a lot closer than, say, James Allen or Brilliance, but it still seeks to replace something that, in our opinion, shouldn’t be replaced.
If we’re talking about the difference between an online vendor, and a brand like Gabriel & Co., then this one is the clear winning. Afterall, some contact is better than none, and this way customers are at least able to see and hold the ring before they have to hand over any money, or make any big commitments.
It’s also good that it allows customers to have that physical point of contact with a reputable jeweler, but we’re not sold on the idea that customers need any more than that in order to find a beautiful, unique, and exquisitely crafted engagement ring at the end of the process.
Rings produced to such a large scale, and without any face-to-face contact with the creators themselves, are not what we would consider ideal, and we would rather advise our readers to take the traditional route than add in any extra steps.