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Wednesday, February 28th
In 1924, Zales was founded in Wichita Falls, Texas with a focus not only on jewelry but also on cameras and appliances. Today, the company has grown to over 700 retail locations across North America and Puerto Rico, and also operates an online store. Zales is now owned by Signet Jewelers, which also owns several other jewelry stores that we assessed.
Excellent selection of in-stock jewelry made with lab-created diamonds
Compared with many of its rivals, Zales has a better selection of ready-to-ship jewelry made with lab-grown diamonds: in fact, they have over 400 pieces to choose from. You won't necessarily find anything bargain-priced, with only two options under $500 (a floral pendant and a curved bar necklace), but there are many beautiful necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings for under $1,000.
Luxury priced items available
On the higher end of the spectrum, Zales offers a number of stunning engagement rings priced at $15,000 and up. Clearance-priced at "just" $30,671, the TRUE Lab-Created Diamonds by Vera Wang 4.5 ct princess cut in 14K white gold was Zales' most expensive option at the time of this review. Whatever you're looking for, the filters make it easy to see the possibilities according to jewelry type, price, metal type, new arrivals, and several other criteria.
No loose diamonds here
What's missing? The ability to shop for loose lab-grown diamonds to create something unique. Many of Zales' competitors allow you to choose a stone and work from there, so this might not be your ideal jeweler if you have dreams of designing your own piece beginning with a lab-created diamond.
Free shipping and in-store pickup options
But, if you like something in Zales' selection, you could save by signing up for their email newsletter. Watch for a popup offering $50 off your first order of $300+. Just be aware that the fine print has some exclusions, like loose stones and clearance orders. Also, we noticed that Zales was offering free shipping on every order, with no minimum purchase required - it was described as a promotional deal, but since it was there the last time we evaluated this retailer, we think it's here to stay. And, of course, if there's a Zales near you, you might be able to order your lab-grown diamond jewelry online and pick it up at your preferred store. You'll see the link to indicate which store you'd like to use on each product page.
Reputation is nothing to worry about
Considering Zales' reputation, we know that larger companies tend to have more complaints, and this applies to Zales as well. The jewelry store gets a perfect rating and accreditation from the BBB, even though there were a little over 200 complaints filed in the last 12 months. And, a majority of those described issues with in-store experiences rather than Zales' website and online purchases. Generally, customers who buy jewelry from Zales are satisfied with their purchase, and the ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback is consistent with most big businesses.
Trustworthy jewelry store
When it comes to lab-grown diamond jewelry, we'd say that Zales is "good enough" . They have more in-stock items ready for ordering today than many of the rival stores we considered, which is perfect if you just need something lovely and conflict-free for an upcoming special occasion. You won't be able to design your own jewelry though, and that might be a drawback if you don't want a piece that someone else might be spotted wearing (like an engagement ring). Overall, though, we have no concerns about Zales as a jewelry store, so go ahead and get those lab-created diamond earrings or that bracelet you've been wanting.
Lab-grown diamonds, also known as synthetic or cultured diamonds, are man-made gemstones that are created in a laboratory environment using advanced technological processes that mimic the natural conditions under which diamonds form in the earth's mantle.
Sounds pretty technical, but the amazing thing is that these diamonds are essentially identical in chemical, physical, and optical properties to natural diamonds mined from the earth. They are also graded on the same 4Cs scale used for natural diamonds, which stands for cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. All of the same sparkle factor? Yes, please!
Better yet, lab-grown diamonds are generally less expensive than natural stones of the same size and quality. And, if you've ever been concerned by the idea of "blood diamonds" , lab-grown stones are perfect for you: they don't involve the environmentally damaging (and often unethical) practices associated with natural diamond mining.
However, lab-grown diamonds have a few small drawbacks. One major concern is that they may not hold their value over time as well as natural diamonds, since they aren't as rare or unique. Additionally, some people may prefer the idea of owning a natural diamond as a symbol of their love or commitment - even if lab-created stones are undetectable as such to the average person's eye.
When you realize that some jewelers offering lab-grown diamonds have an inventory of over 100,000 stones to choose from, you might feel a little overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, try to enjoy the process a little, and use these ideas to make your shopping easier:
Shopping for jewelry made with lab-grown diamonds can be an exhilarating experience, and Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's most popular retailers to give you an advantage as you browse. We hope this information helps take the edge off any nervousness you might be feeling, so that you can find - or create - the perfect piece of jewelry for that proposal, anniversary, or "just because" moment.
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