Best Jewelry Stores
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Jared vs Kay
What's the best Jewelry Store? Every year, almost 40 million people shop online for jewelry - and with good reason! Why stand in line for over an hour during a peak season like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, hoping that there might be something she'd like, when you can shop any time of day (or night) and get the world's best selection while sitting in your living room?
Today's best online jewelry stores make it almost unthinkable to shop at a local store. The lack of overhead with online jewelry means that they can bring you prices as much as 50% lower than what you'd find elsewhere. When you add in free shipping, extended return periods, and the same certifications and guarantees you get from a local jeweler, and it's easy to see why it makes sense to buy jewelry from an online store.
"Did he go to Jared?" That's what the commercials ask. Maybe the better question is, should you? If you like shopping online at a jewelry store that is backed by numerous retail locations, has a parent company (Signet Jewelers Limited) with an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau, and you want one of the widest selections of jewelry on the market, the answer is probably "yes, you should!"
Jared - "The Galleria of Jewelry" - has one of the widest range of jewelry items available online, from popular brands like Pandora and Vera Wang, to exclusive "only at Jared" items you won't see at other stores.
If you're shopping for a ring to pop the big question, we definitely suggest that you take a look at Jared's engagement guide. One particularly helpful section reminds you that knowing your intended's style is the key element to choosing the perfect ring - and they've got a guide to help you do just that. Jared has nearly 1,000 engagement rings to choose from, ranging in price from $479.99 to $20,000, and you can easily sort through your options according to your budget range, ring style, stone shape, metal type, and more - just click on the appropriate checkboxes on the left side of the page.
And, as we shopped for an engagement ring, we got a pop-up offering a 15% discount on our purchase if we entered our email address. On one of those higher-end designs, that could be a significant savings!
Alternately, you have three options for creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring: Build Your Own, Design-a-Ring, and Custom Design. While they may sound the same, Jared uses each one slightly differently to help you come up with the perfect ring for the perfect proposal. The Design-a-Ring tool even lets you try your creation virtually using a mobile device and your hand!
Other categories were equally broad. Watches? Nearly 80. Earrings? Over 1,900 pairs. Bracelets? Just under 1,500. You'd have a hard time finding something on another site that Jared doesn't carry as well.
And, for shoppers on a budget, Jared has a hand "Sale" tab at the top of the page, including a few options for previously-owned, high-end watches and other jewelry pieces.
We were surprised that Jared didn't offer free shipping on all orders, like many higher-ranked jewelry stores tend to. You can get free shipping via 2nd Business Day Air if you would like to pick up your purchase at a Jared store, or if you spend at least $50. Otherwise, expect to spend at least $9.95 for shipping via UPS Ground.
Jared's return policy is also industry-standard: 30 days after purchase. But, Jared doesn't seem to require that you get a Return Merchandise Authorization first, so just follow the instructions on your packing slip if you should need to send your jewelry back.
Only one area surfaced where Jared was behind the competition: quality and pricing of diamonds. We found a number of diamond experts who compared what Jared offers (both in-store and online) with other retailers, including several in our review. Unfortunately, across the board, the stones sold by Jared tended to be of lower quality but at higher prices. This seemed to be the case for many online jewelry stores who also have the high overhead of brick-and-mortar locations and was not unique to Jared alone. If you do choose Jared for your diamond purchase, we suggest that you also have the stone appraised by the jeweler of your choice, just to make sure that you've gotten the value you've paid for.
But, on the whole, the Jared shopping experience is solid: their broad selection gives every customer many choices, no matter what type of jewelry they're seeking, and a strong brand reputation with numerous local stores makes it easy to make returns, ask questions, or get customized guidance during the buying process. Jared is a good option among jewelry stores online.
"Every kiss begins with K(ay)". We've all heard the famous tagline, especially around any holiday that typically includes romantic gifts. Kay Jewelers is part of the Signet brand family, which also includes Jared, Zales, and several other well-known jewelry store brands. While Kay is probably best recognized for its retail locations in malls throughout the U.S., they offer their ample selection online for easy, no-lines shopping.
In the past, Kay's online selection was somewhat limited. But, they've done an excellent job of expanding their inventory, making an impressive array of products available to jewelry shoppers:
As you browse each of those categories, you'll find the dropdown options to help you narrow down your search. Kay's selection is massive; just in the Earrings category alone, they had almost 2,000 options to choose from. Fortunately, the site is easy to navigate and even easier to sort through all those options; we were able to quickly filter our results by price, customer reviews, or even by designer or collection to see just those pieces of jewelry that met our criteria.
We love Kay's Lifetime Diamond & Color Gemstone guarantee: as long as you have your piece inspected by an authorized Kay representative every 6 months, they'll replace any diamond, emerald, ruby or sapphire that is chipped, broken, or lost during normal wear. And, you can get a free professional cleaning and inspection at a local Kay store as many times as you wish.
Kay Jewelers' return policy is industry-standard: 30 days. Their shipping prices are slightly less competitive with the highest-ranked jewelry stores we reviewed: you'll only get it for free if you spend more than $50, but most purchases from Kay are likely to be at least that amount.
The only jewelry category where Kay Jewelers might not measure up to expectations is when it comes to diamonds. Many diamond experts assert that the stones sold by Kay's tend to be overpriced when compared with competitor stones of the same quality. Also, there were concerns a few years ago as some customers alleged that when they brought their diamonds in for a cleaning or appraisal, they were replaced with lower-value stones.
But, we found no indication with the Better Business Bureau that the issue still needed to be resolved, and Kay's parent company Signet enjoys an A+ rating with the BBB.
Kay Jewelers will probably impress you with their extensive inventory across many different types of jewelry, and having the ability to get free cleanings and inspections at local stores might be a perk you could enjoy for years to come. Our only recommendation is that if you choose Kay for a purchase involving diamonds, especially high-end stones, you get an independent appraisal within the 30-day return period - just to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises down the road.
Of course, not every jewelry store is the same. Some specialize in "fashion" or "costume" jewelry; if you're looking for an inexpensive piece just to add some sparkle to a fun evening, or maybe an imitation item that won't break your heart if it gets lost, this type of jewelry might be perfect. Those stores are less likely to sell luxury, high-priced jewelry with precious metals and gemstones, however - so you may need to select a store that specializes in heirloom-quality craftsmanship and materials.
As you begin your search for the ideal online jewelry store, what should you keep in mind? Here are several criteria that can help you make your decision:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best jewelry stores available today. Whether you're shopping for an engagement ring, a necklace for your significant other, or just a new bit of sparkle to add to your collection, we hope these reviews will help you find the right piece of jewelry at the right price!
What You Should Look For When Buying a Diamond
A lot of people have this question. Buying a diamond is a commitment, so it's understandable that you'd want to educate yourself thoroughly before taking the plunge. Even so, this goes beyond picking the right jewelry store or knowing what kind of setting you'd like. What you should look for when buying a diamond directly relates to the four C's.
What Are the Four C's?
The four C's stands for carat, color, clarity, and cut. These are the main principles on which you should base your diamond purchasing decision. These attributes and their grading scales were developed by the Gemological Institute of America.
When determining what you should look for when buying a diamond, of course you need to pay attention to the four C's. Still, you also need to think about the shape of diamond you would want. They come in several styles with Round Brilliant being the most common. Other shapes include Princess, Emerald, and Oval.
Also consider where you're buying the diamond from. Not just any jewelry store will do. They are all unique and it's very easy to get ripped off if you don't know what you're looking for. A jewelry store should be GIA certified and it should have a good reputation with the BBB. Remember to look into these things because diamonds are expensive. Do your due diligence, just as you would with any other major purchase.
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