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Kay vs Ice

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KAY JEWELERS

"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:

  • Engagement/Wedding Rings
  • Rings
  • Necklaces
  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Charms
  • Watches
  • Gifts
  • Personalized
  • Collections
  • Clearance

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.

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ICE

Ice was founded in 1999 as the "online destination for premium fashion jewelry". After an extensive rebranding at the end of 2017, the Ice website is streamlined, attractive, and intriguing to shop.

Pay attention to Ice's description: as a retailer of costume jewelry, they don't tend to carry higher-end items. For example, even their highest-priced engagement sets are "diamond and moissanite" - that last one is a synthetic stone with similar color, clarity, and hardness to diamonds but that appraises for much less. But, Ice is very upfront with what their jewelry is made of; there's no trickery involved. You get what's advertised.

If you're looking to save a little cash and you don't mind giving out your email address, you can sign up for Ice's VIP newsletter and get 10% off your first purchase. Just look for a pop-up, or go to the bottom of the site where it says "Connect". We also spotted a discount code at the top of the engagement rings page on the day that we shopped at Ice; we could save 12% and get free shipping on orders over $150 with the provided coupon code. (Note: although it wasn't advertised, there was free shipping on every order regardless of price at the time of our review.)

Within certain categories, Ice has an excellent selection. In bracelets alone, they carry nearly 3,000 unique products. Earrings, necklaces, and rings have a similar range to choose from. However, you won't find watches, precious stones like genuine rubies (although they do have lab-created ones), and several other categories you might find at a traditional jewelry store.

Our search experience was a little strange. When we searched for rubies, the initial results were on point - although, again, the rubies were all synthetic. As we got deeper into the product list, however, we got a number of items that had nothing to do with rubies at all: solitaires, engagement rings, and so on, with not a speck of red stone in sight.

Ice's return policy was lackluster compared with many other jewelry stores': you can only get a full refund on unworn merchandise returned within 10 business days (approximately 2 weeks) from when the item was delivered. Ice will accept returns for exchange or store credit for up to 30 days after delivery, but not for a refund. Your return must include any gift boxes that were used in packaging. You'll be responsible for any shipping costs if your return is for any reason other than a defective product.

Ice's reviews are also mixed. An "A+" grade with the BBB as an accredited retailer is a definite plus, and some customers rave about the high-quality, affordable jewelry from this store. On the other hand, we also found complaints about less-than-responsive customer service representatives, stones falling out of ring settings, and incorrect sizing.

Our overall impression is that Ice is actively trying to create a new name for itself and win customers within the jewelry marketplace - but this store still has a few improvements it can make to be more competitive with other retailers.

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Best Jewelry Stores

To help you find the Best Jewelry Stores, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Kay and Ice.

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.

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:

  • Selection. What does the store carry? Is it a limited range of rings, necklaces and earrings, or do they have options for men and children too?
  • Prices. How does the jewelry store measure up to the competition? Do they offer free shipping, pop-up discount offers, or any other promotions?
  • Quality. What do customers say about the jewelry they've purchased? Does it last, or have stones fallen out after a few wears? Are items marked as "diamond" authentic, or are they synthetic stones?
  • Return Policy. If you don't like the necklace, ring, or watch after you've received it, can it be returned? Will you have to pay a restocking fee?
  • Reputation. Are customers generally happy with their experience, both with the jewelry they received and with the customer service department if help was needed? Is the company easy to reach if there's a problem? Does the store have a rating with the BBB?

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.

  • Carat
    The carat of a diamond is another term for weight. As an example, a 1-carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams. The weight of diamond you select depends on your budget and your preferences. A single large stone will cost more than several small ones. Still, the small ones could be of excellent quality.
  • Color
    The color of a diamond rates its color from white to yellow or brown. The whiter the diamond, the more valuable and the more beautiful. The grading system ranges from D (for white--very rare) to Z (brown). The closer to the letter "D" the color is graded, the more valuable the diamond will be.
  • Clarity
    The clarity of a diamond refers to how flawless it is. Flaws include pits, dips, cracks, scratches, and air bubbles. The grading system here ranges from F to I3. F stands for flawless, the rarest of diamonds. VVS stands for very, very slightly included. VS stands for very slightly included. S stands for slightly included. And finally, I stands for included. A diamond in the VVS-S range will be very attractive to the naked eye.
  • Cut
    The cut of a diamond refers to how it was cut by a jeweler. This is related to its shape, but does not refer directly to it. How a diamond is cut will effect how much light it reflects. The more precisely and symmetrically a diamond is cut, the more light it will reflect and the more shine and sparkle it will have. The highest cut grade is "Ideal".

Other Factors
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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