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Kay Jewelers vs. Zales vs. Jared: Which Brand is the Best? (History, Quality, Design & Price)

Kay Jewelers vs. Zales vs. Jared: Which Brand is the Best? (History, Quality, Design & Price)

    Zales, Kay, and Jared are three of the most popular jewelry brands on the market today.Even if you know nothing about jewelry, chances are you’ve at least heard of these companies.You may have walked into or past these stores in the past.Each brand has expanded their online stores now to reach customers in a way that doesn’t require a visit to their stores.Their jewelry are all immaculate, and it can be very difficult to choose which to go for!Is Kay Jewelers better than Jared?Is Kay Jewelers the same as Jared?What is the difference between Kay Jewelers and Jared?Is Jared more expensive than Zales?What is the difference between Jared and Zales?Are Zales and Kay Jewelers the same?What is the difference between Kay Jewelers and Zales?Kay Jewelers vs. Zales vs. Jared:which brand is the best?And most importantly, which of the three would make an excellent option for you.In this article, I will take a detailed look at the differences among these three brands such as history,selection,prices,quality,policies and more to help you make the right decision.

Cover Photo:kay.com
 

The Brief History of Kay Jewelers

Kay Jewelers,now part of Signet Jewelers in Akron, Ohio,has been established by Edmund and Sol Kaufmann in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1916.Since its establishment, Kay has been a jewelry line intended to symbolize love and gratitude. Initially, Kay would sell music boxes, eyeglasses, silverware, razors, and even appliances, before they sold jewelry exclusively.Kay Jewelers is now the leading jewelry store in America with more than 1,000 stores and a team of dedicated jewelry experts thousands.In fact, Kay Jewelers is ranked the 2nd most widespread jewelry retailer with a mall-based presence across the US.

Source:kay.com

Kay also has a strategy of occupying as many brick and mortar shopping districts and malls as possible.They also have worked on your psychology by showing up in your eyesight many times, in real life, in your comings and goings, since you were a kid.Today, the brand offers the best quality and the most affordable jewelry, as they are devoted to making sure that everyone looks beautiful. Their range of products includes classic must-haves and the latest in fashion and jewelry.

Whether you’re shopping in a KAY store or at KAY.com, They strive to offer personal attention and trusted KAY expertise to help you make the perfect choice. Online through a Virtual Consultation or with a Live Chat, our experts are happy to listen and shop with you to make your experience a fun, memorable occasion.

Kay Jewelry Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Over 1,000 stores in America.

  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB.

  • Free shipping on orders of $50+ within the continental US.

  • Free shipping to Kay’s outlets.

  • Great jewelry variety.

  • Their jewelry offers a great return on investments, and they last longer.

  • Katy offers more classic, memorable, and commemorative jewelry meant to carry more meaning and last longer.

  • 30-day return policy, 60 days for exchanges; extended during the holidays.

  • Credit options offered.

  • Pricier.

  • No cut grading information.

  • Limited choices for clarity and color.

  • Diamonds certified by the IGI rather than the GIA or AGS which might be an issue for some people.

  • No independent grading.


Where to Buy Kay Jewelry?

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The Brief History of Zales

Like Kay, Zales is also owned by  Signet Jewelers.Founded in 1924 by Morris and William Zales and Ben Lipshy in Wichita Falls, Texas, Zales is one of the leading jewelry brands on the market today. Paired with their robust and exceptional customer services and dedicated employees, the company was able to expand really fast, boasting at least 12 stores spread across both Texas and Oklahoma by 1941. And they pioneered locating jewelry stores in shopping districts, and eventually malls, beginning in the 1950s.They began closing many of its mall stores in 2017 in order to expand its online business, but Zales is still known for its in-store experience with huge displays showcasing its products.Now, Zales boasts over 700 stores with a presence spread as far as Puerto Rico and North America.

Source:zales.com

Zales offers some of the highest quality merchandise at impressively low prices. The store offers this unique/ revolutionary credit plan – the penny down and a dollar a week – a plan that they offer even on their higher-priced items. Known as the Diamond Store, Zales has got a wide selection of preset diamond engagement rings, which a lot of online jewelers don't offer. Any Zales customer can access anything in terms of jewelry from the everyday basics to some of the most exquisite diamonds, both online and in their physical stores.They also offer the best of bridal jewelry made of simple gold bands, as well as the most extravagant diamonds. Some of their diamond designs include exclusive diamond designs from some of the internationally-acclaimed brands like Neil Lane and Vera Wang.

Zales Jewelry Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Over 700 stores in America.

  • Affordable and budget-friendly.

  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB.

  • Great price range.

  • Great variety of jewelry.

  • They offer more of the fashion-forward and trendy pieces of jewelry.

  • Fit for everyday use. Its jewelry collections – earrings, rings, or bracelets – can be used to adorn any outfit.

  • 30-day returns and 60-day exchanges.

  • The website is easy to navigate, and there is a huge collection for you to choose from.

  • Free shipping to the nearest Zales’ outlets.

  • Credit payment options offered to customers.

  • Their diamonds are mostly certified by the International Gemological Institute (IGI), which is not at the same level as either GIA or AGS.

  • Traditional website design.

  • Some of the metals used to make Zales jewelry are Nickel and Copper, so wearers having sensitive skins can get allergic reactions. 

  • Some of its jewelry, especially the colored looks cheap because they are of low quality when compared to the ones sold by Zales competitors.

Where to Buy Zales Jewelry?

The Brief History of Zales

Also owned by Signet Jewelers Limited, Jared Jewelry is one of the largest specialty jewelry brands with retail stores in the UK, US, and Canada. Jared jewelry stores are usually in shopping mall areas as standalone stores.In the US alone, Jared Jewelry boasts at least 200 off-mall stores in about 40 states,and its brick-and-mortar stores sell a wide range of jewelry collections from engagement rings to charms, watches and fashion jewelry. They even claim to have five times the selection of ordinary jewelry stores. 

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Source:jared.com

The brand specializes in engagement and bridal jewelry; gifts for all occasions; timepieces, and men’s and women’s fashion. Jared curates collections of fine brands, with well-known designers such as Vera Wang, Pnina Tornai, John Hardy, Le Vian, TAG Heuer and Omega.

Jared also offers a range of bespoke services including custom jewelry design in all stores and through The Jared Foundry in select locations.Jared have updated their website to compete with companies such as Blue Nile, James Allen and Whiteflash – you can now view a high-res image of a loose diamond and choose a setting to complete the ring. 

Jared locations differ from their sister stores (Kay and Zales) in a few ways.Firstly, their staff is slightly better trained and have a little more knowledge of the products. Secondly, they do offer better quality. Lastly, each location has an in-house jeweler that can do minor repairs and modifications.

Jared Jewelry Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Wide range of products, metals, styles and gemstones.

  • Wide range of designer brands.

  • They use lab-created and natural diamonds.

  • They sell GIA and AGS certified diamonds.

  • They offer personalized jewelry collections, and customers get to pick and customize their own pendants and rings.

  • Good customer service, low-pressure tactics.

  • Great after-sale policies, including returns, maintenance, and returns.

  • They have experienced and better-trained salespeople compared to other jewelry stores.

  • They also sell diamonds with questionable certificates from inferior grading labs.

  • Their prices are still higher than what’s charged by other sellers like James Allen.

  • Some say that the products are of poor quality.

  • Not open to negotiation on any prices, as some other shops tend to do.

Where to Buy Jared Jewelry?

Kay Jewelers vs. Zales vs. Jared Jewelry: Comparison Side by Side

1.Quality

Kay Jewelers - Kay Jewelers has long been known to offer quality jewelry that also includes a great insurance plan that involves having the piece cleaned once every six months and will pay to have the piece fixed should something like diamond fall out.However,Diamonds from Kay Jewelers are almost exclusively certified by the IGI. What this means for the customer is that they should expect to receive a lesser value diamond than what they paid for. Overall, Kay Jewelers is of OK quality.

Zales - Zales reputation as delivering quality products has decreased in the last few years. The jewelry sold at Zales is not of the highest quality. Zales diamond is of a lower quality than those certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).The quality of the jewelry sold at Zales has been questioned many times. It is not surprising to find low-quality jewelry at high prices at Zales.

Jared - Jared sells diamonds from six grading labs, including the GIA and AGS. Not only are many of Jared’s diamonds graded by the most regarded institutions, the rest of their jewelry is known for quality as well. From earrings to necklaces, bracelets and rings, Jared jewelry pieces are meant to stand the test of time.

Unless either Zales or Kay decides to switch their certifying body to the GIA or the AGS, both stores are on equal footing on questionable ground. Be wary about the quality of diamonds from both retailers.

2.Price

It's difficult to compare prices for Kay versus Zales versus Jared because it depends on the product line. You might find instances where wedding rings are less expensive at Zales, but necklaces run higher at Kay and Jared.So when it comes time to purchase jewelry, it depends upon what you are purchasing.But the three retailers are significantly more expensive than other online diamond stores.

Kay Jewelers - While the general inventory at Kay and Zales will vary, you'll find that their prices and values are pretty much neck and neck. The bulk of Kay's rings fall between $1,000 to $2,500, but for customers who want something more high-end Kay sells nearly 100 rings over $10,000. One caveat is Kay doesn’t provide the diamond’s grades, while the Zales and Jared diamonds earned I color and SI2 clarity grades.

Zales - As stated earlier, Zales Jewelry was established to help families and individuals who wanted to get jewelry but were on a tight budget. Jewelry sold at Zales is quite cheap, and they claim to sell jewelry are a lesser price than their competitors. 

Jared - Regarding their other products, you should expect high prices because the company positions itself as one that sells premium designer items. The price of a Jared product varies a lot based on the carats, stone, setting, precious metals, model, etc. For instance, the price of a ring can start at less than $200 and it can go up to more than $2,500. Although most of the jewelry items are good in terms of quality, the higher price tag comes mostly from the fact that Jared is a well-known and reputable brand.

3.Customer Service

You can call, text, or chat Zales, Jared, and Kay, but they aren’t available 24/7 like some of their online competition.Majority of their best jewelry services are in-store, like special events and sales.You can walk into any location and be greeted by a jewelry expert who can walk you through all their pieces.

If you search the internet for Zales and Kay reviews, you're going to find a lot of a bad reviews as well as a good deal of bad press.But Jared has a reputation for strong customer service. In fact, Signet has designed Jared as a more personalized experience compared to online and in-person retailers, especially those in mall locations.If you want jewelry expertise each step of the way, Jared is an exceptional option.

4.Warranty

Kay Jewelers - They guarantee their diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald gemstone jewelry for a lifetime. That guarantee, however, only works if They inspect it every six months.

Zales - At Zales, they give a free warranty called the Lifetime Diamond Commitment. It states that as long as you come into a Zales location to have your engagement ring cleaned, inspected, and recorded, they'll replace your diamond if it's damaged or missing.  The diamond will be the same grade or better than the one it's replacing.

This only covers the cost of the diamond itself, not the metalwork that needs to be done to set it, or prongs that will need to be fixed.

Jared - To make sure your jewelry pieces will last forever, Jared offers a free lifetime guarantee, in which they’ll replace diamonds and gemstones that are damaged as a result of normal wear. Just check the details on what constitutes normal wear as terms and conditions (naturally) apply. The products tend to have a good price/quality ratio balancing out craftsmanship, durability and value.

Comparison Chart


Kay JewelersZales JewelryJared Jewelry
Types of Jewelry
  • Engragement & Wedding

  • Bracelets

  • Rings

  • Necklaces

  • Earrings

  • Watches

  • Charms

  • Gift Sets

  • Jewelry Box

  • Personalized Jewelry

  • Engragement & Wedding

  • Bracelets

  • Rings

  • Necklaces

  • Earrings

  • Watches

  • Charms

  • Sets

  • Personalized Jewelry

  • Engragement & Wedding

  • Bracelets

  • Rings

  • Necklaces

  • Earrings

  • Charms

  • Watches

  • Diamonds

  • Personalized Jewelry

Return 

Policy

30-day return policy, 60 days for exchanges; extended during the holidays.

30-day returns and 60-day exchanges;extended during the holidays.30-day returns exchanges;extended during the holidays.
ShippingFree shipping to U.S. street addresses and KAY Jewelers locations in the continental United States only, with $50 minimum purchase.FREE UPS 2nd Day Air shipping right to your door in US.Order online at Zales.com and your order ships FREE if you pick it up at your local store. No minimum!

Free UPS 2nd Day Shipping on orders for non-personalized in-stock items.FREE shipping to any Jared location! No minimum purchase required.

Conclusion

Kay,Zales and Jared belong to the same group of companies, so truthfully, they are not far from each other in advantages and disadvantages. 

Out of the three, Zales seems to offer the most competitive prices and a good range while also being the go-to brand if you are looking for fashion-forward pieces of jewelry.On the other hand, if you’re looking to invest in a proper, long-lasting gift for a loved one (or you’re looking to get yourself a heftier present just because), Kay Jewelers here IS the better fit.But diamonds of Kay and Zales are low-quality and not AGS- or GIA-certified.If you have expensive taste in jewelry and prefer your diamonds to be of topnotch, unquestionable quality, you’re better off buying elsewhere.

Then you have Jared Jewelers, which not only offers the best quality, GIA-certified gemstones but also provides elaborate after-sale services and policies. They make use of the best quality materials, including platinum, gold, sterling silver, titanium, natural, and lab-grown diamonds,and though their products cost more than what the two other brands offer.But overall, Jared would be a preferred brand if you don’t mind spending more than what these other brands offer.

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2022-10-31 20:466057