Why You Might Want to Rethink Your Engagement Ring Purchase at Kay Jewelers
Kay Jewelers: A 2023 Review for Diamond Shoppers
As a GIA certified jeweler with over 20 years of experience, I am frequently asked if Kay Jewelers is a recommended place to buy diamond jewelry, especially engagement rings. My honest opinion is that there are better options.
While Kay Jewelers is a large chain store found in many malls across America, they unfortunately do not offer the best quality or value compared to other retailers.
In this article, I’ll share my insider knowledge to help you make an informed decision if you are considering purchasing diamond jewelry from Kay Jewelers.
A Brief History of Kay Jewelers
Kay Jewelers was founded in 1916 and has grown to become one of the largest mall-based jewelry stores in the United States.
The Kay Jewelers Shopping Experience
As a primarily mall-based chain, Kay Jewelers’ overhead costs are higher given the prime retail spaces they operate in. Unfortunately, these extra costs often get passed onto the consumer through inflated pricing.
Questionable Diamond Quality
In my opinion as a diamond expert, the quality of diamonds sold at Kay Jewelers is lower than many competitors when it comes to cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.
I have inspected countless rings from Kay Jewelers over the years that were advertised as 1 carat, but in reality weighed 0.95 carats or less. Keep in mind that a 0.95 carat diamond has a significantly lower wholesale cost than a true 1 carat stone.
Additionally, Kay does not provide independent certification from labs like GIA or AGS for their diamonds. This makes it impossible to verify the quality characteristics stated on the sales receipt. Opting for lower tier labs like IGI can be concerning as well.
For these reasons, I cannot recommend purchasing a diamond engagement ring from Kay Jewelers if quality and value are important considerations for you. You can get a superior stone for less money from reputable online retailers.
Higher Prices and Pushy Sales Tactics
In general, the diamond prices at Kay Jewelers are much higher compared to online options when you accurately compare carat weight, cut, clarity, and color. I have seen identical stones priced 30-40% less from internet sellers.
The Kay sales associates who work on commission can be very pushy as well. It is not uncommon for them to mislead buyers who are unfamiliar with diamonds through omission or stretching of the truth. This is something to be aware of.
Better Options for Engagement Rings
My suggestion is to only buy diamond jewelry from highly-rated stores that provide real GIA or AGS certifications. Two retailers I recommend are James Allen and Blue Nile.
James Allen offers 360° HD videos of actual diamonds so you can see the exact stone you’ll be getting. Their collection of lab created diamonds is impressive too.
Blue Nile has superb filtering tools to customize your search by price, shape, quality characteristics, etc. Their brilliant earth collection contains stunning, responsibly sourced natural diamonds.
No matter where you ultimately decide to shop, I recommend avoiding Kay Jewelers for diamond rings. Their pricing inflates the cost of lower quality stones. With some education and research, you can find a far better value on diamond jewelry elsewhere.