Zales vs Kay Jewelers: Which is Better? - Savvy

Gift Cards Travel Zales vs Kay Jewelers: Which is Better?



ยท 10 min read

Have you been thinking about tying the knot yourself after going past jewelry stores in the mall? There's a good explanation behind this.

In-mall jewelry retailers such as Zales and Kay Jewelers are intentionally located to familiarize shoppers with the sight of their stores and the sound of their names - as well as to stir the emotions that come with relationships.

When a customer is prepared to make a commitment, the shop they pass every time they dash to the grocery store or the bookstore is certain to be a top contender.

Zales and Kay are experts at making ring purchasing seem more like a routine trip to the mall than a big life decision, even if it is for a special occasion.

But how can you focus your search for a diamond ring if you have both of these businesses in mind? It can be difficult to decide between Kay Jewelers and Zales for wedding bands because they are both exquisite!

With the help of this guide, you can determine which retailer is most likely to carry the diamond of your dreams by getting a glimpse inside the product selections and marketing strategies of both Zales and Kay Jewelers.


Are Zales and Kay Jewelers the same?

First off, Signet Jewelers is the biggest diamond jewelry retailer in the world. Under the brands KAY Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H. Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and, this business runs more than 3,500 locations across the US, UK, and Canada.

Zales currently owns close to 700 outlets in the US and Puerto Rico. The largest jewelry retailer conglomerate in America, Sterling Jewelers, currently oversees the company's operations. The largest specialty jewelry retailer in the world, Signet Jewelers, is the parent company of Sterling Jewelers.

According to the number of physical outlets, Kay Jewelers is currently the second most popular mall-based jewelry retailer in the US (Zales is top!). Similar to Zales, Sterling Jewelers in America and Signet Jewelers internationally are the owners of Kay.


Is Zales or Kay better?

The big question at this point is: Given that these two retailers are sister businesses, aren't they essentially the same thing? Not quite. While Zales and Kay occasionally have similar rules, their target markets are different.

Based on five major factors—jewelry quality, price, selection, customer service, and accessibility to both online and physical stores—we compare Zales versus Kay Jewelers.


Is Kay or Zales good quality?

Will you be able to get a great price on a high-quality diamond from Zales or Kay is the first thing you'll want to know. The simple answer is no. Grading is a method of determining diamond quality. The four Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight— determine a diamond's value.

You can send your diamond to various national laboratories for quality certification. The American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America are the two most reputable organizations to have your diamonds graded (GIA). Certificates from other labs may be suspect since they frequently do not adhere to the same high standards as AGS and GIA.

Here and here, we discuss these certifications in greater detail.



Unfortunately for Zales, the International Gemological Institute (IGI), which is not on the same level as GIA or AGS, certifies the majority of their diamonds.

This becomes a problem when a consumer is presented with an IGI-certified diamond at a price that is much lower than a GIA- or AGS-certified counterpart. This customer may not be familiar with diamond grading or the labs that give certification. Customers may believe they are getting a better value by purchasing the IGI-certified diamond when, in fact, they are receiving a considerably lower-quality Zales wedding ring for her.


Similar to Zales, practically all of Kay Jewelers' diamonds have IGI certification. That being said, a consumer who is knowledgeable about diamond grading should be aware that an IGI-certified stone has probably received an exaggerated grading compared to what it would have earned at AGS or GIA. This is not to suggest that Kay doesn't offer genuine diamonds.

This suggests that the customer should anticipate receiving a diamond of lower worth than what they paid for. Kay Jewelers is generally of ok quality.

Draw for this round's winner. Both Zales and Kay are on equal footing on shaky ground unless one or both of the companies chooses to change to the GIA or the AGS as their certifying authority. Be aware of the diamond quality offered by these retailers.


Is Kay more expensive than Zales?

The target demographic of Signet's in-mall businesses is known to them. They have a sweet spot in their positioning, says media and retail analyst Kosha Gada. They have figured out how to service them because they are aware that their customer is in the middle class and earns between $35,000 and $100,000.

A large selection of diamond and semi-precious stone jewelry set in silver and gold is available from both Kay and Zales. To remain affordable for as many clients as possible, jewelry alternatives at both locations have a range of prices.


Prices for wedding jewelry can be found on the Zales website anywhere between $29.00 to $39,999.99.


The lowest piece of wedding jewelry available is priced at $369.00, while the most expensive piece is listed at $36,699.00 on the Kay Jewelers website.

Winner for this round: Kay Jewelers definitely wins.

Undoubtedly, having jewelry options under $100 would be good. But you're better off starting with jewelry made of a higher grade material than stainless steel if you're searching for diamonds, engagement rings, or wedding jewelry that should potentially last a lifetime. Even though Kay's pieces cost more, they will ultimately be a better investment.


Zales vs Kay, which is the better selection?

Although Zales and Kay are sister stores with comparable in-mall marketing tactics, their target audiences and customer philosophies are very different. As a result, the selections in each store vary as well.


Research has shown that Zales is the shop of choice for a "more fashion-oriented consumer...someone shopping for the newest trend," according to Signet Jewelry CEO Virginia Drosos. Zales, often known as "The Diamond Store," aims to offer fashionable diamond, gemstone, and fashion jewelry to its clients.

Zales is a great store for someone who views jewels as glitzy enhancements to appearances and attire. In addition to expensive jewelry better suited for special events, their catalog also features wearable basics for everyday use. In this way, Zales' partnership with Vera Wang works wonders for them.


Customers who purchase jewelry to "commemorate a moment or a relationship" choose Kay, on the other hand. As evidenced by their mission statement, "Celebrate life and express love," Kay's marketing strategy is centered on romance and gift-giving.

They provide a variety of wedding and engagement rings, as well as charms, timepieces, and individualized jewelry that is meant to serve as a reminder of important moments in life.

This round's victor is: Zales.

You might have better luck if you browse Zales' catalog first given that their collection is not just confined to jewelry designed for special occasions.

Looking over their selection, you'll discover that they carry rings and jewelry you might not think to give a loved one on a special occasion, but they'd still make for an interesting gift.

(Of course, this depends on personal preference; there's a good possibility you'll discover your ideal ring at Kay!)


Payment methods and level of service

You have the option of using credit to purchase jewelry from Signet Jewelers. Another clever marketing tactic used by both Zales and Kay, it allows them to continue receiving payments from jewelry sold on credit even during times when sales are sluggish.

Customers who buy jewelry infrequently (such as a wedding or engagement ring) might not be as excited about this method of payment because it accrues interest, but they might find it to be a convenient choice.


Zales offers free shipping for online transactions in addition to credit options. Additionally, there is a 60-day return policy (so long as return terms and conditions are fulfilled). Zales can send through UPS to your door or to the Zales outlet of your choice. When sending to a Zales store, there is no shipping charge.


Kay provides credit options and a 60-day return policy, just like its sister brand. You can choose to pick up your order at the designated Kay Jewelers location, or Kay will use UPS to mail it to your home. For the second choice, there are no delivery costs.

Winner in this round: Another draw.

The fact that Zales and Kay both provide the same policies and make use of the same delivery services is convenient, but we assume that any criticism of one will also be directed at the other.


Is Zales or Kay online store better?

Although Zales and Kay are well-known for their physical locations inside of malls, a sizeable portion of the screening procedure can also be completed online. As a result, modern jewelry businesses must have a website that is simple to use and properly cataloged. Of course, we'd never suggest that anyone purchase diamond jewelry out of the blue!

In order to at least select a merchant, it can be useful to compare the costs and designs that are offered. Before visiting a company's actual store, you might even ask your merchant if the outlet closest to you has a certain design if you found it online.


Rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, designer jewelry, and make-your-own rings are all nicely arranged by category on the Zales website, which also has sections for wedding and engagement jewelry and gift suggestions (sorted by occasion, recipient, price, and a separate section for their bestsellers).

The Zales website has a more conventional and uncomplicated presentation. Everything is about the jewelry; the majority of the images are of rings as they are traditionally exhibited.

You can narrow down your search for Zales Engagement rings for her by using the filters under the Engagement tab, which include price, style, metal type, metal color, carat range, and even bandwidth. The website has a search box that allows you to type in certain keywords to quickly determine whether they have what you're looking for.

A minimum of two alternative views of your ring are depicted in photographs and descriptions on the individual item pages. Critics, however, have expressed their hope that you could view a 360-degree preview of the ring before purchasing.


Kay's website, however, is more up to date. Moments and people are prominently included in their photos, keeping with their emotive, gift-giving style. Most of the images feature couples, brides, and suggestions for wedding photo shoots. Similar to Zales, Kay's catalog is divided into tabs for engagement rings and gift ideas. The categories are rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, charms, watches, and personalized jewelry.

The rings are further classified under the Engagement category by cost, design, metal type, stone shape, personalization choices, and collections. You can also use the search bar to expedite your search. Individual item sites do not offer a 360-degree preview, just like Zales, but instead display descriptions of your ring and two different photographs of it.

However, Kay offers a well-organized FAQs area that Zales does not. Questions concerning repairs, warranties, and service plans, account information, online orders, returns and refunds, custom design, ring sizing and engraving, product specifics, and trade-in rules are all addressed on a separate helpful page.

This round's victor is:  Kay takes this round just for that reason!

A well-organized website with a useful FAQs section can make things much easier for everyone, whether you're a wedding writer vetting a merchant or a customer looking for your dream ring.


The verdict: Is Zales or Kay better?

Since Zales and Kay Jewelers are both part of the same corporate family, their advantages and disadvantages are fairly similar. The most notable criticism these businesses receive from seasoned jewelers is that their diamonds are of poor quality and not AGS or GIA certified.

You would be better off shopping somewhere else if you have pricey jewelry tastes and demand unequivocal top-tier quality from your diamonds. But if you don't care too much about your rocks and are content with just having something emotional and dazzling, shopping at the local Kay or Zales mall store would work just fine for you.

Affordable Daily Wear: Zales is a great alternative if you're seeking for stylish, cost-effective clothing that you can wear every day, wedding or no wedding.

Higher End, Expensive Engagement Rings and More: However, Kay Jewelers IS the superior option if you're trying to spend money on a proper, long-lasting gift for a loved one (or you're looking to get yourself a larger present just because).

The most crucial thing is to select the ideal ring for your aesthetic preferences, financial capacity, and way of life—whether you purchase from Zales, Kay, or broaden your search to a different retailer entirely. We believe that this comparison will help you choose the ideal ring and retailer for your requirements.


Other Popular Questions About Kay:

Does Kay Jewelers Sell Real Diamonds?