BRAND REVIEWS

Kay Jewelers

Among a dazzling array of jewelers, is it a good place to buy jewelry?🐰🤔
Selection
Quality
Price and Value
Shopping Experience
Services and Warranty

Buying from Kay Jewelers...

Looking for that perfect gift for your special someone? Or maybe a little something to treat yourself? Kay Jewelers may just be the answer to your prayers! Kay offers a wide selection of finished and pre-set jewelry, making it the ideal one-stop shop for all of your anniversary, birthday, and other special occasion needs.😽 With a “create your own” platform similar to that of James Allen, you can even build your own custom design that speaks to your personal style in mere minutes! So, what’s the catch? Let’s take a closer look at all the reasons you may want to give Kay Jewelers a try (and a few reasons why you may not!). In our Kay Jewelers review, we’ll discuss:

  • Company basics
  • Product selection and offerings
  • The Kay Jewelers shopping experience
  • Customer service at Kay Jewelers
  • Pricing and competitors
Gifting Kay Jewelers jewelry to Sweetheart
Photo: Kay Jewelers

Kay Jewelers company overview

It’s hard to believe, but Kay Jewelers has actually been around since 1916!😱 The company was established by Edmund and Sol Kaufmann in Reading, Pennsylvania, and the two got their start by selling their jewelry in the corner of a furniture store. In fact, at the time, they didn’t just sell jewelry: they also sold musical jewelry boxes, eyeglasses, razors, and other trinkets!

Today, Kay is the second-most widespread jeweler in malls in the United States, only beaten by Zales. It’s owned by Sterling Jewelers which is under the umbrella of Signet Corporation, a major brand that owns multiple jewelry store chains. Kay found success with their 1997’s commercial tagline “Every kiss begins with Kay”, which is still remembered in households across the US today.💓💞

Because they’re a mall-based chain, Kay Jewelers has plenty of locations where customers can still come to view products in person. This is still a major draw for some buyers who prefer to examine pieces up close rather than rely on images and videos online. The company seeks to provide customers outstanding products and service while celebrating life and expressing love, and after over 100 years in the business we’re sure they’re still doing just that!

Kay Jewelers review: A summary

If you don’t have time for our full review, no worries: we’ve included a round up of the things you absolutely need to know about Kay Jewelers below:🙌🏻

Pros

  • Kay Jewelers locations are plentiful: you can find them almost anywhere, making returns, exchanges, and in-person questions much easier.👍🏻
  • The company has a large inventory of pre-set rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, and more!🥁
  • The “create your own” platform gives you the power to build your own custom engagement ring, fashion ring, necklace, earrings, bracelet, and more in minutes.
  • Their hassle-free returns and exchanges—with extended timelines during the holidays—take the stress out of shopping.
  • There’s a gold and platinum exchange program for making a little extra cash.
  • They offer plenty of customization options for adding names, birthstones, etc. to jewelry pieces for a sentimental touch.
  • The Kay Jewelers card offers easy financing with zero money down.

Cons

  • Not all of Kay’s diamonds are AGS or GIA certified.
  • The staff includes very few individuals with actual GIA or diamond training.
  • The company’s prices are higher than competitors with better quality products.
  • Customer service professionals aren’t available 24/7.

Kay Jewelers product selection

Kay Jewelers has a rather impressive collection of items for every occasion, so it’s a great place to start for most shoppers. Let’s take a look at the major items Kay provides:

Diamond and gemstone pieces

If you’re looking for diamond and gemstone jewelry, you’ve come to the right place! Kay’s diamonds are mostly AGS and GIA certified, but not all of them carry either distinction, which may be an issue for anyone looking to back up the suggested quality of their diamond purchase. They also sell lab diamonds, which are an affordable way to get a real diamond at a fraction of the cost.

Kay carries their own line of diamonds known as THE LEO, and there are four different styles of LEO diamonds:

  • THE LEO: This is a diamond cut created by Kay that is independently certified to be brighter for better light performance. There are additional facets within its pattern that enhance the return of light.🌟
  • THE LEO First Light: This proprietary cut features microscopic nano-prisms that amp up the color of your white diamond. Etched into the facets of each diamond, they produce brilliant color patterns for a sparkling display.🌈
  • THE LEO Ideal: This cut is Kay’s take on the “Ideal” diamond, offering superior proportions and angles that produce ample fire, brilliance, and scintillation.🏅
  • THE LEO Legacy: A lab-created diamond, this design has the same cut as THE LEO diamond for better light performance at an affordable price.
THE LEO Diamond Series by Kay Jewelers

In addition to diamonds, Kay Jewelers has plenty of gemstones for colorful pieces as well. Popular options include emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and pearls, but you can also find opal, alexandrite, peridot, garnet, amethyst, and more. There are also tons of pieces that allow you to mix and match different colored stones for one-of-a-kind designs, but we’ll get to personalized items in just a bit!

Product types

Kay Jewelers carries thousands of jewelry pieces that are sure to “wow!” at any event. From dazzling pendants to drop dead gorgeous drop earrings, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for! Let’s look at the major offerings for each category of jewelry:

Bracelets: Tennis and charm bracelets are their most popular items, and Kay also sells charms individually so you can add on to your own bracelet. There are also chain and bangle designs for a more casual fashion look, and you can find anklets as well that are perfect for warmer weather. Designs may include diamonds or other gemstones and come in silver as well as white, rose, and yellow gold.

Necklaces: This is one of Kay’s largest categories with endless possibilities thanks to the inclusion of personalized pieces.🎨 You can find refined chain designs, pendants, and longer styles made for fashion jewelry. The pendants come in all shapes and sizes to suit your style, and designs may include diamonds or gemstones and feature white, yellow, or rose gold in addition to silver.

Earrings: Kay’s selection of earrings is immense, and there’s certainly a style for every earring wearer! Popular designs include studs, hoops, and dangles, and they even have a selection of ear climbers. Similar to other categories, earrings typically feature diamonds or gemstones and can be made out of silver or white, rose, or yellow gold.

Rings: Rings don’t always have to be bridal, and Kay Jewelers has plenty of fashion rings and anniversary pieces to suit your needs. Promise rings and personalized rings are popular, and there are anniversary bands that stack well with bridal sets. As always, pieces are available with diamonds or gemstones as well as in white, rose, or yellow gold or silver.

Watches: Kay carries both men’s and women’s watches from some top brands in the business. While perusing their inventory, you’ll notice big names like Citizen, Bulova, Movado, Tissot, Hamilton, Fossil, Boss, G-Shock, Armani Exchange, Coach, Caravelle, and more.

Engagement and wedding rings

In addition to plenty of fashion and statement pieces, Kay does carry a decent collection of pre-set engagement rings and wedding bands. There are over 3,500 engagement rings to view, with proprietary collections like “Now & Forever” and “Forever Connected” adding new and exciting designs to the pool. Kay does also carry rings from some major designers in the bridal business, and you can find pieces from Neil Lane, Monique Lhuillier, and more. Finally, there are over 2,600 men’s and women's wedding bands with or without pre-set stones for couples who want to buy all of their rings in one place.

Reviewing the Kay Jewelers shopping experience

Kay Jewelers offers customers some exciting and easy ways to shop their website. Let’s look at some highlights of the Kay experience:

Search criteria

It wouldn’t be a jewelry review without a critique of the company’s search criteria!🤗 Overall, Kay’s search options are fairly standard, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as online retailers have really stepped up their game in the last few years. From the homepage, you can search by jewelry type, occasion, or clearance if you’re looking for a deal.

Looking for a Deal at Kay Jewelers

From there, individual pages offer good search criteria that include metal type, gemstone type, price, gender, gold karat, shape, length, size, personalizable pieces, customer rating, delivery or pickup method, and even which sales are available. This makes it much easier to narrow down Kay’s large inventory to items that should match your needs.

What’s more, Kay has a very reactive search function on their homepage that easily hones in on what you need. Simply type in whatever you need and watch the website do the hard work. For instance, when we typed “aquamarine ring” in the search bar, we were met with an excellent list of options that perfectly fit the description. Even more specific searches like “gold circle necklace diamonds” yielded near perfect results as well, which is amazing considering we had no idea what we were looking for with that description in the first place!

Instant Search Results for Aquamarine Ring at Kay Jewelers
Kay’s search functions are great for anyone who isn’t entirely sure what they’re looking for but has an idea of certain required characteristics.

“Create your own” platform

We’ve seen the “create your own” platform at other major jewelers like James Allen, and Kay’s design is almost exactly the same as the James Allen ring maker! While designing an engagement ring, couples have free reign to add features—as long as they structurally work together—to create the ring of their dreams. 👉🏻They can choose their diamond quality, size, and shape, the ring’s head and basket, the mounting and whether there are any side stones (and what type), metal color for the band, head, and mounting, and ring size. You can even choose to have the ring engraved to make it extra special. Kay also offers the opportunity to match your engagement ring to a wedding band made to fit with your design for a seamless look every time. Personalization options even extend to some designer brands, and you can customize your own Neil Lane wedding band if you so choose!

In addition to allowing couples creative freedom over their wedding jewelry, Kay Jewelers takes the “create your own” idea even further with a platform that allows shoppers to customize other pieces of jewelry as well!

😎💡We rarely see this kind of customization, so this is something unique to Kay. Their “create your own” jewelry platform is stunning, offering an insane host of options for both setting type and gemstone. You can choose to make a custom ring, necklace, earrings, or bracelet with several setting styles available for each. Additionally, you can choose the shape and color of any main gemstones and even the accent stones!

Creat Your Own Jewelry Platform at Kay Jewelers

One drawback of the “create your own” platform is that it does not allow you to choose the quality of your stone. You can choose from a range of clarity grades for diamonds, but there are no options for colored gemstones. While this won’t be a major concern for anyone looking for standard quality, anyone seeking the ability to research and examine each stone may be disappointed.

However, Kay Jewelers doesn’t typically allow shoppers to choose the quality of their gemstone even on their regular pages, and they often opt for best quality to begin with, so don’t let this discourage you!

Options for personalized jewelry

If you don’t want to design your own piece, you can still create a personalized jewelry item with engraving, gemstones, and more. Kay Jewelers offers customers several ways to create personalized pieces that are ideal for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, graduations, etc.,💃🏻👯‍♂️ and the combinations are endless. You can choose how many gemstones you want, metal type, and custom engraving for either inside the bands of rings or on the front of pendants. From custom name necklaces that are incredibly popular currently to designs that integrate birthstones of children or family members, there’s a little something for every occasion. You can also have names or dates engraved on several pieces as a way to make the association more obvious, or you can add charms to a pendant for a more subtle nod to your loved one. Whatever you choose, there’re plenty of ways to make custom pieces at Kay.

Does Kay Jewelers have good customer service?

So how does Kay Jewelers perform in the area of customer service? As a larger brand, they luckily have plenty of service offerings for customers who need assistance during the lifetime of their new piece. Let’s look at some of the highlights of Kay’s customer service plan:

Supportive team, but they’re not experts

Kay Jewelers has an extensive support team that can be reached via chat and text for quick answers to any questions. The hours for these services are limited, though, and you can only reach support representatives at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday: 7 AM — 1 AM ET
  • Saturday: 10 AM — 10 PM ET
  • Sunday: 12 PM — 9 PM ET

With hours like these, it’s still practically 24/7 support, but it’s good knowledge to have in case you have a dire diamond question at 4 AM! You can also schedule an appointment to meet with a jewelry expert to discuss your needs on your time.

Speaking of jewelry experts, it’s also helpful to know that no Kay employee is required to have GIA or major gemstone training, and only managers might have a “Diamontology” course through Jewelers of America. This means Kay’s staff may know their specific products, but they’re less knowledgeable than the trained staff of competitors. However, customers still feel Kay’s support team is top notch and offer proper answers to any questions, so this may be of little concern unless you have an issue that requires a gemologist.

Extended service plan—but only if you shop in stores

To protect your investment, Kay does offer a lifetime guarantee for diamonds and colored gemstones that covers stone replacement, mounting issues, and trade-ins for the original purchase price of the stone. This includes diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in an attempt to keep them sparkling like new for decades to come.

However, in order to keep this lifetime policy, you must bring your piece to a Kay Jewelers location every 6 months, which may be unachievable for some shoppers. At that time, an expert inspects your stone and documents any findings. If there are any issues, all problems covered under the lifetime policy are fixed at no extra cost to you. It’s a bit of extra work to bring your piece in every 6 months, but it may be worth it in the long run if you don’t have to pay for repairs!

Kay also offers extended service plans for some pieces, but it seems that you must purchase your item at a brick and mortar location to receive these benefits. Customers have mentioned they were not offered the same extended plans via the online platform as they were in store, so it may be worth a trip to a Kay location to get those extra benefits.

Kay Jewelers card

The Kay Jewelers credit card offers customers a way to purchase their new item with zero money down! There are several financing options to fit any budget, with all but the 36-month plan requiring zero interest if paid within the time limit. Purchases must be $300 or more to qualify, so be sure to hit that limit if you want to use this card properly!

The credit card also comes with a ton of perks to sweeten the deal, offering discounts and savings the whole year through. If you sign up, you’ll enjoy a welcome gift, $100 birthday coupon and anniversary cardholder gift, free shipping, exclusive yearly savings, cardholder only events, early sales alerts, and even reminders when it's time to bring your item in for an inspection.

Returns and exchanges

Kay Jewelers offers a standard 30-day hassle free return policy, and you can either ship your item back or bring it to any Kay location to save time. For exchanges, this timeframe extends to 60 days for most items, but watches will have to be exchanged within the original 30-day time frame.

It’s also easier to return items around the holidays at Kay, as they have extended return windows to give customers more opportunity to return any unwanted gifts. Just keep in mind that personalized items and custom orders cannot be returned!

“Get it today” quick shipping

Are you last minute gift shopping? Do you need your item today? Have no fear, Kay is here with “get it today” quick shipping! You can actually get same-day local delivery and in-store pick up if you need your item faster than the designated shipping time frame. Kay uses Roadie to deliver products locally as long as you order by 1PM local time, or you can select a “buy online, pick up in store” item from their inventory and rush over to the store to get it yourself in no time. This is a pretty convenient program for anyone who tends to wait until the last minute to shop!

Kay gold exchange

Do you have any old jewelry you’re looking to get rid of to finance a new purchase? Kay Jewelers offers a gold and platinum exchange for such occasions. Simply send your unwanted 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K, 24K, or European gold items as well as 900 or 950 platinum to Kay’s warehouse (with free shipping), and they’ll do the rest. They inspect, value, and sort your items to determine current price and email you your final amount via check or Kay gift card.

How does Kay Jewelers compare when it comes to price?

This is a fair question, and it really depends on what you’re looking for. For most of their fashion and special occasion jewelry, Kay Jewelers offers fair pricing that befits the quality of the product. So, if you’re looking for a pair of sapphire earrings or a customized necklace with the names of your children, rest assured you’re getting a decent price. Keep in mind that Kay also offers sales and discounts throughout the year, so it’s easy to save money around the holidays or wait for that perfect discount to appear in your inbox before making a purchase, saving you even more in the long run!

That being said, if we’re talking diamonds, Kay tends to have significantly higher prices compared to jewelers like James Allen and other engagement brands. Considering this isn’t Kay’s focus, it’s less of an issue, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re considering buying a diamond from Kay Jewelers.

As such, we recommend sticking to all other jewelry purchases when shopping at Kay and sticking to brands that focus on high-quality diamonds at decent prices for engagement rings.

Choosing Kay Jewelers

Whether you’re looking for the perfect necklace for your wife from the kids for Mother’s Day or a personalized watch to celebrate a sibling’s graduation, Kay Jewelers certainly has a lot to offer its customers.

It’s a great place to start for both diamond and colored gemstone jewelry, providing vast collections of rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and everything in between. Kay Jewelers products aren't considered “top quality” in the jewelry world, but that doesn’t mean these pieces aren’t still of good quality and worthy of daily wear. In fact, if you have any problems, you can always rely on their customer service team or walk into any store to remedy the situation!

If you’re looking for a place to start your engagement ring journey, we recommended reading our James Allen, Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and Whiteflash reviews. These companies place a heavy emphasis on high-quality diamonds and exceptional craftsmanship, so they’re a great place to start!

JewelryTalk Rating: 4
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