Mall jewelry stores (Kay, Jared, Zales)

posted 3 months ago in Rings
Post # 2
5923 posts
Bee Keeper

I’ve never heard of Osterman or J.B., but I knew the others. Shitty company for sure, but most chains are owned by someone higher up.

something like 90% of all media in the us is owned by only 6 companies.


Post # 3
115 posts
Blushing bee

I never had a good opinion of them, and going into a store to look at rings made it even worse. The lady ignored all my requests and forced size 7 rings on my size 9 finger. She kept taking off my other rings and putting them on, and I have issues with boundaries. It was just so uncomfortable. She kept telling my boyfriend that I loved all these rings that I said I didn’t, and essentially chose a ring for me like omfg. Luckily we were only going in so I could see different settings so we could go through a Chinese vendor but man that experience cemented my decision to not go through any mall jewelry store, ever haha. 

This was a really sad, but interesting read, thanks for sharing.

Post # 4
1329 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2005 - A Castle

James Allen is also in that bunch, so I’ve made my first and last purchase with them. 

Post # 5
161 posts
Blushing bee

Yup…and they recently acquired James Allen, so you can add them to the “crappy” bunch. 

Just. Stay. Away. 

Post # 6
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 1984

I wonder if this is what lead JA to stop posting diamond certificates?

Post # 7
321 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Didn’t know this but Darling Husband got my engagement ring + wedding band as a Neil Lane set from Kays. Never had any issues with them, especially when it comes to inspections/warranties, etc. Service always was good. They were the only store that had the ring + band style I loved. Even local jewelers in our town didn’t have anything I liked and Kay’s was definitely budget friendly because Darling Husband could have never afford a 100% custom ring. 

Sure, I would love a truly unique ring no one else has, but I’m also not a ring-obsessed person. Mine looks pretty and is sparkley and is a design I adore, that’s enough for me.

That being said – I’m not sure if I would go back to them. These stories don’t really have too much of an effect on me because the service Darling Husband and I both recieve in the stores or through Kay has been good. 

Post # 8
202 posts
Helper bee

Just another reason not to shop there.  These stores always seemed sketchy to me anyway.

Post # 9
1368 posts
Bumble bee

Wow, I knew they were all owned by the same company, but I wasn’t aware of the pay equity and harassment issues. Thanks for posting the article, it was a very good read. I will def. avoid from now on. 

Post # 10
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 1995

Thanks for the article. I never bought anything from the mall chains anyway. Sadly, it is not surprising they are underhanded. Quality product is lacking, too.  Even now I can’t believe the outrageous prices they charge for I1, I2 grade diamonds. 

Back in the day when we were trying to source a diamond (pre-internet–so selection was even worse) none of these mall chains had any stones with higher clarity than SI. One saleslady told us SI clarity is the highest we would ever find. 

Nonsense. Found a local jeweler and got our F, VS1. 

I was surprised to hear someone mention that James Allen is now owned by the same company.  I wonder if they will jack up the prices now, and you won’t be able to compare since they removed the GIA cert. number. 

Post # 11
1030 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard

That makes me kinda sad. For certain things Zales was okay to me. My gold band from a decade ago is from there. No more purchases from them I guess. And no James Allen either. Ever since I read they took away certificate info I have had 0 interest in using them when previously they had been a maybe.

Post # 12
124 posts
Blushing bee

Quite frankly, I do not understand why would anyone buy any jewelry from any of these places. With actual brick and mortar stores their overhead is very high and they pass it on to the consumer. You are basically paying premium price for very low quality product. It makes zero sense to shop in any of those stores.

Post # 13
388 posts
Helper bee

When we went to a mall type jewler, the sales people were horrible. I told them what I wanted to look at (solitaires or simple three stones, plain bands, lower budget so smaller stones) and they kept bringing out things which were absolutely not what I had asked for (halos, pave, $6000 rings) and when I said “no, only undert X amount please” they were so rude to my partner, one even said “you better buy her something nicer than this or someone else will”. Actually. ACTUALLY. And for what it’s worth, I was the one imposing the stricter budget, my SO would have likely spent double my suggestion. We walked out and went online after that. 

Post # 14
552 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

I find it very troubling that they have acquired James Allen.  My ring is from JA and when we purchased from them more than 2 years ago they were quite reputable.  However, knowing the practices of some of those chain stores (not even relating to those issues outlined in the article) I now have concerns about having my rings serviced through JA.  I’ve heard the horror stories of stones being switched out for lower quality while being cleaned/re-dipped.  And of course my ring is due for service now.  Should I trust them?  Whats a bee to do?

Post # 15
30 posts

Yes, this is yet another reason to not give them a penny of one’s business. I’ve had similar experiences as other bees when I’ve gone in there in the past – terrible, and even offensive, service; huge markups on repairs and merchandise; VERY poor quality diamonds and other gemstones; a horrible attitude toward alternatives such as moissanite and lab diamonds; and poor quality repair services.

And as far as concerns about their new acquisition, James Allen: yes, JA is adopting the same business approach and applying it, making themselves the “mall store” of the internet. As others have mentioned, they have removed the certifications and all details about diamond specs from the diamond listings, so to see that info, you have to call or chat with a representative. For every single stone that you want specs for. This makes it utterly impossible to do any real comparison of their inventory. Based on the experiences of several people who have posted on Pricescope, once you’re dealing with the rep, you often are subjected to a “hard sell” – just like the in-store salespeople –  from someone that JA claims is a diamond expert, but who have proven that they actually know not much more than diddly about diamonds. Some people had the reps refuse to let them see the certifications repeatedly and just continue to keep trying to “hard sell” them stones based on just the rep’s say-so about their quality. Unbelievable. Clearly a blatant move to keep customers in the dark and spending scads of money on marginal quality stones. In addition, they have reduced the quality of the sidestones they use in their settings. They had several settings that I had been eyeing for future ring purchases, and I’ve noticed that for most of them, the sidestones have gone from being VS-SI clarity to SI1-SI2, etc.

As an older bee, I’ve come to realize that, at least here in the US, much of the time “voting” with my dollars is at least as powerful, if not more so, than my vote in the booth. I will certainly be voting with my dollars to NOT give any part of that company any, and I intend to be very vocal to others about why so that they can make fully informed decisions.

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