Kays jewelry is sold in just about every mall across the United States. It has become “the standard” for middle income couples looking for wedding rings. In fact, one out of twelve people buy their specialty jewelry in the United States today at Kay Jewelers or one of its sister companies. (source Wikipedia).
Many of our diamond jewelry education website competitors have really taken the boot into Kays –talking about law suits (but failing to mention that these lawsuits often have nothing to do with the store’s products), and even resorting to name calling! We think that is a little unfair. Kay Jewelers has got a good business model, commanding market share and a beautiful presentation. We do however, believe that Kays Jewelry is very expensive for what you get, and a buyer can find a better price for largely identical diamond jewelry elsewhere. Please note we are not talking about quality. Their quality is as good as anywhere else as long as the buyer uses the same guidelines to buy a diamond from Kay Jewelers as they would for buying any diamond, online or on foot.
We’ll talk about price a little later…
Kay is part of Sterling Jewelers, which in turn owns several well-known retail diamond brands, Jared-The Galleria of Jewelry, Zale and about half a dozen other retail diamond store chains around the country. About 1500 stores in total. This retail group specializes in selling diamonds to buyers who are what are called “price inelastic,” meaning that they do not price compare, generally want the ring right now and know little about diamonds. In other words, most of the buyers in the United States….
When measured against well-regarded online diamond store titans such as James Allen and Blue Nile, Kay Jewelers charges about 50% more for virtually the same item. We picked a very high end “test diamond” at both Kay Jewelers and James Allen to illustrate the point…
First, We Started with the Identical “4C’s:”
Kay Jewelers is 52% more expensive that James Allen for virtually the exact same diamond…
|Kay Jewelers||James Allen|
Please note, most people would not buy this high of quality diamond. Every measure is perfect or near perfect. Most people would drop to eye clean clarity (VS2, IS1 area) vs internally flawless (IF). This would cut the price by at least half. They’d move to a more the middle of the road color, in the colorless or near colorless range (Say F, G or H) which would cut the price in half again. If they wanted to maximize beauty, they’d keep the cut at Excellent/Ideal, maybe move down to Very Good. Then they’d still have a beautiful diamond that is better than most diamonds worn today.
We used these two diamonds to illustrate the point, but we ran this test over-and-over again and came up with the same result, more-or-less, for different diamond grades. We found the Kay price difference as low as 40% more and as high as 58% more.
Given our site’s mission, one of the most common questions we are asked at Jewelers.NYC is why is Kay’s jewelry so much more expensive? That’s a fair point because a diamond buyer needs to only do a little research to realize the price difference shown above. Point in fact, technically it is the other way around. It’s not that Kay Jewelers is more expensive. It’s that stores like Blue Nile, James Allen and Brian Gavin Diamonds are less expensive, because they are what are called “business disruptors.”
Business Disruptor is the term of the decade. It basically means removing a costly part of the product delivery process, making the customer responsible for it, and giving the customer a big discount in return. In the case of Amazon.com, they remove the customer’s ability to hold the book in their hand. In the case of GEICO they remove the customer’s ability to work with a familiar insurance agent, and “save them a ton of money” on car insurance. In the case of Priceline, they remove the customer’s ability to pick their exact hotel (still maintaining 3, 4 or 5-star rating and zip code) and give them a big discount off their hotel stay. In the case of Kay Jewelers, by removing the store, staff and inventory costs and shifting the diamond buying to a website like James Allen, Brian Gavin or Blue Nile, they remove the hand holding, and the customer saves as much as 50%.
Imagine if you owned a store where you had to pay no rent, where the salespeople did a terrific job but you didn’t have to pay them any compensation whatsoever and where you had no inventory costs; everything was sold on consignment, buying it from the wholesaler a few seconds after you sold it to the customer. That is basically the direction the diamond industry is moving today and it is the business disruptor model of James Allen and the rest. The same diamond that you see in front of you, rotating at 20X magnification at James Allen (which is awesome to watch by the way! See the video below…) may also be offered at Blue Nile, where you will see a very similar magnified video.
Overhead costs are a fact of life in the brick-and-mortar world of Kay Jewelers. However, in the virtual world of James Allen, Blue Nile, etc. they don’t pay for storefront rent or salespeople, and they hardly hold any inventory. When they remove most of the overhead costs from the equation, what’s left is the pure wholesale cost of the diamond, plus the cost to run a web business and some profit. Even if a store like James Allen insists on the same exact profit as Kay jewelers, the savings to you is the savings on overhead costs, which amounts to the 40 to 58% discussed above.
So, what’s a buyer have to do to get 40% off of their purchase? It’s simple, you must simply gain enough education about the diamond buying process to make an intelligent decision. This means learning and understanding the 4 C’s of diamonds, knowing how much you want to spend, doing research and price compare, price compare, price compare… Even if a $12,000 diamond at Kay jewelers sells for $8000 at Blue Nile, that doesn’t mean that it won’t sell for $7800 at James Allen… You get the point. With the no pressure, easy to use pricing tool each of these sellers offers, it’s easy (and a heck of a lot of fun!) to check diamond prices, inspect them up close and personal and play with the 4 C’s to come to a price that you can afford and a diamond you will love.
Check Price – James Allen
Check Price – Blue Nile
So how do you get Kays jewelry for less?? It isn’t easy! But there are a few tried and true ways.
Kays Previously Owned. if you must have the Kays brand but don’t want to pay big retail prices, then the solution may be to buy Kays previously owned jewelry. As far as we know Kays does not sell “used” jewelry, but there are many reputable sellers on eBay, local auctions, and even friends and family that may be willing to sell you their Kays previously owned diamonds…
Kays Jewelry Sale. About the only store that I’ve ever seen that never offers a sale is Apple. Their “no sale policy” yields hundreds of millions of dollars of profit to this computer giant a year. But assuming you’re looking at a product that is largely substitutable, then finding an occasional sale should not be too hard. It is during these times when Kays jewelry becomes available at prices that are less than their normal retail markup. Most stores mark their prices down at least twice a year, once in July and the other in January. Markdown prices are not the same discount as online diamond stores or jewelers of the diamond district, but still they are better than paying full retail.
It should come as no surprise that Kay jewelers sells a variety of diamond products: necklaces, bracelets, earrings and of course wedding rings. One of the most desired pieces sold is the Open-Heart Necklace. Kays sells thousands of these per year, and if this is what you are looking for, do your reconnasance work at Kays before price comparing, because the open heart necklace is one of the biggies they are known for.
One of the most searched terms on Jewelers.NYC is “Kays jewelry store near me” (and the other is “Jared, Galleria of Jewelry near me”). For some reason, folks seem to think that we have a database of the thousand+ Kays jewelry stores; however, we do not… Still, your best bet is to help your readers so if you are looking for either Kays or Jared there is a better than 50% chance one or another is going to be in the nearest mega-mall. Jared is also often not attached to a mall, but has its own store.
For those that wish to acquire a diamond at a big discount we recommend A+ rated James Allen. James Allen is Jewelers.NYC’s 2017 winner of online diamond store of the year. To check their prices simply pick a desired carat weight below and click. This will take you to the selection of diamonds that fit that size requirement, across a variety of color, cut and clarity rankings.