Best Online Jewelry StoresReviewAdvice

Best Online Jewelry Stores for 2016

Where is the best place to buy jewelry online?

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Best Jewelry Stores

Jewelry is one of the premier choices to commemorate a special occasion, engagement, or just show someone how much you care. Making the trip to the jewelry store, however, can be limiting since traditional stores have less physical space to store inventory. When you have a clear idea of what you're looking for, want to expedite the shopping process and simultaneously save money, the best online jewelry stores can be a great option.

We've compiled a list of the reputable online jewelry stores to speed up your search and evaluated them based on selection, cost, customer service, and overall satisfaction.

Best Online Jewelry Stores: What to Consider

Fine jewelry can come at a premium price and often with high expectations when you purchase it online. For that reason, it's best to keep these considerations at the forefront of your decision:

Jewelry Selection - Does the company have a large inventory to choose from? Product selection is a significant determining factor with any retail store. We selected sites that stock a range of men and women's jewelry including:

  • Gold, silver, platinum
  • Diamonds
  • Gemstones
  • Engagement & wedding rings

Customizable Options - Are you able to design a ring or other piece of jewelry with special engravings, meaningful stones or a favorite setting? Customized jewelry shows an extra air of attention and detail. On the other hand, you have to be cautious if you take this route because online stores will often refuse refunds or exchanges on this merchandise.

Cost - As with anything, shop within your budget. Online jewelry stores typically have filter options to narrow your search by price. Make use of these tools to avoid falling in love with a piece you can't possibly afford.

Shipping and Returns - How flexible is the company with shipping and returns? Are you entitled to free shipping if your order surpasses a certain amount? What about the duration of the return policy? These are all important questions to ask prior to making a purchase.

Customer Service - How reliable is the customer service department for answering questions about an outstanding order, specific product or other related information?

The Best Online Jewelry Stores

Zales Review

  • Pros
  • Lifetime Diamond Commitment
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Financing available
  • Pleasant shopping experience
  • Education center
  • Cons
  • Shorter return policy

What began as a modest jewelry store in Wichita Falls, Texas has now become one of the largest international retailers of fine jewelry. Morris and William Zale, along with Ben Lipshy, ventured into the industry close to a century ago with one major goal-to provide customers with quality products at the lowest possible price. Complementing this mission, they devised a credit plan in which customers could put a penny down and pay only a dollar a week. Much to our dismay, that credit plan is no longer available, but they do continue to prioritize customer satisfaction and affordability above all else.

Zales has hundreds of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and watches available with practically every gemstone you can think of. Their online inventory features an extensive selection of diamonds for both men and women -all of which come with proper certification and reports to verify their authenticity. To no surprise, one of their best-selling departments is wedding and engagement jewelry. Speaking of which, men and women can design their own anniversary bands, engagement rings, and pendants. This is a great option for someone who wants to celebrate an occasion with a one-of-a-kind gift or isn't finding what they want among the inventory.

Shipping is free for all orders $149+ and if you're not satisfied with you purchase, you have 60 days to return it for a full refund (30 days for watches.) If you have a Zales store nearby you can also return your order there, with the exception of jewelry purchased through the Design Your Own program. To offer customers additional peace-of-mind, all diamond purchases $200+ come with a Lifetime Diamond Commitment which will replace the diamond if it's chipped, lost, or broken from its original setting. Zales offers a range of other protection plans to insure your jewelry purchase.

Verdict - Superb

Their website is not only easy to navigate but it has few, if any, bothersome advertisements that lead you away from the shopping experience. Customer service is available 24/7 and you can even chat online with an expert if you have questions regarding their products. Zales scores at the top of our list for obvious reasons; however, they have reduced their return period in the last year from 100 days to 60 days which is a disservice to customers.

Jared Review

  • Pros
  • Financing available
  • Customizable options
  • Extensive selection
  • Long-standing history
  • Education center
  • Cons
  • Limited customer service hours

In 1993, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry welcomed the first of many customers through its doors. As the digital revolution took over, they expanded their product line and featured them on Jared.com for customers nationwide to browse.

Today, Jared stocks a broad array of engagement and wedding jewelry, diamonds, gemstones, watches, and more. The best way to find an item is to type the stock number or name into the search bar. Otherwise, if you don't have an exact piece in mind you can scroll through the various categories laid out on the top ribbon. These include:

  • Engagement & Wedding
  • Design-A-Ring
  • Diamonds
  • Gemstones
  • Watches
  • Gold, Silver & Other Jewelry
  • Personalized
  • Jewelry Education

In addition to their large collection, you also have the option to design your own ring by choosing one of the hundreds of settings available and any one of their 15,000 Independently Certified Diamonds. This feature is really great for someone who has specific needs. For example, if you're physically active or have a job that requires you to work with your hands a lot you may want to get a ring with a diamond set closer to your finger.

If you're absolutely lost in the selection process feel free to chat with a representative. They may be able to alleviate some of your concerns and offer guidance throughout your shopping experience. Having the ability to turn to an experienced representative is incredibly important, especially when you're buying jewelry. If you were shopping at a traditional retail outlet you'd be able to easily ask a salesperson about a piece. Oh so often though when we shop online we hesitate to raise inquiries because it's either hard to get ahold of someone or delays the process. Fortunately, Jared does have an instant chat function but it is not available 24/7 so you'll have to contact them during regular working hours.

Verdict - Great

Jared The Galleria of Jewelry has so much to offer individuals in the realm of jewelry. From their organized website to their selection of gifts, it's hard to walk away disappointed. On a more philanthropic note, Jared is a sponsor of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, according to the company. It's commendable when a large corporation makes it a point to give back to the community, so we applaud them for that.

Kay Review

  • Pros
  • Coupons and discounts
  • Financing available
  • Lifetime diamond and gemstone guarantee
  • 90-day exchange policy
  • Philanthropic involvement
  • Cons
  • Limited customer service hours
  • No jewelry education center

In business for nearly as long as Zales, Kay Jewelers has cultivated a brand that's recognized in homes across the country. What's really interesting is that they initially sold much more than just jewelry. Products in their original stores included razors, eyeglasses, and kitchen appliances-quite astray from their current selection of high-end rings, earrings, and bracelets.

Looking to purchase a piece within a specific price point? No problem. You can easily filter your search by price, brand, style, material, size, and shape. They carry thousands of unique pieces in sterling silver, gold, platinum, titanium, and more. If you'd like a more personalized piece, you can design your own piece with engravings, personal stones, metals, etc. The program on the site even provides a visual display after adding each element.

For regular items you have 60-days to return it for a refund or 90-days for an exchange if it doesn't fit properly or live up to your expectations. Be aware, however, if you custom design a piece, it does not qualify for a refund or exchange. Another great feature about shopping with Kay is that you get their Lifetime Diamond and Color Gemstone Guarantee. Assuming you get the routine 6-month inspections, your stone is eligible for free replacement if it's chipped or lost from its setting.

Verdict - Very Good

We can't begin to emphasize how distinguished this provider is. Kay does a fantastic job of ensuring client satisfaction with their product guarantees and philanthropic outreach to organizations like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the American Diabetes Association. The biggest drawback is that their customer service hours are limited, which may pose a problem for some.

My Jewelry Box Review

  • Pros
  • Education resources
  • Live chat
  • Email exclusives
  • Broad selection
  • Some customizable options
  • Cons
  • Short return policy

Myjewelrybox.com is quickly becoming a leader in the sale of online jewelry. To date, the site has over 100,000 satisfied customers and continues to expand its reach.

On the main page, you'll notice the clean layout with categories organized at the top of the page. Choose from engagement, rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, collections, and watches. If you've never purchased fine jewelry before or would just like a little more information before making your pick, head over to the education center. There you'll be able to educate yourself on the diamond fundamentals (cut, clarity, color, and carat), review each month's birthstones, and explore the world of metals (gold, sterling, silver, platinum, titanium, tungsten, etc.)

You can customize certain pieces like rings and pendants with engravings but not to the extent as with other major companies who let you hand-pick every aspect (setting, stone position, etc.)

A range of shipping options are available, including international destinations. In total, you have 30-days to return you order if you're not completely satisfied. That's not a considerable amount of time, especially compared to Zales' 60-day policy.

Verdict - Good

Myjewelrybox.com is another top site on the list for the aforementioned reasons. They have a broad selection of pieces to choose from (at various price points), you have access to company representatives through the live chat function and can earn additional savings by registering for email alerts.

Jewelry.com Review

  • Pros
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Frequent promotions and deals
  • Broad selection of jewelry
  • Low prices
  • Cons
  • No live chat
  • Short return period
  • No education center

Jewelry.com headquarters are located smack in the middle of New York City's jewelry district. Since 2001, this company has delivered customers the finest jewelry at rock bottom prices. Staffed by an array of knowledgeable gem experts and curators, they've put together just the right assortment of jewelry to match any budget and taste.

The company's site is pleasant to navigate and you can quickly identify the different categories based on the tabs located under the main banner. Shop by designers, collections, rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, men's gemstones, info, what's hot, and special deals. It's always neat to see what pieces are on clearance. Currently, Jewelry.com has a 14k Gold Tanzanite Flower Ring that was originally $959, but is marked down to $213 with a current promotion. That's a savings of nearly 78%!

They also have a current advertisement for $50 off any purchase of $199 or more. If you have a specific budget in mind you can narrow your search by price range as well as these other options:

  • Stone
  • Material
  • Gender
  • Shape cut

With every purchase you receive Jewelry.com's 100% satisfaction guarantee. That means if you're not pleased with your purchase you have 30 days to return it for a refund. This period is considerably shorter than any other provider on the list which accounts for its lower overall rating. They also don't have a live chat feature which makes it inconvenient if you have a pressing question. On the contrary, you can contact them via email or toll-free by phone.

Verdict - Fair

Jewelry.com has an impressive selection of quality jewelry pieces. Coupled with their low price and frequent promotions, it's hard to turn down this site.

Best Online Jewelry Stores Recap

For your fine jewelry needs, any one of these trusted online jewelry stores would be a suitable choice. If you do elect to custom design a piece from an online retailer remember that the return and exchange policy may differ from what we've indicated. The best choice, if that's the case, is to contact the provider directly.

Best Jewelry Stores FAQs

What does the word "carat" mean in relation to gemstones?

The word carat, is derived from the Greek word kerátion meaning carob seed. This seed was used as a measure of weight for the Greeks, and to this day we continue to use it in this sense. When measuring precious stones, diamonds or pearls, one carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. 142 carats are the equivalent of one ounce. This is not to be confused with the word karat which is not a unit of weight but refers to the amount of gold in a piece. You've likely heard of 24 karat gold-this is considered the purest gold.

18 karat gold on the other hand consists of 18 parts gold and the remaining 6 parts alloys (i.e., nickel, zinc, copper, and silver). When shopping for a gemstone or piece of jewelry, be sure to inquire the carat or karat and have this valuation provided in writing. Many online jewelry stores automatically include a certificate of authenticity and a jewelry summation along with your purchase.

What is diamond certification and why does it matter?

Prior to purchasing jewelry with diamonds, experts recommend reviewing a 3rd part diamond certificate. Unlike a certificate which comes from the seller, a diamond certificate serves as evidence that the stone has undergone and passed a professional examination. The certificate sometimes referred to as a diamond grading report or quality assurance document details the thorough evaluation.

The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are two highly trusted laboratories who conduct diamond testing and certification. They use industry tools including microscopes and loupes to carefully analyze the diamond's dimensions. In particular, they outline the 4 C's-color, clarity, carat weight, and cut.

Once you decide to purchase a diamond, be sure to get a copy of the certification for your personal records. What if the seller doesn't want to provide a certificate? This may indicate that the diamond has been compromised and that the seller knows an inspection would reveal that. If that's the case, you may be better off purchasing your gemstones from another outlet.

What does it mean when a gemstone is "enhanced"?

Gem enhancement can be defined as any type of process or act of manipulation which improves the look or durability of a stone. It's important to note that while the term is called 'enhancement' the overall value of the gem may increase or decrease after this process. To put it simply, if the enhancement process transforms an unusable gem (due to its durability) into a useable one then the value will obviously goes up for that piece. However, there is a high value in the gem world for stones that have never been treated. Much of this has to do with rarity and the origin of the gem. A few techniques frequently used to improve the appearance of a gemstone include applying heat/radiation, diffusion, oils, waxes, and fracture filing.

Gemstones treated with waxes and oils typically look richer in color and the fine lines in the surface are temporarily hidden, making them appear better quality. Another common method is laser drilling which improves the stone's clarity by removing inclusions. To determine if your gemstone has been enhanced, it's best to consult a professional gemologist who has access to high-tech equipment.

What is precious metal?

Precious metals, once the sole form of currency, are now commonly used in jewelry due to their high economic worth and aesthetic appeal. There are a total of eight metals considered precious. But what makes these different than other types of metals? Precious metals are "less reactive than most elements" and have a higher average melting point when compared to other metals. Can you guess which three precious metals are typically used in jewelry?

  • Gold - The price of gold may fluctuate on a daily basis depending on the changing market value. It is the most non-reactive metal which doesn't oxidize under regular conditions. Since pure gold is very soft and would scratch easily in a jewelry piece, other studier metals are added to it to enhance its overall durability. For example, 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold and 25% nickel, copper or zinc alloy
  • Platinum - commonly used to mount or set quality diamonds/gemstones
  • Silver - naturally a very soft metal which tarnishes in the presence of ozone, sulfur or hydrogen sulfide. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and the rest is copper alloy.

Other remaining five precious metals are iridium, rhodium and palladium, ruthenium, and osmium.

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In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.