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

Zales began as a modest jewelry store in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1993. Since then, it has become one of the largest retailers of fine jewelry in the world.

Morris and William Zale, along with Ben Lipshy, established Zales with one major goal in mind: to provide customers with quality products at the lowest possible prices. To complement this mission, they originally devised a credit plan in which customers could put a penny down and pay only a dollar a week. Though this credit plan is no longer available, Zales continues to prioritize customer satisfaction and affordability above all else.

Zales online jewelry store offers hundreds of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and watches. Their online inventory features an extensive selection of diamonds for both men and women. They offer practically every gemstone you can imagine; each comes equipped with a proper certification and paperwork that verifies authenticity.

It's no surprise that wedding and engagement jewelry is on their list of best-selling departments. Using Zales jewelry website, men and women can design their very own anniversary bands, engagement rings, and pendants. This is the perfect option if you can't find what you are looking for among their inventory or if you want to purchase a one-of-a-kind gift.

Shipping is free for all orders over $149. If you're not satisfied with your purchase, you have 60-days to return it for a full refund (30-days for watches.) You can also take returns to your local Zales store, unless you purchased through the Design Your Own program.

For additional peace-of-mind, all diamond purchases over $200 come with a Lifetime Diamond Commitment. This means Zales will replace the diamond if it gets chipped, lost, or broken from its original setting. Zales also offers a range of other protection plans to insure your jewelry purchase.

After a detailed overview, Zales online jewelry website is extremely easy to navigate. Not only that, but it has few, if any, bothersome advertisements that lead you away from your shopping experience.

Customer service is available 24/7; 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. Keep in mind, however, they have reduced their return period in the last year from 100 days to 60 days.

Jared Review

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

Jared The Galleria of Jewelry welcomed the first of many customers through its doors in 1993. As the digital revolution took over, they expanded their product line and transitioned into Jared.com so customers could browse their jewelry nationwide.

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

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

In addition to their large collection, you have the option to design your own ring. You can create your design using the hundreds of available settings and choose from any one of their 15,000 Independently Certified Diamonds. This feature is perfect for someone with specific needs. For example, if you have a job that requires hard work with your hands, you may want the diamond on your ring set closer to your finger.

If you're absolutely lost in the selection process, feel free to chat with a representative. They will 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 from online jewelry stores.

It may seem easier to ask a salesperson about an item when shopping in person. When you shop online, you may hesitate to raise inquiries because it can be hard to get ahold of someone or it may delay the process. Fortunately, Jared has an instant chat function. Unfortunately, it is not available 24/7; so just make sure to contact them during regular business hours.

According to the company, Jared is also into philanthropy; they are a sponsor for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I always appreciate when a large corporation makes a point to give back to the community; so let's applaud them for that.

Jared The Galleria of Jewelry website has so much to offer individuals in the realm of jewelry. With their organized site and vast selection of jewels, it's hard to walk away disappointed.

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

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

Do you need 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 item, you can design your own piece with engravings, personal stones, metals and more. The jewelry site even provides a visual display after you apply each element.

On regular items, you have 60-days to return it for a full refund. If it doesn't fit properly or doesn't live up to your expectations, you have 90-days to exchange it. Be aware, however, if you design a custom piece, it does not qualify for a refund or exchange.

Another great feature when shopping with Kay is their Lifetime Diamond and Color Gemstone Guarantee. Assuming you get the routine 6-month inspections, your stone is eligible for free replacement if it gets chipped or lost from its setting.

All in all, Kay is an extremely distinguished jewelry provider. Their online jewelry store does a fantastic job ensuring client satisfaction through product guarantees. Like Jared, they are also philanthropic to charity organizations including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the American Diabetes Association. This gives them an extra plus in my book.

The biggest drawback when using Kay's online jewelry store is that their customer service hours are limited. You should make sure their hours work for you before choosing to make a purchase on their website.

Pandora Review

  • Pros
  • Free 3-day shipping for every order
  • Affordable
  • Some customizable options
  • Cons
  • No live chat
  • Limited selection
  • No education resources

Pandora markets high-quality jewelry at affordable prices. Established in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1982, Pandora is unique compared to the other best online jewelry stores.

Every piece you purchase from Pandora is created with sterling-silver, 14K or 18K gold and boasts original, hand-made Danish designs. Pandora is known for their bracelets; they sell a huge variety of sterling and gold charms you can collect to reflect your unique personality through your bracelet. They also sell a variety of rings, earrings, necklaces and pendants on their jewelry website.

Keep in mind, Pandora is not the right online jewelry store for you if you're looking for higher than 14K. In order to keep their prices affordable, their products are less rare than other companies. Luckily, their designs are extremely unique.

Pandora's online jewelry store does offer limited customization options. You can design your own bracelets and rings using a simple program on their site. Choose your style and easily create an affordable, individualized hand-made bracelet or ring for you or your loved one.

What I like about Pandora is that it offers a 1-year warranty for all "non-watch" products. Be careful, though. They may not cover your bracelet if you use charms from different companies and it breaks. They say this abuse can damage your bracelet. They also do not have a live chat option; you can only e-mail or call them with any questions. I recommend you read their full list of exclusions and limitations before purchasing a product.

The Jewelry Exchange Review

  • Pros
  • Easy financing
  • Competitive Prices
  • Double value guarantee
  • Education Center
  • Cons
  • No live chat
  • Short, online-only return period

The Jewelry Exchange is a one of the United States' largest direct diamond import companies. According to their site, they have "access to hard-to-find diamonds and import them at lower prices than their competitors."

The Jewelry Exchange has some crucial policies to consider when picking an online jewelry store. Their return policy is online-only. They will give you a full refund within 15-days if you want to return your item for any reason. Just make sure you send the product back before your 15-days are up. The same goes for exchanges, except you have 30-days to send in your product.

One awesome characteristic of the Jewelry Exchange's online jewelry store is that you can finance your piece. They have a layaway option: if you put 25% down, you can receive a 6-month pay-off period. Your payments will be due every 30 days. According to my research, the only catch is that layaway payments are not refundable. You must make sure you love your purchase before committing to payments.

Another unique attribute of The Jewelry Exchange is their double value guarantee. They will guarantee that the retail price of your piece will be appraised at double what you paid for it, as long as it was manufactured by The Jewelry Exchange. However, the price of the item must be under $3,000 and it must not be a custom item. Their jewelry website does offer limited ring customization options; but I would definitely recommend reading through their special offerings and conditions.

Overall, The Jewelry Exchange's jewelry website is a great place to find rare, competitively priced gems. One last thing to consider before making a purchase, though, is their lack of a live chat option. If you have any questions or concerns, you'll have to call them during business hours.

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.