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Mall/Chain Jewelry Store Ranking

MRBXXXFVVS1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
696
I have no idea what the rank would be, but thinking for stores like Helzberg Diamonds, Kay, Jared's, Shane & Co, Zales, etc. And perhaps compared to department stores.

Why do I ask? Mostly out of curiosity and learning. I've also searched many corners of the internet for statement earrings starting with the preferred vendors we talk about a lot. There just isn't a super wide selection of unique pieces and I don't think I want to spend the money and effort on going custom.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
10,820
Shane and co, then Jared, then Kay or Helzberg, never Zales.
 

bludiva

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
2,297
this is all just imho...

i went into a TON of stores a couple of years ago looking for a band...i wanted to see what everyone had in person. the mall stores like zales etc. were pretty consistently overpriced for the quality and the designs were really meh. maybe there are good things to be found there if you know how to look (i didn't). i'd view a dept store like macy's as pretty comparable to the mall jewelers

kay jewelers was the worst for price/quality among that lot and saw someone purchasing an engagement ring there, i had to remind myself it was not my business...(!) also jared/kay treat their employees abominably (whole other story) which makes them low on any totem pole.

what i think of as posh department stores (bloomingdales, saks, neiman-marcus) also had overpriced items in general. more emphasis on recognizable brands and better curation of designs imho. not a place for diamonds beyond melee.

we also have a chain called diamonds direct (maybe it's only in the south?) and they were a step above all of the aforementioned stores. better selection and quality.

branded jewelry stores like tiffany, cartier - sky high prices, well made, but you are paying for the name and the experience.

indie jewelers, not always less expensive, may have to search to find one with the style you like, but at least you know the item was crafted with love.
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
696
Does anyone have concerns about indie jewelers and authenticity (are the metals/gems/diamonds really what they claim to be)?
 

bludiva

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
2,297
Does anyone have concerns about indie jewelers and authenticity (are the metals/gems/diamonds really what they claim to be)?
If it's an established B&M local jeweler, not really, they wouldn't last long if they were selling fraudulent goods and most of them aren't selling exotic gems, it's sapphire, topaz, amethyst, etc. I don't think tiny diamonds have that big of a price difference wholesale that they would have enough to gain to risk misrepresenting them. I check reviews though of course and if a place is too salesy or haggly it's not for me.

I think the bigger risk is whether or not they are good at picking stones. Some jewelers just love working with metal and aren't as concerned w/ the gems.

For an Etsy type jeweler, I feel like I have to be more careful. Some of them aren't honest. Some of them don't know enough to represent the gems accurately.
 

1ofakind

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
811
I would rank which ever mall store carries moissanite and lab diamonds a tad higher just because one can actually see options IRL. Still the last time I was in (sorry I can't remember which one it was) they trash talked the beautiful lab diamonds in favor of their smaller, inferior quality and overpriced mined diamonds. It only proved to me where the profit margins are higher and that they had little consideration for what I, as a customer, actually wanted and asked to see. Sure they still would have sold me a moissy or lab diamond but I'd have had to work for it. I was not impressed.

After working on custom and even semi custom projects with independent jewelers I don't see myself in a mall store again. Ever.

If you can find an independent jeweler who has access to stock settings that may be a good way to go. You won't have to wait for a setting event at the mall store or limited to what they brought with them. They will likely be more accommodating if you bring in your own stones for setting if that is an issue.

Any idea what kind of earrings you are looking for?
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
696
@1ofakind I've been analyzing what fashion jewelry I've liked in the past and how my style has evolved. It all pretty much cumulates to a drop pear style or chandelier earrings. I haven't been able to find designs that I'm interested in, which is simple elegance with a small twist or detail. Something like this with colorless diamonds, could be a jacket to hang off my current studs (first image).

Earrings.jpg Chandelier.jpeg Tear.jpeg

If I went custom with lab diamonds for the first 2 with 18K gold, the earrings would cost probably $10K+ per pair. I'm not sure I like them or would wear them enough to justify the cost. So I was hoping to find something off-the-shelf, open to melee and/or cluster depending on the design as well as lower spec diamonds (maybe)... I have Dom Perignon tastes on a Veuve Clicquot budget.
 
Last edited:

OboeGal

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
599
I can't really speak to ranking them because I've never bought anything from the majority of them, but I've had two diamond rings and one moissanite ring from Helzberg and they are all actually lovely, well-made, and with very good quality stones. One of them is actually one of the nicest rings I own, with an AGS 000 center stone with perfect Pricescope angles/proportions, set into a halo setting that is sturdy and set with very nice side stones. My only complaint with it is it looks like a calibrated setting designed for a 5.5mm center stone, and the one in it is actually 5.36-5.39, so I see just a hint more of a kind of "airline" than I'd prefer. It really is a surprisingly nice ring for Helzberg. (I bought it preloved. I've sworn off all the chain stores for new purchases.)
 

barbie86

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
43
(Caveat: I am from the UK and so speak to UK chain stores, though from what I can make out theyvafe similar)

Ok so, for something costumey/fun I'm not averse to high street jewellers. And I think that for what you are looking for (big impact with lots of little stones I think?) they will do the job.

That said, I am at the point where if I am shopping for blingy jewelry, I would rather pay less and get sparkly CZ, than pay more for inferior diamonds, as I find the former sparkles more. It might just be the shops in the UK, but the quality of diamonds is TERRIBLE. Or, I would save up and get exactly what I want custom made.

Basically, I would either approach an independent jeweller, or else go pretty much full on costume, depending on what exactly you want and what your budget is
 
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