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Why should consumers avoid mall jewelers?

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juliefiis

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Hi, I was wondering if someone could educate me on why people suggest staying away from mall jewelers?
Thanks!
Julie
 

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poptart

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Well, in my own experience with mall jewelers, many times they hike up their prices so you can get something of the same quality and same size online for a lower price. I''m sure others have other reasons, too, but this is the experience I''ve had.

*M*
 

Cehrabehra

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My experience with mall jewelers is that they will try to sell you what they have and tell you that whatever *that* is is THE BEST thing to get. Often they won''t even pull out the goodish stuff unless you prove you know what you''re talking about. And frequently you find that you have surpassed their understanding of diamonds in the first five minutes of talking to them. If you go in armed with the numbers you want and the price you want to pay - why NOT use a mall store? But educate yourself, arm yourself, and be prepared to walk away without the deal of a lifetime from one of them and right back here :)
 

ladykemma

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Date: 11/26/2006 2:13:12 AM
Author: Cehrabehra
My experience with mall jewelers is that they will try to sell you what they have and tell you that whatever *that* is is THE BEST thing to get. Often they won''t even pull out the goodish stuff unless you prove you know what you''re talking about. And frequently you find that you have surpassed their understanding of diamonds in the first five minutes of talking to them. If you go in armed with the numbers you want and the price you want to pay - why NOT use a mall store? But educate yourself, arm yourself, and be prepared to walk away without the deal of a lifetime from one of them and right back here :)
true!

they don''t dare show me the yucky ones. and i spent 2k at zales last week.

i endorse the zales signature diamonds in 18k, and the helzberg diamond masterpiece. do your homework first and read renee newman''s book so you can spot diamond problems/anomalies with your eyes. the good ones will tend to be in 18k. don''t let them show you included diamonds.
 

denverappraiser

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Allow me to ask and answer a different but related question. Why do customers shop at shopping malls?


1) They’re easy to find, have convenient hours and lots of free parking.
2) They’re usually large, well established and heavily advertised companies with recognized regional and national brands.
3) It’s a very non-threatening shopping experience.
4) Habit.

These are good reasons but they do come at a considerable cost if this isn’t specifically want you’re looking for. Major shopping mall rents are among the most expensive on the planet to set up shop, right along with airports, cruise ports and similar high traffic locations. All are chock full of jewelry stores and all share a similar problem. That convenient location and all the free parking are hardly free, they are just paid for as part of the purchase package rather than individually. A medium sized mall store will be paying $10k-$40k per month just to the mall for the use of the space! For 2 million dollar store (which is a respectable sales volume for a chain store) you’re looking at 15% off the top to cover the cost of that location.


The convenient hours come with a similar problem. The standard shopping mall lease requires that a store must be open during all hours that the mall is open. This means 9-9, 6 days a week and closing at 5or 6 on Sunday. They have to open at 5am on their special days and stay there till midnight for their ‘midnight madness’ sales and similar programs that happen monthy. All of this may seem handy but it costs big money. That’s 2 full shifts of employees, plus management, just to open the door! Most jewelry stores are required by their insurance company to have at least 2-3 people in the store at all times that they’re open so we’re talking a bare bones staff of 6 people on the sales floor to do what a stand-alone destination type store with more sensible hours could do with 3. Internet only shops can do it with 1 or even 0. Even if they pay poorly, which most of them do, those friendly hours are costing them, and consequently you, an extra $5,000-$10,000 per month.


Advertising is frighteningly expensive. TV ads go for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a minute for decent time slots on channels that people actually watch. A decent sized ad in a major newspaper is several hundred to several thousand dollar per ad per day and an effective campaign requires buying the same spot every day for years. Radio, direct mail, magazines, etc. all have their place and all are expensive as hell. These are the traditional ways to build a recognized brand and some of these companies have been working at it every day for over a century. It’s not unusual for them to spend 20% of their gross sales on advertising. Do a little math – of a $5000 diamond purchase, the first $1000 of it goes directly to support the advertising.


Is it all worth it? Apparently. The shopping malls continue to have the biggest share of the jewelry market although that share shrinks every year. Successful and smart jewelers continue to be heavy advertisers on the telly, the radio, in the magazines and every other venue you can imagine. Customers do like the convenience and they seem to be willing to pay the price, both in the form of higher prices and/or inferior goods and services in order to get it. Is it worth it to YOU? I don’t know, is it?


Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

Ellen

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denverappraiser, great post! While I knew rent had to be expensive in a mall, I had no idea.
 

diamondseeker2006

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While there are more upscale jewelers at some malls, you always overpay. I went to Helzberg (and a few other nice mall jewlers) a couple of weeks ago to try on diamond studs to see what size I wanted. They indeed can get you ideal cut stones as
ladykemma said. I priced a pair of H VS masterpiece stones for earrings at .61 each for $6500. At that very time, I could get WhiteFlash''s top of the line ACA H VS2 pair of .61''s for $3500 for both. They also had a .71 masterpiece stone in the store priced in a plain setting for just under $6000, whereas Good Old Gold has one I am looking at with the same specs for under $3000.

So, if you want to pay about 40-50% more than you have to, a mall can be a good place to shop! The more average mall jewelers will have more reasonable prices and be setting really poor quality diamonds (lots of unreliable certs and low clarity). Neither of those is an option I''d consider.
 

phoenixgirl

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At Jared (not in the mall I realize, but often located near one), the only 18k gold diamond wedding bands they had were E-F VVS clarity. When I told the saleswoman that I didn''t want such high color and clarity relative to my engagement ring, she told me this meant the diamonds would have more "fire."


At another mall store, I was comparing prices on my new 0.72 ctw K SI1-SI2 diamond studs that I got for $831 from Mondera. They had 0.77ctw J-K SI1-SI2 diamond studs for $1799 (yes, the carat weight is higher, but my diamonds both have diameters of 4.7mm so they look just as big). The woman tried to tell me I''d gotten a bad deal because my clarity grades were off by one (didn''t she realize the color AND clarity were both off by one in her earrings?). This is just BS -- when stones are eye-clean different clarity (no matter how far apart) won''t make a difference except in price.

I''ve also seen my share of I2 and I3 clarity jewelry at Zales. Blech.

This doesn''t mean this kind of thing won''t happen to you outside of the mall. It just means that the mall is catering toward a different type of customer. Kay Jewelers and Jared are owned by the same company. They purposely cater to less-educated, lower-income types with Kay, thinking that more savvy customers will patronize Jared. So if that''s their business model, it tells you something about the type of customer even the jewelers themselves expect to shop at the mall.
 

Modified Brilliant

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I read an interesting article this week regarding glossy catalogs. Even national retailers who have a major internet prescence, still find that folks love looking at high end glossy catalogs. Many use an abbreviated style catalog to lure you into the web based larger catalog. Here''s where mall jewelers shine. Notice that every major retailer has a glossy 15-25 page holiday catalog sitting at their entrance. Wife is out shopping for gifts in the mall. Bored hubby stops to look at the catalog. Hubby is not internet savy and has been a mall shopper for years. Jewelry salesperson lures hubby in with 12 months interest free financing and an additional 20% if he buys a gift today. Hubby gives in, opens an account, buys a gift, hides his gift, meets wife, and they live happily ever after. Quick, convenient, real human interaction. That''s what some people want and are willing to pay a little extra.
Remember that not all shoppers in every age group are comfortable with internet shopping and still prefer more traditional methods of shopping.
Personally, I buy most of my gifts on line but still pick up last minute gifts at the mall.

www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
 

mtrb

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They like to use IGI certificates with their diamonds that state simply untrue info. These certificates generally grade the diamonds 2 grades higher in cut and clarity then they actually are. Consumers take these certificates as truth, but they are really not worth the paper they are printed on. They are used to make $$ for the maul stores and take advantage of people.

They also like to sell a lot of I1 stones calling them SI3. GIA who invented these standards, don't use that rating. It is abused by mall stores with junky stones.
 

ladykemma

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i avoid kay and gordon's like the plague. low end garbage. i have careful purchases from zales, helzberg, foleys, and jared's.

I am a different market, though -- a different consumer. i am not in the market for an engagement ring, more fashion jewelry and right hand ring jewelry. so i tend to find exactly what i want at jareds, helzberg, and zales.

I think the question becomes: why do i not shop at whiteflash? GOG? allen? why did i spend 2k at zales last week?

whiteflash, for example, does not have a large selection of fashion/non engagement jewelry, so I have not bought there. i do not need/want another solitaire. I hate bezel setings and i hate white metal and most/all of their "fashion" jewelry is bezel set and white metal. (edited) so, whiteflash is just down the road from me on richmond, how can they get my dollars?

where am i going with this? i don't know.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Date: 11/26/2006 10:05:42 AM
Author: ladykemma
i avoid kay and gordon''s like the plague. low end garbage. i have careful purchases from zales, helzberg, foleys, and jared''s.

I am a different market, though -- a different consumer. i am not in the market for an engagement ring, more fashion jewelry and right hand ring jewelry. so i tend to find exactly what i want at jareds, helzberg, and zales.

I think the question becomes: why do i not shop at whiteflash? GOG? allen? why did i spend 2k at zales last week?

whiteflash, for example, does not have a large selection of fashion/non engagement jewelry, so I have not bought there. i do not need/want another solitaire. I hate bezel setings and i hate white metal and most/all of their ''fashion'' jewelry is bezel set and white metal. (edited) so, whiteflash is just down the road from me on richmond, how can they get my dollars?

where am i going with this? i don''t know.
I do think we''re talking about two different things. I was assuming she was referring to buying diamonds at the mall, in which case I''d discourage her. You''re right that the vendors here specialize in diamonds and may not be the best place to lok for a wide variety of fashion jewelry. Although, GOG has added a good bit of that to their site recently.
 

ladykemma

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Date: 11/26/2006 10:17:34 AM
Author: diamondseeker2006

Date: 11/26/2006 10:05:42 AM
Author: ladykemma
i avoid kay and gordon''s like the plague. low end garbage. i have careful purchases from zales, helzberg, foleys, and jared''s.

I am a different market, though -- a different consumer. i am not in the market for an engagement ring, more fashion jewelry and right hand ring jewelry. so i tend to find exactly what i want at jareds, helzberg, and zales.

I think the question becomes: why do i not shop at whiteflash? GOG? allen? why did i spend 2k at zales last week?

whiteflash, for example, does not have a large selection of fashion/non engagement jewelry, so I have not bought there. i do not need/want another solitaire. I hate bezel setings and i hate white metal and most/all of their ''fashion'' jewelry is bezel set and white metal. (edited) so, whiteflash is just down the road from me on richmond, how can they get my dollars?

where am i going with this? i don''t know.
I do think we''re talking about two different things. I was assuming she was referring to buying diamonds at the mall, in which case I''d discourage her. You''re right that the vendors here specialize in diamonds and may not be the best place to lok for a wide variety of fashion jewelry. Although, GOG has added a good bit of that to their site recently.
i AM buying diamonds.


is she referring to buying diamond engagement ring at the mall, with careful research it can be done. it''s more money though. if i had it to do all over again i would go to whiteflash for a solitaire engagement ring.
 

ladykemma

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Date: 11/26/2006 2:01:42 AM
Author:juliefiis
Hi, I was wondering if someone could educate me on why people suggest staying away from mall jewelers?
Thanks!
Julie
if you know what you are doing, you can come away with nice stuff. if you don''t know what you are doing, the salespeople can be like sharks.

the key is to know what you are doing or take a knowledgeable friend.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Date: 11/26/2006 10:24:09 AM
Author: ladykemma

Date: 11/26/2006 10:17:34 AM
Author: diamondseeker2006

I do think we''re talking about two different things. I was assuming she was referring to buying diamonds at the mall, in which case I''d discourage her. You''re right that the vendors here specialize in diamonds and may not be the best place to lok for a wide variety of fashion jewelry. Although, GOG has added a good bit of that to their site recently.
i AM buying diamonds.


is she referring to buying diamond engagement ring at the mall, with careful research it can be done. it''s more money though. if i had it to do all over again i would go to whiteflash for a solitaire engagement ring.
Well, I am apparently not being clear.
But what I meant is that fashion jewelry with smaller non-certified diamonds is not what most people are shopping at GOG or WhiteFlash for. They are looking for larger certified diamonds for earrings or a ring. Fashion jewelry generally is not what people shop at WF or GOG for. Whereas it may be just fine to buy a $1000 fashion pendant or ring from a mall store. You will definitely save money for certified diamonds shopping online versus a mall store, so I think it would be terribly frustrating trying to find a good deal at a mall stone on those. I did buy my Memoire band from a regular jewelry store, so I am not against everything at jewelry stores! But to save thousands of dollars on certified stones, you can bet I shop GOG and WF!
 

Lynn B

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I live in the country with one small mall nearby that has two chain jewelry stores inside (Kays and Kings). The diamonds are almost, without exception, heavily included and with very little sparkle (once you get them out of the jewelry store lighting.) The two stores do have some attractive fashion jewelry at times... but even then, I notice that the jewelry seems to look/feel very "light" and *flimsy*... I swear the metal is hollow.

I *might* buy a pair of earrings or a watch there... but never a HUGE diamond purchase... it tends to be paying WAY too much for far too little.
 

ImpatientOne

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We recently purchased form Weisfields which is a mall store and part of the Kays, Jared etc family. We chose to purchase there because I had a $5k trade in and I wanted to save my bf and I some $. I went in well armed with knowledge learned here. The unmounted set we purchased was 18k white gold and the diamonds are SI1-2 in grade and H-I color per the store (we'll see whe I get it appraised).

When it came time to look at center stones, I told them what I was looking for and they ordered four round brilliants in from outside. One of the four was one of the "Leo" cuts. I narrowed my choices down to two - the 1.46 Leo (SI2 I) and one other that happened to be 1.51 GIA certified SI2 I. They let me take both stones out of the store into the less-bright mall lighting, plus outside into natural light. Although the Leo is supposed to be a superior stone, I found the other one to have just as much fire and beauty if not more, so I went with the GIA which was less expensive.

Before making my final decision, I plugged my specs into PS to see what a similar diamond would cost me. Yes, I am paying about $1k to $1.5k more, however, I had to take the trade into consideration, plus I like the idea of the warranty offered. Overall, this store suited my needs. The ring is off being set now and I cannot wait to see the finished product and have my bf propose!!!

Had I not had a trade however, I most likely would have gone through one of the online vendors.
 

kenny

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edit
I suspect ignorance is the main reason.
You can get better stones for less online.

Plus I think many people feel better about spending a large sum of money at a store they can go back to in person if there is a problem.
 

ladykemma

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Date: 11/26/2006 4:04:02 PM
Author: kenny
Why people patronize mall jewelers, especially chains:

1. Ignorance

2. Ignorance

3. Ignorance

You can get better stones for less online.
The lemmings don''t listen.
kenny dahling, every situation is different! i would say that impatient one was an educated consumer, who made a wise and educated decision. not ignernt
 

ImpatientOne

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Thanks, LadyKemma - I wouldn''t consider myself ignorant regarding my purchase! I spent countless hours on this site and others researching. I did not pay full retail price for my purchase from the mall jeweler. The setting I was able to negotiate a 40% discount. On the center stone I ended up with a 31% discount which ended up being $1-1.5k more than what I would have paid online. I got the full retail price for my trades. One of the items I traded in a was a diamond bracelet that I paid $200 for on eBay and the jewelry store gave me $800 for it. They gave me full retail on the diamond ring I traded (which was more than I padi for it too). So I don''t feel bad at all. Both the ring and stone are gorgeous.

I wouldn''t recommend the mall/chain stores to anyone unless they are well informed and NOT afraid to negotiate.
 

jenniegirlm

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Wow, what a great shooper you are, ImpatientOne! Any tips on negotiating? I''m so bad at it. I''m more of a no-haggle person. If you could give me tips on what to say, that would really help me in future purchases. :)
Date: 11/26/2006 6:36:09 PM
Author: ImpatientOne
Thanks, LadyKemma - I wouldn''t consider myself ignorant regarding my purchase! I spent countless hours on this site and others researching. I did not pay full retail price for my purchase from the mall jeweler. The setting I was able to negotiate a 40% discount. On the center stone I ended up with a 31% discount which ended up being $1-1.5k more than what I would have paid online. I got the full retail price for my trades. One of the items I traded in a was a diamond bracelet that I paid $200 for on eBay and the jewelry store gave me $800 for it. They gave me full retail on the diamond ring I traded (which was more than I padi for it too). So I don''t feel bad at all. Both the ring and stone are gorgeous.

I wouldn''t recommend the mall/chain stores to anyone unless they are well informed and NOT afraid to negotiate.
 

kenny

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Sorry, I don''t mean to be judgmental and I''m sure some have gotten lovely jewelry that they cherish at mall stores.
It just seems once you know what you can get online you are not likely to bother with the malls.
 

ladykemma

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Date: 11/26/2006 7:03:18 PM
Author: kenny
Sorry, I don''t mean to be judgmental and I''m sure some have gotten lovely jewelry that they cherish at mall stores.
It just seems once you know what you can get online you are not likely to bother with the malls.
actually, i have never ordered online because the online diamond vendors don''t have anything that i want.
 

Kaleigh

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If you go in being educated on CUT and know what to look for, and what to avoid, I guess you can do pretty well. But the stuff I''ve seen is really dismal. Heavily included, etc.... I swear some of the stuff I have seen, almost makes frozen spit look good, LOL!!
 

jaz464

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Date: 11/26/2006 6:36:09 PM
Author: ImpatientOne
Thanks, LadyKemma - I wouldn't consider myself ignorant regarding my purchase! I spent countless hours on this site and others researching. I did not pay full retail price for my purchase from the mall jeweler. The setting I was able to negotiate a 40% discount. On the center stone I ended up with a 31% discount which ended up being $1-1.5k more than what I would have paid online. I got the full retail price for my trades. One of the items I traded in a was a diamond bracelet that I paid $200 for on eBay and the jewelry store gave me $800 for it. They gave me full retail on the diamond ring I traded (which was more than I padi for it too). So I don't feel bad at all. Both the ring and stone are gorgeous.

I wouldn't recommend the mall/chain stores to anyone unless they are well informed and NOT afraid to negotiate.
Sorry, but to me, this just means these items were grossly overpriced to begin with. And those warranties are rarely worth the paper they are printed on. Since insurance is still needed (unless you can easily replace the jewlery yourself in the case of loss/damage) what is the point?
 

kcoursolle

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For me it''s simple. I can buy better quality for less online. Often I go into mall stores to try things on and to get a feel for what is out there, but I''ve never purchased from them.
 

cutes814

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they''re not all bad, you just have to be well informed before heading into one of the stores. even with discounts and such, they can still be overpriced. i''ve seen some nice stones at ben bridges. their signature line is not bad, but overpriced. and the canadian diamonds they carry are pretty nice too, but still overpriced. hehe.

my husband bought my movado watch from one of them mall stores, i can''t even remember the name, but i know where it is in the mall. they gave him a pretty good discount, and when i checked around, i found out he got a pretty good deal. he was smart in negotiating because there were 3 other mall jewelry stores within 20 feet of the store he was in. haha.
 

kenny

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When I shopped around for setting ideas I brought in my E VVS1 ACA, with AGS report to a couple mall stores.
Their eyes just about popped out of their heads.
The salesmen said that he had never seen such a stone, and that they only occasionally even see GIA paper since most of their stones were IGI.

One had never heard of AGS, he showed it to his boss, who was a GG, and she immediately recognized it.
She practically pushed him out of the way and took over.

I'm just posting this to make a point that I don't think you stand a great chance of finding the best-cut stones with the best paper at a mall.
 

kenny

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Oh I forgot to mention.
They asked what I paid.
When I told them they didn''t look too happy at all.
 

cutes814

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Date: 11/26/2006 9:45:08 PM
Author: kenny
Oh I forgot to mention.
They asked what I paid.
When I told them they didn''t look too happy at all.
LOL, i bet not. heh, they''re probably hoping the word doesn''t spread too far. you can imagine what the damage will be for them in the long run.
 
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