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From the iconic commercials with the catchphrase “every kiss begins with Kay” to the excited declaration of a newly engaged woman declaring “he went to Jared,” both companies have inundated the United States so much that’s it hard to live somewhere without a physical storefront, or an advertisement for one. And while Kay Jewelers or Jared may seem like they’re in fierce competition, there’s something that many might not be aware of:
Who Owns Jared Jewelry?
They’re owned by the same parent company, Signet Jewelers. Yep, that’s right.
Still, there’s no doubt that there are reasons why someone might opt for one jeweler over the other: with some stunning differences and signature collections, depending on what you’re looking for, either Kay or Jared might be a more clear choice than you’d think.
Getting to know the Parent Company
Before considering either Kay or Jared, it’s good to get a sense of who owns both of them: Signet Jewelers.
It’s considered the largest specialty jewelry retailer, with 3,600 stores in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
- Kay Jewelers
- H. Samuel
- Ernest Jones
- People’s and Pierce
Total annual revenue for Signet (also known as Sterling) is about $6 billion, which includes not only engagement and wedding rings, but also watches, exclusive collections, services, and other merchandise.
Ratings, Ethics, and Charitable Causes
As a whole, parent company Signet earned an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau, though it’s important to note that customer feedback, for whatever reason, was heavy in negative reviews (it may be a reporting bias, but it’s always a good idea to check out all customer feedback, as well as with other sources such as Customer Affairs or Reports).
Touting ethical and societal responsibility, Signet:
- Provides $60 million annual donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Jewelers for Children, the American Diabetes Association, and the Diamond Empowerment Fund, which helps promote higher education to students in developing countries.
- Uses conflict-free diamonds as verified by the Kimberley Process.
- Is affiliated with the Diamond Council of America
In other words, it may be a large company with a great deal of revenue, but it’s also more or less highly respected and invests back into communities here and abroad.
Policies and Services you need to know about (before you shop)
While some policies may differ based on the specific product, both Kay and Jared more or less will adhere to parent company Signet’s policies and services. Here are some key ones you need to be aware of before you decide between the two jewelers:
- 60 day return period, or 90 days for an exchange, except for a 30 day return for watches
- Credit cards available, specific to each jeweler (there is a separate Kay and separate Jared credit card)
- Regular Maintenance includes resizing, prong tightening, clasp replace
- Extended Service Plans may be purchased for a lifetime price, and includes more advanced repair and maintenance coverage, minus any loss, theft, or purposeful abuse
- Progressive Leasing offered
- Secured Shipping to stores or your house
In the Battle of Kay vs Jared, the Competition is steep
Both Kay and Jared sell some similar merchandise and services, but there are also enough substantial differences to give shoppers pause. In this analysis, we’ll be looking at what both do well (or not as well), what edge one has over the other, and ultimately, which jewelry should be your go-to.
No matter which you shop, you’ll have access to:
- Engagement and Wedding Rings
- Signature Collections and Clearance
Even if you’re just looking for an engagement or wedding ring, it’s great to note these other collections because they can come in handy for a bridal party, anniversary, or other gifts–now or in the future.
Both Kay and Jared also have a variety of styles, including modern, geometric, and others.
At first glance, both the best and worst thing about Kay (vs Jared)?
They’ve got a larger inventory.
In the case of engagement and wedding rings, this is especially true, and you’ll find pre-made rings at any price point, from just over $350 up to 14K, 2.2 Carat rings nearing $10,000.
The same is true in collections overall, whether you’re looking for jewelry boxes or charm bracelets. As you can imagine, greater inventory means you might be more likely to find what you’re looking for…but it can also be overwhelming and confusing for some indecisive shoppers.
Size of inventory aside, let’s take a look at what they do well–and where that might be lacking,
Engagement & Wedding Ring Options
When it comes to Kay’s Engagement Rings, you have three main options to start with:
- Unique Rings Collection
- Create your Own
- Designer Collection
The Simple, unadorned name says it all: these rings are for anyone who is looking for something not just beautiful, but also truly unique.
Meant to appeal to a burgeoning generation of couples who want a ring that pushes tradition, there are also still classical notes to this collection. Among this collection, you’ll find:
- Uncut Diamonds
- Colored Diamonds
- Multiple Stones
- Gemstone Rings
- Nouveau Art Style
While offered in traditional metals like rose, white, and yellow gold, as well as silver, these designs are truly innovative and still stunning. In fact, it’s this collection that may very well be Kay’s claim to fame.
Create your own
Create your own allows you to create a personalized ring.
Choose from either a predesigned ring or start from scratch. Along the way, you can customize and select your diamond, ring head, mounting design, and metal type. There’s also an easy way to add a matching wedding band.
Of the predesigned rings, some notable options include diamond rings with blue sapphires and black diamonds. If you’re looking for a large variety of styles, Kay is also a better bet than Jared. You’ll be able to select from 10 stone shapes, and 17 stone types.
Keep in mind though: this is both a plus and a negative. In all, the collection of pre designed rings, and fairly standard but adequate customization has a decent amount to offer.
There are always customers who want an exclusive designer, and Kay has several options:
- Neil Lane
- Leo Diamond
- Vera Wang Love
- Ever Us
- Now & Forever
It’s actually a relief in some ways to have a smaller niche of designers, considering the depth of Kay’s inventory as a whole.
Fashion, Sets, Anniversary, Bands, Promise, and a nice collection of Men’s Contemporary are worth looking at, though there isn’t much here to distinguish from what you’d find at Jared.
Other Noteworthy Offerings
While there’s plenty to explore with Kay, here are some things Kay does well (and that you won’t find at Jared):
- Special Trends Section
- Posey, Chevron, and North-South Rings
- Specialty beads, including animal, Disney, family, and occasion
- Smart Watches
- Designer Watches include Citizen, Fossil, Misfit, Movado, Garmin, Skagen, and Tissot (all are available also at Jared) and pre-owned
Overall, Kay has an enormous collection, stunning unique engagement and wedding rings, and a more modest list of name brand designers. If customization is your thing, you’ll find it available in nearly every piece of fine jewelry, but it’s also a bit more limited than what you’ll find at Jared.
Jared has a notable smaller inventory of wedding and engagement rings, but that smaller inventory, in some ways, feels a bit more focused and easier to navigate.
If you had to describe Jared in one word, it would be contemporary. Sleek designs, geometric shapes, and stunning diamonds are the focus of not only their rings, but also a good deal of their jewelry collections.
For anyone looking for something along those styles, Jared may be a better bet because it’s easier to sort through what they have–and give special attention and focus on what you’re looking for.
Even more so than with Kay, the wedding collection deserves the spotlight at Jared. While noticeably smaller, the level of attention and options you’ll find with Jared’s offerings should be heavily considered. Plus, there’s an added option:
- Designer Collections
- Men’s Engagement Collection
- “Chosen” by Jared
You’ll find some overlap in designers as what you’d find at Kay, with a few different offerings.. Your options include:
There’s also an exclusive Jared Chosen Collection.
Pre-Designed Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands
What’s great about Jared Online is that it’s easy to use. While Kay’s site comes across as cluttered, Jared shines in the pre-designed rings section.
Select by style, stone shape, price, and any normal filters you’d normally look for. But it’s the guides, such as bestsellers, a general engagement ring style guide, and even helpful advice on the same page, like a virtual ring sizer that make shopping much easier.
There is also an Unique Rings Collection, which is beautiful, but more limited in scope, than Kay’s. Stone options include: aquamarine, topaz, emerald, sapphire, yellow beryl, and morganite. It’s worth a look, even though there are only about two or three choices for each.
Beyond this, you’ll find rings where diamonds are the star–for anyone looking for a ring studded with diamonds all over, Jared is a good bet. Complementary wedding bands are available for purchase.
Where Kay shines in its unique rings collection and sheer volume of inventory, Jared gets a thumbs up for this innovative collection. There are precious few jewelers who have a collection of engagement rings made for men, and this collection answers that need.
From unadorned black tungsten to a diamond studded, 14K two tone gold, there’s plenty of variety.
This may be what earns Jared its name–a create your own ring option that goes above and beyond normal customization.
For the truly avid, or the true romantic, you don’t simple select the diamond–you actually get to witness as the ring develops from stage to stage. Along with being involved at every step of the process, you’ll also:
- Receive a personalized booklet
- Receive a custom jewelry case
- Be able to “tell your love story”
- Work with professional consultants
- No matter what you select, it’s guaranteed that a Chosen ring will be one of a kind, and it’s about as hands-on as you can get.
There’s also a more traditional Design-A-Ring, which is more or less comparable with Kay’s Create-Your-Own.
If you want a designer name, Jared’s is a better bet, especially when it comes to watches: select from an extensive list of over 22 Brand names, as well as whole collections for men, women and children.
Also, take note of:
- More extensive Gift Collections, including but not limited to: Mother’s and Father’s Day; New Mom; Holiday Guides; Valentine’s Day; Gifts Cards, and even Sweetest Day.
- Pandora and Disney Charms
- Tennis and ID Bracelets
- Toe Rings and Class Rings
As a whole, Jared is also a solid choice. While its ring collection is more limited in inventory, it’s also more focused and easier to navigate. A men’s collection, and the ability to personalize a ring that goes above and beyond are all highlights.
Jared or Kay? Conclusions
Whether you go with Jared or Kay, you’ll need to make sure you’re on board with the overall company mission and policies of its parent company. But here’s a quick summary to help you decide between the two.
- You’re looking for an alternative, vintage, or something like it. While Jared’s collection deserves a look, Kay’s has more options, and also more styles. Overall, it’s a more impressive selection, and arguably still more unique than Jared’s.
- You want options, and lots of them
- You’re looking for a specific designer they carry
- You want some guidance about current style trends
Go with Jared if…
- You get overwhelmed easily
- You want more gift giving options
- You favor sleek, modern, and diamond-centered rings
- You want to give an experience along with unparalleled customization for your engagement ring
- You need a men’s engagement ring