Should you buy your engagement ring or diamond ring from Jared?
Jared is one of the biggest jewelry chains in the US, with more than 200 stores across the US and Canada.
Jared is actually owned by one of the largest jewelry companies in the world – Signet Jewelers – who also own brands like Kay and Zales. But Jared is definitely positioned more up-market than those two brands, with higher quality diamonds. So should you buy your engagement ring from Jared?
In this Jared review, we will primarily examine them from the point of view of buying a diamond engagement ring. However, the findings are equally relevant for any other type of jewelry.
Jared ring selection
Jared offers a mind-boggling total of 3,915 styles of engagement rings to choose from:
They have a lot of cluster set diamond rings (where several smaller diamonds are placed close together to give the impression of a larger stone) – like the image below; while other rings have larger centre stones. A cluster of smaller stones generally costs less than one larger diamond, so cluster settings can be a good option for those with a tighter budget.
The majority of the engagement ring styles that Jared sell are either solitaire or halo settings – two classic styles that have stood the test of time. Solitaire settings are generally less expensive setting than other styles and are great for keeping the focus on the centre stone, while halo setting can make your ring stone look.
The large number of ring styles available through Jared means that they offer a wide range of diamond shape – more than many other American jewelers. The most common shape they offer is the round brilliant – it’s not only the most popular shape, but it the best shape that sparkles the most.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring setting styles and diamond shapes on offer from Jared, which means you should be able to find something that fits your taste.
Another impressive thing which Jared offers is they have a good custom ring builder called “Create Your Own” where you can choose the setting, metal, diamond shape etc. to tailor your ring to exactly what you’re looking for.
While this level of customization is great, it’s still limited compared to my recommended retailers, such as James Allen. For example, with the Jared ring builder you can only choose 4 diamond shapes (round, princess, cushion, oval) whereas the James Allen website has 10 shape options and many more setting styles.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring settings, styles and diamond shapes offers from Jared, which means you should be able to find something that fits your taste.
Jared diamond quality
Engagement rings are all about the diamond, and being able to choose a diamond that will sparkle brilliantly will make the difference between a truly stunning engagement ring and one that looks dull and unimpressive.
In this section of our Jared review, we’ll examine the quality of diamonds they offer, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
Jared understands the importance of 4C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat – as they say in the education section of their website “These features also have a subtle effect on the unique beauty of your diamond. With an understanding of the 4C’s you’ll be ready to pick out your perfect diamond.”
This is all true, and being able to filter by the 4Cs is a really effective way of narrowing down your search on most jewelers’ websites. Unfortunately, Jared don’t allow you to choose or see the clarity and color in their product filter, although they do show this information the product detail pages for their rings.
As we discussed above, Jared has a good custom ring builder called “Create Your Own” where you can choose clarity and color grade, and then you are guided through the process of choosing diamond quality, although we would dispute some of the terminology used.
Diamond clarity is a measure of the number of inclusions, or flaws, that a diamond has. At the top is ‘flawless’, while at the bottom is ‘included’, where flaws are easy to see.
In the Jared ring builder, they allow you to choose only three options: ‘good’, ‘better’, ‘best’:
The ‘best’ option here is I color and VS2 clarity. While these are OK grades, they are certainly not the best specs available.
VS2 clarity diamonds are actually a great choice (but nowhere near the ‘best’ clarity), while I colour is a little yellower than I would usually recommend. H color is the lowest I would normally recommend to ensure your diamond looks white in all lighting conditions.
For the ‘good’ option they have in the ring builder, Jared are using an I1 clarity diamond. I1 clarity diamonds are very low on the clarity scale and most will have inclusions that are easy to see with the naked eye, like the diamond below with the obvious mark across the middle:
We therefore wouldn’t recommend an I1 clarity diamond, but would recommend that you seek out an eye clean SI1 clarity diamond like the one below:
As we’ll see later, a diamond like this can actually be found for the same price, or even lower, than a diamond with obvious flaws if you visit my recommended retailer and buy smart.
The biggest determinant of the cost of a diamond ring is usually the diamond itself, and Jared offers a range of carats in their product filter – from under 0.25 carat all the way to above 1 carat. The most used carat weight that Jared offers is from 0.5 carat to 1 carat which is good range of carat weight.
Jared offers many cluster style rings with 1 ct TW;
This is something to watch out for – 1 carat TW means ‘Total Weight’ and means that customers might think that’s referring to the centre diamond, but it’s actually the combined weight of all the diamonds on the ring.
While carat weight may be the biggest determinant of diamond price, the factor that determines how much a diamond sparkles is diamond ‘cut’. Diamond cut is a measure of how well the diamond has been formed and it is essential that a diamond has good proportions to reflect light; otherwise it will be dull, lifeless and unimpressive.
If a diamond is too tall or too shallow, it won’t reflect much light:
Diamond is too shallow:
Light passes through the diamond and is lost, meaning the diamond looks dull and sparkles less than it should.
Diamond is too deep:
Light is bounced off the bottom facets at the wrong angle and is lost out of the side of the diamond, reducing sparkle.
Excellent / Ideal cut:
Light is reflected off the bottom facets and back through the table to your eye, meaning the diamond sparkles beautifully.
Understanding the cut quality of a diamond is absolutely essential to be able to understand whether it will sparkle. If you don’t know the cut quality then you may very well be wasting your money.
In their ‘Education’ section, Jared acknowledge the importance of cut:
Jared says; “a diamond’s cut has the greatest influence on its fire, sparkle and brilliance, making it, arguably, the most important C. Cut refers not only to the shape of a diamond, but more importantly to its proportions (how the diamond’s angles and facets relate to one another), symmetry (the precision of the cut), and polish (the surface of the diamond).”
This means that despite knowing that diamond cut is the most important factor in determining how much a diamond sparkles, they don’t give customers this information!
When I asked Jared about this on their livechat, they said: “some are maybe not listed”
The lack of information on cut quality is a huge red flag for Jared. Many other jewelers do include diamond cut quality on their websites – some have it as one of the filters on their search tool to allow you to choose diamonds that are more likely to sparkle.
Jared diamond grading labs
Diamonds are graded on four key factors – carat, color, clarity and cut – and a host of smaller factors too. Diamonds which score higher are generally more expensive – an F color diamond will be pricier than an H color, if everything is the same.
It’s important therefore that diamond grading levels can be trusted – you don’t want to pay more for an F color diamond if it is actually an H. This is why independent diamond testing labs are important. An independent testing lab doesn’t have any incentive to say that a diamond is higher quality than it is, as they don’t make any more money if they do. In fact, if they bump up diamond quality grades, it may mean people trust them less, which might mean they make less money.
Jared doesn’t show any information about grading laboratories on their product filter or product details, but in their “Design-A-Ring” features they allow you to choose grading laboratories.
Jared scores some points here for offering some diamonds from these labs, although the fact that the majority of their diamonds aren’t accompanied by a certificate from one of these labs is disappointing.
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Jared has a large number of stores, which means that visiting a store to choose a ring, or talk to staff is very easy. This access is great, although you may find that Jared staff in-store have limited technical knowledge about diamonds and are more focused on making sales than answering detailed question about diamonds.
They offer a range of warranties for their diamonds including an Extended Service Plan, Lifetime Diamond and Gemstone Guarantee, Lifetime Diamond Trade-in Services, Brand Warranties and Jewelry Replacement Plan. All of these are good indicators that Jared stand behind their products, which is great. However, before you enter any agreements, it’s worth considering whether you really need them. Extended warranties etc. can be a way for retailers to make more profit with minimal outlay.
Returns-wise, if you feel the ring isn’t right for you, Jared will give you a full refund within 30 days, which is better than a lot of jewelers.
Looking at reviews Google, each individual store is given it’s own profile. A typical score appears to be from 3.9 – 4.2 on the reviews e.g. this store in Lake Grove, NY scores 3.9 from 196 reviews:
Online reviews do need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it indicates that people are broadly satisfied, but not necessarily ecstatic with the service they’ve received at this Jared branch.
Jared value for money
Buying a diamond ring is a big commitment – both financially and emotionally. So it’s important that you ensure sure that you are getting good value for money and aren’t spending more than you need to.
After all, if you’re buying an engagement ring, it’s likely that you will have a wedding to pay for soon.
To see how Jared value for money compares, we’ll compare it to one of my recommended retailers – James Allen. James Allen is an online bridal jewelry retailer who I have helped hundreds of people buy from over the last 10 years.
When comparing, we’ll keep the ring style, diamond clarity, color, carat as similar as possible. A good way to compare is looking at Solitaire diamond rings as they are simple and timeless, without an ornate setting to make the comparison more complicated.
Looking at Jared, they offer an engagement ring in 18K White Gold with a 0.5 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, Ideal/excellent cut and round shape for $ 2,759.99 – this ring is GIA certified.
It should be noted that the image shown of the ring is not what this ring will actually look like – the diamond shown is around 2 carats, rather than 0.5 carats – slightly misleading!
If we look at this price compared to my recommended retailer James Allen, an 18K White Gold with a 0.5 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, Ideal/excellent cut and round shape for $1,900 – this ring is also GIA certified.
If you look at the price with the same specification, we can see that there is a difference of $899.99 from my recommended store James Allen for an identically specified ring. This is a huge difference in price – the Jared ring is 57% more expensive!
While you may not be looking for a diamond of this size or price, it is indicative of the high prices Jared are charging – over $800 more for an identical diamond and ring combination.
Of course, this is just an example, and the you are looking for may be very different to this. However, it’s worth noting that with the money you would save by buying from James Allen instead of Jared you could:
- Increase the carat weight of the diamond
- Increase the quality of the diamond
- Spend it on a really special proposal
- Put it towards your wedding cost
Or possibly all of this!
The prices at James Allen may be different on the day you look – maybe higher, maybe lower – it’s worth clicking through to see today’s prices for exactly what you’re looking for.
Value for money
Do we recommend Jared?
Jared offer a huge range of diamond rings and the ability to visit them in one of their more than 200 stores is a benefit. The downside of having so many stores through is that they have a lot of overhead costs, and this is reflected in their high prices. Jared’s quality of merchandise is actually higher than many other mall jewelers, if you choose carefully and select a GIA- or AGS-graded diamond.
However, it’s the lack of value that really seals the deal – you can save significant amounts of money when buying your ring from my recommended retailer. It just makes sense.
- Wide selection of ring styles
- Good service
- 30 days return policy
- No cut and grading information
- Confusing TW carat for side stone and cluster rings
- Offers low clarity grades
- High prices