jared jewelers review
If you've ever turned on your television during the Christmas and/or Valentine's day season, you've no doubt seen a commercial or two for Jared. They spare no expense in the production and placement of these ads, and the strategy has worked out well for them. The slogan, "He went to Jared" has become part of mainstream and popular culture and is a phrase that most people can identify. Evidence of this is seen in my Inbox on a regular basis, with requests for me to offer my opinion on Jared. Well, ask and you shall receive...
Nothing much to complain about here. Jared's website has the standard "build your own engagement ring" features that most other companies have. The functionality is good and the design is nice. This should come as no surprise--given the amount of money Jared is willing to spend on advertising, it makes sense for them to invest some good money in database building.
Jared has followed James Allen's lead by incorporating actual pictures of the loose diamonds they have for sale, complete with virtual magnifying glass. This allows customers to really get a good idea for what they're about to buy, and lets them inspect a diamond for visible flaws. I gave James Allen much love for this feature, so I have to take my hat off to Jared as well.
One final item of note regarding their website (which I will cover in more detail in a moment) is the prominence of their "designer" collections. These include the Leo and Peerless diamonds, Neil Lane and Scott Kay collections, etc. In a society that tends to value brand names more and more, this is a savvy marketing move by Jared---presenting the idea of exclusivity will often lure in a customer who has some money to spend and likes the feeling of importance.
Keeping with the designer collection theme, it's important to view the diamonds themselves as they are presented in their grading reports. It doesn't matter what fancy name or designer they attach to a collection, the diamonds themselves are graded just like any other diamond. As an intelligent person like yourself already knows, GIA and AGS are generally accepted as the standard for diamond grading. Curiously, however, Jared's Leo collection is almost entirely IGI/GSI. Their Peerless collection, in fairness, features AGS certified ideal cut diamonds which are at the top of heap when it comes to cut quality.
The thing to remember here is this: all that really counts are the grades the diamond is given by a reputable, independent company. What Jared refers to as "Peerless" are the same quality AGS-certified ideal cut diamonds that you would find at any other reputable jeweler. The only real difference, unfortunately for Jared customers, is the price...
pricing and selection
As previously mentioned, the "designer collections" offered by Jared are little more than an excellent marketing strategy. I'm not hating on them for them this, quite the opposite in fact. I applaud them for being able to get customers to pay a higher price for the same product their competition sells for less.
Need convincing? Keeping in mind that inventories are always updating and diamonds are being sold on a regular basis, lets try this: here's a side-by-side price comparison for virtually identical diamonds. One is from Jared, and the other is from James Allen. Pay particular attention to the difference in price.
I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Here we have two virtually identical, independently-graded diamonds. Why spend nearly $3000 more for one over the other? The answer lies entirely within the brand name of Jared. Don't mistake this for bashing Jared or trying to promote James Allen--you could make the same type of comparison for Jared vs. Blue Nile, Kay vs. James Allen, etc. The common theme is this: the top online diamond vendors will beat the price of their brick-and-mortar competitors 99% of the time.
Recommendation: While there's nothing wrong with buying from Jared, the simple bottom line is that you can get a better price elsewhere. If you are sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether or not you bring yourself to make such a big purchase online, check out my reviews of James Allen and Blue Nile as a starting point, and go from there. These are legitimate, long-standing companies that will not rip you off. And if you are not satisfied with your purchase, they will absolutely honor your refund request. At the end of the day it's your decision, but from where I stand it just doesn't make sense to pay 30-40% more for an identical diamond. Just because he went to Jared doesn't mean you have to.