The original store sold various products, but today the brand focuses on fine jewelry and watches.
Today, Signet Jewelers—the largest jeweler in the United States—owns Kay and many other jewelry brands like Zales and Jared. Kay Jewelers is by far Signet’s biggest brand, with$2.4 billion in annual revenue.
Years ago—before I knew anything about jewelry—I bought a Kay ring as a surprise gift.
If I ordered online, it wouldn’t have arrived for over a week, so I visited a local Kay jewelry store to see if they had it in stock.
An overeager saleswoman approached me the second I stepped inside.
(I’ve since learned that I was the dream customer—a young guy clueless about quality jewelry. The engagement ring business is enormous for Kay, which I’m sure she assumed when she saw me.)
They didn’t have the ring in stock, but the woman said it was a beautiful design and promised they could have it in the store that weekend.
I happily paid for the ring in advance, proud of myself for solving the shipping problem.
But a few days later, the sales associate called and said the ring wouldn’t arrive that weekend but next week—the same date listed on Kay.com. It was out of her hands, she said.
When it did arrive, it looked nothing like the image on the website. I told the woman this.
She replied, “well, that’s what happens when you pick out something online.”
I felt betrayed. This Kay employee had praised the design and promised fast delivery, but neither seemed to matter once the company had my money.
I can only imagine how devastating it would be to plan an elaborate proposal, only to learn the engagement ring won’t be ready in time.
Unfortunately, Kay’s products aren’t much better than their customer service.
Are Kay’s rings and jewelry worth the price?
Kay’s biggest sellers are their engagement ring, wedding ring, and anniversary ring offerings. You can choose one of their designs or create your own.
You can also find bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and watches on Kay.com. Kay’s jewelry includes sterling silver, yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold with all types of gemstones, most commonly diamonds.
Their styles are pretty, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll realize they’re overpriced.
The diamonds Kay uses have low clarity grades and often lower carat weight than what’s advertised.
Because Kay is a brick-and-mortar store, every product’s price must also cover inventory and overhead costs as well as salaries for each store employee.
Direct online stores don’t have to worry about these expenses and can offer the same piece for less.
Diamond expert Michael Fried found that Kay sold a Tolkowsky diamond engagement ring for $8,000 on Kay. A competitor was selling a nearly identical product for $5,895.