Is Kay Outlet legit? It sounds good. Diamond rings and other diamond jewelry items at “outlet” prices! Not so fast. It’s a marketing tactic, in my opinion. Read this before you shop a sale, etc., at Kay Outlet.
Is Kay Outlet legit?
In some ways Kay Outlet is legit, I think. For example, it is really run by Kay Jewelers.
But it is not transparent in my opinion. You’ll likely overspend. And get lower quality diamonds. Read why in this short article.
It’s the same old story from brick-and-mortar jewelers venturing into the online space. They offer a lot of low-quality diamonds at high-quality prices. (All of this my opinion, and I’m just one person. But I think my experience comparison shopping counts for a lot. And I think you’ll find the same thing when you look at the details of Kay Outlet diamond ring offerings.)
Executive summary of my criticism of Kay Outlet
- Low Clarity scores. SI2-Clarity for example. This is much worse clarity than you may imagine, if you’re looking at an graphic artist’s rendition of the diamond you’re buying. (“Artist’s rendition” images are all you get at virtually all offerings from Kay Outlet, so far as I can find. No actual 3-D, animated, true images of your actual diamond.)
- Low Color scores. I-Color for example. Again, this is much worse than you may imagine, if you’re looking at a graphic artist’s rendition.
- Not that many GIA, IGI, or AGS graded diamonds. This is huge. You can’t really trust grades from other sources. Rampant grade inflation of diamonds was the very reason these organizations were created!
- Few if any declarations of Cut Quality scores, even with GIA, IGI, or AGS graded diamonds. (Cut quality is the most important factor in any diamond, because it determines the amount of sparkle.)
- “Marked down” diamond prices that are often higher than buying from Blue Nile or James Allen (where you get full views of your exact diamonds).
Already trust my expertise? Skip the blow by blow. Save time and money. Get a better diamond for less.
If you’re a consistent reader, you know you can trust me when I price compare, even broadly as in store to store. (I only ever do that with hugely different kinds of stores, such as Kay Outlet vs James Allen or Kay Outlet vs Blue Nile.) And that I will back all this up below.
You can read the details if you like. Or you can go straight to what I consider to be the “Amazon and Apple” of online diamond selling, James Allen.
- Read more in my Jewelry Recommendations.
- Find great buys in my Eye Clean Diamond examples. (Live, ready for purchase.)
- Or go straight to the source and shop on your own at James Allen or Blue Nile.
Example #1: Kay Outlet diamond costs $500 more than James Allen (for a worse diamond!)
Kay Outlet entry.
This is Kay Jewelers Outlet item #940511316. See it live here (until they take it down?): click here.
See my proof (notice the item number) that the specs I quote above are accurate:
Now the James Allen entry:
At James Allen, you get to choose your own diamond from an inventory of loose diamonds. That may sound intimidating if you’re new to it. But it’s easy. You get to see it from every angle. Before you buy it. Yep, your actual diamond in high def imagery. From every angle. That’s far better than at Kay Outlet, where you can’t see your actual diamond until you buy it and it arrives shipped.
You also save around $500 because James Allen is so efficient.
If you want that exact setting, just go to James Allen and search for the SKU shown in the pic above.
If you want that exact diamond, it’ll probably be gone by the time you search James Allen for the SKU in the pic above.
But this is not an article about making specific buying recommendations. This is an article answering the question whether Kay Outlet is legit. Whether they’re transparent. Whether it’s a good place to buy diamond rings and jewelry.
Ready to shop from a store that’s transparent and has much better prices and values than Kay Outlet? Find your dream diamond for a lot less at James Allen.
I’ll keep adding examples. But I needed to get this page up so you’ll know.
I only recently became aware of Kay Jewelers Outlet, because I was looking at the data of what my audience is asking. And they were asking about Kay Outlet. So I wanted to get the evaluation done. And I wanted to get the page published. So that you’ll have the executive summary and a clear message and proof, from my point of view.
I’ll continue to add proof, from my view, that my argument here is 100% sound. In the days and weeks to come I’ll keep putting up more screen shots here.
So, if you have any doubt about what I’m saying about Kay Outlet, you’ll come to see the truth, in my opinion. And avoid overspending for diamonds that are lower quality.
You can see in the screen shots above that I easily, EASILY found a diamond at James Allen that was better, for about $500 less than at Kay Outlet.
Don’t be fooled by “outlet” language. It’s so last century.
Example #2: Kay Outlet diamond costs literally $10,000 more than a James Allen (for a worse diamond)
The Kay Outlet entry
Now look at the James Allen entry:
You may think there’s a catch. There’s no catch. Kay Outlet is just way more expensive. For a literally worse graded diamond. By the same grading lab — the GIA.
Blue Nile would have comparable prices to James Allen.
Old school brick and mortar based diamond merchants may have higher costs. Or they may have higher traffic, and can get inexperienced people to pay tons more.
It’s what I’m trying to help with. Trying to help you, that is. You can easily EASILY find diamonds that beat Kay Outlet prices, all day long at James Allen. Or in literally two seconds.
Look how many diamonds I found in two seconds of searching at James Allen. Diamonds that are equal to or better than the Kay Outlet offer in example #2, as graded by the GIA:
See how EASY it is to beat Kay Outlet’s prices?
I found literally 113 diamonds with same or better specs than the Kay Outlet example #2. FOR $15K or less!
All GIA-graded specs, so it’s apples to apples comparison.
Why visiting a Kay Outlet in person is even worse
Shopping for jewelry in person is great, right? You can see the diamonds with your own eyes! Nope. Not so great. Think about it:
You can see maybe five? Seven? … diamond rings in one visit? Before the salesperson is just honestly too busy (let alone overworked and underpaid) to let you see more.
Will you have a jeweler’s loupe (magnifying glass made for examining jewelry)? Not likely. Can you easily see the certified grades of color, clarity, cut quality, and carat weight? Heck no! The salesperson will have to go digging through paper files, if they can produce it at all.
And anyway, you’re not going to find good values (in all likelihood, in my opinion, but I’m telling you I’m 100% right, I have full confidence in that statement).
You’ll find overpriced diamonds, and a paucity of info, compared to what you can find at James Allen and Blue Nile.
But at James Allen or Blue Nile, or other legit online diamond sellers, you can literally look at dozens, or hundreds, of diamonds in the time it takes you to drive to an outlet mall, walk through the door, wait for service, and look at like maybe 5 to 10 diamonds if you’re lucky.
At an online store such as James Allen or Blue Nile, you can also see all the certified grades of color, clarity, cut quality, and carat weight easily. Instantly. Right there on the page. Vouched for by the GIA, IGI, or AGS.
Shopping in person? For diamonds? It’s awful, unless … you have tons of money to spend and therefore can go to a very, very expensive, exclusive store. (Even then, I can 100% guarantee, that you’ll overpay bigly. It’s the whole point of going to one of those stores. For the white glove experience. For the pride of being able to overspend bigly.)
But that’s so last century too. I mean: yeah no. If you’re one of my readers, you probably see through that pretentiousness, and would rather spend the extra money on an awesome vacation to Paris. Or just invest it.
Conclusion: Kay Outlet is legit in some ways. But it’s not a great place to buy diamond engagement rings
Kay Outlet is officially the Kay Jewelers Outlet. So yes, that’s legit. And they sell you what they say they will. (But if you look at the diamonds’ details, and if you price compare at all to online stores that I recommend, you’ll find you’re getting far less value, in my opinion.)
But my main problem is that they seem to me to fail to educate the shopper about the real need for GIA, IGI, or AGS certification. Some diamonds have it at Kay Outlet. Most seem to me not to.
And they don’t show you actual 3D, animated, full view, blown up images of your actual diamond. They show you artists’ renditions. These are mass market rings, for the most part.
Never buy a diamond online that you can’t examine from every angle. Do you think the sellers are going to carefully evaluate the diamond before they send it? No way, is what I believe. And I think any reasonable person can see that.
I think these rings are probably already mass produced from a mass of “graded” or in some cases GIA-graded diamonds.
But not all diamonds of the same grades look the same.
Each diamond is unique. And has its unique flaws and strengths.
You don’t have to be an expert to look at a diamond online (full view, such as you can at James Allen or Blue Nile) and see flaws you hate. Or flaws you can live with.
But you can’t do that at Kay Outlet.
So, is that legit in the 21st Century? You be the judge.