Macy’s Jewelry & Engagement Ring Review

By Michael Fried

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Macy's
Overall Score:2
Price:3Selection:2Customer Service:1
Pros
  • Decent quality

Cons
  • Poor selection
  • Overpriced
  • Underwhelming customer service
Other Recommended Retailers

Bottom Line Recommendation

We would not recommend purchasing your engagement ring (or other diamond jewelry) from Macy’s. Their selection is poor, the jewelry underwhelming and the price is too high to consider getting something from them.

You are better off purchasing from a reputable online retailer like James Allen or Blue Nile. As you will see bellow, they offer better bang for your buck.

The History

I don’t think I could write everything there is to know about Macy’s Department Store without crashing our server. A company that has been around for more than 150 years, which has dominated the retail scene for so long, is bound to conjure up memories for most of us.

Their history is long and storied. Macy’s is ingrained in America’s culture in so many ways, most notably by sponsoring the Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC. As a native New Yorker, I still try to find it streaming on-line to celebrate Thanksgiving while living in Europe.

On a personal note, I’m a huge fan of shopping at Macy’s for clothing. I am a regular customer of theirs, both on-line and in person.

Macy’s Jewelry

What I am not a huge fan of, unfortunately, is Macy’s jewelry department. The quality, price and service were all lacking. When purchasing something so valuable, it is imperative that the experience and product live up to the number you see on your credit card bill at the end of the month. We did not find that to be the case at Macy’s.

The Experience

Scoping out the jewelry case

 

Annie and I started our most recent secret-shopping trip in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, a Macy’s store in downtown Seattle was right around the corner from our hotel.

We darted through the overwhelming perfume section and made our way to the discount-festooned jewelry counter. A saleswoman joined us fairly quickly and she was quite friendly. Unfortunately, other than to tell us that she needed approval to show us anything over $5,000, she wasn’t able to provide us with any help.

We looked at one diamond ring while we were there.  There weren’t that many options and it seemed too cumbersome to ask about multiple diamonds. The ring we looked at was a 1 ctw round halo ring in 18kt white gold. The ring was priced at $8,000 but, surprise surprise, it was on sale for $3,499. We’ll talk about the whole charade of Macy’s sale prices in a bit. Lets first talk about the ring.

The saleswoman was unable to give us any details about the diamond. She didn’t know how big the center diamond was, or any of the qualities. She knew it was certified, but didn’t know which certificate it had. We asked her to find the certificate, which she said would take about 10 minutes. We wandered around the store a bit and came back.

The ring came with an IGI certificate. The center diamond itself was a 0.65ct H SI2 (as graded by IGI). The diamond seemed well cut, and the grades were at least in the ballpark of what they should be. Overall the ring was not bad. The question is, was the ring worth the price?

Selection

This is where Macy’s really falls flat. Compared to a dedicated jeweler, their selection is severely limited.  There were only 3-4 rings on display that covered a range from $3,500 to $30,000.

Yes, you can look on their website for more options, but their site is terribly cluttered and very difficult to navigate. They have very little in terms of preset options and their custom site is woefully inadequate compared to a real online retailer.

Macy’s Deceptive Sale’s Tactic

When one of our readers contacts us about diamonds from Macy’s, we always end up having the same conversation. “But the ring is 60/65/70% off. How could it not be a good deal?” Well, it’s not a good deal. It’s never a good deal. It’s nothing more than marketing.

Macy’s has repeatedly come under fire for this tactic. The reality is that no one should ever pay full price for anything when shopping at Macy’s. Essentially, you should completely ignore the regular prices that are listed on their jewelry as they are meaningless. You should be looking at the sale price and comparing that to the market.

As I mentioned above, I do like shopping at Macy’s. I regularly buy clothing there and get all of my luggage there. If there were a Macy’s in Europe, I’m guessing I would have my house accessorized by Macy’s. It kills me whenever I’m in America and some of the staples I buy from Macy’s don’t happen to be on sale that particular week.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t find value when it comes to Macy’s sales. Some of their items are fantastically priced (not jewelry as you will see below). The point I’m trying to make is that you need to break down any illusion you have that a “sale” is added value for you. You need to look at their products strictly by the final number.

The Value

With that out of the way, lets see how the prices at Macy’s stack up with the competition. As you’ll see here, the $8,000 price tag is ludicrous. So we’ll be using the discounted price. Despite being IGI graded, we’ll compare Macy’s diamond to ones with a better certificate. Here is a  far superior diamond from James Allen (better certificate, higher color, larger) for $1,850. If you add it to this similar halo setting, your total price comes out to $2,562. That is a savings of 30%. That is not even factoring in the fact that you don’t pay sales tax for the online purchase.

Lets compare that option with a ring from Blue Nile. Here is a stunning 0.63 G SI2 that is GIA certified for $1,435. I have added this more elaborate halo setting for a total price $2,625. The Macy’s ring is priced about 30% higher.

 

 

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Exclusive to us for the 2018 Christmas shopping season - Pick Up a single-use Blue Nile Coupon Here for $100 off!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. Take advantage of their ongoing 25% Off Holiday Sale.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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