If you‘re looking for affordable fine jewelry, you may be wondering – is the gold and diamonds sold at discount retailers like Walmart the real deal? Or is the quality not worth the tempting low prices? I‘ve been selling jewelry online for over 10 years, so let me share my insider expertise on whether Walmart‘s extensive jewelry selection is real, and how it compares to pricier competitors.
The short answer is yes – Walmart jewelry is made with real natural diamonds and gold. However, the quality is lower than what you‘ll typically find at dedicated jewelry stores. In this detailed guide, I‘ll break down exactly what you need to know about Walmart‘s gold and diamonds, help you set realistic expectations for their jewelry, and provide tips for finding quality pieces no matter where you shop.
Walmart Gold Jewelry – Real Gold, But Lower Quality
Walmart absolutely sells real gold jewelry. However, most pieces are lower purity 10K gold rather than the finer 14K or 18K gold offered by jewelry retailers.
Here is how the gold quality compares:
|Gold Karat||Percent Gold||Percent Other Metals|
As you can see, 10K gold is less than 50% pure gold, versus 75% in 18K. This matters for:
Durability – Lower gold content makes jewelry more prone to damage and wear.
Color – More gold means a brighter, richer yellow color. 10K looks more pale.
Value – 14K and 18K gold retains more resale value should you want to sell the jewelry later.
Price – Because it takes more gold, 18K costs about twice as much per gram than 10K gold.
This is why quality 18K gold jewelry costs so much more – it simply contains significantly more real gold.
Beyond lower karats, two other issues to watch for:
Gold Plating – Some Walmart jewelry has a thin layer of gold over a base metal. Check for plating marks like HGE, GP, etc. Plating wears away over time.
Mystery Metal – Unmarked gold jewelry at Walmart is risky. It could be low quality gold, or even gold-looking metal with zero actual gold content!
The bottom line? Yes, you can find real 10K, 14K and even 18K gold at Walmart. But most pieces are lower purity 10K gold, so don‘t expect outstanding quality from their inexpensive gold jewelry.
Are Walmart Diamonds Real? Yes, But Poor Quality
Walmart diamonds are 100% real – they are mined natural diamonds, not synthetic. However, their diamonds tend to be very low quality in terms of cut, color, clarity and carat weight.
Diamond quality is judged on a globally accepted grading scale. Here‘s how Walmart diamonds likely rate:
|Quality||Walmart Grade||Jeweler Grade|
|Cut||Fair to Good||Very Good to Excellent|
|Clarity||I1-I2||VS2-VS1 or better|
|Color||K-M||G-H near colorless|
As you can see, major retailers sell diamonds graded several levels higher across the board.
This means Walmart diamonds:
Have more visible flaws, blemishes and inclusions
Appear more yellow/brown tinted rather than colorless
Lose more light out the bottom due to shallow cutting
Weigh about half as much for a given ring size
While certainly authentic, Walmart‘s diamonds tend to be what jewelers consider the bottom tier for quality. Expect visibly included stones with poor brilliance and sparkle compared to finer diamonds.
Should You Buy Engagement Rings at Walmart?
With low prices on gold rings and real diamonds, Walmart engagement rings seem like an amazing deal. A 1 carat diamond solitaire for $500? No brainer, right?
Not so fast. Here‘s why Walmart engagement rings come with big caveats:
Yes, that $500 ring has a 1 carat diamond. But the poor I1 clarity and K color means it faces up tiny and yellowish. A nicer 0.50 carat diamond would give more sparkle for the money.
Ever heard of brands like Goldenmine or Atlantic Diamonds? No, because they‘re junky rings made specifically for big box stores. Quality-minded local jewelers carry and stand behind brands you can trust.
No Resale Value
Walmart rings won‘t come with grading reports or appraisals. No one will buy used rings containing tiny, ugly diamonds. You‘ll take a total loss if you want to upgrade later.
Mass-produced settings from Walmart flex and lose stones easily. Prongs are flimsy and under-designed to save cost. Paying a jeweler for repairs adds up quickly.
For all these reasons, Walmart engagement rings are best avoided. The hidden costs and disappointments aren‘t worth the upfront savings. Even a basic ring from a small local jeweler will offer better value and memories.
Smart Shopping Tips for Gold and Diamond Jewelry
Based on my experience, here are some of my top tips for finding quality gold and diamond jewelry:
For gold, look for pieces stamped with 14K or 18K purity. 10K is lower quality.
Well-cut diamonds should sparkle brightly and return rainbow fire, even if small.
Ask for an independent grading report from GIA, AGS or other lab. Don‘t just take the store‘s word.
Quality rings feel solid and settings don‘t wiggle. Diamonds should be secure.
Simple and timeless styles show confidence in the underlying materials and craftsmanship.
Small local jewelers often sell higher quality at lower markups than mall chains.
If an engagement ring seems suspiciously cheap for the size diamond, it probably has ugly flaws.
The bottom line is you want jewelry that is made to last – both the current recipient and future generations. While Walmart jewelry will technically get the job done, there are better options for not much more money. Do your homework and you‘ll find beautiful gold and diamond pieces with long-lasting value.