We have the luxury of sharing our buying experiences from the online retailer James Allen, and if you read this James Allen review, you’ll see why it’s our top pick for shopping online for diamonds.
We know first hand just how big of a decision it is, that of buying anything of value, let alone a diamond engagement ring. For this reason, we felt that since we recommend this online jeweler above all of the others, we’d pull out all of our best magic and show you just everything you need to know about this company. This review will be lengthy, and it may get down to details that may flat out bore you, but in order to show you the best shopping experience possible, we felt it very necessary to put proper time into this analysis.
How They Got Started
The website was started in 1998, putting them at the forefront of the phenomena that we take for granted too often – the Internet. The focus is on high end, luxury diamonds.
James Allen Schultz, along with his wife, Michele, founded the site after James was upset about his experience in trying to find Michele an engagement ring. It didn’t take them long to become one of the best places to shop online for engagement rings. Over time, they carved out a tendency to specialize in the high quality GIA and AGS certified true ideal cut diamonds. Their business model is simple – they sell high quality items online because they lack the overhead that a retail location would encompass, therefore they pass along great prices to consumers.
Note: all diamonds you buy from them are certified AGS or GIA, the best respected gem labs in the business. It’s important you read the material below to find out just why it’s such an important certification. If you already know this stuff, you can scroll down and keep reading the meat and potatoes of the James Allen reviews we’ve worked so hard at producing.
Prior to purchasing the engagement ring of your dreams, a necklace, or a bracelet, you’ll want to make certain it’s a quality that it is being sold as.
That said, there are many companies out there in the diamond business that are inflating diamond grades. The unfortunate part is that this also trickles all the way to the laboratory level, where a grade can be off as much as 1-5 grades on items such as clarity and color. Of course, this is all a game plan of companies selling diamonds. This unfortunate issue takes advantage of unsuspecting consumers who are viewing these fancy certificates from labs and believing that the information is actually factual! Let’s be clear, this isn’t an easy thing to sniff out, and many consumers fall for this and it’s a part of the dirty side of the diamond business.
That said, when we buy diamonds, we only buy GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds. The large part of the systems used in grading the 4 C’s of any diamond was invented by GIA. This is the most fair, most unbiased process you will find – hands down. For this reason, they are the most highly trusted source (the only source in our view) when it comes to grading the quality of a diamond.
Anyone in the diamond or jewelry industry has to submit their inventory to GIA in order to get the certificate that outlines every attribute that goes with any diamond. This is done for several reasons.
#1: Price. GIA helps diamonds get priced appropriately and in line with market expectations.
Differences in prices between an F color and a G color diamond or any type of clarity variation can be massive.
#2: It Keeps Sales People in Check.
This essentially means that no matter what a sales person says, the proof of the value is right there on the GIA certificate. One website called the GIA the “Supreme Court of Diamonds” and we couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. Whenever a diamond gets graded by GIA, that grade is forever fixed to that diamond.
Now, this isn’t to say that a diamond without a GIA certificate is a bad diamond. This isn’t what we’re trying to convey here, because there are undoubtedly many diamonds for sale that don’t have this GIA certification. In fact, at some point, each diamond in existence at some point didn’t have this because it physically needs to be sent to their lab in order to get it. What the GIA certificate really does is help consumers understand just what the diamond’s traits are – it doesn’t make it’s value go up or down – it’s more like a proper appraisal.
If you are buying diamonds, the best tip we can offer you is to get a GIA certification.
If you are trying to purchase a diamond that does not have the GIA certificate, question the selling jeweler if they are grading based on GIA standards. When (and if) they say “yes,” mention that you are going to mail the diamond to GIA. Also question them if they will offer any refunds if the diamond gets graded more than one grade (in the wrong direction, of course) for clarity or color. A one grade margin of error is fair since a jeweler isn’t in a lab and it’s really tough to know the exact grade. A good jeweler will be able to guess within one grade. Of course, if they swing and miss on this, and you don’t have any assurance of a refund for any bad judgement, you are investing in a diamond that may not be what you thought it was.
We share all of this with you because it really shows the level of confidence James Allen has in their diamonds, being that all are GIA certified.
Why Do We Feel James Allen is the Best?
There are many people who respect them, but in our opinion, they are in a category all of their own. When you think of selling diamonds online, you think of JamesAllen.com. Sure, there are other sites we’ve used, checked out, and can say they offer a solid buying experience, but for our hard earned money, this one is first class every time you shop there.
Here are some of the pros (and cons) thousands of customers enjoy from James Allen.
Reviews of James Allen
|Pros:||- Winner of our prestigious “5 Diamond” Retailer Award
- Ability to customize ring setting
- 360 Degree Images of Each Diamond
- No questions asked return policy of 30 days
- Free Shipping Globally
- 2 Year Buy Back Policy
- 100% Upgrade Policy
- Lifetime Warranty on all Purchases
- Engraving Services – Personalize Your Items
- Various Payment Options (Including Financing)
|Cons:||- Small Selection of Unique Color Diamonds (Pink, Blue, Orange, Purple, etc.)|
Of course, one of the features we really love is the design your own engagement ring feature. Click the image below to see for yourself.
Overview Of Pricing
For those of you looking for absolute budget products, to go Blue Nile, Zales, or your local CostCo.
This diamond shop is not a crazy expensive site, don’t let our James Allen review scare you off. You can rest assured that when you buy from James Allen, you can reference that if in the unfortunate case you have to re-sell the item later on and every will know that it is of the best quality. It’s not like getting something from an unknown seller on eBay where you’ll have to convince people of the quality.
Perhaps the best trait of James Allen is that they have an insane selection of fancy color diamonds. Rare, precious, and an incredible personal touch to any piece of Allen jewelry, this is a selection of
yellow, blue, green, brown, and pink diamonds that will impress anyone. The reviews of these rare pieces are off the charts, and if you are looking to wow that special someone, this must be considered.
Custom Items & Designer Pieces
There are two very respected names you’ll see on the James Allen jewelry website. Verragio designs jewelry that is out of this world. Click the link to read more. Mille Couers adds a selection of colored gemstones with absolutely “wowing” designs if we don’t mind saying ourselves.
Both of these third parties have chosen James Allen diamonds to be their online distribution partner, and they both benefit from this incredible partnership.
According to the website, the “design your own custom engagement rings ” service is where most of the rings are created. You’ll see this service offered with other top diamond dealers, but this one has better functionality. Simply choose the stone or the setting and within a few clicks, you’ll have the entire design right before your eyes. When you choose a stone first, you’ll be presented with choices to proceed with including color, shape, clarity, carat, origin, and of course, price.
It’s amazing to build a ring right before your very eye.
Everyone in the business of shopping for rings should know that the 4 C’s are where you should focus when you are looking for quality gemstones.
The accreditation is AGS, GIA, or IG on each gemstone, and this allows you to invest with confidence knowing that you are buying a gemstone that’s exactly as advertised and not some cheap version that’s being heralded as something it’s not. There are over 50,000 diamonds in the James Allen inventory currently. Each stone is appraised to maintain the quality, and that should tell you the ethics of this very refined company right there.
The Website, JamesAllen.com
It wouldn’t be a proper James Allen review if we didn’t talk about the navigation experience on the actual company website. That’s where you’ll be buying products, so it’s good to go over what we thought about it.
We found the website easy to use and navigate. It’s clean, bright, and welcoming. What more could you ask for when you buy diamond online?
We are serial shoppers (you should see Sue’s Amazon.com bills each month) and appreciate a smooth user experience. When you navigate throughout the site, you’ll see that everything is secure and that you are in good hands. It’s not surprising that they have been featured in:
- Huffington Post
- Elite Daily
- The Knot
Perhaps being mentioned on the Knot is the most impressive, since that’s the #1 source for wedding information. It’s a gigantic site with a massive following.
There is an FAQ on the site, which we felt answered everything we could ask in advance of buying online.
Okay, so we went into all of the great things that we could possibly say about this amazing company. However, our review would not be complete if we didn’t talk about some of the things that people may dislike about deciding to buy James Allen diamond rings.
What Are the Con’s?
Again, there is very little “bad” to be said about this company. However, it’s worth noting the following just for 100% clarity before you make your way over to JamesAllen.com and make a purchase.
- You will pay return fees if you live outside the USA and decide to return the diamond. (USA shipped returns are 100% free.)
- Fancy colored diamond selection can be scarce at times. (However, you are buying a fancy colored diamond, and this scarcity keeps the value high, so while some people may not be happy about this, it’s actually a good thing.)
That concludes our James Allen review. We endorse this brand so much that we have given it our prestigious five diamond award. This is the highest rating given to any seller of precious gems and stones. Shop with confidence knowing you are in great hands.
James Allen Quick Access Links