Most James Allen reviews found online seem to speak favorably of the online diamond store. However, what they lack is a comprehensive overview of what to expect when looking to buy a diamond from the retailer. This in-depth guide covers everything.
Should you trust James Allen for authentic jewelry pieces? Read this James Allen review for everything you should know about the online jewelry store.
In this Guide
- James Allen Review
- Overview of James Allen
- James Allen History
- James Allen Diamond Sourcing
- James Allen Setting Selection and Quality
- James Allen Price and Value
- James Allen Packaging
- James Allen Customer Service
- James Allen Return Policy
- James Allen Warranty
- James Allen vs. Blue Nile
- James Allen vs Blue Nile: Packaging
- James Allen vs Blue Nile: Shopping Experience
- James Allen vs Blue Nile: Product Selection
- James Allen vs Blue Nile: Customer Service
- James Allen vs Brilliant Earth
- James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Product Inventory
- James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Buying Options
- James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Customer Service
James Allen Review
Let’s start with the basics: price, selection, and customer service.
James Allen provides authentic jewelry pieces that are budget-friendly. Being an online store, their prices are far cheaper than what you would find at brick-and-mortar diamond retail stores.
With a collection of more than 200,000 diamonds, James Allen is rated as one of the top online jewelry stores. The store not only has diamond jewelry pieces but also a selection of other precious metal settings.
While the collection of colored stones is not so wide, most customers are likely to find their preferred jewelry from the collection available.
James Allen has excellent customer service, and this is corroborated at various third-party review sites such as BBB, Site Jabber, Trust Pilot and more.
The store has a 24/7 operational support line, which is sometime answered by the company’s president. In addition, when shopping at the store, you get a 360-degree HD view of the diamond pieces available. You definitely would want a 360-degree view of an engagement ring before buying.
Overview of James Allen
James Allen is one of the best places to buy jewelry online. The company has been operational in a little over a decade and stands out for their excellent customer experience. The company’s staff are dedicated to helping customers find the best piece of jewelry for their particular needs.
The buying process is streamlined, the packaging is great and the 24/7 online chat is just what you need when you are looking to purchase.
James Allen is arguably the online store to buy an engagement ring. The store has a wide selection of diamonds coming in different carats, cuts, and settings. You will be amazed by the store’s diamond collection, especially when you view the clear images of the jewelry pieces in 360 degrees HD camera.
Let’s find out why JA is the best online retailer for diamond jewelry.
James Allen History
James Allen is one of the most popular online jewelry retailers. The company is well-known for selling fine jewelry at great prices.
This retail store was founded in 1998 by James Allen Schultz together with his spouse Michelle.
The store has been operational since then, growing and adapting its offerings to the changing customer needs.
In 2006, James Allen rebranded to strengthen their focus and vision. The approach was a win for customers, who now had access to a wider selection of high-quality diamonds at affordable prices.
There are some online retailers that have been selling diamonds for longer periods. However, in less than two decades, James Allen has redefined how jewelry is shopped and sold online.
In the past, people could only buy diamonds from brick-and-mortar stores. Unfortunately, the majority of these stores only had high-end jewelry collections.
James Allen took the diamond-selling business a step further by offering the products online. The store stood out for its vast selection of high-quality diamonds.
Today, the online jewelry store boasts of more than 200,000 diamonds sourced from conflict-free zones. This online store has almost wiped off the thought of moving from one jewelry store to the next looking for an engagement ring.
James Allen Diamond Sourcing
James Allen business model is dropshipping.
If you are buying diamonds, you probably would worry about where they were gotten from. You would like to know whether the diamonds and other precious stones were legally acquired.
The diamonds sold by James Allen do not belong to them. The retailer gets all its diamonds from legit sources located next to their offices in Washington D.C. and New York.
For a diamond seller to be certified, they need to have high-tech equipment to use for quality testing and control before the diamonds are graded. A diamond is only graded after a qualified gemologist inspects the stone using a variety of processes.
First, the diamond has to be viewed through a microscope. The magnifier makes it easy to view the optical properties of the stone. At this stage, artificial diamonds are easily differentiated from natural ones.
As part of the quality control processes, gemologists use FTIR spectrometer to tell the type of diamond and also round off the hydrogen and nitrogen content in the diamond. At this stage, if the diamond is considered suspicious, it is set for limited temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy. This is one of the accurate ways of uncovering fake diamonds from natural ones.
It is only after a diamond has passed these authenticity tests that it is issued with a grading certificate from the Gemological Institute of America or the America Gems Society.
James Allen requires all its suppliers to have a photography center where they can QC and take photographs of diamonds all day, every day. It’s no wonder they provide 360-degree HD images and videos for all the diamonds in the inventory.
When you order a diamond, the suppliers will send an image to one of the James Allen offices. At the office, a resident gemologist will inspect the diamond to determine its quality. The diamond will then be graded before it is shipped to your address.
JA has an exclusivity agreement with its suppliers. This means that you won’t find the diamonds on JamesAllen.com on other stores as well.
Understandably, JA would not want to tell it all about their business model on their site. But there is no doubt that they are true to their word when it comes to the origin and source of diamonds. The retailer sells diamonds from legal, professional and ethical diamond traders. All their diamonds go through the Kimberley Process Compliance as well as the America Patriot Act.
All diamonds sold by James Allen are conflict-free and are acquired through the legal market.
James Allen Setting Selection and Quality
James Allen offers a wide range of ring settings. Examples of the settings include channel, pave, halo, tension, solitaire, among others. The store also has exclusive customized tension setting. You will not find this type of ring setting in competitor stores like Blue Nile.
In the JA inventory, you can choose from 6 different types of metal. The metals are rose gold, platinum, 18K and 14K white gold, and 18K and 14K yellow gold. You can mix and match these metals with various settings.
Platinum rings are becoming very common and James Allen has them in plenty. Moreover, you can customize your ring however you want it.
The major goal of JA is to provide customers with high-quality diamonds at affordable prices.
However, it is almost common knowledge that purchasing diamonds or any other minerals on the internet is cheaper than buying at a physical store. The cheaper price has got nothing whatsoever to do with quality.
James Allen offers a 360-degree view capability for all the diamonds in their collection. Therefore, you can conveniently view a diamond before purchasing.
You do not buy a diamond engagement ring every day. Therefore, having an opportunity to view the stone from all angles will help you see any flaws or defects that the grading report may have missed, including extinction, inclusions location, windowing. among others.
When it comes to customer reviews, you can expect a reasonable share of positive and negative reviews of any legit online store. What caught my attention is that there are very few complaints about JA. In particular, the are almost negligible complaints with regards to clarity and cut, color and carat of the rings bought from JA.
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James Allen Price and Value
Because of its dropshipping business model, James Allen does not have a warehouse where it stores its diamonds. Therefore, the store’s overhead costs are significantly lower.
JA does not incur costs like security, extra insurance, inventory costs, and rent, unlike is the case with brick and mortar stores do. In fact, the only costs incurred are related to website maintenance, paying diamond specialists, and the video and photo crew only.
Compare the price of a diamond you will get from a physical store with that of James Allen and you can see the difference. James Allen’s price to value rate is better thanks to the minimal costs. The minimal costs make it easy for the store to price their diamonds competitively.
James Allen Packaging
If you’ve watched James Allen’s video of unpacking diamond rings, you can tell that they do their work well. When you remove the FedEx wrapping on the product, you will see a heavy board with the label “James Allen” accompanied by the company’s logo (red butterfly). The FedEx box and James Allen package fit so well; you’ll be forgiven to think they are the same.
JA believes that love is best expressed in the details. This is clearly seen on the eye-catching silver and white colors painted on the boxes used to pack their engagement rings.
Inside of the box is a lower section that looks like a drawer. This section has the diamonds documentation, including the grading report.
This is what you should expect when you open a JA box containing an engagement ring:
- AGS Proprietary Light Performance and Diamond Quality Report
- Printed invoice
- Warranty card and rewards
- Quality assurance card
Most customers who have written a review of James Allen’s rings have complemented the cherry wood box containing the ring. The color choice is also complimentary and shouts a lot about the true meaning of love.
James Allen Customer Service
You probably have experienced the immense pressure from salespeople looking to make you buy when all you want to window shop. Sometimes the sales reps even try to convince you that you made the correct decision when you try to ask for money back with regards to a product.
Salespeople always concentrate on getting commissions. Therefore, offering great customer service is not always on their minds. Take time and read through the customer complaints and you will know how annoying the salespeople can get.
However, the sales staff at James Allen are welcoming, compassionate and always provide honest responses.
The customer service desk at JA is available all day, every day. You can get to them easily via the “Chat With Us” section on JamesAllen.com.
When you talk to the customer service online, you can be given up to three 360-degree images of the rings you are looking to buy for free.
The customer service staff undergoes a 6-week training to know more about diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry before formally starting their duties. No matter how many complex questions you may have, the knowledgeable customer service staff will provide honest responses.
Going through different platforms online, you may come across some negative reviews of James Allen. However, if you research further, you will realize that JA replies to every complaint raised with affirmations or solutions.
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James Allen Return Policy
James Allen offers customers a 30-day full refund guarantee for any jewelry on their store. This is enough time for you to try out the ring you just bought. If you are not satisfied with the ring, you can return it and get all your money back.
The return procedure is simple and applies to customers from all over the world.
United States customers get free shipping on any item they wish to return. People outside the USA incur a small amount in shipping costs. This is because JA will not be responsible for any eventualities while the ring is in transit.
On the same note, non-USA buyers pay customs duties that apply in their countries for the rings they purchase. All returns to JA must be accompanied by corresponding documentation. A fee of $150 will be charged if the grading report is missing.
James Allen does not accept used or damaged jewelry.
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Something to note is that JA does not resize tension rings and eternity bands. These two must be remade entirely.
James Allen Warranty
Any business that cares about its reputation should go out of its way to build long-term relationships with its customers. This is exactly how James Allen has managed to build an admirable reputation. Not so many online stores have a warranty like that of James Allen – a lifetime warranty. This warranty guarantees the customer continuous support from the company.
You will not incur any costs for the services covered by the store’s warranty. In addition, there is a 1-year free ring resizing offer, just in case you bought the wrong size, or calibrations change shortly after purchasing.
James Allen warranty covers routine services such as polishing, cleaning, prong tightening, among others. Apart from these services, James Allen offers a single resizing on all rings other than tension and eternity settings. Other free services you will get include broken jewelry repair, replacing side stones that got lost, and rhodium re-plating.
The process of getting one of these services is easy. The only effort you put is in mailing the ring to JA. The online jewelry store will approve and ascertain the state of the ring, and all is set.
If you are outside the U.S, you will pay for shipping. However, James Allen will take care of the shipping costs when sending the ring back to you. Customers in the United States have to pay a $30 fee for the shipping label before the jewelry is shipped to them.
The same process is used for any other services that are not covered by the warranty. The process of repairing or fixing the ring takes a few weeks. If you expect the ring earlier, you will be somehow disappointed.
James Allen vs. Blue Nile
There are various similarities between James Allen and Blue Nile. However, Blue Nile does its best to widen the inventory even if their inventory is already big. James Allen, on the other hand, strives to keep up with the diamond quality in addition to other things.
James Allen has an awesome diamond viewing technology found in various imaging places in New York. With this technology, customers can view all the diamond optical properties without any interference.
For example, let’s say you want an SI1 diamond with zero inclusions. If you find an SI2 diamond online, you will most likely buy it as it’s just a clarity grade lower than your preference.
With the viewing technology offered at James Allen, you will be disappointed to learn that some grading reports are not reliable. This is not to say that the high-level certificates are a scam but you can easily find an SI2 diamond that has no inclusions. Such a diamond would be better and cheaper than an SI1 diamond that has inclusions.
A grading report relatively identifies inclusions and blemishes and not the exact places where the inclusions are. All 360-degree images at James Allen are zoomed perfectly and you can see exactly where the inclusions are.
You can also see other properties like the bow-tie effect as well as identify diamonds that have more fire than brilliance.
James Allen vs Blue Nile: Packaging
We already lauded JA for its excellent packaging.
Blue Nile has not attracted so much attention with its packaging. Most customers allege that their packaging is cheap and does not look so appealing.
Blue Nile’s packaging can be compared with that of other jewelry vendors but not James Allen.
James Allen vs Blue Nile: Shopping Experience
Once again, James Allen wins in shopping experience because of the 360-degree HD images and videos the store offers for its diamonds. The whole experience is similar to visiting a physical store without being pushed to buy.
Blue Nile also has videos but only on selected diamonds. However, there are no images.
If you are too choosy when buying jewelry, you now know where to go to get the best piece.
James Allen vs Blue Nile: Product Selection
No doubt, both these diamond stores have a vast selection of diamonds. They also have custom-made settings and pre-set options for customers.
However, Blue Nile beats James Allen when it comes to colored diamonds and gemstones. James Allen may take the advantage of having rare platinum jewelry but comes second to Blue Nile for colored stones.
When all is said and done, Blue Nile has a wider spectrum of choices. However, what good will that do if you are not able to view the stones critically before ordering?
James Allen vs Blue Nile: Customer Service
Whether you are buying your first diamond or already have a few at home, you will always ask questions as you shop. It is natural to ask questions, given the huge investment you are about to make.
Both James Allen and Blue Nile have great customer service. All the information you seek or questions you ask will be responded to in a very short time. A further assessment shows that James Allen offers up to three ASET analyses at no cost. The customer service desk can be reached 24/7. However, JA no longer offers the option of reserving diamonds.
On the other hand, Blue Nile also provides good customer service too but not as good as that at James Allen. The store also does not have ASET analyses! On a plus note, you can reserve a diamond stone that you like and BN will pull it down from the site in as short as 48 hours!
Well, for customer service, I would say that each store takes half the share. The good and bad are equal for both.
James Allen vs Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth is famous for its ethics concerning its inventory.
James Allen is keen on stocking conflict-free diamonds but Brilliant Earth focuses on getting diamonds from mining grounds where laborers who are not children get their fair share of wages and work in safe conditions.
Brilliant Earth actively participates in charity events that are geared towards supporting safe and blood-free diamond mining.
James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Product Inventory
Brilliant Earth has an inventory of about 20,000 diamonds, mostly attributed to its principle of ethically sourcing the stones. James Allen’s inventory is ten times more than Brilliant Earth’s.
Both retailers have 10 different shapes, like a cushion, emerald, round, oval, etc.
James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Buying Options
The payment terms and options at Brilliant Earth are a little favorable. If you fail to clear your payment, you can join the one-year interest payment plan. Alternatively, you can choose to enroll in their layaway plan where you pay the first deposit and the rest of the money as monthly installments until the whole payment is cleared.
Coming to JA, you only have two payment plans:
- Purchases that exceed a certain figure qualify you to get the payment plan that lasts 24 months but with a 9% interest.
- A 6-month payment plan that does not attract any interest, where you buy the jewelry without any initial deposits. However, you must meet the minimum order to qualify for this payment plan.
New James Allen customers can pay through wire transfer and get a guaranteed 1.5% discount.
James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Customer Service
James Allen is better when it comes to customer service thanks to its 24/7 accessible online chat. All your questions will be answered in minutes. Moreover, you can chat with the customer service representatives via Live Chat.
On the other hand, Brilliant Earth lacks a platform for online chatting. Therefore, your questions may not be answered immediately. Moreover, the response time will be longer if your reach out to them outside the working hours (7 am – 7 pm, Monday to Friday).
Other James Allen Guides
In this review, we have covered all the information you need to know about James Allen. We suggest that you continue reading the other details below to make you get the best deal there is!
JAMES ALLEN GUIDES: James Allen Review | James Allen Design Your Own Ring | James Allen Customer Service Reviews | James Allen Financing Reviews | James Allen Insurance | Is James Allen Legit? | Are James Allen Diamonds Conflict Free | James Allen Ring Resizing | James Allen Return Review | James Allen Sales Tax