Want to buy jewelry but don’t know which shop is better between James Allen and Jared?
Perfect! You have made the right stop.
In this article, we are going to compare these two jewelry giants in the following ways:
- From which company would you get the best shopping experience?
- Which company has the best prices for the diamonds they sell?
- Where would you get the best warranty offer?
- What do customers have to say about these companies?
Purchasing a piece of diamond jewelry is easy if you know about them but can be very difficult if you are not experienced with them or are not a fan. Don’t worry if you are not a gemologist, there is room for you to learn one or two things about buying diamonds.
When looking for an engagement ring, many people think that Jared is the place to go. Jared indeed is one of the biggest jewelry stores owned by Signet Jewelers.
The practice of buying diamonds online has recently gained momentum. Previously, online buying was thought of as a taboo, dangerous, or scamming ground, but is now becoming the number one choice for many customers.
Many people prefer buying diamonds online to going down the street in a physical store.
When online jewelry shopping is mention, the first store that comes to most people’s minds is James Allen. So, let’s go right ahead for a head to head comparison between the largest online jewelry retailer and the giant brick and mortar jewelry store.
We shall match James Allen and Jared alongside each other to determine which one is the best shop to buy diamonds from.
James Allen vs Jared
The shopping experience starts right from the purchasing right through the return process. How easy this is determines whether the customer will be satisfied or angry.
There are two types of shopping experiences a customer can get from Jared: online and in-store.
The online experience is pretty much straight forward. You need to add previously made jewelry to your shopping cart. Alternatively, you can peruse through their loose diamonds and pick what you like to attach it to a setting.
While other Signet Jeweler stores do not have provisions for seeing the diamond, Jared allows their customers to view the diamonds in all angles. This is an important factor when deciding which diamond piece to buy, you get to see where and how much the blemishes and inclusions are.
Viewing the diamond in 360 allows you to choose a jewelry piece that does not have a dark stain on its face. However, you will not be able to see any blemishes on the edges if the diamond is in a setting.
It is worth noting that specs on pre-designed jewelry pieces are not good. They only give specifications on clarity like 1-SI1. A diamond with a single clarity grade higher than the other does not insinuate that the two are similar. There is a big difference between an I1 diamond and an SI1 piece.
Jared does not offer many options too, most of the rings they have in their online collection and in the physical stores have more grouped rings than single pieces with a 1-carat center stone. They label these pieces as 1 carat on their site in the place of a whole diamond total weight being 1 carat (tdw).
It is important to look out for the diamond specs and get a clear understanding of the grade of diamond you are buying.
If you are shopping in the physical store, a Jared associate will explain to you what clarity grade the diamond is but will not further explain to you the difference between the clarity grade of the center stone and that of the side stone. They have stock pieces in the store meaning they only give a general idea of clarity grade.
It is only when you buy a certified diamond that you can tell whether the clarity grade description matches what the associate says. Unfortunately, Jared does not sell any certified diamonds.
It is fairly easy to buy diamonds from Jared. Although they will not give you full information about the diamond grades, they make the buying process easy for you.
You will read several stories online about how Jared and her Signet sisters play cat and mouse games when it comes to their return policy.
Not all Jared stores offer the same kind of shopping experience; you never can predict what will happen in a Jared shop. While managers in some of their stores address customer concerns promptly, others act as if they do not have customers at all.
Overall, the shopping experience is not balanced.
All the jewelry shopping you do from James Allen will be online. Like any other online experience, shopping online at James Allen is easy, brief, and straight forward compared to Jared.
James Allen takes into consideration your situation and helps you make the best purchase that suits exactly that. James Allen does not hurry to convince you to buy certain pieces since they do not work off commissions.
RECOMMENDED: HOw to Buy Jewelry Online
You have all the time to shop at James Allen, do it at your own pace while taking the time to look at the diamond specifications carefully.
You may want a pear-shaped center stone with ¾ carat weight, E color grade, and SI2 clarity in a halo diamond setting, but may not be sure. No staff of James Allen will push you to buy that.
There is also a complete library of loose diamonds that you can view from all angles with 360 viewing technology. The True Hearts Diamond collection is James Allen’s creation of the common hearts and arrows symmetry.
A hearts and arrows diamond is known to be more brilliant and sparkler than an average stone. If you love to attract attention with a jewelry piece that glitters a lot, go for a True Hearts Diamond piece.
James Allen has a variety of settings and you cannot miss one that will fit the loose stone you choose. There are many designs to choose from too and once you have made a choice, add to your cart and check out the website.
If you are not sure or have any questions, their phone line, email, and live chat are available 24/7 or you can simply go to the FAQ section for answers.
Customer service is helping customers during the purchasing process as well as when they have problems with the products they bought.
We already know that the shopping experience on Jared is not consistent. How you are attended to depends on which manager or customer care staff you are dealing with.
There are no standard procedures when dealing with customers at any of the jewelry stores owned by Signet Jewelers.
This is Dawn’s experience at Jared extracted from consumeraffairs.com
Sharon too has her share of bad experiences.
All these and other complaints are in support of what we have said about Jared so far. They are not interested in helping the customer get a quality jewelry piece that suits their budget, all they want is to get a quick sale and make as much money as possible.
The myriad complaints about Jared and its sister jewelers all revolve around the same issues which are delayed shipments, poor customer service, and poor return policy and excuses when it comes to repairs.
Jared offers four options of reaching customer service when you have an issue: email, customer care phone number, online chat or personally visiting the store.
James Allen has gained praise for having one of the best customer services. Their contacts are available 24/7 and you can call them at any of their US numbers or anywhere else in the world.
You can raise your issues through their email, via online chat, or make a phone call. All channels are available round the clock.
James Allen boosts their customer service by providing customers with a live diamond inspection. After looking through their collection of loose diamonds just go to “Diamond Inspection” and you will be connected to an associate for a live session.
The James Allen associate will take you through all the details of the diamond you have selected including any blemishes it has and certification it carries. This associate strives to give you all the information you need without pressuring you to buy.
Check out Matthew’s experience with James Allen’s customer service.
Matthew had planned a surprise proposal for his fiancé unfortunately the ring had been delayed. James Allen responded promptly to his issue although did not state what caused the delay in shipping.
RECOMMENDED: James Allen Customer Service Review
A good company is one that goes out of its way to read customer complaints on review websites and resolves them. James Allen responded by stating that they worked hard to get the ring out and that it got to the customer the same day he posted the complaint.
While it was understandable for the customer to get angry, it is regrettable; James Allen however tried their best to uphold the initial shipment date.
Every retailer is bound to make a mistake at some point, how they react to the mishap is what sets aside good from bad customer service.
Warranty is one of the major factors that customers look out for when buying jewelry. Getting a warranty is not compared to how good of a piece it is but a way of keeping the jewelry as good as new.
Pieces of jewelry like earrings and pendants require simple maintenance like cleaning, rings on the other hand need more than that. If you buy a white gold ring, rhodium plating becomes inevitable if you want the ring to retain its silvery color shine.
As you continue wearing the rings, the prong that holds the stone in place wears down thereby loosening the diamond.
You need a good warranty that will cover stone tightening and prong re-tipping. The most important thing is you need to acquire a warranty whether for free or payable.
Jared and Kay are sister jewelry stores, it is only natural that they have the same warranties. Jared provides her customers with two types of warranties, one that is free and the other that you can buy.
There is also another kind of warranty, the Jewelry Replacement Plan that lasts three years on particular birthstone rings or metal wedding bands.
How much you will pay for the ESP depends on the kind of jewelry you buy. The higher the price of the diamonds, the more it will cost to buy the Extended Service Plan.
ESP takes care of all the metalwork done on the jewelry like polishing, rhodium plating white gold jewelry, reshaping if it is a wedding band, prong re-tipping, and shank repairing for rings.
For pendants and earrings, the ESP will cover works such as repairing clasps, rhodium plating, chain soldering, and steam cleaning.
Apart from ESP, Jared also has the Lifetime Diamond & Gemstone Guarantee. Jared employees always refer to this as Diamond Bond.
This is a free lifetime warranty that guarantees the replacement of any lost diamond, sapphire, emerald, or ruby jewelry. However, this guarantee will only be valid if you take your jewelry for inspection every six months to Jared or Kay Jewelry stores.
The inspection will be recorded on their tablet as the staff taps on your jewelry under a gem scope to look at the settings. They will give you information about any kind of metalwork that needs to be done and choose whether you want to send it off for repair.
In case you lost a stone, Jared will replace it for you with a similar or higher quality stone.
Jared also says that the majority of the diamond ring brands in their collection have their own warranties which are listed on their website www.jared.com.
Regardless of the kind of jewelry you buy from James Allen, you will get a lifetime warranty for free. That’s the advantage with online jewelry retailers.
All Signet Jewelers including Jared and Kay offer warranties at a price to reach their store goals and making more money. On the contrary, James Allen offers you a better warranty and for free.
James Allen is 100% confident about the quality of its products hence the free warranty. When you finally receive your engagement ring, James Allen wants you to know that you have nothing to worry about any manufacturing defects since they will fix them without charging you a single cent.
The lifetime warranty from James Allen covers all routine care needed for your jewelry. Any jewelry cleaning, prong re-tipping, rhodium plating, and stone tightening will be done for free.
James Allen has an understanding with Jared that allows James Allen’s customers to take their jewelry to selected Jared stores for repair. Yes! You had it right.
RECOMMENDED: James Allen Warranty & Return Policy
That is not necessary but James Allen still gives you the option. If you do not want to take your diamonds to Jared, there is an option of returning it to James Allen directly. This means you will pay $30 for the FedEx label or pay for the shipping.
The warranty will take care of all the repairs or call to inform you about the price thereafter ship the diamond back to you.
Unlike Jared, James Allen does not have a warranty that takes care of lost stones. However, given the quality of their products, you are not likely to lose any stone as long as you keep checking the jewelry regularly.
Finally, this online jewelry retailer also offers free ring resizing for the first year of purchasing.
Price vs Value
There are many diamond retailers and the decision on where to buy largely depends on the prices of the stores. Although prices do not translate to the kind of quality a product has but is one of the deciding factors.
If you are not a diamond enthusiast, you most probably will not have any interest in the fine details. When it comes to diamonds, a cheap piece does not guarantee good quality.
This does not however mean that there are no affordable high-quality diamonds.
When shopping on the Jared website, you can choose from a variety of previously designed diamond rings or select loose diamonds and pair it with a ring setting of your choice to create a customized ring.
Shopping in the store in person, you get the chance to customize your ring or any other jewelry.
This is my problem with Jared: it is one of the prestigious stores owned by Signet Jewelers but they sell more of the low clarity (I1) grade diamonds.
Below is a 1.5-carat princess cut diamond from Tolkowsky brand that created the ideal cut. I also have a ring from the same brand but it is SI2 clarity and F color.
The Tolkowsky diamond that I picked from the loose diamond library had an I1 clarity grade and color grade G (almost colorless). This diamond was being sold at $9,350 and is accompanied by a certificate from IGI.
Look at that clarity grade again. There are so many blemishes in the diamond. When you look at an I clarity diamond with the naked eye, you will see that it has many inclusions. This grade is very poor for any diamond ring especially if its carat weight exceeds 1.
In no time you will realize that buying diamonds from a brick and mortar jewelry retailer like Jared, Kay, and Zales is much more expensive than shopping online at James Allen, Whiteflash, or Blue Nile.
The James Allen website allows you to view a large collection of premade jewelry, engagement rings, and loose diamond stones.
I decided to go with a princess ideal cut diamond that has I1 clarity grade and grade G for its color, the same as the one we picked from Jared’s inventory. The only difference is that the piece from James Allen is 1.6 carats making it a bit bigger.
Can you recall how dark that diamond from Tolkowsky looked because of the many blemishes? When measured against the same quality diamond from James Allen, this is how it looks like:
There is a huge difference, right?
Although an I1 diamond will always have visible inclusions to the eye, it is obvious that the diamond from James Allen is more aesthetically appealing than the one from Jared.
This James Allen diamond is not only attractive but is less costly too.
RECOMMENDED: Diamond Clarity Explained
The Tolkowsky diamond stocked by Jared was retailing at $9,350 while the James Allen diamond is sold for $6,230.
Still in doubt?
Let’s look at the quality of diamonds you will get if you buy jewelry from an online retailer like James Allen.
I wasn’t able to find a piece that costs exactly $9,350 but landed on one that was $20 more. Buying jewelry from Jared means you incur an extra cost when buying the ESP, so it is better to buy from James Allen since the warranty is free and the price is less.
The diamond I found on James Allen has a price tag of $9370. Its clarity is SI1; the color grade is F, weighs 1.52 carats, and is an ideal cut. It also has a certificate from GIA. Let’s now compare this particular piece to the $9350 one from Jared.
Looking at this and all other things that I have mentioned about price and value, you can conclude that James Allen is the perfect jewelry store for your budget and also for quality products. No need for you to sacrifice quality for a good price.
Jared vs James Allen on Reddit
If you want to get free advice on shopping for jewelry, go to Reddit, you will get customer reviews about different jewelry retailers and the products they sell too. The reviews talk about both the positive and negative sides of online and physical jewelry retailers.
By it being under the umbrella of Signet Jewelers, Jared tags along with it rumor of lost rings and swapped diamonds. I don’t want to concentrate on the rumors but rather share with you a post I found.
This particular Reddit user was asking for people’s opinions about a ring he was intending to buy from Jared.
The original post was good but divert your attention to the comments made on the post. This Redditor asked whether the stone was GIA certified. Look at the response:
I don’t think the certification is just a piece of paper. GIA certificates put diamonds at a different level in terms of value. It is the universally accepted way of showing exactly what cut, color, clarity, and carat a piece of diamond has.
Minus a certification, any store can claim that a particular diamond has a certain grade without any proof. You may have to part with a couple of hundred dollars to have the stone certified on your own.
RECOMMENDED: Types of Diamond Certifications
If the staff at the Jared store has no clue about diamond certifications, then they should not be in the jewelry industry. Only a junior rookie can be allowed this mishap but not anyone in the managerial position.
The worst is they do not even know let alone recognize the value of a certification. They brush it off as “a piece of paper” so that they make a quick sale.
On the same post, another Redditor advised the original poster to check out James Allen.
When shopping for diamond engagement rings or any other type of jewelry, you should consider online jewelry retailers like James Allen.
When compared to other jewelry stores whether online or on the physical street, James Allen always turns out victorious.
When you buy any jewelry at James Allen, you are assured of buying from a store with a good reputation. There is full transparency when information is given to you and no one tries to convince or push you into buying an item.
The advice you get from James Allen staff is reliable and honest since they do not work to meet sales or get a commission.
You also get to view the diamonds beforehand just to know what kind of natural or lab-grown diamond you will be purchasing.
Overall, James Allen has a reputation for selling high-quality diamonds, having customer trust and great prices, factors that Jared cannot compete against.