BRAND REVIEWS

James Allen

What makes it stand out? Is it an excellent place to start in your diamond journey?
Selection
Quality
Price and Value
Shopping Experience
Services and Warranty

As shoppers have moved their jewelry search online, James Allen has become a household name. Having helped over 150,000 couples find the ring of their dreams, James Allen separates themselves from competitors with their transparency and impressive inventory.

But is their product worth the hype? And how can you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to James Allen jewelry? It’s time for a James Allen review that discusses the ins and outs of this diamond giant.

James Allen Review

James Allen company overview

So who is James Allen? Is there a Mrs. Allen? And is she the happiest woman in the world, sitting on an impressive diamond collection gifted to her by her famous husband?😄

History of James Allen

This company’s story starts in 2006, when four creative geniuses united in pursuit of a common goal: create an online platform to offer consumers high-quality diamonds at the best price. From their efforts, JamesAllen.com was born, and the website quickly became a favorite among shoppers seeking quality, transparency, and expediency.

Founders Oded Edelman, James Schultz, Michele Sigler, and Dean Lederman each brought something unique to the table, whether it was a family history of diamond knowledge, online retail expertise, a passion for retail operations and customer service, or an understanding of polished diamond distribution. With this knowledge, they built a lasting online platform for user-friendly diamond sales.

The James Allen legacy today

Nowadays, you can barely talk about online diamond retailers without James Allen being one of the first names mentioned. The largest privately held online diamond retailer in the world, James Allen has certainly improved upon their original business idea over time.

Seemingly still focused on quality, transparency, and expediency, James Allen provides a suite of features that keep customers coming back. From the 360° images and videos to 100% money-back guarantees, James Allen seems to have the buyer’s best interests at heart even after 15 years of business.

Bottom line: What makes James Allen stand out?

Here’s a quick roundup of all the reasons James Allen is a great online retailer and should be one of your first stops when shopping for jewelry online:

  • You’ll be able to shop their massive inventory of over 200,000 loose diamonds and more than 600 setting styles from the comfort of your home.🎈
  • Enjoy 24/7 customer service and Real-Time Diamond Inspections via email, phone, and chat.✅
  • James Allen employs non-commissioned diamond experts who are focused on finding you the right diamond rather than upselling you.
  • Both domestic and international shoppers can take advantage of free shipping.
  • Your item arrives in beautiful, ready-to-propose packages for added convenience.
  • Buyers seeking custom ring options can use The Ring Studio and special order pieces to suit their needs.
  • You don’t have to worry if you bought the wrong ring or damaged your piece: enjoy 30-Day Hassle-Free Returns and a Lifetime Warranty for all jewelry items.

James Allen product review

So what products does James Allen offer as a jewelry retailer? And, how do they stack up in the grand scheme of diamond products available online?

Diamond selection and quality

James Allen boasts one of the largest inventories of conflict-free stones with just over 200,000 diamonds available on their website. James Allen diamonds come in all shapes and sizes, and a majority include strict, first-class grading from the GIA and AGS. Additionally, there are also several stones with IGI grades.

When shoppers first see the sensible prices of James Allen’s diamonds, it’s easy to assume they’re not getting a great stone. But, this is actually a result of the company’s drop-shipping model, which eliminates overhead costs and allows James Allen to provide quality diamonds at reasonable price points.

Overall, James Allen exhibits a wide array of diamonds with varying levels of quality for all budgets, which is helpful for those buyers who still aren’t quite sure how much diamond they can afford.

While most of the diamonds are earth-created, there are also plenty of lab-created options, which are more affordable and offer identical sparkle. James Allen also carries a limited inventory of fancy colored diamonds, and their signature diamond collection, True Hearts, boasts high-quality, precision-cut gems with enhanced brilliance.

Diamond sourcing

One of the most important factors for many shoppers today is a stone’s origins. Luckily, James Allen’s diamonds are conflict-free, meaning they don’t contribute to bloody civil wars or civilian abuse in mining communities. James Allen follows the Kimberley Process, Patriot Act, and all United Nations laws with strict contracts between the company and suppliers.

While these restrictions ensure conflict-free stones from certified dealers in New York City, James Allen also has Canadamark diamonds. Canadamark diamonds are mined throughout Canada and are sourced via ethical and sustainable means.

James Allen Diamond Inventory

Ring settings

The settings provided by James Allen are impressive, and they include designer names like Verragio, Danhov, Martin Flyer, and Jeff Cooper.

In terms of James Allen engagement ring styles, you can expect a host of popular options: solitaire, halo, sidestone, threestone, pavé, channel, and tension. Furthermore, James Allen actually has a tension setting that’s unique to their brand, which isn’t found with competitors like Blue Nile.

There are six metal options, including 14k and 18k yellow and white gold, rose gold, and platinum. As such, shoppers on a budget have plenty of ways to create a ring that fits their partner’s expectations.

As you’re shopping for an engagement ring, the website will actually suggest matching James Allen wedding bands to you near the bottom of the screen.📝 They also provide a selection of wedding bands for both men and women, though their styles are somewhat standard. However, you can still expect common styles like eternity and stackable anniversary bands as well as classic metal rings with milgrain, filigree, etc.

What about James Allen’s other jewelry?

It’s true: James Allen has a moderate inventory of fine jewelry pieces that aren’t related to engagement or bridal settings. This includes rings, bracelets, earrings, and pendants, which all include the same James Allen quality promise.

While the overall stock of these items may be limited, James Allen actually gives a lot of creative wiggle room to customers with these pieces. Vibrant gemstones and pearls—both earth- and lab-created options—join their diamond inventory as possible stone options for fine jewelry pieces.

What’s more, James Allen provides customization options for earrings and pendants, allowing customers to choose their center diamonds to control both the price and the overall look of the piece. For picky shoppers, it’s excellent to be able to choose your own stones, and you can verify their quality via James Allen’s extensive imaging and videos.

The shopping experience on JamesAllen.com

In addition to their hefty inventory of diamonds, James Allen has helpful features that make the process of shopping for engagement jewelry pain-free.❤️ In fact, it’s actually rather easy to do everything in one place with James Allen!

360° HD imagery and videos

Arguably, the major selling point for James Allen is their top-notch imaging and videos, which make examining the sparkle of a diamond something you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Their 360° HD imagery and videos are available for every diamond, and they provide up to 40x magnification.👍🏻 For context, a standard jeweler’s loupe can achieve 10x magnification, so these “SuperZoom” images allow you to get up close and personal with each diamond.

This clarity is extremely helpful when trying to view any blemishes, inclusions, or dark facets, and the images are so clear that you can even judge a diamond’s color distribution.

Furthermore, HD imaging is ideal for inspecting fancy shape diamonds, as these silhouettes tend to have issues that are tougher to identify, such as bow-ties, symmetry issues, misshapen corners and edges, and color bleed.

This imaging is something that sets James Allen apart from the competition, as these tools are incredibly helpful for anyone looking for an eye-clean diamond at a lower price point. With this technology, you can actually find eye-clean SI1 or SI2 diamonds among James Allen’s vast inventory.

Idealscope and ASET imaging

If you’d prefer a different view of your diamond outside the 360° HD imagery and videos, James Allen offers Idealscope and ASET images for all True Hearts diamonds. You can also request these images for other diamonds (if they’re available) if you’re unsure of which one to choose. In fact, you can have up to three images for free!

While the 360° imagery is great for pointing out visible flaws, Idealscope and ASET images can give you a deeper understanding of light return and light leakage. If you’re comparing two stones with similar cut grades, having these images can help you discern which one will be more brilliant given the stone’s light performance.

You can find these kinds of images at smaller online retailers like Whiteflash, but Blue Nile and other large competitors fall short of offering such detailed information. As such, this extra feature sets James Allen apart from the crowd.

For free Idealscope and ASET images, simply contact customer support via phone, chat, or email. Those images can be sent to you within two to five business days.

The Ring Studio

Select and Review the Shank Style for Your Custom Diamond Ring
Personalizing a ring via The Ring Studio

A new addition to James Allen, The Ring Studio is an interactive platform that allows customers to build a personalized solitaire engagement ring.🤶🏻 You can hand select your ring’s diamond, metal, basket, prongs, shank, and more, creating something completely distinctive for your partner.

The current design choices are somewhat limited, as the tool only allows for pavé, halo, knife edge, and a few other bedazzled setting styles. However, as the platform grows, it’s safe to assume James Allen will add more settings that can fit the needs of more brides.

The Ring Studio is simple, intuitive, and very helpful if you have no idea where to start with an engagement ring. It will even give you the option to include “Expert-Recommended Diamonds” to your piece, which are gemstones specifically chosen by the James Allen team for a setting like the one you chose.

Free Real-Time Diamond Inspections with Diamond Experts

When in doubt, it can be really helpful to speak with a professional, and the James Allen team has a group of diamond experts that you can contact while you shop. These diamond experts are non-commissioned employees, so their goal is to find the right diamond for your needs without worrying about upselling.

Initiate a Real-Time Diamond Inspection on James Allen
Initiate a real-time diamond inspection

To utilize this feature, you can simply click the Real-Time Diamond Inspection button on any product listing. These diamond professionals can even provide an inspection as you shop, sharing their screen and talking you through the features of your diamond.🔍 You can ask questions along the way, and they’ll even walk you through the diamond’s grading certificate.

For anyone who has limited knowledge regarding diamonds, the real-time diamond inspections are a big plus. Instead of doing the research yourself, you can consult an expert who has your best interests in mind to help you choose the right diamond.

Virtual Ring Try-On

When shopping for yourself or sneakily buying an engagement ring for your partner, it can be difficult to gauge proper fit. Will the ring look right on your hand? Will it make your fingers look large or squat?

Many people turn to brick-and-mortar locations to try before they buy, but James Allen has a virtual ring try-on option to demonstrate how a ring will look on your finger.😍 It does require a smartphone to use, but it’s easy, free, and super helpful if your future fianceé gave you more than one diamond shape to work with!

To use the app, you just click the “try on” button on the product page, upload an image of your hand, and try on any ring you like. You can even share the photos with friends and family to get opinions.

Virtual Ring Sizer (Plus free plastic sizer)

If you’re unsure of your ring size, James Allen provides a host of sizing tools on their website. There’s a virtual ring sizer that allows you to size a ring you already own, a tool to help you measure your finger for proper fit, and a conversion tool for transferring your US ring size to international units.

There’s a tool for every scenario, and James Allen will send you a plastic ring sizer for free if you’d prefer to get a physical measurement. This free ring sizer is incredibly helpful if you’d like to figure out your partner’s measurements on the sly by comparing the plastic rings to one she already owns!

Engagement Ring Inspiration Gallery

Another feature unique to James Allen is their Diamond Inspiration Gallery. Here, you can scroll through engagement rings that were custom designed for other clients.

The Diamond Inspiration Gallery allows you to filter by diamond type, budget, ring style, diamond shape, metal, and total carat weight to hone in on the James Allen rings that best fit your needs. This tool is a creative way to help customers figure out what ring style they’re seeking if they have very little inspiration to work with.

It can also be a fun tool to use with your partner to see which styles she likes best!

Engagement Moments

It’s clear that these diamond professionals are passionate about engagements and love stories. They’ve actually created a page on their site where you can view customer engagement moments from across the globe!

Not only does this fun feature give couples a place to share their story, but it can also double as inspiration for any customers looking to propose. Each story has the couple’s general location, so you can filter by country and state to find clever engagement ideas in your area.

Moreover, you can even view the engagement ring used during the proposal! This is extremely helpful if you’re interested in real-life photos of how a particular setting or diamond shape performs when worn. You can also click the “View the Ring of the Moment” button to visit the product page for that piece, meaning you can actually purchase a similar setting if you fall in love with the style.

James Allen Packaging

James Allen Packaging

Once your item ships, James Allen promises it will receive “first-class care to your front door”.

The brand’s durable packaging is quite stunning, utilizing a silvery-white box with an embossed James Allen logo and a pull tab in their signature peachy pink. The packaging is understated yet luxe, and this outer box transforms into a handy keepsake container for the actual ring box you’ll use to propose.

The smaller box inside is a rich red, symbolizing deep love and romantic intent. This box is made of sturdy lacquered materials and fits nice in one’s pocket for a surprise proposal.

Below where this box sits is a small drawer that contains a complimentary polishing cloth and a silver folder that holds all of your ring’s documentation. James Allen handles the organization of your files for you and stores your diamond certification, appraisal certificate, and quality assurance guarantee all in one place.

Overall, James Allen’s packaging is lovely, and their dedication to making the materials reusable as a keepsake box shows their dedication to making this a memorable, quality experience for buyers.

How about James Allen’s customer service and other policies?

James Allen is rather proud of their customer support and policies, and they should be! Let’s breakdown the additional services you receive beyond your initial purchase when you shop with James Allen:

Customer Support

Whether you have a question during the buying process or a year after your purchase, James Allen provides 24/7 customer support to all.☎️

While calling their support line is fast and easy, there are other ways to reach a customer support professional if you’re busy or hate talking on the phone. James Allen also provides email and chat services with fairly quick response times: a chat conversation can get you answers in minutes, while you may wait up to two business days for an email response.

Shipping

James Allen offers free, convenient shipping worldwide, so you can have your dream ring shipped to any location. Because every piece of jewelry is valuable, they also ensure all packages for peace of mind!

All jewelry must pass quality control before shipping, and loose diamonds are also inspected before being packaged. While James Allen’s shipping is relatively fast, how your new item gets to you differs based on price:

  • Under $500: FedEx Two Day Saver or FedEx Economy/USPS (Non-US Purchases)
  • Over $500: FedEx Priority Overnight or FedEx International Priority (Non-US Purchases)

While it may seem like a pain, James Allen only allows deliveries to go to physical businesses or home addresses and only with a valid signature. You’ll have to wait around for your package, but at least you’ll know it’s in the right hands from shipping to arrival.

Warranty

Not all jewelers promise a lifetime warranty on your items, but James Allen does. In fact, your lifetime warranty covers not just manufacturer's defects, but also any prong tightening, rhodium plating, re-polishing, and a lifetime of cleaning services.

However, maintenance can only be performed on your piece if you send it back to the James Allen offices or take it to a qualifying Jared service center. This seems like a hassle, but when you think about how much money you can save over the lifetime of your piece by restoring it with James Allen, it’s really worth it.

If you have an issue that falls outside of what’s covered by the warranty, James Allen can still evaluate your item. You simply have to send your piece back to their offices for further inspection, at which time they can give you more information regarding necessary repairs.

Returns

James Allen offers hassle-free returns for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of purchase, which is fairly standard for online jewelry retailers. But, if you live outside the U.S. or Canada, you’ll have to pay to send back your item – a $50 shipping fee is required for international returns.

Resizing

If you’ve purchased the wrong size ring, James Allen generously offers 1 year of free ring sizing to customers. Just keep in mind you can only resize it for free once, and subsequent resizings cost $25 for yellow, white, or rose gold and $50 for platinum.

While the process of resizing will be free, shipping charges vary (first resizing in the U.S. or Canada has free shipping). Learn more about shipping costs for resizing here.

Upgrade Policy

Some people grow tired of their original ring or wish to upgrade to a larger stone, and James Allen offers lifetime upgrades for these individuals. You can exchange any loose diamond for 100% credit to be put toward a new diamond of at least 2x the value of the original.

While this seems like a good deal, that means you’ll have to double your initial investment to utilize this policy. This works for some buyers, but others seeking to increase by half a carat or less or who want a different diamond shape may run into issues.

Buying from James Allen vs. A brick-and-mortar retailer

💡When buying at James Allen, you’ll likely save a few dollars when compared to shopping at your local jeweler. This is because James Allen doesn’t physically own their inventory of diamonds, but rather they supply their gemstones from diamond dealers around New York City.

These diamond suppliers are close enough to James Allen’s home office to utilize their 360° photography centers for top-notch images and drop off diamonds for the website's rigorous QC process before shipping. Then, James Allen ships the items—once they’ve passed inspections—straight to the customer.

By not having a huge warehouse full of diamonds and few showrooms, James Allen operates incredibly lean and can afford to share cost savings with customers. In contrast, brick-and-mortar stores have to pay for employees, showrooms, and a physical inventory of pricey diamonds, meaning you can expect to pay about 30%-70% more!

Here’s a summary of how buying at James Allen differs from a local jeweler:

 James AllenBrick-and-Mortar Store
InventoryOver 200,000 loose diamonds with more than 600 setting stylesLimited in-house inventory with the potential to special order a piece; not all locations have loose diamonds and settings are typically limited to featured designers
Images/Examples360° HD imaging and videos with Idealscope and ASET images upon request; buyer can inspect any diamond at up to 40x magnification (compared to the 10x magnification of a jeweler’s loupe)Up close and personal viewing of each diamond under bright lighting; buyer can actually touch and examine a diamond, and may be able to use jeweler’s loupe if allowed
CustomizationThe Ring Studio provides hundreds of customization options for solitaire rings; the website is built around customization, offering buyers the ability to start with a diamond or setting of their choice and build around itSome jewelers do provide customization service, but they can take a few weeks and require CAD imaging and mock-ups; if you find a jeweler that specializes in loose diamonds and settings, you can attain some level of personalization
Customer ServiceTop-notch customer service: 24/7 support, Real-Time Diamond Inspections, non-commissioned diamond experts, 30-Day Hassle-Free Returns, Lifetime Warranty, and moreStandard customer services at most locations: support during business hours, inspections by commissioned diamond professionals, varied return policies, some manufacturer’s warranties, and more
Routine MaintenanceComplimentary yearly cleanings and common maintenance items covered by Lifetime WarrantyMost jewelers offer yearly cleanings and SOME maintenance, but you may have to pay for anything that isn’t a buff and polish or a prong retightening
AvailabilityAvailable 24/7, do your shopping on your own timeAvailable during business hours, which vary by store: shop when they are open or peruse inventory on their website

Buying from James Allen vs. Other online retailers

While James Allen may be a clear winner over brick-and-mortar stores to many shoppers, how does the company compare to other online retailers? As the online jewelry industry continues to grow, there are several big names on the market willing to provide you with an online diamond buying experience at a fair cost.

Arguably, James Allen’s biggest competitor is Blue Nile, who also specializes in loose diamonds and customizable settings for all needs. Let’s briefly compare the two retailers based on what we know:

 James AllenBlue Nile
InventoryOver 200,000 loose diamonds with more than 600 setting stylesAlmost 200,000 lose diamonds and more than 350 setting styles
Images/Videos360° HD imaging and videos with Idealscope and ASET images upon request360° HD imaging and SOME diamonds have videos
CustomizationThe Ring Studio solitaire personalization platform and special order customization availableSpecial order customization available
WebsiteUser-friendly, well organized, easy to navigateUser-friendly, well organized, easy to navigate
Signature CollectionsTrue Hearts Collection with round, princess, and cushion cut diamondsAstor Ideal collection with round, princess, and cushion cut diamonds
Non-Diamond JewelryLimited options outside of diamond jewelry, mostly sapphire/emeraldVast inventory of plain metal and colored gemstone jewelry
Prices25-40% lower than brick-and-mortar stores25-40% lower than brick-and-mortar stores
Customer Service24/7 Customer Support via phone, email, and chat; Real-Time Diamond Inspections and support by non-commissioned diamond professionals24/7 Customer Support via phone, email, and chat by service professionals
Return Policy30-Day Hassle-Free Return Policy30-Day Hassle-Free Return Policy
Warranty OptionsLifetime Warranty that covers common issues, including prong retightening, re-rhodium services, and polishingManufacturer’s Warranty with paid services for any damages that are deemed “not a manufacturing defect”

Final tip: How to save money when buying at James Allen

Even though James Allen’s prices are reasonable, there are still several ways you can shave a few dollars off your purchase! Here are 4 simple ways to save money:😎

Learn about the 4Cs

The best thing you can do to make sure you’re getting a quality diamond for a decent price is to familiarize yourself with the 4Cs. We’ve written about them extensively here, and we’ve even included ideal grades for saving money. Knowing where you can sacrifice quality while still purchasing an eye-clean diamond is the first step to saving serious cash!🧐

Utilize the tools on James Allen’s website

The professionals at James Allen didn’t give you high-res images and access to diamond experts for nothing: use these resources to your advantage.

The Diamond Inspiration Gallery is a great place to start your search, and it could help you save money in the long run by guiding your selection process. The 360° HD imagery and videos are also stellar tools for figuring out whether your chosen diamond is eye-clean or not. In fact, you can usually find lower-quality diamonds that are eye-clean by using these detailed images.🥂

Finally, Real-Time Inspections with diamond experts are an invaluable resource when it comes to saving money. Like we mentioned, these professionals are non-commissioned, so their goal is simply to help you choose the right diamond for your wants, needs, and budget.

Try lab-created diamonds

Have you ever thought about switching to lab-created diamonds? These gemstones are identical to regular diamonds in every way, even down to their orderly carbon structure.

Want to know what’s really crazy? Lab-grown diamonds cost up to 50% less than natural ones! Purchasing a lab-created stone is a great way to save some dough, and we’ve written all about why you might want to choose these literal carbon copies of natural diamonds here.

Purchase during the holidays

This may seem counterintuitive, since the holidays are BIG diamond buying days. But, that’s exactly the reason retailers bring out their best deals around these dates!

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day: you’ll typically find some pretty sweet James Allen discounts during the months of these celebrations. James Allen also does Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals around Christmas time.

Choosing an online jeweler

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced thousands of couples to take their diamond search online, and retailers like James Allen have never been more relevant.

In these trying times, it’s nice to know that you’re getting what you paid for, and James Allen offers as much information about your diamond upfront as possible. Overall, they’re an excellent place to start in your diamond journey, whether you’re looking for an engagement ring or just shopping for some new diamond earrings.

It’s time to check out James Allen’s user-friendly website and thoughtful features for yourself: peruse their massive inventory, compare quality diamonds on demand, gain inspiration from customers’ heartfelt engagement moments and custom orders, and locate (or build!) the ring of your dreams all in one place!🍹

JewelryTalk Rating: 4.5
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