Top 5 Best Retailers To Buy Jewelry Online in 2021

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Top 5 Best Jewelry Retailers Online

  1. Blue Nile (My Top Pick) 
  2. James Allen (Best Loose Stone Jewelry Online)
  3. Clean Origin (Best Lab Diamond Jewelry Online)
  4. Whiteflash (Best Cut Diamond Jewelry Online) 
  5. Ritani (Best Settings for Jewelry Online) 

#1 Buying Jewelry Online at Blue Nile

blue nile homepage

Many people have had a great shopping experience with Blue Nile. They are the first online diamond retailer to have existed, but still have physical stores in nine different states. Their most popular stores are in Los Angeles and New York City.  

When it comes to fine jewelry, they have many options in both loose gems and preset gemstone jewelry. 

The reason that we made them #1 on our list is because they have the widest selection of fine jewelry compared to any other retailer on our list. Blue Nile usually comes in lower when it comes to loose diamonds and engagement rings, but they come in number #1 when it comes to fine jewelry. 

One of the best things I like is that their selection ranges from affordable jewelry to expensive jewelry.

They have just plain sterling silver and gold chain options for jewelry, including the very affordable sterling silver. You can choose colored stone jewelry, which also includes pearl jewelry and fancy colored lab diamonds.

You can also select your own loose ruby, sapphire, and emeralds for customized engagement, pendants, and earrings. My personal favorite collection is the high-end Extraordinary Jewelry Collection, made for those who want lots of bang for their buck. The earrings and necklaces are so pretty. 

The main thing Blue Nile is lacking is a nice warranty to back up their fantastic selection. Jewelry is made of natural metals that wear down over time, regardless of how hard you are on it, so having a decent warranty is critical.

This is especially true for engagement and wedding rings. Upkeep is a must and I just don't love the warranty Blue Nile packs with their jewelry.

Read also>> What is the best online store for diamond engagement rings?

Specifically, Blue Nile offers a manufacturer's warranty, covering only factory defects. Prong retipping, rhodium plating white gold, and repairing clasps are not covered.

My best recommendation would be to get a local jeweler to do any repairs, but it will void the manufacturer's warranty, just so you know.

Pros

  • Range of prices
  • Wide Selection
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Loose stones

Cons

  • Manufacturer's warranty isn't the best

#2 Buying Jewelry Online at James Allen

James Allen diamond inspection

James Allen comes in at #1 a lot on our lists due to their cheapest diamond prices and transparency. But today, they ride shotgun at #2. The reason why they take this place is because of their fine jewelry collection options. They've got great options in bridal jewelry, but fashion jewelry, not so much. 

They have many high quality options at affordable prices below $500. The bridal options allow you to pick your own diamond for your engagement ring.

Using their Build Your Own system, you can also customize your own diamond pendant or diamond stud earrings. Diamonds not your thing? No worries. You can choose colored gemstones (like emeralds) and even fancy-colored diamonds as an alternative loose center stone. 

They also have a section of various fine jewelry like gold hoops and bangles, but I think the customization and transparency of gemstones is where James Allen really shines. Very few retailers online will let you look at a colored center stone up close and personal. 

Their fine jewelry collection is a bit lackluster with items for specific tastes such as chokers, chunky cocktail rings, and others. However, they aren't a great option for plain chain necklaces, as most have pendants of some sort. 

In the following video, there's 4 loose emeralds ranging within .10 carat points and within $20 of each other. This is important because even though they're all similar to each other, you need a crystal clear viewer to compare different colored gemstones, especially emeralds.

Can you spot the differences in the preview below? 

Now, you see why it's important to pick out your own colored gemstones. 

One of the biggest and best things James Allen has over all of our other picks is their lifetime warranty.

You get a free lifetime warranty with your jewelry purchase, which covers any routine maintenance your jewelry might need down the line. This is especially important for you white gold jewelry lovers.

White gold jewelry needs rhodium plating about once a year for rings and James Allen includes that with their warranty.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Free sizing for a year
  • Lifetime upgrade
  • Clear 360° view

Cons

  • Not many choices in fine jewelry 
  • Does not cover loss of stones in settings

#3 Buying Jewelry Online at Clean Origin

clean origin necklaces

Clean Origin is the only retailer on our list that sells lab diamond jewelry exclusively. Even though all of our picks are conflict-free, some people prefer lab diamonds in their jewelry. They are consistently our pick for best lab diamonds. 

Lab jewelry is often picked because there's no question of origin, they are cheaper than natural diamonds, and they are 100% real diamonds. 

Read Also >> Are lab diamonds good or bad?

Clean Origin has bridal jewelry like loose lab diamonds, engagement rings, and wedding bands. They also have a selection of lab diamond fine jewelry like bracelets, pendants, and earrings.

Because their specialty is lab created diamonds, they don't have any colored stones. I really would have liked to see colored gemstones like sapphires or rubies, but they don't have any. They do have colored lab diamonds instead. 

Clean Origin return policy

Their warranty isn't great either, since they only cover factory defects, not routine maintenance. They do have a pretty awesome return policy, which allows you 100 days to decide if you really like your purchase.

It's kind of wild because a lot of people will stare at a new piece of jewelry til they hate it. Most jewelry stores give you 30 days, and after that, you're screwed if you don't like it. 

But here's my take. Clean Origin is so confident that you'll love their lab jewelry that they want to make sure you love it as much as they do. Idk about you, but I'm thinking that's a company that takes pride in their work. 

Pros

  • Lab diamond jewelry
  • Choose your own diamonds
  • 100-day returns
  • Excellent price points

Cons

  • No colored gemstones
  • Warranty doesn't cover wear and tear

#4 Buying Jewelry Online at Whiteflash

White Flash Diamond Jewelry

Whiteflash is an online jeweler that specializes in diamond brilliance. The cut of a diamond is what determines its overall brilliance. 

Whiteflash has a patented collection of diamonds call A Cut Above, which feature the best cut diamonds they have to offer. They are super ideal, which is said to surpass the sparkle of ideal cut diamonds.

You can also view IdealScope and ASET imaging, which lets you see exactly how much light is being returned in a diamond viewed online. 

White Flash ideal cut diamonds
Whiteflash diamond ASET imaging

Because of their high precision cuts and attention to detail, they earn a spot on our list. No other online retailer on our list goes this in-depth into diamond brilliance.

Because their diamonds tend to be more expensive than the others, they earn a lower spot. If affordable jewelry is your priority, you might be better suited for shopping at James Allen

You also get a warranty when you buy from Whiteflash. The warranty is limited, but it will cover routine maintenance for three years. Still, better a limited warranty for wear and tear than no warranty at all. 

Pros

  • Precision cut diamonds for best brilliance
  • Warranty covers maintenance
  • Carries flawless diamonds

Cons

  • Not many choices in diamond fine jewelry 
  • More expensive
  • Limited warranty

#5 Buying Jewelry Online at Ritani

Ritani diamonds

Ritani takes our 5th place pick for jewelry online. They are a well known jewelry brand name for ring settings, but now sell loose diamonds and other fine jewelry. You can also create your own earrings, engagement rings, and diamond necklaces. 

Read also>> Should you buy a diamond necklace online?

Their fine jewelry consists of colored stones, lab diamond jewelry, and natural diamond jewelry. Personally, I don't care for their collection. While they do have a variety, the selection of items aren't great. Most of their gold necklaces consist of jewelry trends like letter initials. 

Ritani gold necklaces

That's not saying they don't have pretty pieces, but I feel like they're for people with specific tastes, rather than something everybody will like. It's almost as is they didn't put much effort into their jewelry collection as they did the rest of the site.

However, they specialize in one-of-a-kind ring settings, so we can't be all that surprised. 

If you buy any jewelry (including engagement rings and wedding bands) at Ritani, you get a free lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance. In order to activate the warranty, you must sign up for it online at their website, which is kind of inconvenient but still doable. 

Pros

  • Variety of jewelry types
  • Lifetime warranty covers routine maintenance
  • Designer ring settings

Cons

  • Appeals to specific tastes
  • Not too many options within categories
  • Have to sign up for warranty

Buying Jewelry Online FAQ

Which metal is best for fine jewelry? 

The metal you choose for your jewelry should depend entirely on which piece of jewelry, how often you're wearing it, and your lifestyle. For example, sterling silver isn't a great choice for an engagement ring because it tarnishes.

The upkeep for sterling silver is higher than it is for gold or platinum. It's also less durable. That's not something you really want in a sentimental engagement ring you'll wear every day. 

Is buying jewelry online expensive or cheap? 

Affordable jewelry seems to always be priority number one for most buyers. The price of jewelry depends entirely upon its materials, quality, and the way it was made.

Handmade jewelry can seem more expensive for cheaper quality to some who are used to buying jewelry. Beaded and hand-stitched items exceed the cost of their simple materials.

The cost of labor most often contributes to the price of handcrafted items. A lot of handmade jewelry can be found on Etsy or Amazon. 

Solid gold jewelry almost always is going to be more expensive. Gold-plated jewelry has a much lower price tag. But it does eventually fade though and usually doesn't carry a warranty, so it will have to be replaced over time. A lot of costume jewelry statement pieces are gold plated. 

Sterling silver is a great option for those looking for affordable and good quality. Keep in mind the cost of diamonds and gemstones that might be in it. Other metals like stainless steel, titanium, and tungsten will be less expensive than precious metals. 

How to clean jewelry?

You might be surprised to find that the best way to clean jewelry is with a mild soap and water.

Either mix and soak jewelry in a solution of soap and water for 15 minutes, or you can rinse in water with a soapy bristled brush. A soft toothbrush works best for this. Scrub away any dirt in channels, grooves, and clean stones if applicable. 

There are commercial gold jewelry cleaners you can buy for yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold rings. You can either let your gold bands sit in it for 15-20 mins, or you can swish it around in the little basket. Scrub with the soft brush, rinse in clean water, and pat dry with a towel. 

Lastly, for sterling silver rings, they do have a commercial-grade silver cleaner, but it's really potent. Meaning, the chemicals are very strong that they will remove any tarnish almost instantaneously after being swished around in the basket.

The cleaner will also strip off any high polish finish. Some colored rhodium may come off in silver cleaner as well.

If your sterling silver does get tarnished, a simple polishing cloth will bring that shine right back. 

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