Wondering who’s better… James Allen or Zales? Good news, in this LearningJewerly.com guide, you’ll find answers
James Allen Review 2020
Should You Trust This Company & Buy Jewelry From Them?
I must admit, James Allen has managed to work the numbers and ultimately provide diamonds that are not only worth their value, but also financially fit in most customers’ budgets. And as an online retailer, the prices definitely beat brick and mortar, diamond retailers.
The rating would have been lower if James Allen had fewer diamonds. 200,000 is a lot, and the company offers different settings that come along with varied precious metals. James Allen may not have much of colored stones, but they sure have a selection that would fit most couples worldwide.
James Allen has the best customer service and you could double check through the site’s verified reviews. An online 24/7 support, a couple of free Idealscope images, and even a chance to speak with the company’s President? That’s by far the best service anyone buying an engagement ring could ever get.
James Allen Review 2020
Store Name: James Allen
Store Description: James Allen has experienced significant growth ever since it was rebranded in 2006. Their outstanding innovation and unmatched focus on quality has leveraged them to gain a huge following of loyal customers. Wrapping up this James Allen review, there are particular areas I’ll have to rate James Allen, just to give you a gist of my overall thoughts on the diamond e-tailer.
Price range: $100 - $300
Address: 551 Fifth Avenue, Suite #601 New York, NY 10176
James Allen is one of the most sought after diamond retailers and their efforts are quite visible to the whole diamond market. They have impeccable services, easy-to-use website, along with high-quality diamonds up for grabs.
The company may suffer a few setbacks from online users but that doesn’t change the tremendous progress James Allen has made in a span of 10 years. So, it’s pretty evident why the company is now among the best rated online stores for engagement rings.
James Allen is your 21st century user-friendly online diamond store. Even before reviewing the online retailer, I must admit the company has accomplished this reputation in little over ten years. One of James Allen’s primary goals focuses on customer experience by helping people find engagement rings in a breeze! From the streamlined buying process, to packaging, 24/7 chat access, James Allen may be the ultimate place for you to purchase your engagement ring.
JA has a plethora of diamonds, all with various cuts, carats, and settings. Browsing through JA’s set of diamonds will awe anyone who appreciates crystal-clear images and 360-degree HD videos as the company has heavily invested in online experience. Let’s dive in and find out why James Allen may be the best online shop to buy your diamond rings.
James Allen History
Coming off as one of the most popular online diamond retailers, James Allen has gained a reputation for giving high-quality jewelry at lucrative prices. The company came to life in 1998 after James Allen Schultz and his wife Michelle decided to take diamond shopping online.
Even though things were running smoothly at James Allen, in 2006 the founders rebranded the site as a way to strengthen their vision and focus: giving consumers the largest selection of high-quality diamonds at competitive prices.
We’d give props to century-old diamond retailers, but James Allen’s nearly two-decade run has already shaped online shopping for fine jewelry. In essence, traditional brick and mortar stores were the go-to options for engagement rings. But for some reason, such stores would only have a few high-end diamond rings to select from.
James Allen focused on online shopping and provided a wide selection of high-quality diamonds, which indeed paid off as they now have an inventory of 200,000+ conflict-free diamonds. The company has almost completely wiped out the notion of hopping around jewelry stores in search of engagement rings.
James Allen Sourcing
James Allen’s dropshipping model is quite interesting. For high-end products like a diamond engagement ring, you’d worry much about where it came from and legitimacy of such precious stones. All diamonds at James Allen are not owned by the company. In fact, James Allen gets its diamonds from certified suppliers located near their offices in New York and Washington, D.C.
Remember for a diamond supplier to be certified, they must have high tech equipments for quality tests and control prior to grading. In essence, before any diamond is marked as certified, a gemologist must inspect the stone through several processes. Firstly, the diamond is viewed under a microscope. The microscope is the main gadget to identify optical properties such as clarity and distinguishes synthetic diamonds from natural diamonds.
Gemologists further use FTIR spectrometer to find out the diamond type with precision and also to round off the nitrogen and hydrogen content of a diamond. At this point, if a diamond is found to be of suspect, it is set for low temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy. It’s one of the most accurate ways to distinguish real diamonds from fake ones.
After passing these authenticity tests, diamonds then receive certification from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS(America Gems Society). James Allen also requires each supplier to have photography centers where they can QC and photograph diamonds 24/7. No wonder they have 360 degrees HD videos for their entire inventory!
So, when you place an order, suppliers send the diamonds to one of JA’s offices where an in-house gemologist carefully inspects the diamonds to ascertain quality and grading before shipping to you. James Allen encourages an exclusivity agreement to its vendors so that customers don’t find diamonds sold on their site anywhere else.
Of course, James Allen wouldn’t want to reveal their entire business model straight from their website. However, they are straightforward as to how they source their diamonds. Most importantly, not only does the company sell diamonds from professional diamond traders, but they also assure all diamonds to be in line with the Kimberley Process Compliance and America’s Patriot Act.
Generally, all diamonds sold at James Allen are conflict-free and not sourced from the black market.
James Allen Setting Selection and Quality
James Allen has a wide variety of popular ring settings including solitaire, pave, channel, sidestone, tension, halo, among others. Their varied collection of settings is not the only thing James Allen has to offer- in fact, JA’s tension setting is specific to the company, and competitors such as Blue Nile lack this kind of ring setting.
Also, James Allen’s inventory has around 6 metals to choose from (14k and 18k yellow gold, 14k and 18k white gold, rose gold, and platinum) where you can mix and match with the hundreds of settings available at the site. Even as the popularity of platinum rings keeps on rising, they are not that easy to bump into and James Allen offers exactly that.
One of JA’s core principles is to offer the highest quality diamonds at reasonable prices. It is already clear that buying minerals online is much cheaper than hunting local retailers. This doesn’t have to do with the quality at all.
In fact, James Allen provides 360° HD visuals for all of their diamonds and you can view the diamond you prefer prior to buying. Purchasing a diamond ring isn’t an everyday investment and having a platform where you can view the diamond will help you find out flaws which may not necessarily be included in the grading report (position of inclusions, extinction, windowing, etc.).
As far as consumer reviews go, you’d expect a fair share of good and bad reviews. What piqued my interest, however, was the fact that very few (like in the single digits few) customers complained about the cut, clarity, or any of the 4 C’S of diamond rings purchased at James Allen. Given it is an online only retailer, this is to be expected.
James Allen Price Vs Value
As a dropshipper, James Allen doesn’t stock their diamonds so they’ll definitely incur fewer overhead costs. Remember the company is free from typical costs brick and mortal stores need to tend with like rent, security, additional insurance, and additional inventory costs. Stores like James Allen only have to worry about website maintenance, diamond specialists, and the photo and video crew.
Compare the value you get buying from a local store to that of a company like James Allen and you’ll immediately notice the difference. JA has a better price to value rate simply because they have fewer costs which makes it easier to come up with competitive prices.
James Allen Packaging
After going through several of James Allen’s unpacking videos of diamond rings, it’s clear James Allen really did their homework on this one. The first time you open the FedEx box that wraps up James Allen’s shipped product, a dense board appears out bearing the name “James Allen” and the official James Allen red butterfly logo. The boxes fit so well, you’d think FedEx and JA are one and the same!
The company strongly believes that love is in the details. If the striking white and silver color painted on the engagement ring boxes is what they’re talking about, then anyone would be moved. Open inside and you’ll find a lower compartment, much like a pullout drawer, containing all documents including grading reports of the ring.
So, as you open up your diamond engagement ring from James Allen, here’s a skinny on what to expect:
- A Printed Invoice
- AGS Proprietary Light Performance & Diamond Quality Report
- Warranty Cards & Rewards
- Quality Assurance Card
Generally, most customers who had the chance to write reviews of James Allen’s engagement rings were impressed by the cherry wood presentation box that carries the ring itself. JA’s color choice is indeed a wise one and speaks out the true colors of love.
James Allen Customer Service
We understand the disturbing pressure salespeople bring when all we want to do is look around. Or maybe the annoying sales executives trying to tell us that we made the right choice after asking for a refund.
Since most sales people focus on earning commissions, customer service always slips off their radar. Read through customer complaints and you’ll notice how nice the representatives are! Sales representatives at JA are compassionate and their response doesn’t sound generic either.
JA’s customer service is available 24/7 and accessible through the “Chat With Us” button. Interestingly, as you chat with one of the representatives, you can ask for a maximum of three Idealscope images for free. As if those benefits were not enough, all customer representatives go through intensive 6-weeks of training on diamonds and jewelry before starting their jobs. Even with complicated questions, the representatives work their way to give you a reasonable response.
You may find a chunk of not-so-good reviews over the internet, but if you investigate further, one of JA’s customer care staff replies to each complaint with solutions or affirmations.
Read Also: Is James Allen A Scam?
James Allen Return Policy
James Allen offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all their products. This gives you the opportunity to try your ring and if by any chance, you feel dissatisfied by anything, you can ship the item back and receive a full refund. Filling a return is easy and straightforward.
US citizens enjoy free shipping costs on all returns! Those living outside the US will have to cover for shipping costs, as the company will not be liable for any issues on transit.
As with any other product, people living outside the country may have to pay for custom taxes that fall in line with their country’s laws and regulations. James Allen will not accept any return without all documents and failure to produce grading reports will incur a fine of $150. The company will also not accept returns once they suspect engagement rings to have signs of use or tear.
Read Also: What’s The Sales Tax On James Allen Jewelry?
Something also worth calling out is that James Allen does not resize eternity bands or tension rings as they need to be completely remade.
James Allen Warranty
Any reputable business should focus its services towards building long-lasting relationships with its clients, which is how JA has built its reputation. Unlike many jewelry stores, James Allen has a lifetime warranty that guarantees its customers long-term support. You wouldn’t even have to pay anything for the vast services that come with its warranty. You’ll also get 1 year of free resizing in case you missed the calibrations (it happens!).
Customers receive services like prong tightening, polishing, and cleaning at absolutely no cost. James Allen also promises to resize any ring that doesn’t fit on all rings except for tension set rings and eternity. There are other free services in JA’s lifetime warranty like repairs of broken jewelry, replacement of lost side stones, and re-plating with rhodium.
So if you need any of these services, the process is quite simple. Just mail your ring to them and once JA approves and ascertains the condition of the ring, everything is set. If you live outside U.S, you’ll have to pay for shipping but JA will mail the ring back to you for free! U.S citizens may also have to pay for a shipping label (around $30) before shipping any item.
The same process applies to services outside the warranty. You may have to wait for a few weeks before you get anything fixed. So be careful with expectations here, you may want to be a little patient.
James Allen Compared To Blue Nile
Looking at the business models of both companies, you’ll find a lot of similarities. But that’s as far as the similarities go. Blue Nile strives to increase its inventory and even with their huge inventory, James Allen stacks up in the quality of diamonds rings among a few other aspects.
James Allen Vs Blue Nile: 360° HD Video Technology
James Allen has invested heavily in imaging technology and has set up several imaging bases around New York. What this does is that customers get to ‘see’ all the optical properties of the diamond with zero interference.
Let’s say you want to find the clearest SI1 diamond that has no distractive inclusions whatsoever. If you‘re shopping online and you find an SI2 diamond, you’ll definitely give it a pass as it’s one clarity grade lower.
However, through James Allen’s imaging technology, might be surprised at how unreliable grading reports can get. Not to dismiss these high-level certifications, but you can definitely find an SI2 diamond with no inclusions to be a better option (and less costly), than an SI1 diamonds with visible inclusions.
Remember, grading reports will only identify inclusions in a relative manner and not by their exact locations. Since JA’s 360° HD technology zooms perfectly, you’re able to clearly identify inclusions or other common aspects of diamond properties such as identifying the bow tie effect or finding diamonds that focus on fire (rainbow effect) rather than brilliance.
James Allen Vs Blue Nile: Packaging
We already gave our props to James Allen for their impressive packaging and presentation. On the other hand, Blue Nile’s packaging hasn’t caught the attention of many customers, most reporting a cheap, and less luxurious appeal. Blue Nile may compare well with other vendors, but sadly not with James Allen.
James Allen Vs Blue Nile: Shopping Experience
Well, again James Allen takes the trophy with their 360 degree HD videos for any diamond sold on the website. I mean, it just like visiting a normal brick and mortar jewelry store- without the pressure of buying of course!
Blue Nile may have a couple of diamond engagement rings with videos, but most still lack imaging and that’s why they come last in this section. If you’re a picky buyer, then you know where to dig deep and hopefully come out with your favorite piece.
James Allen Vs Blue Nile: Product Selection
At this point, you’ll have to admit that both retailers have a wide variety of diamonds. As for their inventory, both retailers have pre-set and custom setting options for their customers. However, when it comes colored stones like pearls, gemstones, and gold, Blue Nile has more of these in their inventory. James Allen may leverage with rare selections of platinum, but it just doesn’t outdo Blue Nile’s selection of colored stones.
At the end of the day, Blue Nile may have better options to choose from but what’s the point if you weren’t able to inspect quality prior to making a purchase.
James Allen Vs Blue Nile: Customer Service
Not everyone is a diamond expert and when it comes to buying an engagement ring, it’s only natural for you to ask so many questions. Furthermore, it’s a worthwhile investment!
Luckily, both Blue Nile and James Allen have remarkable customer service. You’ll have your queries answered within a minute or less. Getting into details reveals that James Allen actually reserves up to 3 ASET analyses for free. They are also up 24/7 throughout the week. But the company no longer allows you to reserve diamonds.
Blue Nile’s service is impeccable as well. But they aren’t as available as James Allen and won’t provide you with ASET/Idealscope analysis (Bummer!). However, you can reserve the diamonds you fancy and the company will pull it off the site up to 48 hours! Well, in this section I must say it’s a tie- both companies have a fair share of goodies and drawbacks.
James Allen Compared To Brilliant Earth
When you mention Brilliant Earth, one thing that comes in mind is its focus on ethics when it comes to their inventory. Even though James Allen appears to have conflict-free diamonds, Brilliant Earth insists on sourcing diamonds that come from mines with fair wages, free from child labor, and with safe working conditions. You’ll also notice Brilliant Earth active in several charity events supporting safe diamond mining practices.
Let’s take a look at how the two companies operate and find out if they’re any different.
James Allen Vs Brilliant Earth: Product Inventory
Brilliant Earth focuses on ethical sourcing of mined diamonds and maybe the reasons for a lower inventory (20,000) as compared to James Allen, whose inventory is almost ten times that of Brilliant Earth. Both companies have 10 available shapes such as emerald, cushion, oval, round, etc.
James Allen vs Brilliant Earth: Buying Options
Brilliant Earth’s payment plans are a bit flexible and clients who fail to pay in full can join a one-year interest payment plan. You can also enroll in the layaway plan where you pay an initial deposit and the work on monthly payments until you cover the remaining amount. James Allen has two main payment plans:
– If your purchase exceeds a certain amount, you’re eligible to a 24-month payment plan with 9% interest.
– A six-month plan with no interest costs where you can buy your desired jewelry without paying any deposit fees. You’ll, however, need to meet a minimum order to enroll in this zero interest plan.
Also, payment via wire transfer guarantees a 1.5% price discount for new customers.
James Allen Vs Brilliant Earth: Customer Service
In terms of customer interaction, James Allen is faster, having online 24/7 support. Your query will be tended to in matters of minutes and you’ll have a real-time chat with one of the staff members. Brilliant Earth, however, does not have an online chat, so your messages will not be responded to instantly, especially if they don’t fall within their working hours (Monday to Friday, 7 am to 7 pm).
Other James Allen Guides
In our review of James Allen we’ve also covered a lot of other information about this online retailer. I encourage you to read the rest of the details about James Allen to ensure you’re getting the best deal you can get!
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