Wondering who's better.. James Allen or Brilliant Earth?
Good news, in this LearningJewerly.com guide, you'll find answers like:
- What Is It Like To Shop At James Allen vs Brilliant Earth?
- Who Has The Better Warranty?
- Where Can You Get The Best Value For Your Money?
- Who Has The Best Customer Reviews?
Bottom Line Up Front: James Allen is a better online retailer of diamonds and jewelry, with 20-30% cheaper pricing and better value for the price than Brilliant Earth.
With Brilliant Earth you tend to pay 20-30% more for the brand without actually getting a better diamond.
James Allen specializes in online sales with their 360° HD images of every diamond, 24/7 customer service, and hassle free return policy.
If you're concerned about ethics and sourcing, I recommend buying a lab created diamond where you can get 2-3x more diamond for half the price. Click here for James Allen's lab diamond collection.
While James Allen is one of the top online diamond retailers on the market, Brilliant Earth has been making its way around the online diamond market.
Almost all online diamond retailers have lower priced diamonds than your corporate brick and mortar jewelry stores.
This doesn't mean that all online diamond retailers are the same.
Some have better warranties, some have the option to view at a showroom, and others have 360 view technology.
So, how does Brilliant Earth and their beyond ethical diamonds measure up to James Allen? Let's find out.
Shopping Experience Comparison
The shopping experience from online diamond retailers is pretty straightforward and similar among various companies. Both Brilliant Earth and James Allen have the same set up with loose diamonds and empty ring settings.
However, there are some differences.
Brilliant Earth has a library of loose natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds. They don't have the largest selection compared to other online retailers like James Allen or Blue Nile.
But they do have just over 30,000 loose diamonds to look at. Unlike others, they also have preset diamond rings.
Read Also: Are lab-grown diamonds good or bad?
They also have a large selection of fine jewelry featuring diamonds and gemstones, as well as loose fancy colored diamonds and loose gemstones:
If you don't like your engagement ring from Brilliant Earth, they have a 30 day free return policy.
Brilliant Earth claims to go above and beyond just having conflict free diamonds.
While most retailers in the diamond industry use the Kimberley Process to ensure diamonds do not fund civil wars, Brilliant Earth claims the Kimberley Process does not include diamonds obtained through other heinous acts.
James Allen has a library of almost 300,000 loose diamonds. They also carry lab grown diamonds, fancy colored diamonds, and some loose gemstones.
They do have a selection of fine jewelry, but most people shop at James Allen to buy diamond rings.
James Allen has a 360 view on all their diamonds, whereas Brilliant Earth has a limited amount available for view. Like most diamond retailers, James Allen claims to ethically source their diamonds through the Kimberley Process.
Read Also: How to buy ethically sourced diamonds?
Lastly, the company has a return policy of 30 day hassle-free returns. They'll send you a prepaid Fedex label and have it shipped back in no time.
Customer service is important to all customers. It is always about the purchase, but also includes how the company handles their customers' questions and the additional services offered.
Brilliant Earth's customer service can be reached through live chat, email, or phone number. However, their hours are limited to 5am-9pm Pacific Time) during the week and weekends from 7am-7pm. You can also chat with a jewelry specialist between the hours of 6am-7pm on weekdays and 7pm-7pm on the weekend.
A great example of excellent customer service from Brilliant Earth is their temporary ring setting option. If you are wanting your fiance to pick out their own ring, but still want the effect of a proposal, Brilliant Earth will give you a temporary solitaire mounting made of 18K gold.
It costs $75 dollars but it allows you to still have the romance of the proposal while letting your fiance be involved in the process.
James Allen has customer service through email, live chat, and a phone number. You can reach them at all hours of the day, 24/7.
James Allen is extremely involved with customers and their reviews. Every time I've spoken with James Allen's live chat, the diamond expert has answered my questions fully and seems quite knowledgeable.
While James Allen is one of the premier choices in online diamonds, they do have some negative reviews. But what makes James Allen's customer service superior is how involved they are with the negative reviews.
Read Also: Does James Allen have good customer service?
James Allen addresses majority of the complaints on the Better Business Bureau and a fair number of them have been resolved.
Warranties are essential for jewelry owners, especially if it's a diamond engagement ring or wedding band. Regardless of craftsmanship, rings are made out of precious metals, and they wear down over time.
That's where a warranty comes in.
Brilliant Earth offers customers a free lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects, like a diamond that keeps needing to be tightened. Utilizing this warranty costs you $50 for shipping.
They also give the option of purchasing an Extended Service Plan, which is a three year warranty. This warranty covers routine care such as prong retipping, rhodium plating white gold, tightening a center stone, and cleaning.
Unlike most online diamond retailers, the service plan also covers lost diamonds up to .25 ct. If you warranty is under this plan, the shipping is free.
Brilliant Earth gives you 60 day resizing window, otherwise they will charge for resizing.
Lastly, if you want your diamond ring engraved, you are charged a $40 fee. Just remember that any ring that has been engraved is ineligible for return.
James Allen also offers a free lifetime warranty. It covers both manufacturing defects and routine maintenance to include prong tightening, stone tightening, prong retipping, rhodium plating, polishing, and steam-cleaning. They do not cover replacement of diamonds.
If you use the warranty, you must pay a $30 shipping fee if from the US or Canada, or $50 for other countries. You also get one free resizing within the first year.
If the resizing is needed outside the first year, they charge $25 for rose, white, and yellow gold. If it's platinum, it'll be $50.
James Allen gives all their customers free ring engravings when you check out up to 20 characters. They will also allow rings that are engraved to be returned.
Price vs Value
To compare the price and value of Brilliant Earth vs James Allen, I've chosen two emerald cut diamonds that are eye clean with a similar clarity, a color grade of G, and a carat weight of 2.01.
Read Also: What is diamond clarity?
Both of these diamonds are certified by the GIA and come with their respective grading reports. While price is important, diamond quality is more important.
As you can see, the diamonds are quite different in price, with Brilliant Earth being the more expensive one (even though it is a step lower in clarity). James Allen's emerald diamond is $1370 cheaper. And this is before tax and warranty!
Read Also: Is there sales tax on James Allen jewelry?
Not to mention that if you want the routine maintenance kept up with, you have to buy the Extended Service Plan at Brilliant Earth and it's only three years.
While both of these online diamond dealers have high quality diamonds at much more affordable prices than a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, James Allen has the edge when it comes to price and value.
Many people go to the website Reddit.com to find out customer reviews and conversations about various jewelry stores, jewelers, and online diamond retailers.
Brilliant Earth is one of the few diamond retailers that come up when posts are talking about buying diamonds online. James Allen is another favorite on Reddit.
Unfortunately, Brilliant Earth's reputation on Reddit has more controversy than buyers. There is a blog post that is allegedly exposing Brilliant Earth's stand on their 100% ethically sourced diamonds.
Most of the Brilliant Earth buyers have loved their rings, though some people have said that the appraisal value is much less than what they paid for it.
There are a lot of positive reviews by Redditors about James Allen and they seem to be a key choice in preference for online diamonds.
Our Verdict: James Allen
Honestly, both of these retailers are good choices to purchase engagement and wedding rings from, but only one can be the winner. I'm going with James Allen as the best overall.
When you shop James Allen, you get a free lifetime warranty that covers routine work, while Brilliant Earth makes you pay for routine care. James Allen also has the less expensive diamonds.
Brilliant Earth is a good company, but it just so happens that James Allen is the better option.
I will say though, if you want a more "physical touch" Brilliant Earth has more physical stores you can go into and see the product before buying.
That said, if you don't want to go online, the I'd recommend Brilliant Earth.