Today, we're comparing our rockstar online diamond company, James Allen, with the fairly new diamond marketplace, Rare Carat.
James Allen is one of the perennial frontrunners when people look to purchase a diamond online. They have a great reputation all over the web.
At Rare Carat, buyers are presented with options tailored to their specifications from different retailers.
While both of these companies have their ups and downs, one of them has to be the better place to buy diamonds from...
So will it be James Allen, the perennially popular option to buy diamonds online? Or will it be Rare Carat, the "Kayak of Diamonds" making it convenient to compare different retailers?
Let's find out...
Bottom Line Up Front: James Allen is a better online retailer of jewelry, with better warranty options and better value for the price. They specialize in online sales with their 360° HD images of every diamond, 24/7 customer service, and hassle-free return policy.
Although both James Allen and Rare Carat are reasonable options for diamond rings, James Allen wins overall in the comparison.
Shopping Experience Comparison
The shopping experience between Rare Carat and James Allen are different, because they are not the same type of company. However, while the business model is different, the filtering is the same.
Rare Carat is a loose diamond marketplace that allows you to narrow your diamond grades to tailor exactly what you want. You can use filters to pick out a high quality diamond. You can choose color, cut, carat, clarity, and even if it has a GIA report.
However, if you are looking for a special diamond with spectacular light performance, you won't find any diamonds like that.
They only carry loose diamonds and lab-created diamonds.
You won't find any fancy colored diamonds or fine jewelry with them. You also have the option of a single diamond, or searching for diamond pairs.
The diamonds that Rare Carat carries come from companies that many don't know, which makes the company a hard sell. However, it's worth noting that Rare Carat only uses retailers that have a 30 day refund available. Specific details of each company can be found on their website.
Here's how it works:
Once you find the diamond that seems the best to you, you are redirected to that retailer's website. Rare Carat is simply a middleman between you and a fraction of diamonds made available online.
The shopping experience with James Allen is somewhat similar to Rare Carat, as you are able to narrow your results by choosing between different diamond grades and characteristics.
They also carry one of the widest selections of high-quality jewelry around so there are plenty of options to choose from.
In addition, they also carry their own branded diamond of the popular Hearts & Arrows design, which is a diamond superior in light performance.
It gets better:
You can buy different color diamonds and fine jewelry such as gemstone and diamond necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets. They have lab-created diamonds as well.
James Allen also offers all customers a 30 day hassle free refund. They pay for the label and make it very easy to return, no questions asked.
James Allen is a one-stop-shop for all your diamonds and fine jewelry needs. There's no need to go outside the website because everything you see is right there at your fingertips.
James Allen simplifies the shopping experience easily in comparison to Rare Carat. See what I mean by clicking the link below to visit their official (and impressive) website:
While a great shopping experience is important when choosing a place to purchase diamonds from, customer service is just as important, if not more.
Rare Carat offers customers three ways to contact them: via online chat or email.
They have a team of human gemologists that are GIA trained. The online chat can help compare diamonds or deal with the functionality, but they don't have anything to do if you are unsatisfied with the diamond you purchase.
All issues with diamonds purchased off of Rare Carat go to each individual brand. One of the biggest issues with Rare Carat's customer service is timeliness of response.
Check this review out from Trustpilot:
On another Trustpilot post, there is a complaint about the professionalism of the team. The company owner actually responds and states that he sometimes operates the live chat himself on the weekends.
Of course, this was a couple years back, but I can't seem to find any current reviews about their service.
James Allen has many reviews all over sites like Trustpilot, Reddit, Consumer Affairs, Yelp and others. The company remains active on all of these sites, responding to both customer complaints and questions.
The majority of James Allen consumers have been happy with the service provided by the company.
They offer 24/7 customer service through three channels: phone, email, and online chat. I've used James Allen's online chat frequently in my research and each time they are prompt and informative.
James Allen's associates and gemologists are very knowledgeable about both diamonds and their own company. There hasn't been a question they haven't been able to answer when I ask, which is impressive since I do my best to test their true diamond knowledge.
When you deal with customer service with James Allen, you are receiving one-on-one attention, immediately. It's about being the most convenient for you, rather than not being a high priority.
Warranties are extremely important to make sure you have when buying diamond engagement rings. Over time, the diamond ring will start to wear.
A lifetime warranty ensures that you are able to keep your engagement ring and its ring setting looking the best without breaking the bank.
Because Rare Carat is a diamond wholesaler marketplace, they themselves do not offer any type of warranty or guarantees. When you purchase a diamond from an online jeweler through Rare Carat, you are brought to the website of that company and any guarantees are specific to that brand.
Read also: James Allen vs Shane Co
None of the diamonds are from diamond inventory owned by Rare Carat.
I used Rare Carat's diamond search up an ideal cut round diamond with the specs being a clarity of VS1, a color grade of F, and a carat weight of 1.00. This loose diamond is from a retailer called Adiamor. The price of this diamond is $6004. It also has no fluorescence.
James Allen offers a free lifetime warranty on ALL purchases. It covers both manufacturing defects and routine maintenance to include prong tightening, stone tightening, prong retipping, rhodium plating, polishing, and even steam-cleaning.
However, 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, which isn't always the case at other retailers.
Price vs Value
Taking the same specs as the diamond from Adiamor, I matched those diamond grades with one of the same grade as a loose diamond from JamesAllen.com.
Both of these diamonds come with a GIA grading report as well.
When comparing the two companies, you'll notice their diamond prices are very close to each other, with James Allen coming out a bit more expensive (though there is less than a 0.5% difference).
Our comparisons typically have James Allen being the less expensive option when pitted against other companies in the diamond industry, but this is not the case this time around.
But here's the thing:
Getting the best price on a diamond doesn't make it the perfect diamond, or the perfect company.
After that, it comes down to value.
When a customer buys from Rarecarat.com, you'll notice when browsing the collection of quality diamonds, only a few different companies come up. Out of all of these diamond retailers, Whiteflash is the most reputable.
Read also: Whiteflash Review
That's not to say any of the others aren't great brands, but often not in comparison to companies like James Allen or Blue Nile.
When you shop at James Allen, remember you are choosing from one of the widest diamond selections around, as well as one of the best lifetime warranties. These factors play into the final price, which is usually very competitive.
Reddit is a great place to go when looking for reputable reviews from various customer's of diamond companies. All companies claim to carry the best diamond at the best price, but Reddit will tell you about customer experiences, both good and bad.
Rare Carat once again, is not very popular to Redditors.
However, several users did have some interesting things to say, including a user who also backs my claim of how Rare Carat doesn't use diamonds from well-known retailers.
James Allen is probably one of the most well-known and purchased-from brands on Reddit. And while James Allen is totally legit, you can totally read up on some negative reviews as well as positive ones on Reddit.
James Allen is actually on Reddit (u/jamesallenrings), helping people with their diamond questions, thanking other customers for buying and generally giving all Ring Redditors valuable information—not just trying to plug their business.
Check out this post where James Allen is being a part of the conversations on Reddit:
Our Verdict: James Allen
While some of the diamond retailers on Rare Carat may carry less expensive diamonds than James Allen, we still believe James Allen is a better choice for your credit card, especially if you're a first-time online diamond pursuer.
James Allen is the better pick because of its reputation and popularity. You can find information about the company and people who have purchased on sites like Consumer Affairs, Yelp, and Reddit.
Here's the thing:
Rare Carat is a neat tool to help you find diamonds, but from a very small pool. The idea of having a diamond marketplace is great, but you need to include many reputable retailers.
With James Allen, you know EXACTLY what you're getting. Everything is laid out before you. On Rare Carat, not only do you have to search the company's inventory, but you have to check out each individual retailer and their reputation.
So even if you find a better priced diamond, there are different details that could affect it.
At the end of the day:
Using Rare Carat to purchase a loose diamond makes buying it more complicated. You are only buying a diamond, and will still have to decide on a different company, same company, or local jeweler to set it.
James Allen is the simpler, straight-forward choice. Why make online diamond shopping more complicated and confusing when you have somewhere you can go to make it so much easier?
Join thousands of Learning Jewelry readers who have made their dream jewelry purchase with James Allen at their official site below.