James Allen is an online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer known for its great quality. Blue Nile is a pioneer of the online diamond industry. They are fiercely competitive with one another. But how do they stack up against each other? We spent 10hrs of research looking at the pros and cons and put together the cliff notes of what you need to know when choosing between the two. Let’s take a look at James Allen and if they are any better than Blue Nile.
Is James Allen better than Blue Nile? James Allen has the edge. Between their viewing technology, greater inventory, and matching Blue Nile on everything else. It is clear that James Allen is better by enough than Blue Nile.
Now if you would like to know great details let’s check out why shall we? I mean we came here to find out if they’re better. So let’s find out why they are better.
Update: As of August 2022, Blue Nile was purchased by Signet Jewelers (ref). Signet Jewelers also owns JamesAllen.com. So now both websites are owned and operated by the same company. We forsee that all of Jamesallens.com’s advantages listed below will eventually be incorporated into bluenile.com. This will make them equally great places to buy diamonds and engagement rings.
James Allen vs Blue Nile
On the battlegrounds of diamond retailer giants, we have two powerhouses for sure. But James Allen edges out Blue Nile enough to make themselves the better diamond buying experience.
Blue Nile vs James Allen: The Similarities
I found that Blue Nile and James Allen have many similarities. Both sell diamonds certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society). These are two of the best certification labs and diamond grading report sources in the diamond industry. That’s why you’re getting a good bargain when purchasing from either of these two retailers. You’ll also find peace of mind with both retailers because they only sell conflict-free diamonds, which means that none of their diamonds were sourced from places infringe on human rights laws.
Now, for all buyers, we’re happy to say that with Blue Nile and James Allen you’ll get your money back if you’re not completely satisfied! But there are some differences: with Blue Nile, you’ll get free shipping for 30-day returns while with James Allen you’re on the hook for return shipping costs.
As far as payment options go: both provide an array of flexible financing plans that are interest free! So if you can’t afford to pay in full up front, don’t worry – there’s a plan to suit your budget. You should also know that customer service is available around the clock so if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding your diamond ring shopping experience, they’ll make themselves available to help. Just another way of ensuring high quality diamonds are accessible to everyone!
They both offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your purchase. James Allen offers complimentary shipping and returns, while Blue Nile charges $29.95 for returns. While both offer a money-back guarantee, the return policy on James Allen is better because it costs nothing for customers to send back their purchased items.
Buying an engagement ring is a big deal. It should be special, a moment you share with your significant other as one of the most memorable times in both of your lives. With James Allen and Blue Nile you can rest easy knowing that you’re buying quality diamonds because they only sell certified GIA and AGS diamonds that have been graded for their color and clarity grade.
So, whichever of these two diamond retailers you choose to purchase from, rest assured you’re getting a good deal!
Blue Nile vs James Allen: The Differences
Although both Blue Nile and James Allen provide their customers with high quality, certified diamonds at competitive prices, there are a few differences between the two retailers. These are worth considering before you make your final decision! One of these retailers may be a better fit depending on what is most important to you. In this section, we’ll compare some other factors which could affect your decision.
1. Variety of Diamonds Offered on Each Site
There’s no doubt that both of these diamond dealers have an enormous variety to choose from—over 100,000 diamonds on each site. But just because they have so many diamonds doesn’t mean they all cater to everyone’s taste. In fact, the diamonds they offer differ in many ways—color, cut, clarity and carat size. Before you shop around for a diamond, it’s always best to know if you want white or fancy colored diamonds; natural or conflict-free diamonds; GIA graded or AGS certified; round shape or pear shaped diamonds. The list goes on!
2. Price Range of Diamonds Offered on Each Site
The price range generally depends on what type of diamond you are interested in purchasing but one thing is clear: both these sites won’t break your bank! If you have your heart set on a certain sized diamond then be sure to do your research and check out how much it costs at Blue Nile and James Allen. Then, you’ll be able to find out which site is more affordable. Take into account that Blue Nile isn’t the most expensive place to buy a diamond ring, nor is it the cheapest—it offers competitive prices because of its vast network of affiliate stores.
3. Methods of Payment Accepted on Each Site
There are many different types of payment methods available at both retailers so unless you have your mind set on using one method and not another, don’t worry about this too much! Both online stores accept debit cards, credit cards and bank transfers for their customers in the United States as well as in Canada, the UK and Australia. Another thing they have in common is that they offer financing options, paid in monthly installments.
4. Widest Variety of Diamonds Sold
With over 700 thousand diamonds listed on the James Allen website so it is safe to say that they have the largest selection available online. Of course, not everyone has an unlimited budget and while Blue Nile sells certified diamonds at competitive prices, they don’t have as many diamond selections listed on their site – 67 thousand to be exact. For a smaller selection of diamonds with a variety of prices, comparisons can’t be made between the two retailers since each retailer will fulfill your diamond shopping needs in its own unique way.
5. Return Policy for Certified Diamonds
Both retail giants offer a no-questions-asked return policy if you are dissatisfied with the product. In addition, all certified diamonds sold by Blue Nile are guaranteed to be conflict-free and come with a certificate of authenticity (COA) which is an added bonus for potential customers who want peace of mind. As for returns, they will give you your money back if:
- You don’t like the diamond but it wasn’t damaged during delivery.
- You purchased an engraved diamond that doesn’t meet your satisfaction.
- The diamond was damaged during shipping and delivery or was not as described in the listing.
- If you have already made payments for your purchase on their No Interest Financing Plan and something happens to your stone beyond normal wear and tear.
- If the diamond was broken and it’s too big to be fixed, you can return the piece but not have a replacement. You will receive a full refund for both the stone as well as other fees you paid.
James Allen offers returns if your diamond is “not as described in the listing” or has some sort of damage (if it’s under normal conditions that arise with regular wear). If there were any problems with their product, you can choose between getting a replacement or receiving an immediate refund. For example, if your diamond necklace breaks during shipment, they would send you a new one free of charge at no cost to you! Their policy also doesn’t allow for exchanges except for gemstones (which are priced individually).
6. Payment Plans and Free Shipping Options for Certified Diamonds
If you are buying a certified diamond from Blue Nile, rest assured that your credit card information is safe and secure because they use Verisign for the encryption of all customer data, transactions and personal information. Their partner bank uses 128-bit SSL technology to ensure that there would be no unauthorized access to any financial and personal details whatsoever.
James Allen offers two different payment options: Pay in Full or No Interest Financing (NIF). This option lets you pay for the ring over 3 months without paying interest on your initial purchase price! The cost of financing is $15 per month automatically added to your account so if nothing else, remember this when making future purchases at James Allen! A third party partner will also review your monthly payment history as well as your overall credit history to give you a chance at a lower APR in the future.
7. Guides and Articles for Beginners on Diamonds and Jewelry Making
If you have been researching diamond rings online, then chances are high that you’ve already come across articles written by James Allen about buying diamonds. They also write guides to help their customers understand more about diamond quality, how they rank per color or clarity grade, etc. Most of these are geared towards those who have little knowledge on diamonds but if you want to read something related to jewelry making instead, Blue Nile has an entire section dedicated to it called “Jewelry Makers Paradise.” So next time, if you’re planning on buying a diamond ring for your girlfriend, this section is sure to be a huge help!
8. Customer Service and Diamond Education Services Provided by the Retailers
While both retailers have very nice customer service teams available 24/7, Blue Nile’s online chat gets you in touch with a representative faster than James Allen. On the flip side, Twitter is another channel of communication that allows you to interact directly with an expert at Blue Nile. The response itself isn’t as prompt when compared to their instant messaging but still a great way to get answers from them if they happen not to be online at that time.
As far as education goes, searching for jewelry-related articles about diamonds on their website will definitely help beginners who want lots of information at one time. Their articles are very detailed and there are always a few more tips added for their customers regarding diamond quality, buying diamonds on the internet, etc.
9. Buying Diamonds is Easy with Both Retailers!
There’s Really No Difference because if you have come this far in reading this Blue Nile vs James Allen comparison review then chances are high that you already know that these companies sell diamond rings over the internet. So what differentiates them from each other? Nothing really! They both offer a wide range of certified diamonds in various shapes and sizes to suit every need an occasion may require.
Summary of the Differences:
The main difference between James Allen and Blue Nile is that James Allen has a much wider selection of engagement rings.
They have more styles and more engagement ring settings than Blue Nile. James Allen also has a higher quality diamond viewer than Blue Nile.
James Allen also carries a lot more Rose Gold and Yellow Gold rings that are not available through Blue Nile.
Their pricing is nearly identical so it’s best to check both companies when you find what you’re looking for to get the best price.
What Does James Allen Bring to the Table?
James Allen may not bring as many years of experience as Blue Nile does, but they do bring is innovation.
James Allen started in 2006 and has been turning heads since. They didn’t focus on big fancy showrooms. They didn’t just focus on marketing.
The folks at James Allen focused on quality and a complete customer experience. James Allen brought great digital technology to life.
A shopping experience online that is just as formidable as going into a store.
These guys may not have been in the market for as long but here is where they truly shine:
- 24/7 customer service
- All of their products are backed up by guarantees
- Free engraving a courtesy not everyone provides
- Plenty of inventory to find your perfect diamond, ring, or jewelry
James Allen goes above and beyond for their customers and everyone involved. Blue Nile may do similar things but James Allen recognized the need for innovation. Blue Nile did too but they have been late to the table which makes James Allen the better of the two.
What Does Blue Nile Bring to the Table?
Blue Nile was founded way back in 1999. Their goal was to offer an extraordinary diamond shopping experience. They built a team of non-commissioned experts who put their customers first.
They offer handcrafted engagement rings and that they ethically source all their diamonds. They also keep an inventory of over 150,000 loose diamonds.
Blue Nile also offers 24/7 advice and diamond education from unbiased sources. They offer GIA-graded diamonds, as well as a 30-day return and lifetime guarantee. They also offer a diamond price-match guarantee as well.
What they don’t offer is innovation. They have pictures of diamonds but in the beginning, they had nothing really. Even now their images are not as thorough or engaging as James Allen’s are.
This put Blue Nile on the back foot even though they have years of experience. People want knowledge but they also want to see what they are buying. Don’t get me wrong, Blue Nile is trying but with all the features James Allen offers they just “outshine” the competition. Blue Nile is playing catch-up.
Blue Nile vs James Allen… Which is Better?
Blue Nile and James Allen both have their pros and cons.
Pros of James Allen Diamonds
The Inventory Quality And Huge Selection
I saw the James Allen Diamonds catalog and I was blown away. I had never seen such a wide inventory of diamonds before in my life!
I was looking for a yellow diamond of relatively high clarity and I found exactly what I was looking for. The website is excellent because it allows you to quickly find the diamond or gemstone you want based on size, cut, color etc. You can even do a search by setting specifications such as price range, carat weight, settings and more.
When browsing the site’s inventory (both loose stones & mounted diamonds) I noticed that each stone had a picture next to it so you could see what the actual item looked like vs just seeing an image of its shape or size. This is very useful especially if you have certain design preferences in mind when online shopping.
In addition, there was a section on the site that allowed me to find matching engagement rings based on specific criteria such as price, diamond carat weight etc. In this way, you can easily match your chosen loose diamond with the perfect setting for it!
You can even view James Allen’s inventory of pre-set diamonds by browsing through their collection of diamond wedding bands . If you’re in a hurry, look at their Featured Engagement Rings or go straight to the Top Selling Diamonds & Gemstones pages.
There’s also an Advanced Search function where you can now search over 550 mounted diamonds and 14000 loose diamonds!! It has never been easier to pick out an engagement ring online!
Amazing Customer Service
James Allen has excellent customer service which is available via email 24/7!! The staff was very friendly and professional when I spoke with them on the telephone (I called about 2-3 times because I was mulling over my decision and was very indecisive). They were able to answer all of my questions (which I had many) and did not make me feel rushed on the phone.
The customer service representative was very helpful and walked me through the process of choosing a diamond that would be perfect for my girlfriend.
Exquisite Packaging and Presentation
James Allen’s packaging is beautiful. The way they always take the time to package and present their products is absolutely stunning. The boxes and labels are very lovely. My friends have always commented on how beautiful James Allen’s packaging is and they want to know where I found them. So far, all my favorite pieces of jewelry has come from James Allen so I have a large collection of their products already!
The Return Policy Is Excellent
You have 30 days after receiving your purchase to decide if you want to return it or exchange it for something else. James Allen even offers free FedEx shipping both ways! Pretty remarkable considering that a lot of other online jewelry stores only offer this service in the US while James Allen provides it for anywhere in the world, including Canada! (Even though I bought my gemstone from online) they sent me a certificate which is more than enough when returning items such as loose diamonds. In this way, you can
James Allen’s Return Policy
James Allen offers a lifetime return policy. If you are not fully satisfied with their products within the first 30 days of receiving them then simply contact them and they will be happy to exchange or refund your item!
James Allen offers free shipping worldwide with a 3 business day delivery guarantee. In addition, you can purchase insurance for your jewelry at an affordable price to protect it from being lost or stolen.
Cons of James Allen Diamonds
James Allen Diamonds is a great company as far as I’m concerned, but there are some cons that you should be aware of before purchasing from them.
Not Many Showrooms
My biggest complaint about James Allen Diamonds is that I can’t see the diamonds in person. I know this isn’t a big deal to some people, but for me, it’s important to be able to see the diamond in person before I decide to purchase it. I also think it’s a disadvantage for the company because most people want to know how the jewelry will look in person and not just online.
James Allen Diamonds is a newer company so it has fewer showrooms. A lot of people still aren’t aware this company exists, which is something they probably need if they want their business to grow. Right now, they seem more like an online jeweler than offline and that might be hurting them in the long run.
Not so Many Gemstones
James Allen is focused more on diamonds and engagement rings. Yet they still don’t have a very good selection of colored gemstones or birthstone merchandise. This is really disappointing to me when compared to Blue Nile’s wide variety of colored gems which continue to increase (especially sapphires). For me, I was looking for Rose Quartz, which is my birthstone. They only had 1-2 items for it and none were fantastic.
Can Cost a Bit More
James Allen has fair prices, but not the best. If you’re looking for a quality ring diamond-wise or gemstone wise they can be more expensive than Blue Nile. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it’s hard to find high quality, I personally don’t want to spend more money than I need to. This is why I like their Price Match Guarantee, which makes them more competitively priced.
Bottom Line for James Allen Pros and Cons
There are some slight disadvantages to this company, but I think the pros outweigh them by far. Overall I’m very satisfied with my purchases from James Allen Diamonds and would definitely recommend that you consider shopping there. Their customer service is great and they have a lot of high quality items that can suit anyone’s taste.
Overall, my experience with James Allen Diamonds was fantastic and I think that they’re a great company to purchase from. They have some cons like every other company, but as long as you know what you want going in – it’s unlikely those cons will affect your overall experience.
Pros of Blue Nile Diamonds
Prices & Options
The pricing of the Blue Nile Diamonds is very competitive. It’s also important to note that they have a lot of variety in their products. They offer different price options, from low-cost diamonds to high-end diamonds, so that every customer can find what they’re looking for.
Also, the prices can be adjusted depending on the type of settings you’re looking for and how great of a diamond you would like.
Customer service and user experience
Overall, I am very pleased with their customer service and user experience. I have had a great experience with the team, and I find their website friendly. The user interface is easy to follow. It has a simplistic design, but it’s very easy to navigate through all of their options and categories. Also, they provide you with a variety of pictures for each diamond so that you can really see what kind of cut and clarity you’re getting.
Blue Nile also provides a lot of information about the diamond, to make sure that your understanding is thorough and complete. They provide you with what kind of a cut it has, the shape, size, etc. The quality of their videos is decent (they could be better). However, they provide all this information in different sections. There is an education section that focuses on everything you need to know about diamonds, and there are videos related to each part of their diamond. For example, they have one video that explains the different cuts for the round diamonds. You can also get a lot of information about your diamond from the GIA certificate page.
Quality and Selection of Gemstones Other Than Diamonds
The product quality is very high, and their selection of different gemstones is great. I have never seen a better collection of all types of gemstones at such competitive prices.
They offer stones like opals, sapphires, tanzanite, rubies, etc., in addition to diamonds. The options are endless! However, they don’t have the biggest collection of diamonds. Their products are quality, though, and I would highly recommend trying their gemstones; you will not be disappointed!
Also, if you’re looking for something other than a diamond, like an opal or sapphire, they are probably your best choice. They have a great collection of all different types of gemstones and will not disappoint you.
I have called Blue Nile a few times, and their customer service is very nice. They are patient with you and always willing to help! You can tell they really care about getting the job done and making sure you’re happy with your purchase.
I ordered the wrong size ring once, and when I called them to change it they were very nice about everything. You can definitely tell that they are good at what they do. They never left me waiting for long periods of time or anything like that. The website is easy to use, and their customer service is a lot better than some other jewelry websites I have used.
I think Blue Nile is really good at matching their diamonds with your needs. They always ask you about what quality diamond you want and how much you can afford to spend. Then they make sure that everything fits your personality, so you get a ring that is completely unique to you! I was surprised at how great
Cons of Blue Nile Diamonds
They Charge Extra for Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance is an essential duty of a diamond dealer. These services can include polishing your diamond, tightening or replacing the prongs to secure the stone, and re-sizing it in case it falls off from its original size. However, Blue Nile charges you extra for these routine services. On top of that, they will also charge for shipping and handling.
They Charge Extra for Ring Engraving
If you want your diamond ring to be engraved, Blue Nile will charge you a fee for it. The fee can range from $30 – $70 depending on the size and details of your engraving. Jame Allen offers free engraving as an in-house service.
Blue Nile’s packaging is not very attractive. It doesn’t give you the “wow” factor that can make your occasion special. However, if you’re a practical person, then this fact may not be an issue for you. If you care a lot about presentation, then perhaps Jame Allen would be a better option for you because they emphasize on cutting-edge product presentation.
Bottom Line for Blue Nile Pros and Cons
Overall, I think Blue Nile is a great choice for anyone who wants to buy a diamond. They have an excellent collection of different diamonds and gemstones, and their customer service is pretty good as well. You can tell they care about getting the job done by talking with you personally in order to make your occasion special.
However, Blue Nile has some drawbacks. They charge you extra for some essential services like routine maintenance and engraving. Also, their packaging makes the ring look kind of cheap (though it does come with a gift box). I mean, if you’re okay with paying more money to make your occasion special then maybe Blue Nile is for you!
I think its better to go with Blue Nile if you are more of a practical person and care more about saving money. However, I think its better to go with Jame Allen if you want convenience and special treatment or something unique that will make your occasion really special!
Why James Allen Is Better
Now that we have looked at the two in comparison here is why James Allen is better. This is no sales pitch because James Allen will back up any of these facts right on their website.
James Allen has everything that Blue Nile has and then some. Including free engraving which may not seem like much on the surface but when you’re buying a $5000 ring it will be something you appreciate.
James Allen has the variety, the technology, and enough experience to handle any request. From preset rings to customization putting your faith in James Allen will surely not be misplaced.
A real person answered my question in under 15 seconds!
Their customer service is phenomenal. Using the online chats of both jamesallen.com and bluenile.com on a Saturday morning, I asked the same them both the same question. Jame Allen had a real person respond in about 15 seconds!!! This is unreal for any type of online business. Blue Nile provided a chatbot and a message that someone would answer within two minutes, then 7 minutes later I got a response. Boo Blue Nile.
Check out the comparison table below. Check out James Allen’s website. You’ll be impressed were sure of it.
James Allen vs Blue Nile Comparison Grid
|Years Of Experience
|Found in 2006
|Founded in 1999
|24/7 Customer Service
|Customer Service Response Time
|Diamond Price Guarantee if you get almost an “exact” diamond priced elsewhere
|Diamond Price Guarantee if you get almost an “exact” diamond priced elsewhere
|30 days money-back guarantee
|30 days money-back guarantee
|One year free resizing
|One year free resizing
|3 Images, No diamond reservation, unless you’re serious
|No free ASET images, diamond reservation but not confirmed on their site
|Diamond Viewing Technology
|360-degree HD images & videos, 40x SuperZoom
|Introduced 360-degree images, not comparable to James Allen
|Largest online inventory, with more than 270,000 diamonds
|Large inventory with more than 160,000 diamonds
|Not as much variety, but better carats
|More variety than James Allen but lesser carats
|Diamond Certification Institute
|Gemological Institue of America (GIA)
|Gemological Institue of America (GIA)
|Convenient Search & Filters (with 360-degree images in search results)
|Convenient as well, but without images, unless you open each diamond
The Bottom Line
As you can see from all of the above James Allen definitely comes out in front. Between all of their services, and gorgeous inventory James Allen has made a name for itself and will continue to turn heads.
You don’t need us going on about them, however. Check them out at jamesallen.com and see for yourself. We are confident you won’t be disappointed.
Please don’t think our comparison was anything like a quick list. We had to dig deep for this one and we hope you enjoyed reading it! Check out more of our articles (we’ve written over 700+ so far!) if you’re interested in checking us out again.
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