Are you finally ready to buy a diamond engagement ring or another type of diamond for any reason? You’ll have many choices regarding which type of diamond you should buy. But your first choice is actually a little bit different. You’ll have to figure out if you want to buy diamonds from a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer or if you’d prefer to do things cheaper and more efficiently by buying a diamond from an online retailer.
If you’re reading this information, you’ve likely made up your mind and have decided to go the online route which is a great thing!
Shopping for diamonds online means potentially trusting many retailers, but two of them really stand out from the crowd and they are known as Blue Nile and James Allen. One of these online retailers has been around for a while and the other is considered more innovative and new.
To help you along the way, we’ll provide a comparison between James Allen and Blue Nile and look closer at their service, the experience, and other areas to focus on when buying a diamond online from either these retailers.
The Experience of Shopping for a Diamond Online
When buying a diamond ring or another type of diamond over the Internet, the biggest downside is not being able to see the diamond in person. But today James Allen incorporates exciting technology that makes browsing for diamonds an incredible experience and one that people find better than an actual jewelry store. They provide the viewer with a magnified image of the diamond, which allows you to see it from every angle in a magnified and deeply viewable state.On Blue Nile, as you browse their website looking for a diamond you’ll notice a list of the 4C parameters clearly spelling out exactly what you’ll get. The downside to shopping on this website is that they do not provide preview pictures of each of the diamonds. The only way to see these pictures is if you have chosen to look at a signature ideal diamond. In this situation, the GCAL report will also share two small pictures of the diamond as well. On James Allen’s website, they’ve taken much better steps to provide 360° real-life videos of each one of their diamonds . Just hover your mouse over the diamond in question and a video will pop up showing it to you from every angle. This is a great feature because it gives you an accurate impression of each one of the diamonds and allows you to eliminate the ones that you do not like.
By clicking on the image of a diamond on the James Allen website, you could look at images from each side at 20x and 40x magnification, which really gives you a full view of the product on offer. And the magnification is greater than the 10x magnification that you typically get in a brick-and-mortar jewelry store.
Determining the Clarity of Diamonds
It’s obvious how much better the diamond viewing experience on the James Allen website is when compared to Blue Nile, right? Seeing the magnifications is functional and very helpful when you get to view each diamond from every angle. By looking at diamonds this way, you’ll efficiently discover all inclusions, which will make it possible for you to find the perfect diamond at the right price.
As an example, say you’d like to look at an SI2 on James Allen because you’re in the market for this particular diamond. One diamond may appear to be the perfect choice because you don’t notice any inclusions with the naked eye. But when you look at it magnified you’ll notice these inclusions. On the other hand, another diamond may look dirty and unclear with the naked eye so you know that it is certainly not the best choice.
Comparing SI2 diamonds on Blue Nile isn’t even possible because you do not get to see them under magnification. To ensure that your diamond is totally clean, you’ll need to choose a VS1 diamond to guarantee that no inclusions exist. VS2 diamonds even have visible inclusions on occasion, so you’d be taking a chance.
The Color, Sparkle, and Cut of Diamonds
When you look at a diamond online or in person you’re looking for more than inclusions. You also have to look for the sparkle, the cut, and the color of the diamonds. Because diamonds can look quite different even if their symmetry and cut are excellent.
Even though many diamonds have the exact same cut and symmetry grades, some diamonds are going to be a much better choice than others. Some will look better to the naked eye and even much better when looking at them under magnification. And when you’re on the James Allen website, you can click on any diamond and view it from every angle. This will help you see which diamond sparkles better if you’re comparing one against the other.
Having a proper viewing of a diamond provides numerous advantages including color comparisons and the ability to use a color grade to determine if the diamond color is bad or good.
It’s never a good idea to buy a diamond blindly. That’s why the set up at Blue Nile leaves a lot to be desired.
Viewing Inventory and Selecting Products
Blue Nile really excels in this regard because their jewelry and diamond selection far surpasses that of James Allen. You can find jewelry for gifts, or a new ring setting on the Blue Nile website very easily. In fact, they offer the ability to design your own ring or to choose one of the existing pre-set options.
Plus, their diamond inventory is massive and provides many more options to choose from when compared to James Allen. Although the inability to look at the diamonds to determine if they are eye clean is still a major negative because quality diamonds are definitely better than having a large quantity of diamonds.
One of the biggest reasons Blue Nile and James Allen are considered head-to-head competitors is because of their excellent pricing. The quality of their diamonds is impeccable and they have made them available to the masses, and yet the diamond purists and investors will love what they have to offer because their diamonds have the highest grades possible.
But if I have to pick one over the other, I’m going to say that Blue Nile typically has a wide array of diamonds that are more on the affordable side then you’d find at James Allen. Even better, they offer their Diamond Price Guarantee, which means if you find the same diamond at a lower price, they will refund you the difference. Just remember that certain conditions do apply to this offer.
Evaluating Customer Service
If you’re buying a diamond online for the first time you’re definitely going to have questions regarding your engagement ring. It’s an expense and a ring that will possess a lot of value. So it’s always a good idea to have expert help available to answer questions. The good thing is that James Allen’s store and Blue Nile both have five-star customer service staff members on hand to help you whenever you need it.
The customer service at James Allen is available 24/7 and they will answer your questions very quickly.
At Blue Nile, their customer service staff is quite dependable but you will not be able to get a hold of them 24/7. They let you reserve a diamond for as many as 48 hours and if you request it from their customer service staff, they’ll remove the diamond from the gallery. That’s certainly a nice perk to have as a potential customer.
Oddly enough, most people fail to pay attention to the purchasing conditions when buying a diamond or a diamond ring for an engagement. But it’s these conditions that make the difference in whether or not you should buy from one retailer over another.One of the major conditions that both Blue Nile and James Allen offer is the 30 day money back guarantee. This guarantee is important to have in place because it means you can get your diamond, look it over in person, make sure you absolutely love it, and if you don’t you can return it within 30 days to get your money back without any questions asked.
Even better, if you’re returning a diamond within the United States of America, you’ll get free return shipping from James Allen. So if you don’t like the diamond for any reason, just send it back and they will pay for the entirety of the insured return shipping which is nice to not have to worry about spending this extra money.
As far as Blue Nile goes, they charge their customers seven dollars for a return shipping fee, which isn’t too bad but it definitely isn’t free. Although, it’s a tiny price to pay to test a diamond engagement ring for 30 days so it’s definitely worth it.
Many people trust companies that have been around for a long time when it comes to selling diamond engagement rings and diamonds online, Blue Nile definitely has a clear advantage since they’ve been around for so many years. They are dependable, have a wide range of excellent diamonds in their inventory, and have high quality customer service as well.
If you’re more on the selective side, you’ll know that it’s very important to literally see your diamond before making a purchase. The 360° high def videos from James Allen are clearly a great choice. It’s very easy to discover affordable, brilliant, and diamonds that are eye clean and flawless when looking at it with the naked eye.
It’s up to you to choose the best diamond retailer to meet your needs. Use this info to figure it out for yourself.