In our book, Buying a Diamond Online Is Easy, we analyze the attributes of the top online diamond stores in the world, ultimately landing on James Allen as the #1 provider. To an outsider, the list in our book is surprisingly small (three). Particularly, if you went onto Google right now and typed in “online diamond stores,” 23 different stores would appear on page one alone! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, finding the best store out of 23 different choices is like playing a game of Where’s Waldo, wearing someone else’s prescription eyeglasses! It’s only when you know what NOT to look for will the picture come into focus
First – No diamond chain stores.
This means no brick and mortar diamond store chains like Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared, Tiffany, Michael Hill, etc. Why is this? Because that defeats the purpose of buying a diamond online. Low overhead exists in the largely virtual world of online diamonds only if the website isn’t tied to a large brick and mortar chain. The chain cannot offer prices that are too dissimilar online and still keep it’s primary business running. Customers get confused and expect the price online to match the price in the store (imagine seeing a highly discounted Samsung HD TV at Best Buy online only to rock up at the store for closer inspection to find it 40% higher – you get the point).
Next – No stores without a rock solid Better Business Bureau rating
An excellent BBB rating is not the holy-grail, but the absence of one speaks volumes about the store. The reason is that an online diamond store that is willing to defend it’s Better Business Bureau rating is far more likely to do the right thing if you get into a disagreement with them, than one that does not care. Who knows, if you make enough noise they may give you a full refund well beyond their return policy date just to save the rating! We recommend a store rated A or A+. As of the writing of this article, James Allen was rated A+
James Allen had 12 diamonds that met the exact criteria of our “Test Diamond” (a round, GIA graded, 1 carat, VS2 clarity, G color, Very Good cut diamond) You’d be lucky to find one diamond with those specs at a brick and mortar store.
Next is the return policy
James Allen offers a respectable 30-day “No questions asked,” return policy.
Lastly there is the price itself.
If you review the price of our Test Diamond, James Allen tied for “first in price” with Zoara and Blue Nile, and was about 40% less than Zale and 50% less than Tiffany for a stone with the same criteria.
In summary, James Allen is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, has the best prices on the highest quality diamonds, has a good selection and a rock solid return policy.
We recommend that you compare the price of the brick and mortar store diamond that you are looking at with James Allen’s by using their online diamond pricer here. It’s fast, free and very easy.