For all the diamond connoisseurs out there, I have two leading online stores that manufacture impeccable diamonds and diamond jewelry, in contrast, today.
No doubt that the Blue Nile is a veteran in the diamond marketplace but its opposing counterpart, James Allen, is no less in terms of its jewelry as well as services.
Having said that, I’d now move on towards reviewing both these brands on the basis of their online shopping experience, pricing, quality, customer service, and all the essentials that you need before making your decision!
About James Allen
James Allen was founded back in 2006 with the idea of creating the finest and most prized diamonds. It is predominantly an online store and provides a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience.
James Allen offers real-time diamond inspections so you can shop from the ease of your home and still get an in-store shopping experience. James Allen has produced diamonds for named and famed retailers like Tiffany & Co., and that alone speaks for their expertise in diamonds.
About the Blue Nile
The Blue Nile has proudly earned the trust of thousands of customers over a period of 20 years now. It was founded in 1999 and is one of the pioneers of the online diamond market.
The Blue Nile produces handcrafted engagement rings that are tested for perfection by diamond experts before shipping. Moreover, Blue Nile offers the best advice from their non-commissioned diamond experts.
Over the years, Blue Nile has proved itself to be the perfect store for extraordinary and high-quality jewelry that gives great value for money.
I’ll be assessing the prices of both brands by comparing their loose diamonds with similar cut, clarity, and color grades, as well as certifications. This way, you’ll be able to analyze the price difference between the two yourself!
0.3 c. Sl1 – K Diamond
First off, I’ll begin with a 0.3 c excellent cut diamond in Sl1 clarity grade and K color with GIA certifications. At James Allen, you’ll find a 0.3 c loose diamond with the aforementioned specifications for $357. On the other hand, if you wish to buy a similar piece from the Blue Nile, you’ll have to spend less because a 0.3 c ideal cut diamond from the Blue Nile will cost you around $305.
1 c. VS1 – H Diamond
Next, I’ll be comparing a 1-carat diamond from both Blue Nile and James Allen. A 1-carat ideal cut diamond with VS1 clarity and an H color grade with a GIA certificate retails for $5,255 at James Allen.
While if you are looking for a diamond with similar proportions at the Blue Nile, you can get it for $6,794.
So you see, buying from James Allen will save you $1,539.
2.01 c. VVS1 – F Diamond
Lastly, I assessed a 2-carat loose diamond with one of the highest clarity and color grades and found the Blue Nile to be a bit more expensive in this case as well. A 2.01-carat excellent cut diamond with VVS1 clarity and F color grade with a GIA certificate at James Allen will cost you around $39,110.
In contrast to that, an exactly similar diamond from the Blue Nile will cost you $42,934. This means buying from James Allen will save you 3,824 bucks.
All in all, I’d say that the price difference between the two is not massive. Blue Nile diamonds are priced a bit higher than that of James Allen, but the average price difference between the two is not enormous.
The website of James Allen is built on a user-oriented interface. The contemporary theme and organized categories of jewelry make it really easy to navigate through the website.
On the home page, you’ll find an option to design the engagement ring of your dreams on your own. Other than that, there’s a section for designer collections, wedding/anniversaries, and fine jewelry.
Browsing rings and jewelry becomes even easier with the aid of filters. For instance, when looking for diamonds, you can choose from specific fancy colors, diamond cuts, or ready-to-ship options.
Not to mention the 360° view of every ring, as well as the real-time diamond inspection available on their website, paves the way for a smooth, fuss-free, and satisfactory online shopping experience.
Well, I’d really like to admit that the Blue Nile has done a tremendous job in designing its website. All the categories are assembled on their home page in a manner that’d engaged their customers the minute they land on the website.
On the home page, you’ll find an option to search for diamonds according to specific cuts. Or you can explore Blue Nile’s collection for engagement rings, wedding rings, lab-grown diamond jewelry, earrings, and necklaces.
You can even build your own ring starting from a setting or diamond selection. And if we talk about filters and categorization, they’re not any different from James Allen.
Filters and categories like the ones above in the image are what make shopping online from the Blue Nile an effortless experience.
Since you know that both James Allen and the Blue Nile are mainly e-commerce stores, therefore, your shopping will be done through their websites only.
However, both of them have showrooms in the USA that you can visit by appointment if you want a first-hand review of the diamonds.
James Allen has only two showrooms in the US. One of them is in Washington DC, while the other one is in New York, which by the way, is closed till further notice due to Covid-19. Click here for exact locations.
While the Blue Nile has quite enough showrooms in the States of America. The Blue Nile proudly boasts around 12 showrooms in total, located in California, New York, Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, Washington, Texas, Arizona, and Oregon. Find exact locations here.
The best thing about both of them is the fact that you can have one-on-one diamond and jewelry inspection by visiting their showrooms in case you’re dubious about purchasing a diamond online.
James Allen and the Blue Nile are currently leading the online diamond market. And they must be doing so because of their services and high-quality jewelry, right?
So if I talk about James Allen, I can safely say that all their jewelry, including engagement and wedding rings, do complete justice to the price. All of their diamonds come with an IGI or GIA certification which guarantees the quality of each diamond.
Moreover, to make you fully satisfied with your potential purchase, James Allen offers a 360° view of each diamond, a real-time inspection, as well as a first-hand assessment of the diamond in the showroom by appointment.
In addition, all of their jewelry is covered by a lifetime warranty which is another step towards a more confident purchase. James Allen diamonds are amazing in terms of quality. You’ll find all the sparkle and brilliance in your diamonds that you’ve always been looking for!
On the other hand, Blue Nile is also a reputable brand and holds up a fairly good reputation in the market. However, based on the customer reviews, I’ll have to say that they’re not consistent in terms of their quality. The loose diamonds, no doubt, are unrivaled and flawless, but it’s the jewelry and its setting that is at fault.
Blue Nile diamonds are also certified by GIA, which means you don’t have to worry about the quality of diamonds. The odds are, on an unlucky day, you may experience a problem with the jewelry.
While people have positively reviewed the Blue Nile as well, the negative reviews are also found in a pretty considerable amount.
Overall, I’d give the edge to James Allen. They have managed to build up a consistent and spotless reputation amongst their customers when it comes to the quality of jewelry. While the Blue Nile, unfortunately, hasn’t been able to do so even after being 20 years in the industry
James Allen claims to offer worldwide shipping; however, that most certainly is not the case. They ship to many major countries in the world. But should’ve given it a second thought while claiming to offer worldwide shipping.
Anyway, they ship to 22 countries other than the US. These locations include Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UAE, UK, etc.
Similarly, Blue Nile also doesn’t offer worldwide shipping, but it doesn’t claim to do so either. Other than shipping to the US through FedEx, Blue Nile offers shipping to 15 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore as well many countries in Europe.
James Allen offers free shipping service to all of its customers. For them, the amount of your package or the shipping location doesn’t matter. You don’t have to pay any additional charges for delivery, no matter whether you live in the US or outside of it.
However, if you’re an international customer, then you’ll have to deal with customs, duties, or taxes.
Contrary to that, Blue Nile offers free shipping only under certain conditions. Delivery is not free on all orders. Only if your order is above $1000 can you get a free FedEx overnight service, while the two-day delivery service is free if your order ranges between $500-$1000.
Overall, I believe the free worldwide shipping by James Allen creates a winning situation for it. Other than that, there’s no huge difference between the two!
Both James Allen and the Blue Nile offer a hassle-free return policy.
James Allen offers a 30-day return period with free return shipping for all orders in the US and Canada. International customers need to pay an additional 50 dollars to cover the return shipping cost.
Similarly, Blue Nile also offers a 30-day return period with free return shipping for its customers in Australia, Canada, and the USA. For international customers, the return shipping cost will be calculated according to your location.
In terms of return policy, none of these two is less than the other. Both Blue Nile and James Allen have the same approach regarding their return policies.
The customer service of both the two brands in comparison is laudable. Both of them guarantee you the services of non-commissioned and unbiased diamond experts and gemologists. In case of any concerns or queries about your diamond, you can get in touch with their experts.
Contacting James Allen is easy, just hit them up on this number at 1-877-826-9866 or send an email at [email protected] In addition, you can also have a live chat or real-time diamond inspection on their website.
Similarly, Blue Nile also has similar options in case you want to get in touch with them. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind making a call, just ring them at 1-800-242-2728. Or else you can also reach them via email at [email protected]
Customer Reviews James Allen vs. the Blue Nile
Judging a brand based on reviews on the internet becomes too intimidating at times. Because you’ll get to see reviews that are poles apart, it is very rare for a brand to have a reputation for steering clear of any shortcomings.
Both James Allen and Blue Niles have opposing views. However, James Allen has a fairly better and consistent reputation among its customers. While on the other hand, my first impression of Blue Nile’s reputation wasn’t quite pleasant. But anyway, let’s see what some of their customers have to say about them
Starting off with a customer who seems tremendously satisfied, saying “the customer service reps were helpful” (source):
Contrary to that, this one suggests everyone “stay far, far away from the Blue Nile”:
It looks like someone found their perfect engagement ring from James Allen (source):
While on the other hand, I saw plenty of reviews that were pointing toward a lousy shipping experience like this one:
Well, the final decision is always in your hands. I wouldn’t force you to go for one out of the Blue Nile or James Allen. Both of them are doing an amazing job at their ends. But if you ask my opinion, I would select James Allen in a heartbeat because of their steady and consistent reputation.