Jewelry Guide

James Allen Vs Blue Nile Vs Brilliant Earth Vs Brian Gavin Vs Leibish

When it comes to choosing the best place to buy your diamond engagement ring online, it can get overwhelming. There are so many options out there and it can be difficult to sort out the good from the not so great. After all, this is a piece of jewelry that you plan to wear for the rest of your life and you want it to be a perfect fit, in every sense of the word. We’ve got you covered! In this article, we outline the top 5 places you can get a perfect engagement ring online.   

James Allen

You are bound to come across James Allen if you take your engagement ring search online. James Allen is often cited as being hands down the best online diamond retailer and what makes them different to others is their continuing series of innovation and streamlining of the engagement ring buying process. They might have only been around for a little over ten years, but they’ve risen to becoming arguably the best online engagement ring retailer.

Check detailed review here.

Why we like James Allen

  • James Allen have a massive inventory with over a 260,000 diamonds listed on their site, making them quite easily the online store with the largest diamond inventory. All these diamonds are available at your fingertips to explore! The reason they are able to have such a large listing is because they don’t own or stock all these diamonds. Instead, James Allen has exclusive deals with vendors around the world.
  • They’re one of the only top diamond retailers to offer lab-created diamonds, allowing you to pick a quality stone at a reasonable budget.
  • Every single diamond listed on the James Allen site has a 360-degree video including SuperZoom. This means that you get to see the actual diamond before you buy.
  • They offer a wide range of ring styles and settings from solitaire styles to vintage setting.
  • You receive 24/7 customer service and Chat with a Diamond Expert option when you visit their site. The James Allen staff are professional and knowledgeable, taking the time to answer your questions.
  • The website is clear and easy-to-navigate, with the option of building your own ring.
  • There is a good range of diamond information for the non-diamond savvy to help you make your purchase.
  • Your order comes in quality classy packaging, as it should.
  • James Allen offers free engraving services, while most of their competitors charge a separate fee for this.

What we don’t like about James Allen

  • Unfortunately, shipping is not free for international returns which means that if you don’t like your purchase, you will have to shoulder the return fee.
  • James Allen has showrooms but these are only available in NYC and DC.
  • If you wish to see the Idealscope image of your chosen diamond, you will have to request these from James Allen who will then bring in the diamond and have it photographed.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is one of the oldest and most established online diamond retailers, with a wide base of satisfied clients. If you take your search to Blue Nile, they will almost definitely have what you are looking for, but you will need time to sift through their massive inventory in search of your ideal stone.

Check detailed review here

Why we like Blue Nile

  • Blue Nile has a large inventory with over 160,000 diamonds to choose from! Again, this sort of listing is possible for Blue Nile because of their business model which is similar to James Allen’s.
  • At Blue Nile, you will find something to suit all budgets. They are among the most affordable diamond retailers and offer a price match guarantee for their loose diamonds. If you find a similar diamond for less elsewhere, they will match the price.
  • They offer 360-degree videos for all their Astor diamonds and most of their other diamonds.
  • Blue Nile also has a wide range of colored diamonds, pearls, gemstone jewelry and designer jewelry.
  • They offer diamond education with an exhaustive supply of diamond related information available on their site.
  • There are installment plans and financial options for all.

What we don’t like about Blue Nile

  • Possibly the biggest drawback is the lack of quality photographs for all their diamonds. There are times that you will have to buy your diamond blind, as Blue Nile does not have videos/photographs of the actual diamond.
  • The packaging by Blue Nile is nondescript and not very expensive looking. When it comes to engagement rings, the entire package needs to stand out and this is one area Blue Nile can improve.
  • If you don’t like your purchase, you have to pay for the insurance and shipping; returning items over $500 can be a lengthy process that involves a fair bit of paperwork.
  • Blue Nile charges $25 for engraving.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

If you are after top notch quality, Brian Gavin is your stop! Known for their impeccable cut quality and for their diamonds with stunning brilliance and fire, Brian Gavin is all about taking standards to the next level. They are forever fine-tuning their cut processes and exploring new ways to elevate the quality and fire of their diamonds. Brian Gavin’s diamonds are in the top 1% of the finest diamonds but come with relatively reasonable prices. They are a highly respected name in the online diamond world and needless to say, you will not find a diamond with better sparkle anywhere.

Check detailed review here

Why we like Brian Gavin

  • Brian Gavin makes choosing a diamond from their site quite easy by providing you with all the date you need to make your decision. For every diamond listed, you have access to photos, videos, light performance imagery (ASET and Idealscope) as well as certification and reports. All you have to do is set in your parameters, find a diamond and check out the data.
  • The cut quality is stunning! Brian Gavin’s diamonds have exceptional fire, brilliance and scintillation. Their latest collection, Brian Gavin Black, with a patent-pending cut technique pushes the boundaries of cut perfection even further.  Each diamond is inspected by Brian Gavin prior to shipment to ensure that it adheres to their standards.
  • There are diamond collections for varying budgets. These include diamonds containing medium to strong fluorescence and low color grade diamonds. You get to pick a diamond that has been given the Brian Gavin treatment which otherwise, under normal circumstances, would be considered inferior.
  • Because the diamond turnover is quite fast, you have the option to select your diamond in advance straight from the AGS lab. This means that the diamond is yours even before it gets listed on the site.
  • Brian Gavin gives you a range of colored diamonds and a wide selection of settings and designer rings to choose from.
  • The customer service is very good, including live chat. The staff are professional and knowledgeable, and will patiently answer all your questions. Even the stupid ones.
  • The packaging that Brian Gavin offers is of excellent quality.

What we didn’t like

  • Brian Gavin has a very small inventory. They house all their inventory which is why they are able to offer such high quality. Small inventory meaning limited choices however, so you have to get in and get in fast. If you delay, the diamond you were eyeing may be snatched by someone else.
  • The website is dark and doesn’t appear inviting. It’s also not as user friendly as the competition.
  • While most retailers offer a 30-day return policy, Brian Gavin only gives you 15 days to return your ring.
  • It goes without saying that the diamonds come with a premium. You pay for the quality you receive. While they are more affordable than big brand names that offer the similar products, Brian Gavin is more expensive than most of their online competition. It comes down to what you prioritize.

Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth takes an ethical angle with their collections. If sustainability is important, then this is the place for you. They are committed to sourcing their diamonds, gemstones and metals ethically.  In fact, Brilliant Earth is credited for creating a market for ethically sourced jewelry. They support a number of charities, are involved in support organizations for diamond mining and are pushing for more sustainable processes in the diamond industry.

Check detailed review here.

Why we like Brilliant Earth

  • Brilliant Earth has a good inventory with a wide collection of mined diamonds. They also have diamond alternatives such as synthetic diamonds and moissanite, which give the ethical or budget conscious shopper more options. In fact, they are one of the largest stores for lab-created diamonds.
  • They offer an array of niche products such as vintage, antique and recycled jewelry and metals.
  • Brilliant Earth ensure that each of their diamonds come with a certificate of origin so you know exactly where your diamond comes from.
  • They have a wide range of unique and beautiful designs and settings which you cannot find elsewhere.
  • If you are a brick-and-mortar sort of person, you’re in luck because Brilliant Earth has 6 showrooms in the US where you can drop in and browse their collections.
  • Clear and easy-to-navigate website with many specific search filters.
  • Their packaging is high quality, classy and unique. Brilliant Earth’s ring box is a handcrafted wooden item that stands out.
  • Their after sales service are pretty good. Brilliant Earth offers shipping both ways, so if you don’t like your ring, they pay for you to ship it back to them. Also when you purchase a ring from Brilliant Earth, you are offered free resizing for 30 days, lifetime guaranty and upgrade policies.
  • Their customer service staff is friendly and knowledgeable. They will spend time to help you find what you are looking for and will answer all your questions with a virtual smile!

What we don’t like

  • Unfortunately, not all the diamonds listed on their site have images and videos. In many cases, they only show a sample photo or diagram.
  • They do not have a 24/7 chat option which means that you cannot have your questions answered at all hours.
  • The BE inventory is much smaller than some others, meaning that you don’t have all the diamond, colored diamond and gemstones options you may have elsewhere.
  • If budget is a priority, Brilliant Earth may not be the perfect match for you. It is somewhat more expensive than some other diamond retailers.

Leibish & Co.

And last but not least on our list, the undisputed specialists of colored diamonds, Leibish & Co. This family-run company has cemented their status as possibly the best online colored diamond retailer. They were among the first to start selling diamonds online, back in 1995. Leibish are known for their high standards and excellent service. They also have access to some of the most coveted diamonds, such as the rare Argyle Pink Diamonds. They offer diamonds from every shade of the spectrum. If you are after a colored diamond, you cannot go wrong with Leibish.

Check detailed review here.

Why we like Leibish

  • Unlike many other retailers, Leibish actually own all the diamonds listed on their site. This factor contributes to their quality because they are able to examine and work on every diamond to meet their high standards.
  • You would be hard-pressed to find better craftsmanship! Leibish has the knowledge and expertise to maximize the color of the diamond by selecting the ideal setting choices for the stone. Remember, with colored diamonds it’s all about the color and less about the fire.
  • They offer a good range of beautiful settings. All their settings come with detailed and meticulous workmanship, paying attention to minute details in order to maximize the beauty of the diamond.
  • Leibish have a large inventory for colored diamonds. At the time of this writing, they have over 3500 diamonds listed on their site. This might not seem like much compared to some other inventories we have talked about, but remember that colored diamonds are extremely rare unlike colorless diamonds.
  • The Leibish packaging is classy and sophisticated.
  • You will have excellent customer support throughout your buying process via live chat or phone calls. The customer representative will do their best to accommodate your specific requirements.
  • The after sales policies are excellent as well. For starters, they offer free shipping worldwide. In case you don’t like your ring, you will have a 30-day money back guarantee, with no questions asked. Leibish offer a 2-year warranty on all items and a servicing policy and one free ring resizing for up to 60 days.
  • The website is clear and easy to navigate. You have the option to design your own ring or check out their pre-made jewelry. Leibish also have a good selection of gemstone jewelry on their site. You can also have your ring custom made according to your particular specifications.
  • All the diamonds come with authentic photos that capture the colored stone well. Most of the inventory comes with zoomable images as well as 360-degree video. Each diamond also has a grading report from GIA.
  • They have a very comprehensive education section on their website which helps you to learn the differences in the colored diamonds and what makes them special. Their FAQ section is also very detailed and useful.

What we didn’t like

  • If budget is a concern, note that the settings at Leibish are slightly more expensive than the competition. However, what you receive is flawless so it is well worth the money.

If you want more information about each of the above retailers, check out our detailed reviews.

Jewelry Guide