We decided to review online diamond vendor jamesallen.com for our first video review. It is a bit rough, but we have to start somewhere.
For our first review, we decided to tackle on line diamond retailer James Allen.
Jamesallen.com was founded in 1998 by James Allen Schultz and his wife Michele. After launching as “dirtcheapdiamonds.com” they were very successful quickly ranked as one of the top online engagement ring vendors. In 2005 the site got a overhaul and changed names to JamesAllen.com. The concept changed from offering just cheap diamonds to an focusing on on better quality diamonds at a good price.
James Allen’s business model is very similar to leading online vendor Blue Nile. They work with wholesale vendors who list their diamonds on the retailer sites to sell as their own. The listing is seamless so you never really knows that the diamonds you are looking at don’t actually belong to James Allen. This concept could be seen as a possible con to buying a diamond online and often sends shoppers running to a brick and mortar store.
However, one thing that separates James Allen from the rest of the pack, is the fact they only work with diamond vendors that have an office and a real diamond inventory in close proximity to their office. So, while James Allen might not own all the diamonds they list, they have physical access to the diamonds them. And this leads to the reason I choose James allen as the place to buy my fiancés ring.They inspect the diamonds that are listed on their site, and they are able to take high quality magnified photographs of their diamond inventory and place them into easy to use rotating jewelers loop.
I really like the way the site is set up. It is extremely user friendly and It pretty much makes the jewelry buying experience as easy as possible. Once you decide what you want to get you simply pick your diamond, pick your setting, and go through an easy checkout process.
In my opinion the best part of the process is picking out the diamond. It is arguably the most expensive and complicated part of the ring buying process, but the design of the site prevents the user from feeling too overwhelmed. There are 10 shapes available range from the classic round to the unique heart. Once you decide on your shape you can narrow down the results by price and the 4 Cs, or Also known as cut, clarity, color, and carat. I personally had to do a lot of research understand the for Cs and find out exactly what I wanted to look for but it definitely paid off. Research will tell you that every diamond has its own personality. And James Allen does a great job of showing you this every aspect of this even the flaws.
A nice touch is that after you select a diamond and the the images load on the page, you can grab the ring with the mouse and move it from left to right and the ring will spin accordingly, giving a unique 3D view that no one else offers. You even have the option to view it in a 40x virtual jewelers loop that will probably the only time you will ever see the diamond that close up. Also accompanying the diamond’s profile is an image of its individual certification and text reflecting the certificate.
Once you pick your rock it is on to the setting. The only real con of the site is the limited selection of ring settings. Although the selection is quite large, it doesn’t offer as much variety as some of the competition, and it is also not the cheapest. However, I am sure anyone can find something they are looking for.
The settings are broken down into 11 categories.If you are unsure what category you want, each category has a icon that shows top view of the type of ring. This makes it really easy for inexperience shoppers like myself. Again, like the diamonds you have a chance to look at a magnified image of the ring.
Keep in mind these close up images can be misleading. I was pretty nervous about the the ring I picked out. The magnified photo made it look like you would be able to see gaps in between the side stones. Lucky when I received it, It looked nice and full as I anticipated.
After selecting the diamond and setting, the checkout is a breeze. And if you need help for any reason a very responsive customer service is a chat, email, or phone call away. Admittedly, I was so nervous purchasing something I couldn’t see in person, that I used all three.
From order to door my custom ring only took about two to three weeks. The ring was shipped by fedex. After opening the fedex box you reveal a nice durable black box embossed with the name James Allen and the red butterfly logo. This outer box is made to fit perfectly inside the Fedex box so there is no excess movement during shipping. When you open this box, you are presented with an appraisal, GIA certificate, and an envelope containing the invoice and other documentation. Under the documents was a full-sized foam insert with a space cut out of the very for the beautifully polished hardwood ring box.
I ordered a G VS1 Excellent cut GIA certified diamond mounted in a white gold setting with 18 side stones. The quality was way better than what I could afford in a brick-in-mortar store. The savings averaged about $2,000-$3,000. Most importantly, my fiancée was extremely pleased with the purchase.She said it was better than anything she tried on in a physical store.
Overall my reasons for choosing James Allen was the great prices, positive online feedback from multiple sources, and most of all, their photos and interactive displays allowed me to feel more comfortable with purchasing a diamond online.