Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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If you’re considering purchasing a diamond or diamond jewelry, you may have come across Brilliant Earth and James Allen. We have rated both highly in our James Allen review and our Brilliant Earth review. This review aims to compare the two and help you determine which one is best for you.
Brilliant Earth has a larger presence offline, with both online and physical store sales. On the other hand, James Allen previously only sold through their website until their partnership with Signet Group resulted in some physical stores being co-branded as Jared + James Allen. However, the co-branding has been paused, supposedly due to legal reasons.
In our comparison between James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth, we learn that their approach to online and offline selling makes a difference. But other features make them stand apart and likely will be the deciding factor when you choose where to buy. Based on our findings, depending on your priorities, we recommend one over the other. To know which one, continue reading our review of James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth.
We’ll compare the diamond selection, prices, quality, and shopping experience of James Allen and Brilliant Earth, compare the pros and cons of both, and conclude with our recommended place to buy diamonds.
So keep reading to learn if you should buy at James Allen or Brilliant Earth, and why.
- A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth
- Introduction to James Allen
- Introduction to Brilliant Earth
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Lab-grown diamond selection
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Price comparison
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Shopping experience
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Sustainability
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Shipping and Returns
- James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Pros and Cons
- Summary James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth Comparison
- More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth
Introduction to James Allen
Founded in 2006 by four seasoned professionals in the jewelry and diamond industry, James Allen is a leading online jeweler renowned for its exceptional customer service. Their website features 360° high-resolution videos for every diamond, both mined and lab-grown, at affordable prices. They are available 24/7 to provide an unparalleled customer experience.
James Allen offers an extensive selection of products, including lab-grown diamonds, custom diamond engagement rings, wedding rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that are readily available for shipping. They provide diamonds that have undergone independent grading and also offer free resizing within the first year of purchase. Additionally, they have a 30-day return policy with no hassle, and their insured shipping is free worldwide.
Learn more in our expert James Allen review.
Introduction to Brilliant Earth
Founded in 2005, Brilliant Earth offers ethically-sourced and eco-friendly diamonds. They are a highly recognized online diamond retailer, offering a wide range of both mined and lab-grown diamonds.
Brilliant Earth sells a wide range of beautiful jewelry created at their San Francisco studio. They also employ responsibly graded lab-grown diamonds, use recycled metals, materials, and packaging, and focus on reducing their climate impact through carbon offsets.
Learn more in our in-depth review of Brilliant Earth.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Lab-grown diamond selection
To determine which retailer has the better selection, we will compare the diamond and jewelry inventory of James Allen and Brilliant Earth. Our review will begin with James Allen’s assortment, followed by Brilliant Earth’s, and conclude by comparing the two.
James Allen diamond quality and inventory
At James Allen, you can find a vast selection of both mined and lab-grown diamonds, with an impressive range of nearly 550,000 diamonds to choose from. They have an extensive collection of almost 12,000 loose lab-grown diamonds in various shapes and sizes. While searching for a reference diamond, we came across over 2,000 options for mined diamonds, while lab-grown diamonds had only 16 options.
By increasing the carat size to 2.0, we were able to find 29 potential matches. It’s important to remember that expanding your search criteria for clarity and color may yield even more results.
Please note that James Allen’s collection of diamonds primarily caters to engagement and wedding rings, thus offering a more comprehensive range of larger stones for customers to choose from.
In addition, it is worth noting that James Allen’s collection of lab diamonds tends to feature higher diamond color grades than what is typically sought after. For instance, we searched for color grade G and found only 16 available lab diamonds on James Allen. However, when we expanded our search to include the F grade, the number of available lab diamonds increased significantly to 82.
Our reference diamond is a round brilliant-cut lab diamond between 0.93-1.07 carat (tip: you can sometimes save by going just below one full carat). The reference diamond clarity is in the range VS1-VS2 and with a diamond color grade of I or J. The diamond cut grade is always the highest (excellent or ideal).
You’ll also find a large selection of diamond jewelry at James Allen. From classic diamond studs to sophisticated tennis bracelets and striking necklaces and earrings, their extensive collection offers a variety of styles to suit any taste. With a wide range of jewelry types to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect piece to match your individual style.
James Allen provides the opportunity to create your own unique diamond jewelry. You can add a personal touch by selecting a diamond from their vast inventory to customize a diamond pendant or a pair of earrings. This ensures a more personalized piece and a cheaper option for getting a high-quality diamond.
Brilliant Earth diamond quality and inventory
You can find a vast selection of top-notch lab-grown diamonds at Brilliant Earth. After conducting a thorough Brilliant Earth review, we discovered that they offer nearly 267,000 loose lab-created diamonds. During our search for a reference diamond, we came across more than 60 options from their collection, many of which met our standards for quality.
At Brilliant Earth, you can find various jewelry designs, from classic to modern and unique. Moreover, like at James Allen, Brilliant Earth allows you to customize your diamond jewelry by pairing it with loose diamonds from their extensive collection. By avoiding pre-set diamond jewelry that often comes with lower-quality diamonds, you can achieve a much higher standard of diamond quality.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Price comparison
In the following part of our review comparing James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth, we will be analyzing the prices of both. To begin, we’ll examine James Allen’s pricing.
James Allen diamond prices
James Allen is a great option if you’re looking for high-quality diamonds at a great price. While their prices may occasionally be slightly higher than competitors like Ritani, With Clarity, Grown Brilliance, or Clean Origin, they are generally very competitive—for example, our reference 1-carat lab diamond ranges from $1030 to $1250. Additionally, James Allen frequently offers diamond deals and promotions that can help you save even more.
The diamond jewelry prices offered by James Allen are highly competitive. Their 14K white gold four-prong, 2-carat (tw.) tennis bracelet, priced at $1,852, is an excellent deal.
Comparing pre-set diamond jewelry can be challenging due to the lack of individual grading for smaller diamonds and accent stones. Nonetheless, shopping at reputable and highly-rated diamond jewelers such as James Allen ensures you receive the quality you pay for.
Even so, we suggest you create diamond jewelry by choosing your own diamond. This way, you’ll receive a certificate and end up with a significantly more brilliant and sparkling diamond.
Brilliant Earth diamond prices
If you’re looking for loose diamonds at a reasonable price, Brilliant Earth is a great option. As with James Allen, the prices at Brilliant Earth may, in some cases, be a bit higher than at Ritani or Clean Origin, but they are still quite competitive. So you can rest assured that you’ll get a good deal if you shop for diamonds at Brilliant Earth.
The pricing for our reference diamond (see above) at Brilliant Earth ranged from $1,100 to $1,890. In our comparisons with other diamond jewelers, this is among the lowest we’ve observed and, as mentioned, just slightly higher than the cheapest places to buy diamonds.
The jewelry settings offered by Brilliant Earth are reasonably priced, too, making it easy to pair them with their loose diamonds and get a great deal. Additionally, the quality of their lab diamonds is consistently outstanding, resulting in an excellent diamond purchase at a very competitive cost.
Conversely, the prices for pre-set diamond jewelry at Brilliant Earth vary more. While they may be a bit pricier than Ritani and Clean Origin, some designs are comparable in cost. However, we highly recommend using Brilliant Earth’s customizable jewelry feature instead of buying pre-set items. This way, you can get a much better diamond for the same price!
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth price summary
As we compared James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth diamond prices, we found that prices at both James Allen and Brilliant Earth are slightly higher than those of Ritani or Clean Origin, but very close. And the prices at Brilliant Earth and James are very similar.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Shopping experience
When purchasing a diamond, it is essential to have a satisfactory shopping experience and the opportunity to examine the potential diamonds thoroughly. In this comparison, we will assess the buying experience at James Allen and Brilliant Earth.
James Allen’s shopping experience
James Allen offers an exceptional diamond buying experience both online and offline. In fact, in our review of the best places to buy diamonds online, we give James Allen the crown for its unparalleled diamond shopping experience. With their innovative online purchasing system, you can thoroughly examine every detail of a diamond from the comfort of your own home using your computer or smartphone.
Examining diamond side by side on a computer screen offers a detailed image of the stone, much better than at any store. This allows you to scrutinize them closely, zoom in on high-definition photos, and watch 3D videos while comparing them to grading reports.
James Allen has simplified and perfected the process, removing much of the complexity. If you require assistance, you can chat with their non-commissioned gemologists, who can help you while discussing specific diamonds. The experience is made easy for you.
At James Allen, you can view all diamonds in high definition with 360-degree perspectives. Independent diamond grading institutes like IGI grade them, and their certificates are downloadable. James Allen has showrooms in Washington, DC, and New York, NY if you prefer shopping in person. You can trust that James Allen provides a secure, truthful, and supportive experience for diamond shopping.
The Brilliant Earth shopping experience
Brilliant Earth, too, provides a fantastic purchasing experience. The process is hassle-free and user-friendly. Navigating their website is straightforward, though the diamond certifications could be more precise. However, all the necessary details to assess the quality of the diamond are easily accessible.
At Brilliant Earth, they offer outstanding diamond inspection services and expert guidance from their team of certified gemologists. Whether you prefer email, chat, or a virtual meeting, they can guide you through the entire diamond purchasing process.
Similarly to James Allen, the ability to customize diamond jewelry is a standout feature of Brilliant Earth. While other jewelers offer similar services, Brilliant Earth allows customers to create virtually any type of diamond jewelry they desire.
Other stores offer the option to select diamonds for jewelry, such as engagement rings or diamond stud earrings. But most are limited to that. At Brilliant Earth, you can create a diverse range of jewelry types, and we highly recommend choosing your diamond when buying diamond jewelry. Doing that allows you to select a superior diamond and avoid substandard pre-set diamond pairings.
Creating your diamond jewelry at Brilliant Earth is straightforward, but their highly experienced support team is always available to assist you. With 37 Brilliant Earth stores located throughout the United States and online service and support, Brilliant Earth ensures you have access to the help you need.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth shopping experience summary
We have compared the shopping experiences at James Allen and Brilliant Earth, and we learned that both offer outstanding online diamond buying. The features are very similar and best in class. James Allen has a slight advantage over Brilliant Earth with some features that are a little more advanced. But these are not critical.
On the other hand, Brilliant Earth has a much larger store footprint, which some shoppers may prefer. However, the gap is closing as James Allen expands the collaboration with Jared. It’s too close to call a winner between James Allen and Brilliant Earth.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Sustainability
The following section analyzes James Allen and Brilliant Earth to decide which provides better sustainable diamond options.
James Allen sustainability
Customers at James Allen can pick between mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, which are more environmentally friendly. However, James Allen does not actively promote sustainability, environmental effect, or social responsibility regarding diamond sourcing and retail operations.
They do not disclose the use of recycled materials, unlike Brilliant Earth, Vrai, and Grown Brilliance. Whether this is deliberate or simply a lack of attention for them is unclear. Nonetheless, James Allen’s enormous collection of lab-grown diamonds demonstrates that they provide a viable, sustainable option for buyers, albeit one that is not extensively pushed.
Brilliant Earth sustainability
Brilliant Earth is committed to being environmentally responsible, long-term, and ethical in diamond commerce and manufacturing. Brilliant Earth was also formed to promote sustainability and ethical diamond options. They set out to challenge the diamond industry to increase its beneficial impact on society.
While we focus on Brilliant Earth’s lab-grown diamonds, they also have a vast assortment of ethically mined diamonds. Though we don’t believe mined diamonds can be guaranteed ethical (unlike lab-grown diamonds, which are always ethical), it’s a step in the right direction.
Furthermore, Brilliant Earth has begun to offer sustainably graded lab-grown diamonds that are produced utilizing renewable energy sources and tight guidelines. While the collection is relatively small, these diamonds are equivalent to Vrai’s lab diamonds produced using clean energy.
Brilliant Earth does more than focus on ecologically safe diamonds; it also takes tremendous measures to reduce their environmental impact. Their packaging, for example, is eco-friendly and carbon-neutral, and their jewelry settings are constructed from recycled metals.
Read more about their approach to sustainability in our Brilliant Earth review.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Shipping and Returns
All orders placed with James Allen are qualified for free FedEx Overnight shipping, plus free returns (currently US only). Brilliant Earth also offers fully insured free shipping and return shipping through FedEx. Unfortunately, they do not have free Saturday and overnight delivery as James Allen does.
James Allen provides risk-free exchanges and 30-day with full refunds, and so does Brilliant Earth. This is the minimum you should expect, but it’s often not the case. In rare cases, you’ll also experience more extended return periods, such as Clean Origin’s impressive 100-day return period.
James Allen has a very slight edge over Brilliant Earth, but only if you’re in a hurry to get your delivery.
James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth: Pros and Cons
Below we have listed the pros and cons of Brilliant Earth vs. James Allen for you to better decide between the two.
What we like about Jamen Allen (Pros)
What we don’t like about James Allen (Cons)
What we like about Brilliant Earth (Pros)
What we don’t like about Brilliant Earth (Cons)
Summary James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth Comparison
Comparing James Allen vs. Brilliant Earth produced no clear winner. In each category, James Allen or Brilliant Earth was either very similar or with one just had a slight edge over the other.
But while the differences are slight, they are present. As often is the case when we compare two highly-rated diamond jewelers, it comes down to personal preference and needs.
We recommend James Allen as the better choice if you need personal guidance and support through the diamond inspection process and are unsure about what to buy.
While James Allen’s prices are slightly higher than some of our other recommended places, they are very close, and the added premium is worth it. You’ll indeed find the perfect diamond if you shop at James Allen.
Brilliant Earth, too, offers an excellent buying experience, a vast inventory of both mined and lab diamonds, and great prices. Their customization options and design tools are almost as good as those at James Allen, as are the diamond inspection features.
Where Brilliant Earth does better than James Allen is their approach to sustainability. Take, for example, their sustainable diamonds. These are certified carbon-neutral diamonds, and while all lab-created diamonds are a better choice than mined diamonds, picking 100% sustainable stones is even better.
So, Brilliant Earth is better if sustainability is more important to you, while James Allen nudges a slight lead on the shopping experience and support.
But it’s a very close call, and we highly recommend both James Allen and Brilliant Earth as some of the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds online.
More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
At LabGrownCarats.com, we review diamond sellers with a particular focus on lab-created diamonds. We hope to help you find the best places to purchase diamond jewelry and the perfect lab-grown diamond. We compare diamond sellers in our vs. reviews to help you decide between specific jewelers – should you be split.