Last Updated on July 9, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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When considering buying a diamond or diamond jewelry, you might have encountered the companies Jared Jewelry and James Allen. This review will compare the two to assist you in deciding whether to buy your next diamond from James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry. We’ll find out who has the upper hand and is the better place to buy diamond jewelry.
Jared both sells online and in physical stores but has a much larger offline footprint. In contrast, James Allen was born online and, until recently, only sold through their website. However, when Signet Group, which owns the Jared Jewelry brand, acquired James Allen, they formed a partnership co-branding some stores Jared + James Allen.
We’ll get much more into this collaboration and what happened with it later in our comparison review.
But, as we’ll learn in our comparison of James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry, their focus on online vs. offline makes a huge difference and is the key reason we recommend one over the other. Keep reading our Jared Jewelry vs. James Allen review to learn which one it is.
We’ll compare the diamond selection, prices, quality, and shopping experience of James Allen and Jared Jewelry, 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 Jared Jewelry and why.
- A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry
- Introduction to James Allen
- Introduction to Jared Jewelry
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Lab-grown diamond selection
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Price comparison
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Shopping experience
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Sustainability
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Shipping and Returns
- James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Pros and Cons
- Summary James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry Comparison
- More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry
Introduction to James Allen
James Allen, one of the top online jewelers, was founded in 2006 by four experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the jewelry and diamond business. They offer an exceptional customer experience, including 360° high-resolution video technology for every diamond on their website, unparalleled customer service available 24/7, a wide selection of mined and lab-grown diamonds, and affordable pricing.
James Allen has a vast range of products, including lab-grown diamonds, custom-built engagement and wedding rings, earrings, and various necklaces and bracelets ready to ship. They provide lab-grown diamonds that have been independently graded and offer free resizing within the first year of purchase, a 30-day hassle-free return policy, and free insured shipping worldwide.
Learn more in our detailed James Allen review.
Introduction to Jared Jewelry
Jared Jewelry is a subsidiary of Sterling Jewelers, established in 1910 by Henry Shaw. Over the years, they have grown significantly by acquiring smaller jewelry brands and now operate under Signet, the world’s largest jewelry retailer. Signet has also acquired other well-known brands, such as Zale Corporation, James Allen, and Blue Nile.
Compared to other Sterling mall brands, Jared is a more luxurious diamond jeweler that is usually located outside of the malls. They offer a premium shopping experience but at a higher price point.
Unfortunately, both Sterling and Jared have faced controversy, including a class-action lawsuit for alleged discrimination and a case involving pressuring customers into purchasing services.
Read more about Jared Jewelry in our in-depth Jared Jewelry review
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Lab-grown diamond selection
We will compare the diamond and jewelry inventory of James Allen and Jared Jewelry to determine which has the superior selection. Our review will commence with James Allen’s assortment, followed by Jared Jewelry’s, and conclude with comparing the two.
James Allen diamond quality and inventory
James Allen offers a wide variety of mined and lab-grown diamonds, with an impressive selection of nearly 550,000 diamonds. They have almost 12,000 loose lab-grown diamonds available in various shapes and sizes. While searching for a reference diamond, we found more than 2000 mined diamond options, but only 16 for lab-grown diamonds.
However, upon expanding the carat size to 2.0, we could locate 29 matches. It’s worth noting that you’ll find even more matches by broadening your search criteria for improved clarity and color.
And note that James Allen’s diamond inventory is mainly geared toward engagement and wedding rings, which is why they have a more extensive selection of larger stones.
Furthermore, James Allen’s collection of lab diamonds leans towards higher diamond color grades than what we usually seek. To illustrate, when we searched for color grade G, James Allen had 16 available lab diamonds, and when we included the F grade, the number increased to 82.
Our reference diamond is a round brilliant-cut lab-grown diamond between 0.93-1.07 carats (tip: you can often save by going just below one full carat). The reference diamond clarity is in the range VS1 to VS2 and with a diamond color grade of I or J. The lab diamond cut grade is always the highest. For most lab-grown diamonds (certified by IGI) that is ideal.
At James Allen, you can browse through a wide range of exquisite diamond jewelry, including timeless diamond studs, elegant tennis bracelets, and eye-catching necklaces and earrings. They offer a vast collection of jewelry types and styles, catering to everyone’s unique preferences.
One of the best things about James Allen is that you can design your own diamond jewelry. For instance, you can personalize a diamond pendant or a pair of earrings by selecting a lab-grown diamond from their extensive inventory. We suggest you choose your diamond and create your jewelry both for a personal touch and to get a better and cheaper diamond!
Jared Jewelry diamond quality and inventory
As it turns out, both Jared and James Allen boast a large selection of diamonds. As you can learn in our review of Jared Jewelry, their loose diamond selection is based on the same platform as that of James Allen.
And, as a diamond jeweler, you might want to take a cue from James Allen, one of our best-rated diamond jewelers. As noted, James Allen offered almost 12,000 lab diamonds, but Jared Jewelry only has 5,294 lab diamonds listed with the same minimum grades of excellent/ideal cut, J color, and VS clarity.
But while James Allen has an impressive collection of almost 12,000 lab diamonds, Jared Jewelry offers only 5,294 lab diamonds with similar grades of excellent/ideal cut, J color, and VS clarity.
Jared Jewelry offers a wide selection of high-quality diamonds with D and E color grades. However, their selection of lower color grades, such as I or J, is limited. While there are only 41 options for I or J lab diamonds with minimum VS2 clarity and ideal cut, there are 4,614 options for D and E grades. If you would have been happy with a lower color grade, you’ll likely end up paying too much.
Unfortunately, Jared doesn’t offer many lower color grades, as they usually offer better deals on lab diamonds. In most cases, D or E grades are too expensive, and the difference between an H, G, or F won’t be noticeable. You could even get away with an I or J grade.
One positive aspect of Jared is that all their larger lab diamonds are graded ideal for the cut grade, which is the best available. However, if you’re looking for a smaller diamond, be cautious of lab diamonds with “very good” cut grades, as they might not meet your expectations.
It’s important to note that some of Jared’s lab diamonds graded as VS1-2 might not be completely eye-clean, despite their decent clarity grade. Therefore, it’s essential to research and pay close attention to each diamond’s clarity grade before purchasing.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Price comparison
The next section of our James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry review will compare the prices of Jared Jewelry vs. James Allen. We’ll start with James Allen.
James Allen diamond prices
James Allen offers some of the best prices for premium diamonds, although they may sometimes be slightly higher than at Ritani, With Clarity, Grown Brilliance, or Clean Origin. Typically, James Allen’s prices are very competitive, and they often have diamond sales and promotions that can save you even more. Our reference 1-carat lab diamond costs from $1030 to $1250.
James Allen’s pre-set diamond jewelry prices are also very competitive. For example, their 14K white gold four-prong 2-carat (tw.) tennis bracelet costs $1,852, which is excellent.
But, it’s challenging to compare pre-set diamond jewelry since smaller diamonds and accent stones are not typically individually graded. However, when you shop at reputable and highly-rated diamond jewelers like James Allen, you can trust that you’re getting what you pay for.
That said, we recommend creating your own diamond jewelry piece by selecting your own diamond. This will come with a certificate and result in a substantially better and more sparkling diamond.
Jared Jewelry diamond prices
When comparing the prices of James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry, we’ll again use our reference diamond.
At Jared Jewelry, the 1-carat diamonds in our range start at $1,470 and go up to $2,670. But, as noted above, we have found that the diamond clarity of the cheapest diamonds at Jared seems considerably lower than their grade suggests.
So, after inspecting their available loose diamonds, the minimum price for a 1-carat lab diamond at Jared with decent clarity is closer to $1,800. In comparison, Ritani, Clean Origin, Grown Brilliance, and With Clarity all offer high-quality 1-carat lab diamonds for under $1000, while James Allen and Brilliant Earth start at $1000 for excellent 1-carat lab diamonds.
Thus, Jared is significantly more expensive than any of our recommended best places to buy lab diamonds, including James Allen. However, prices are not as high as expected for a typical mall jeweler. See, for example, much higher prices at Diamonds Direct or Kay Jewelers.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry price summary
However, the prices at Jared Jewelry are higher than at James Allen and what we have found at our best-rated diamond jewelers. Compared to most other mall jewelers, the prices at Jared are actually pretty decent. Even so, we unquestionably recommend James Allen over Jared Jewelry for diamond prices.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Shopping experience
When buying a diamond, the shopping experience and the chance to inspect the prospective diamonds are important. In this comparison, we’ll look at the buying experience at James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry.
James Allen’s shopping experience
James Allen provides an exceptional shopping experience when buying diamonds – online or offline. Through their pioneering online diamond purchasing process, you can inspect every aspect of a diamond from your computer or smartphone without leaving your home.
Comparing diamonds side by side on a computer screen provides a more accurate representation of the stone you’re purchasing, as you can inspect them in detail, zoom in on HD images, and view them in 3D videos while comparing them to grading reports.
James Allen has perfected this process, simplifying it and removing much complexity. Plus, if you need assistance, you can chat with their non-commissioned gemologists while discussing specific diamonds.
All diamonds are available in HD with 360-degree views, and they are graded by reputable independent diamond institutes such as IGI, with certificates available for download. James Allen also has showrooms in Washington, DC, and New York, NY, should you prefer to shop in person. Overall, James Allen offers a safe, honest, and helpful diamond shopping experience.
The Jared Jewelry shopping experience
When comparing the shopping experiences of Jared Jewelry and James Allen, it’s important to note that Jared is primarily a physical diamond retailer, while James Allen is an online retailer.
Jared sets itself apart from other Signet mall jewelers, positioning itself as a more upscale version. The in-store shopping experience at Jared does feel more premium, but we recommend shopping online for better prices and convenience.
Shopping online allows you to compare thousands of diamonds side by side, inspect diamond grading reports and magnified HD images, and even see how specific diamonds will look in various settings. You can avoid pushy salespeople and have a better shopping experience overall.
The online shopping experience at Jared Jewelry is mixed. While the user experience for shopping loose diamonds replicates James Allen’s, the inventory is smaller and more expensive. However, the platform for finding loose diamonds can be used to create a custom diamond ring, and the selection of ring settings is decent.
If you’re looking for pre-set diamond jewelry, the platform and user interface Jared Jewelry uses is outdated and limited, lacking critical information and options. Nonetheless, you can still customize certain items, such as diamond stud earrings, but the options are minimal, and you cannot pick the specific diamond you want.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry shopping experience summary
We have compared the shopping experiences at James Allen and Jared Jewelry and discovered that James Allen is superior in terms of customizing jewelry, purchasing loose diamonds, and finding pre-set jewelry.
On the other hand, while Jared Jewelry is satisfactory when it comes to customizing rings and searching for loose diamonds, it falls short in other areas. Therefore, James Allen emerges as the clear winner in this comparison.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Sustainability
In this section, we will compare James Allen and Jared Jewelry to determine which offers more sustainable diamond options.
James Allen sustainability
At James Allen, customers can choose between mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, which are the more sustainable option. However, the company does not actively promote sustainability, environmental impact, or social responsibility related to its diamond sourcing and retail operations.
Unlike other companies such as Brilliant Earth, Vrai, and Clean Origin, they do not mention the use of recycled materials. It is unclear whether this is intentional or simply not a priority for them. Nonetheless, James Allen’s extensive collection of lab-grown diamonds suggests that they offer a sustainable choice for customers, even if it is not heavily emphasized.
Jared Jewelry sustainability
When it comes to promoting diamond sustainability, James Allen surpasses Jared Jewelry. While Jared has briefly mentioned their efforts towards sustainable and conflict-free sourcing on their website, it is more of an afterthought and lacks depth. Jared primarily relies on Signet’s signing of various protocols to address sustainability concerns, which may only provide limited benefits.
While James Allen could focus more on sustainability, they are far ahead of Jared Jewelry.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Shipping and Returns
Every order placed with James Allen is eligible for free FedEx Overnight shipping and free returns (currently US only). Jared Jewelry offers free 2nd-day delivery with UPS on all orders. Shipping should be complimentary on high-ticket purchases such as diamonds, so it’s great to see that both James Allen and Jared Jewelry ship free, though we would have liked to see free overnight delivery at Jared.
James Allen provides free exchanges and 30-day, risk-free full refunds, and so does Jared Jewelry, which is a little more surprising since many of Jared’s direct mall competitors do not. For online diamond shopping, however, this is the industry average and should be expected. However, both fall behind compared to Clean Origin’s impressive 100-day return period.
James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry: Pros and Cons
Below we have listed the pros and cons of Jared Jewelry 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 Jared Jewelry (Pros)
What we don’t like about Jared Jewelry (Cons)
Summary James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry Comparison
In our review of James Allen vs. Jared Jewelry, the clear winner was James Allen. If you read through the review, this result would not come as a surprise to you.
We recommend James Allen as the better choice if you need personal guidance and support through the diamond inspection process and if you are a little more 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 surely end up with the perfect diamond if you shop at James Allen.
And James Allen is far ahead of Jared Jewelry, even if Jared is cheaper than comparable physical jewelry stores. Expect to pay a considerable premium at Jared compared to James Allen.
Jared Jewelry did impress us with its selection of loose diamonds and, not least, the shopping experience when searching for them, including the engagement ring customization options. But, of course, that is not surprising since they’re built on James Allen’s platform.
Unfortunately, when it comes to any other diamond jewelry, Jared is far behind. Instead of relying on James Allen’s user experience, Jared uses the same software as Kay and Zales (in our Kay review and Zales review you can learn why that is not good).
The only area in which Jared and James Allen perform similarly is in shipping and returns, where Jared impressed us with similar offerings as some of the best places to buy diamonds online.
So, if you are looking for the best of the mall jewelers, Jared Jewelry is probably the best option. But why settle for less and not buy online, save, and get a better diamond?
Instead, we recommend you shop at James Allen for their lower prices, higher quality diamonds and larger inventory, and better shopping experience and support. That is why James Allen is one of our recommended best places to buy diamond engagement rings and lab-grown diamonds.
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.