Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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If you are looking to buy diamond jewelry, particularly lab-created diamond jewelry, the chances are that you have heard of James Allen or Ritani – or both. And for good reason. They are two of the most popular and best places to buy lab-grown diamonds.
In our James Allen review and our Ritani review, we have awarded both top marks for their prices, diamond quality, and excellent service and support. However, as you’ll learn in our James Allen vs. Ritani comparison, there are also key differences between the two.
James Allen and Ritani both sell mined and lab-grown diamonds. We’ll focus on lab-grown diamonds, the ethical and sustainable diamond choice, but our comparison also applies to their mined diamond inventory. Learn here why you should choose a lab-created diamond!
Keep reading our 2023 James Allen vs. Ritani comparison to learn which diamond jeweler is the better choice for you.
- A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Ritani
- Introduction to James Allen
- Introduction to Ritani
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Lab-grown diamond selection
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Price comparison
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Shopping experience
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Sustainability
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Shipping and Returns
- James Allen vs. Ritani: Pros and Cons
- Summary of James Allen vs. Ritani
- More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
A quick comparison of James Allen vs. Ritani
Introduction to James Allen
James Allen was created in 2006 by four jewelry and diamond business veterans, and today James Allen is one of the leading online jewelers. They offer incredible 360° high-solution video technology for every single diamond on their website, unparalleled 24/7 customer service, a large selection of mined and lab-grown diamonds, and fantastic prices.
James Allen offers a wide range of lab-grown diamonds, custom-built rings and engagement rings, wedding sets, custom-built earrings, and ready-to-ship necklaces and bracelets. They provide lab-grown diamonds that have been independently graded and offer free resizing the first year of your purchase, a hassle-free 30-day return policy, and free and insured shipping worldwide.
Learn more in our detailed James Allen review.
Introduction to Ritani
Ritani was founded in 1996 and has since partnered with the jewelry magnates of the Julius Klein family. In 2012, Ritani entered the e-commerce market and has grown to become one of the leading online diamond and jewelry sellers, even bridging the gap between online shopping and brick-and-mortar jewelry stores (more on later).
Ritani sells both mined and lab-grown diamonds, engagement rings, wedding rings, diamond jewelry as well as fashion jewelry. They also sell one-of-a-kind pieces that are made to order in New York.
Read more about Ritani in our in-depth Ritani review.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Lab-grown diamond selection
First, we’ll compare James Allen vs. Ritani’s lab-grown diamond selection and assess who has the most comprehensive and highest-quality diamond and jewelry inventory.
James Allen diamond quality and inventory
James Allen has a large selection of almost 550,000 mined and lab-grown diamonds. At the time of writing, they had nearly 48,000 loose lab-grown diamonds in all shapes and sizes. We identified over 2000 mined diamond results when looking for our reference diamond (see below) but none for lab-grown diamonds.
However, when expanding the carat size to 2.0, we were able to get 29 matches. And, of course, if you expand your search criteria for better clarity and color, you’ll get many more matches. The reason is that the loose diamonds at James Allen are meant for larger engagement and wedding rings, and therefore their inventory is skewed towards larger stones.
In addition, James Allen’s inventory tends to skew towards higher lab diamond color grades that we would typically go after. For example, when expanding the search to include color grade G, James Allen had 16 diamonds available, and if including the F grade, it increased to 82 lab diamonds.
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.
James Allen also carries a large selection of fine diamond jewelry, ranging from classic diamond studs and tennis bracelets to statement necklaces and earrings. You’ll be able to find almost any jewelry type or style you could imagine.
Like all the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds, James Allen allows you to create your own diamond jewelry. For example, you can customize a pair of diamond earrings or a diamond pendant by choosing a lab-grown diamond from their extensive loose diamond inventory. We always recommend that you pick your own diamond and create your own jewelry since pre-set diamond jewelry is often matched with sub-par diamonds.
Ritani diamond quality and inventory
Ritani has one of the most impressive inventories of high-quality mined and lab-grown diamonds. Ritani has almost 97,000 loose lab diamonds and 165,000 mined diamonds. When searching for our reference stone (0.93-1.07ct, I-J color, VS1-VS2 clarity, and ideal cut), we found 118 lab diamonds. That’s a tad fewer matches than we found in our 2023 in-depth Ritani review, but we were still impressed with Ritani’s extensive inventory, and there’s every chance that you’ll be able to find the right diamond for you.
Ritani, just like James Allen, allows you to design your own diamond ring as well as diamond earrings and pendants. This is great because you’ll be able to choose the best diamond for your needs within your budget.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Price comparison
James Allen diamond prices
James Allen generally has excellent prices, and while not consistently as low as Ritani, they are among the best you’ll find. And, if you’re lucky, you can save even more during lab diamond sales and promotions.
We didn’t find any matches for our reference diamond (see above), but this is due to James Allen’s focus and expertise in bigger and premium diamonds. For instance, if we search for an approximately 1.50 to 2 ct, J to I color, VS1 to VS2 clarity, and ideal diamond cut, then we get 29 results and prices ranging from $1,840 to $4,330, which are some of the best prices for premium diamonds you’ll find.
The prices for James Allen’s pre-set diamond jewelry are very competitive too. For instance, a 14K white gold four-prong 2-carat (tw.) tennis bracelet costs $1,800 (on sale now for $1350).
However, comparing pre-set diamond jewelry is nearly impossible since smaller diamonds and accent stones are generally not independently graded. The good news is that when you shop at reputable and highly-rated diamond jewelers such as James Allen and Ritani, you get what you pay for.
And with their low prices, both tennis bracelets are very competitively priced, and you’ll not find better prices with the same premium quality elsewhere.
Do note that, when possible, we strongly advise you to create your own diamond jewelry piece by selecting your own diamond (which will come with a certificate). You’ll obtain a substantially better and more sparkling diamond this way.
Ritani diamond prices
Ritani has some of the lowest lab-grown prices on the market, which we have detailed in our in-depth Ritani review.
At Ritani, prices for our reference diamond range from $519 to $1251. That’s significantly less than many other diamond retailers, though you may want to trade up from the very cheapest, depending on your use case. That said, their prices are unbeatable. Even Clean Origin, another price leader, can’t always match the best prices at Ritani.
Generally speaking, Ritani is comparable to Clean Origin price-wise, which we also found in our Clean Origin review. In fact, Ritani, in our opinion, has some of the best quality diamonds and the lowest prices on loose lab-grown diamonds.
Prices for Ritani’s pre-set jewelry pieces are a little closer to James Allen’s and their closest competitors. But do note that Ritani always uses the best cut (typically ideal when graded by IGI), so even in cases where Ritani’s prices are slightly higher for ready-to-ship jewelry, the better diamond quality justifies it.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Shopping experience
The shopping experience, including the possibility to carefully assess potential diamonds, is arguably the most critical factor in a diamond purchase. The buying process at James Allen and Ritani is among the very best we’ve reviewed, but which is better?
James Allen’s shopping experience
James Allen arguably offers the best diamond shopping experience of all the best places to buy diamonds online (or offline).
James Allen pioneered the online diamond purchasing process by enabling you to examine every aspect of a diamond from your computer or smartphone without getting up from the sofa.
In contrast to what some may think, comparing diamonds side by side on a computer (or phone) screen in the comfort of your home provides a far more accurate representation of the stone you’re purchasing. That’s because you can inspect them in detail, zoom in on magnified HD images, and compare them to the grading reports while viewing the diamonds in 3D videos.
James Allen has perfected this process, making it straightforward and removing much of the complexity. And, if you need help, they have developed features allowing you to chat with (non-commissioned) gemologists while discussing the exact diamonds that you are considering.
All diamonds are available in HD and with 360-degree views, and diamonds are graded by reputable independent diamond institutes such as IGI, with certificates readily available for download.
James Allen has perfected the online diamond shopping experience, but should you be so inclined, they have two James Allen showrooms in Washington DC and New York, NY.
The Ritani shopping experience
Ritani makes purchasing a diamond incredibly simple. They take great care to make the process less intimidating. Information is readily available and easy to understand. The purchasing process is particularly well-suited for first-time buyers or those unable to devote a lot of time to the diamond purchase.
As James Allen, Ritani offers 360-degree videos and HD images of their diamonds, and the diamond inspection features are fantastic. As a result, you can quickly assess and compare diamonds, and if you follow our guide to finding the perfect diamond, you’ll easily find the right diamond at the best possible price.
One of the things Ritani does to make the process even more accessible is labeling those diamonds that, according to them, are good deals. They recommend specific diamonds and even suggest better alternatives to diamonds you may be browsing. While the recommendations are not always 100% accurate, they are, for the most part, very good.
Another nice feature is Ritani’s transparent pricing. It tells you exactly how much they have paid for the diamonds, their expenses, and their markup! That is incredibly transparent and honest. We wish every diamond jeweler would share this information.
The live chat tool, together with fantastic phone and email support, functions perfectly, even if it is not as sophisticated as what we discovered in our James Allen review. Similarly, you can converse with certified (supposedly) unbiased gemologists. Given their price transparency, we think there’s good reason to trust their advice and have found it fair and objective.
Ritani doesn’t have showrooms, but you can pick up your ring and view and inspect it at a local jewelry store or a participating WeWork office. Customers can inspect the diamond purchase before deciding whether or not to keep it or return it. This is a great alternative for anyone that prefers seeing the diamond in person before making a purchase.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Sustainability
James Allen sustainability
James Allen sells both mined and the more sustainable option: lab-grown diamonds. Generally speaking, James Allen does not emphasize sustainability, the environment or climate impact, or the social impact of their diamond sourcing and retail operations. They also do not mention anything about recycled materials, such as Brilliant Earth, Vrai, and Clean Origin.
This may be to avoid alienating buyers of mined diamonds or because it’s just not a focus of theirs. That said, given their large inventory of the ethical diamond choice of lab-created diamonds, James Allen implicitly has a sustainable diamond profile, even if not very pronounced.
Ritani, too, sells both mined and lab-created diamonds. But Ritani, on the other hand, has a much more explicit focus on diamond sustainability.
And while Ritani sells both mined and lab-grown diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are nearly as significant in Ritani’s inventory as their mined counterparts. Additionally, they offer a useful and, unlike other places, really honest learning section on lab-grown diamonds.
We wished Ritani had offered diamonds with the same sustainability rating as those we found in our review of Brilliant Earth. However, compared to mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are already the far more environmentally friendly and ethical diamond option.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Shipping and Returns
Every order placed with James Allen is eligible for free FedEx Overnight shipping and free returns (currently US only). Ritani offers precisely the same shipping options as James Allen, and all orders placed in the United States and Canada are shipped with FedEx Express or Overnight Shipping.
James Allen provides free exchanges and 30-day, risk-free full refunds. The procedure is simple; they will walk you through each stage and provide guidance if there is an exchange. Similarly, Ritani provides risk-free 30-day returns and free exchanges in the US. Again, the procedure is simple, and they will walk you through it, email you a return label, and even set up a pickup if you don’t want to travel to your neighborhood FedEx office. Returns, too, are also overnighted and thoroughly insured.
30-day free returns and exchanges are what most of the better online diamond jewelers offer. Anything less, and you should be suspicious. Only Clean Origin’s generous offer of 100-day free returns stands out from the crowd.
James Allen vs. Ritani: Pros and Cons
Below we have listed the pros and cons of James Allen vs. Ritani for you to decide which of the two highly-rated jewelers is better for you.
What we like about James Allen (Pros)
What we don’t like about James Allen (Cons)
What we like about Ritani (pros)
What we don’t like about Ritani (cons)
Summary of James Allen vs. Ritani
After carefully comparing James Allen and Ritani, who do we think is best? As is often the case, it depends on what you are looking for and what matters more 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 Ritani’s, they are very close, and, for you, the added premium may be worth it. You’ll surely end up with the perfect diamond if you shop at James Allen.
We think Ritani is the better choice if you are searching for the very best prices and the most extensive inventory of premium-quality diamonds. While not always as advanced as those at James Allen, the support and features are outstanding.
And we particularly like the price transparency and the almost always excellent recommendations. Ritani also has a little more focus on sustainability. However, if sustainability is more important to you, see our comparison of Brilliant Earth vs. Vrai, the two leading sustainable jewelers.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with James Allen and Ritani. We highly recommend both, which is why we feature them in our top 5 best places to buy lab-created diamonds and rate them the best in our James Allen review and Ritani review.
Is James Allen better than Ritani?
James Allen and Ritani are two of the best places to buy diamonds and jewelry online. Which is better, James Allen or Ritani? That depends on what’s most important for you. James Allen offers a slightly better shopping experience and support, while Ritani has somewhat lower prices and a very transparent pricing strategy. We recommend James Allen if support for diamond inspection is essential to you. At the same time, we think Ritani is better if you value access to an even more extensive inventory and a little lower prices while using their online tools to compare diamonds and get advice.
More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
At LabGrownCarats.com, we review lab-grown diamond jewelers selling the ethical choice of lab-created diamonds. We help you decide where to buy your next lab diamond jewelry and how to save money.
We compare diamond sellers in our vs. reviews to help you decide between specific jewelers, should you be in doubt, and we recommend the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds online.