James Allen vs. Vrai (2022) – Which is Better?
If you’re searching for diamond jewelry, especially lab-grown diamond jewelry, you’ve probably heard of James Allen, Vrai, or both. That comes as no surprise. Both are among the most reputable and best places to buy lab-grown diamonds.
In our James Allen review, they got excellent marks for their affordable prices, high-quality diamonds, and exceptional customer care and support. In our review of Vrai, they scored highly for their sustainability, premium quality, brand, and stunning designs. And as you’ll learn in this James Allen vs. Vrai comparison, there are similarities and important differences between James Allen and Vrai.
While Vrai has concentrated on the morally and environmentally responsible choice of lab-grown diamonds, James Allen sells both mined and lab-grown diamonds. We’ll focus primarily on lab-grown diamonds, but our James Allen vs. Vrai comparison mostly holds true for their inventory of mined diamonds.
Find out which diamond jeweler is better for you by reading our comparison of James Allen and Vrai.
- Quick comparison of James Allen vs. Vrai
- Introduction to James Allen
- Introduction to Vrai
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Lab-grown diamond selection
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Price comparison
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Shopping experience
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Sustainability
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Shipping and Returns
- James Allen vs. Vrai: Pros and Cons
- Summary of James Allen vs. Vrai
- More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
Quick comparison of James Allen vs. Vrai
Introduction to James Allen
Four specialists from the jewelry and diamond industry created James Allen in 2006, and today it’s one of the leading internet jewelers. James Allen distinguishes itself by offering one-of-a-kind 360° high-resolution video technology for each diamond on its website, unrivaled customer assistance, a massive selection of mined and lab-grown diamonds, and competitive prices.
James Allen sells a variety of lab-grown diamonds, wedding sets, ready-to-ship necklaces and bracelets, custom-built earrings, and engagement rings. In addition, they provide free resizing for the first year after your purchase, a hassle-free 30-day return policy, free and insured shipping worldwide, and lab-grown diamonds that have undergone independent grading.
Learn more in our full-length James Allen review.
Introduction to Vrai
Vrai was founded as Vrai and Oro to provide a simpler and more cost-effective approach to buying and creating jewelry. They quickly gained a following by focussing on cost-saving and creating simple yet gorgeous jewelry designs.
The jeweler—now referred to simply as “Vrai”—is still growing and has opened flagship stores in China, Spain, and the West Coast. Since then, Diamond Foundry, well-known for having Leonardo DiCaprio as a co-owner, has bought Vrai and now makes all diamonds that Vrai utilizes. Vrai is wholly sustainable and carbon-neutral because Diamond Foundry creates lab-grown diamonds that are entirely sustainable and powered purely by renewable energy.
Read more about Vrai in our Vrai review.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Lab-grown diamond selection
The inventory of lab-grown diamonds sold by James Allen and Vrai will be the first thing we examine to learn which jeweler has the broadest and highest-quality diamond and jewelry selection.
James Allen diamond quality and inventory
James Allen offers close to 550,000 lab-grown and mined diamonds. When this was written, they had roughly 48,000 loose lab-grown diamonds of all sizes and shapes. We discovered more than 2000 results for mined diamonds in our search for our reference diamond (see below). However, none for lab-grown diamonds.
Our reference diamond is a round brilliant-cut lab-grown diamond with carat weights of 0.93-1.07 (recommendation: you can often save by going just below full carat weights). Our 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 the highestpossible. For most lab-grown diamonds, graded by IGI, that diamond cut grade is ideal.
However, when we increased the carat size to 2, we could find 29 matches. Naturally, if you extend your search criteria (particularly diamond clarity and diamond color), you’ll find more diamonds meeting them, and you’ll get a lot more results.
Since a significant portion of James Allen’s inventory of loose diamonds is intended for diamond engagement rings, their collection mainly focuses on larger diamond stones (read our guide to buying an engagement ring at James Allen).
In addition, James Allen’s collection emphasizes lab diamond color grades that are greater than what we typically look for. When we broadened our search to include color grade G, for instance, James Allen had 16 diamonds accessible, and when we added color grade F, 82 lab diamonds were available.
James Allen also offers a broad range of exquisite diamond jewelry, from classic diamond tennis bracelets and stud earrings to eye-catching necklaces and earrings. At James Allen, you’re sure to find every type of jewelry design you can imagine.
Like many of the best sellers of lab-grown diamonds, James Allen lets you create your own diamond jewelry. You can make a custom pair of diamond earrings or a diamond pendant by choosing a lab-grown diamond from their wide selection of loose diamonds. We always advise picking your own diamond and creating your own jewelry since pre-set diamond jewelry frequently features lower-quality diamond stones.
Vrai diamond quality and inventory
In comparison to James Allen, Vrai offers fewer loose diamonds in total, but we found 15 stones that met the criteria for our reference diamond. However, the loose diamonds at Vrai are similarly primarily intended for diamond (engagement) rings. And for that reason, just as at James Allen, you’ll find that their inventory focused on larger stones.
As mentioned, Vrai has a good selection of lab-grown diamonds. Still, it isn’t quite as extensive as that of Ritani or the inventories of our other highly-rated lab-grown diamond sellers, such as Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth.
As the case was with James Allen, at Vrai, you can also design your own diamond rings and pick the ideal stone for your needs. However, unlike James Allen, Vrai doesn’t let you customize other jewelry pieces like diamond earrings or pendants. As a result, you’ll have to settle for Vrai’s pre-set diamond jewelry pairings.
Most diamond jewelers use diamonds of lower quality for their ready-made jewelry. However, Vrai stands out because they usually use diamonds of higher grades. But, as we’ll learn soon, Vrai doesn’t use independent diamond graders, and, therefore, the diamond grades aren’t necessarily trustworthy.
Learn more about diamond grades (the lab diamond 4Cs) and why they matter.
Vrai stands out for its luxury and premium brand feeling. They have made a name for themselves as a reputed high-end jewelry brand in the lab diamond industry through designer and brand partnerships, distinctive collections, celebrity sponsorships, and collaborations.
Due to Vrai’s focus on partnerships with jewelry designers and its minimalist design ethos, Vrai offers a large variety of pre-set design jewelry. As a result, Vrai’s designs span from slightly altered variations of classic jewelry items, such as martini stud earrings, to custom-made and one-of-a-kind items exclusive to Vrai.
Vrai produces some of the most beautiful and cutting-edge diamond jewelry designs. Vrai’s distinctive selling features are its exquisite jewelry designs and its emphasis on sustainability (which we’ll discuss later). Consequently, Vrai resembles fashion jewelers like Lightbox Jewelry and Pandora Brilliance in some aspects, but with better-quality diamonds.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Price comparison
James Allen diamond prices
The prices offered by James Allen are frequently among the lowest available. Additionally, you can save even more during lab-created diamond sales and promotions if you’re fortunate.
As mentioned, because James Allen focuses on larger, more expensive diamonds, we could not find any matches for our reference diamond (see above). For instance, if we search for a diamond between 1.50 and 2 carats, J to I color, VS1 to VS2 clarity, and ideal diamond cut, we obtain 29 results ranging from $1,840 to $4,330. This is among the best prices you’ll find anywhere for high-end diamonds.
James Allen’s pre-set diamond jewelry is extremely reasonably priced. For instance, a 2 carat (tw) tennis bracelet made in 14K white gold costs $1,800.
A 14 K white gold 2.8-carat (tw) bracelet costs $3,500 at Vrai, which is significantly more, but both the carat weight is higher, and supposedly, the diamond quality is higher too.
For an even better deal, we recommend Ritani, who uses ideal cut diamonds in this 14 K white gold 2-carat (tw) bracelet priced lower at $2,300.
However, comparing pre-set diamond jewelry is challenging because accent stones and smaller diamonds are typically not graded by independent laboratories. In this case, the price for the tennis bracelet at both places is good, even if not as good as Ritani’s. Therefore, we recommend Vrai if the diamond quality and design matter more and James Allen if the price is more important.
Please note that we strongly advise you to create your own diamond jewelry designs by, whenever feasible, selecting your own diamonds. The diamonds you get will be of much better quality.
Vrai diamond prices
Vrai’s prices are generally higher than those of James Allen, which we also noted in our Vrai review. Yet, they are priced similarly to other high-end diamond jewelry makers like Kimaï. And, as noted above, while the prices are higher, the quality is also higher than at many other places.
However, the prices for their loose diamonds are higher. For example, prices for our reference diamond varied from $1,200 to $2,000. That is higher than at James Allen if we adjust for the higher carat, clarity, and color. Prices at Ritani, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin are lower, too, including for diamonds with our reference grades (see above).
It’s essential to remember that all diamonds at Vrai go through an internal review by GIA-certified gemologists at Diamond Foundry. Still, it’s equally important to note that these certificates shouldn’t be confused with actual GIA certifications. That basically means that Vrai (or, more precisely, Diamond Foundry) grades their own homework, and their grades are not necessarily trustworthy and comparable. None of our top-rated jewelers for lab-grown diamonds do that.
Because of this, we suggest either investing the money ($2-400) for an independent grading report or making sure you have the opportunity to return the jewelry if you don’t think it matches the diamond grades they’ve assigned themselves.
Considering the additional cost (or value of an independent grading report), Vrai’s diamond pricing is excessively expensive and can’t compete with James Allen or Ritani, Clean Origin, or Brilliant Earth.
Vrai is an excellent option if you place greater value on jewelry design and are ready to pay more for their exquisite and unique jewelry (and brand name).
We think Vrai has the most beautiful and elegant jewelry designs, which could be enough to make up for the high price compared to James Allen. However, Vrai’s costs are more affordable if you don’t mind purchasing a diamond that hasn’t been independently assessed (but is often of excellent quality), and you like their designs.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Shopping experience
The ability to properly assess potential diamond stones during the shopping process is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a diamond, aside from price and quality. Thus, we will now contrast James Allen vs. Vrai’s shopping experiences.
James Allen’s shopping experience
Of all the best online lab diamond retailers, James Allen definitely offers the best diamond-buying experience.
James Allen was one of the pioneers of online diamond buying. They made it possible for you to examine every detail of a diamond from your computer or smartphone without getting up from the sofa.
Contrary to common belief, 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 buying. This is because you may inspect the gems closely, examine the HD images, and compare them with the diamond grading reports.
James Allen has improved this process by both simplifying and advancing it. And in addition, they provide services that allow you to speak with (non-commissioned) gemologists about the particular diamonds you are thinking of purchasing.
Diamonds are evaluated by reputable independent laboratories like IGI, and all diamonds are viewable in HD and from all angles. Additionally, certificates are readily available online.
Even though James Allen has mastered the art of buying diamonds online, if you’re still not convinced, there are two James Allen showrooms in Washington DC and New York City, where you can see their diamonds and jewelry in person.
The Vrai shopping experience
Vrai’s website is clean, minimalist, and modern; there is no clutter or distracting banners. The website is not quite as feature-rich as James Allen’s, though.
The entire purchase procedure is quite simple and straightforward. The website’s structure and navigation are both easy to understand. Because of this, the entire purchase process is simple, and you are guided through each step. This is especially true when purchasing ready-made jewelry, but designing your own engagement ring is a little more complicated.
Unlike at James Allen, at Vrai, you can only choose and personalize your diamond jewelry if you’re buying an engagement ring. The procedure is simple and comparable to other reputable jewelers’ customization processes. Select the ring design and diamond quality that you want, and then begin looking for the diamond stone.
While missing filters can be annoying, they are often not too much of an issue. The most challenging phase in the purchasing procedure for diamonds at Vrai is still the diamond evaluation, which is always critical.
James Allen and some of the best lab-grown diamond jewelers in the business, such as Ritani, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin, offer better diamond inspections than what’s available at Vrai. The main problem is the absence of objective diamond grading reports, but we also wish that access to high-resolution diamond images had been simpler.
At Vrai, you will receive first-rate customer service and be assisted at all times. Unfortunately, despite their friendliness and helpfulness, they lacked the expert gemologists’ level of understanding seen at James Allen and other places such as Ritani, Clean Origin, or Brilliant Earth.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Sustainability
James Allen sustainability
James Allen sells mined diamonds, and the better option: lab-grown diamonds. Unfortunately, the impact of James Allen’s diamond sourcing and operations on the environment, the climate, or the social impact is not given much attention. They also don’t list recycled materials like those used by Brilliant Earth, Vrai, or Clean Origin.
This may be because it isn’t their main emphasis or to avoid alienating customers of mined diamonds. However, James Allen implicitly has a sustainable diamond profile, albeit one that is not as visible, considering their substantial assortment of lab-created diamonds.
Vrai began by selling mined diamonds and aspired to lessen the adverse effects and increase the long-term viability of the diamond trade. Since then, they have switched to only offering lab-grown diamonds, a more environmentally friendly diamond choice.
After being bought by Diamond Foundry, a famous lab diamond manufacturer dedicated to sustainability and utilizing exclusively renewable energy, Vrai is now a leading supplier of sustainable diamond jewelry.
Vrai has made investments to go above and above to remove any negative environmental impact. For instance, Vrai employs recyclable and biodegradable packaging together with recycled jewelry metals.
Read about Vrai’s sustainability in our Vrai review.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Shipping and Returns
All order at James Allen is eligible for free FedEx Overnight shipping, including free returns (the US only at the moment).
Vrai provides free standard shipping in the US for all orders (3-5 business days) and complimentary two-business-day delivery for more expensive items. Vrai also offers free 30-day returns on orders made from the US, Canada, the EU, and the UK.
Most of the best online diamond jewelers offer 30-day free returns and exchanges, and less than that is usually a warning sign. However, Clean Origin distinguishes out from the competition with its extensive 100-day free return policy.
James Allen vs. Vrai: Pros and Cons
To assist you in deciding which of the two top-rated diamond jewelers is best for you, we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of James Allen vs. Vrai below.
What we like about James Allen (Pros)
What we don’t like about James Allen (Cons)
What we like about Vrai (pros)
What we don’t like about Vrai (cons)
Summary of James Allen vs. Vrai
What do we think after thoroughly comparing James Allen vs. Vrai? Typically, it depends on what you are looking for and what is more critical to you.
We suggest choosing James Allen if you need one-on-one assistance and support during the diamond examination process and if you are unsure of what to buy. Although Vrai’s support is also great, the expertise of James Allen’s customer support team and trained gemologist are better.
In addition, James Allen’s diamonds are all graded by independent laboratories, and their diamond prices are lower. In addition, the diamond inspection features at James Allen are better than at Vrai. For those reasons, we think James Allen is the better choice for most people.
Vrai could be the better choice, though, if jewelry design is more important to you than the diamond itself and the cost. Their earrings, bracelets, rings, and other signature items are only available at Vrai, where you’ll discover their large and unique collection of high-end diamond jewelry. Compared to James Allen, Vrai offers a more modern and distinctive selection of lab-grown diamond jewelry.
Last but not least, if sustainability is more important to you than anything else, Vrai’s zero-emission and entirely sustainable diamonds are probably the best for you. That said, if you’re looking for less expensive but environmentally friendly diamonds, you should also look at Brilliant Earth, another of our top lab diamond sellers. For additional information, see our comparison of Brilliant Earth vs. Vrai and our review of Brilliant Earth.
In either case, James Allen and Vrai are excellent choices, and we recommend both. That’s why we have awarded both great review ratings, though James Allen comes out on top as one of our top 5 sites to buy lab-grown diamonds.
Is James Allen better than Vrai?
Two of the most popular places to buy diamond jewelry are James Allen and Vrai. But which is a better choice for you? Vrai or James Allen? That depends on what’s more important for you. James Allen offers lower prices and provides a better shopping experience and customer support. If you need help purchasing your diamond, we recommend James Allen. However, we believe Vrai is better than James Allen if you value unique and minimalist designs, a premium brand, and sustainability.
More diamond seller comparisons and reviews
Lastly, if you are considering other jewelers such as Brilliant Earth, then read our Brilliant Earth vs. Vrai comparison to learn if Vrai or Brilliant Earth is best for you. Or, if you’re considering Ritani, then learn more in our James Allen vs. Ritani comparison.