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Negative James Allen experience

ffmtl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Messages
2
Hello,

I have been searching for the best value diamond (my budget is tight) for my girlfriend on James Allen for about 2 months. Last week, I finally found the right one: Round, 0.9 Carat, Excellent Cut, F Color, I1 Clarity (but eye clean). In the GIA report, the clarity characteristics listed is Crystal. After carefully examining the diamond with the "super zoom" tool, I called in to verify that the diamond is indeed eye clean and the Sales Agent replied: "This is one of the clearest I1 diamonds I've ever seen, you've found a needle in a haystack!" She added that the crystal is probably located on the pavilion, which is why it is hard to see on the image. Needless to say, I was overjoyed and was able to purchase a diamond within my budget that I knew my girlfriend would love. After putting it on hold for 24 hours, I called back to complete the order. When completing the order, the sales agent said that the diamond would be brought to their offices to verify its condition and then would be sent to me.

diamond1_25.jpg
diamond2_18.jpg

Yesterday, I received the James Allen gemologist report with a very very different picture of a diamond. There are several large inclusions on it and it looks nothing like the diamond I purchased on their website. Without even apologizing, the representative went on to explain how the gemologist was surprised by how nice the diamond looks, etc etc with some rather slimy sales techniques ("This is fantastic news!! I personally wear an SI2 that is over 1 ct, so I am very happy to hear the Gemologist state that this diamond is eye clean.")

484874.jpg

I called James Allen back in order to cancel my order as I have no interest in purchasing this diamond and received a very cold and curt reply without any attempt to explain or fix the situation, or even apologize for their mistake. The Sales Agent only admitted that the image of the diamond on their site was a mistake.

It seems to me like really deceptive sales tactics to advertise one diamond, when it actually looks nothing like the picture representing it. Isn't their whole advantage based on the fact that you get to see the actual diamond you want to purchase?

Anyways, I posted this because I haven't heard of anyone else having a similar experience and because I'm looking for some advice as to what I should do.

Thanks
 

Donotbugme

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
17
What is their definition of eye clean? I only ask because I have read on this forum that vendors have different definitions of eye clean. Whiteflash guaranteed mine would be eye clean at 10x zoom. I think those pics are 20x zoom so maybe it still fits their definition?
 

D_

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 14, 2015
Messages
245
It's not only a question of the definition of eye clean.
It looks like a different diamond from what is presented on the website initially (the one OP was eyeing seems to have bigger table etc.), so I can understand how disappointed he must be.
The lack of proper explanation/apology (though there can be 2 side of the story) by the supposedly well-trusted vendor just added an insult to the injury.
 

southLA504

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
78
Donotbugme|1444853144|3938272 said:
What is their definition of eye clean? I only ask because I have read on this forum that vendors have different definitions of eye clean. Whiteflash guaranteed mine would be eye clean at 10x zoom. I think those pics are 20x zoom so maybe it still fits their definition?

By definition I believe eye clean means the stone looks to have no clarity imperfections to the naked eye.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
58,547
I think I don't see this as a negative, because the first stone does not look very well cut to me. I would not be looking at I1 for an engagement ring. Please consider quality in your definition of value. Maybe go to H-I color and SI1 clarity for some balance. And only excellent cut stones that fall in the ideal cut parameters.
 

southLA504

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
78
diamondseeker2006|1444854988|3938284 said:
I think I don't see this as a negative, because the first stone does not look very well cut to me. I would not be looking at I1 for an engagement ring. Please consider quality in your definition of value. Maybe go to H-I color and SI1 clarity for some balance. And only excellent cut stones that fall in the ideal cut parameters.

This is good advice, to the average person or casual observer, they can't differentiate an F color to an I color stone in diamonds that are under 1 carat. Same with a VS1 and an SI1. Unless your girlfriend is quite the diamond cannasseur I would slightly drop the color grade and increase the clarity. This is also just my opinion, not fact.

So like I have read, for the casual observe a difference between F and I color, along with VS1 and SI1, the differences between these grades is not significant enough to effect the appearance of the diamond to the casual person.

You could drop the color grade and get a better clarity, or drop the color grade and get a bigger stone, or drop the color grade, keep the same clarity and save some money.

Now for me, i'm a naked eye kind of guy. No one is ever going to walk up to my fiancé and ask to see her ring and pull out their loupe. Plus my girlfriend knows nothing about diamonds either. For these reasons I could care less if there are imperfections that can't be seen without unnatural assistance. I try and go for the lowest eye clean grades possible, simply because i'm not rich lol.

For example, if your girlfriend couldn't tell the difference between a J color and an L color would you rather spend the extra 1,000 dollars on the J so you can say it's a J, or save that 1,000 or apply it elsewhere to either clarity or size.

Also, like diamond seeker said, only get excellent cut stones, if you get an F color diamond with VVS1 clarity, what's the point if it has a poor cut?

I like to rank the 4 c's in order from cut, clarity, carat, color, this is of course just my personal preference.
 

ffmtl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Messages
2
Thanks for the advice, I will definitely take it into account. Regardless though, I don't think it justifies my bad experience with James Allen, but maybe it's a blessing in disguise.
 

southLA504

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
78
ffmtl|1444855778|3938292 said:
Thanks for the advice, I will definitely take it into account. Regardless though, I don't think it justifies my bad experience with James Allen, but maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

Agreed, it does not at all justify what they did. What they did was wrong, the picture you viewed and assumed was the diamond you were purchasing was in fact not it. I'm sure they deal with a ton of diamonds but still that isn't an excuse. But like you said, possibly a blessing in disguise.
 

kb1gra

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
1,118
I have noticed more than once that a stone's photo or video doesn't match the listing (like, can't possibly - a cushion diamond has a photo of a round, or something like that) and I always wondered how that could possibly happen.
 

southLA504

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
78
kb1gra|1444860377|3938321 said:
I have noticed more than once that a stone's photo or video doesn't match the listing (like, can't possibly - a cushion diamond has a photo of a round, or something like that) and I always wondered how that could possibly happen.

I would have to guess it's because of their large inventory, but still, that's non-exusable, but to an extent understandable.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
58,547
You have to understand that vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen list hundreds or maybe thousands of diamonds that they do not physically have in their possession. That sales person who answers the phone probably had no more info than you do. I think it is rare for JA to have the wrong photo/video up. If that was one of their video stones, anyone should have been able to tell it was not an I1 stone as it turned around. The sales person should have been the first to say, hey, this doesn't seem to match up with the specs on the GIA report. Had you posted it here in advance (not sure if you did or not?), someone here should have caught it.

I give them a break because as I said, they don't have many of their stones in house and mistakes are just going to be made when they have hundreds or thousands of stones at different locations and many videos to post. That is something most of the big virtual listing vendors do not provide, so I am very glad they do. I imagine the lack of apology is something they will work on if Jim Allen reads your post. He is always very responsive to problems.

Just as you search, post stones here for feedback first before you actually order. We really have people here who have been around and know more than the average sales person for many vendors.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
27,290
diamondseeker2006|1444860737|3938324 said:
You have to understand that vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen list hundreds or maybe thousands of diamonds that they do not physically have in their possession. That sales person who answers the phone probably had no more info than you do. I think it is rare for JA to have the wrong photo/video up. If that was one of their video stones, anyone should have been able to tell it was not an I1 stone as it turned around. The sales person should have been the first to say, hey, this doesn't seem to match up with the specs on the GIA report. Had you posted it here in advance (not sure if you did or not?), someone here should have caught it.

I give them a break because as I said, they don't have many of their stones in house and mistakes are just going to be made when they have hundreds or thousands of stones at different locations and many videos to post. That is something most of the big virtual listing vendors do not provide, so I am very glad they do. I imagine the lack of apology is something they will work on if Jim Allen reads your post. He is always very responsive to problems.

Just as you search, post stones here for feedback first before you actually order. We really have people here who have been around and know more than the average sales person for many vendors.

This, exactly.

You don't really go to vendors like BN and JA for excellent personalised customer service - their business models favour volume and speed (at the expense of sales associate expertise). I know I frequently disagree with JA's gemologist reviews posted on here, and I am confident that my knowledge of diamonds outstrips that of most of their salespeople (and JA's salespeople are far better than BN's salespeople, in general!).

In this case, had you posted that original post before committing to purchase, we would have told you instantly that that was the wrong picture for that report: the very large table reflection doesn't match the reported table size and pavilion depth. The stone you were slated to purchase would have had a very steep pavilion. It is unfortunate that JA's sales rep didn't catch this, but... again, you pay a premium for this sort of service from other vendors.

I am a very happy two-time JA consumer, by the way - I was able to find and buy exactly what I wanted both times in smooth, fast, easy transactions. And Adam Blackstock (one of their gemologists) is great :))
 

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Messages
20,049
Yssie|1444864996|3938339 said:
diamondseeker2006|1444860737|3938324 said:
You have to understand that vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen list hundreds or maybe thousands of diamonds that they do not physically have in their possession. That sales person who answers the phone probably had no more info than you do. I think it is rare for JA to have the wrong photo/video up. If that was one of their video stones, anyone should have been able to tell it was not an I1 stone as it turned around. The sales person should have been the first to say, hey, this doesn't seem to match up with the specs on the GIA report. Had you posted it here in advance (not sure if you did or not?), someone here should have caught it.

I give them a break because as I said, they don't have many of their stones in house and mistakes are just going to be made when they have hundreds or thousands of stones at different locations and many videos to post. That is something most of the big virtual listing vendors do not provide, so I am very glad they do. I imagine the lack of apology is something they will work on if Jim Allen reads your post. He is always very responsive to problems.

Just as you search, post stones here for feedback first before you actually order. We really have people here who have been around and know more than the average sales person for many vendors.

This, exactly.

You don't really go to vendors like BN and JA for excellent personalised customer service - their business models favour volume and speed (at the expense of sales associate expertise). I know I frequently disagree with JA's gemologist reviews posted on here, and I am confident that my knowledge of diamonds outstrips that of most of their salespeople (and JA's salespeople are far better than BN's salespeople, in general!).

In this case, had you posted that original post before committing to purchase, we would have told you instantly that that was the wrong picture for that report: the very large table reflection doesn't match the reported table size and pavilion depth. The stone you were slated to purchase would have had a very steep pavilion. It is unfortunate that JA's sales rep didn't catch this, but... again, you pay a premium for this sort of service from other vendors.

I am a very happy two-time JA consumer, by the way - I was able to find and buy exactly what I wanted both times in smooth, fast, easy transactions. And Adam Blackstock (one of their gemologists) is great :))


I will piggy back on his just to say that you are right they have a business model that, as such, is built based on volume, but in their defense, I had spectacular customer service from them. With a total of over 100 emails back and forth between them and me while I was custom making my engagement ring with thwm. This was a year or two ago, but I just wanted to say that, though I don't expect excellent customer service from a volume based seller, I have received it in the past.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
11,218
ffmtl: I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, especially since it seems that you did your best to do your homework and due diligence before hand! What I can tell you is that this is not the norm for JA, at least not if we go by complaints that are posted here. There was a brief period when several people reported selecting (and in some cases paying for) stones that turned out to be no longer available, or not available at the list price, but JA seems to have gotten on top of that problem and we're not seeing those complaints any more. We've also seen and heard stories of wonderful customer service by JA here.

Do take us up on our offers to help you find a wonderful stone! But - when you find one that you'd like to explore with us, be sure to put a hold on it to prevent someone else from benefiting from your search!
 
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