James Allen vs Blue Nile

James Allen vs Blue Nile: Clash of the Jewelry Titans

In search of that perfect engagement ring, you probably spend hours scouring the internet and browsing stores. But which online diamond store can really go the distance when it comes to buying an engagement ring online? 

In terms of odds, most will pit Blue Nile vs James Allen, but who will come out on top? They both offer high-quality jewelry and excellent customer service, and they are considered to be behemoths of the online jewelry market.

James Allen offers more setting designs, while Blue Nile offers a wider range of jewelry products. A free diamond consultation is also available at James Allen. Both sites offer certified diamonds at competitive prices, 360-degree videos for the majority of their diamonds, and a no-risk return policy.

In this comparison, two of the country’s leading online diamond retailers are compared – it’s a clash of the jewelry titans. Discover which one is right for you by reading on.

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Getting the Best Deal on Diamonds

Our Ultimate Diamond Buying Guide will cover all of the materials you should consider before buying a diamond in 2022

James Allen vs Blue Nile: A Summary

Both sites offer:

  • A great selection of conflict-free and certified diamonds. GIA-certified diamonds are only sold by Blue Nile. GIA, AGS, and IGI certified diamonds are available at James Allen.
  • No questions asked 30-day return policy.
  • Price matching guarantee for diamonds. They will match the lower price if you find a diamond of the same specs for less.
  • Customer service is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat. In addition, both offer free diamond consultations.
  • Wire transfer payments are discounted by 1.5%. Several financing options are also available.
Blue Nile website, with the front image advertising the Blue Nile Astor selection

Blue Nile Pros

Blue Nile Cons

  • Competitive diamond pricing
  • Not all diamonds have 360-degree video
  • Free virtual appointments
  • Less yellow gold and rose gold rings
  • More physical showrooms
  • Larger range of fine jewelry
  • Generous 30-day return period
  • Complimentary resizing within the first year
  • Lifetime diamond upgrade policy

James Allen website, with a women enjoying cake and showing off her diamond engagement ring, with options to shop for engagement rings and loose diamonds

James Allen Pros

James Allen Cons

  • Competitive diamond pricing
  • Slightly pricier settings
  • Lab grown diamonds
  • No diamond reservation
  • Loose gemstones
  • No free international returns
  • Instant real-time diamond inspection
  • Generous 30-day return period
  • Complimentary resizing within the first year
  • Lifetime diamond upgrade policy

Diamond Selection

James Allen superior diamond selection menu and view

Winner: James Allen

The largest online diamond inventory used to be held by Blue Nile, but James Allen has been able to surpass it in recent years. There are more than 550,000 loose diamonds available at James Allen, compared to more than 460,000 at Blue Nile. 

Both offer:  


While Blue Nile offers only GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds, James Allen offers GIA, AGS, and IGI (International Gemological Institute) certified diamonds.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Additionally, James Allen offers 50,000 lab-created diamonds. It’s a good option for eco-conscious people who also want to save some money. 

Through a partnership with Lightbox, Blue Nile offers lab-grown diamond jewelry, but not loose lab-grown diamonds. Check out our advice on buying lab-grown diamonds here.

Premium Diamond Collections

These two retailers each offer high-quality, premium diamonds as part of their own signature lines. Astor by Blue Nile from Blue Nile, and TrueHearts from James Allen.

For both, these are special collections of super ideal diamonds. In addition to the GIA “Ideal” rating, these diamonds are cut to the most ideal proportions, symmetry, and polish.

We award this win to James Allen for providing Ideal Scope and hearts & arrows images for True Hearts diamonds. Their in depth images of diamonds show how they perform in direct light, leakage and their symmetry.

Ideal Scope is seldom seen in stores because it will reveal deficits in most diamonds. Ensure your diamond has superior performance with standout vetted vendors willing to provide Ideal Scope images, including Whiteflash and JamesAllen.com.

Diamond Imaging

James Allen 360 example of diamond imaging

Winner: James Allen

A sight unseen engagement ring purchase can be nerve-wracking. Which retailer gives you the most confidence when it comes to making a purchase?

It is hard to match the online shopping experience offered by James Allen. In lieu of hands-on experience with the diamond, the company offers crystal clear 360-degree HD videos for each diamond.

Because of the ability to zoom in and examine flaws from every angle, this “virtual viewing” can be better than actually going into a store. This way, you can see the diamond up close before making a purchase.

Nevertheless, Blue Nile is rapidly catching up. The site now offers 360-degree video previews of most diamonds as well. But some diamonds still only use a stock photo and are sold only by the specs (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat).

The advantage still belongs to James Allen in this regard. You can better see flaws in their videos due to their natural lighting (rather than super white). The diamond can even be examined through a “super zoom” just like with a jeweler’s loupe.

You can find all the information you need to be confident in your purchase by checking out our large selection of loose diamonds online. Our filters let you choose between natural and lab diamonds, as well as fancy colored diamonds and you can prioritize specifications as you desire.

Engagement Ring Styles & Design

Winner: Tie

Regardless of which retailer you choose, you’re sure to find a wide variety of ring settings. There are more than 600 setting options available on James Allen’s website, while Blue Nile offers just a little less.

The setting styles at James Allen are more varied, so if you are looking for something specific, you may find it there. Blue Nile does not offer some unique setting styles, such as tension and bezel. They are definitely more on the classic side. 

For those seeking yellow or rose gold, James Allen is the best choice. A majority of their 600+ settings can be made with white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, or platinum. In contrast, Blue Nile only offers a few rose gold and yellow gold settings.

Both sites have a selection of designer rings. Blue Nile has rings by: 

  • Monica Lhuillier  
  • Zac Posen

While James Allen has rings by: 

  • Verragio 
  • Danhov
  • Jeff Cooper
  • Martin Flyer

It is exciting to note that both sites allow you to customize your very own ring. You can either start by choosing the setting or by choosing the stone. Both offer a step-by-step guide. Upon completion, both will provide a preview of the finished design to fuel your next day dream. 

However, we feel James Allen’s website is more user-friendly. There are large previews of each diamond in the diamond listing, and we really like that. In this way, it is easy to pinpoint the best-looking diamonds for closer examination.

Blue Nile has a pretty cool diamond comparison feature. You can compare prices and specs of similar diamonds whenever you’re looking at a particular diamond. When looking for a better value stone, this can be helpful.

In terms of engagement ring styles and ring design, James Allen and Blue Nile are neck and neck, and are given a well-deserved tie.

Range of Jewelry Products

Blue Nile selection of diamond rings, studs, bracelets and necklaces

Winner: Blue Nile

In the jewelry product range matchup of James Allen vs Blue Nile, it truly depends on what you desire. It is a tight race for this honor. However, we believe Blue Nile still has a wider selection. 

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Fine jewelry: They both also have necklaces, earrings, and bracelets in addition to engagement rings. The selection at Blue Nile is much broader and at a variety of price points.
  • Build your own: In both cases, you can select your own loose diamonds to create your own diamond earrings or pendants.
  • Lab diamonds: 
  • As a more eco-friendly and budget-friendly alternative to natural diamonds, lab-created diamonds are becoming more popular. Blue Nile does not carry loose lab diamonds, whereas James Allen does. Presently, it only sells some jewelry made from lab diamonds.
  • Pearl jewelry: A variety of pearl earring styles are available at Blue Nile, including freshwater pearls, akoya pearls, and Tahitian pearls. The pearl selection on James Allen’s site isn’t as extensive yet since the site only introduced pearls recently.
  • Gemstone jewelry: There is a large selection of loose gemstones available from James Allen (emeralds, rubies, blue, pink, yellow sapphires) that you can set into any setting you desire. There are only preset gemstone rings available on Blue Nile.
  • Wallet-friendly jewelry: A nice selection of fine jewelry under $100 is available at Blue Nile, including sterling silver and 14k gold jewelry made from pearls, gemstones, and precious metals.


Blue Nile diamond jewelry on showcase


Winner: Tie

Blue Nile and James Allen offer 24/7 customer service by phone, email, and live chat. On-site diamond experts are available at both locations to answer questions and assist you – which is more than you can say for the majority of brick-and-mortar stores. 

Real Time Diamond Inspection is one of James Allen’s best services. No appointment is needed – you can start a session whenever you need help. With the help of an expert, you can compare diamonds and review the specs and grading report on the screen. 

The expert can guide you through exactly what you’re seeing.

Blue Nile, on the other hand, offers virtual appointments designed to replicate an in-person shopping experience. A personal jeweler can provide you with a one-on-one virtual consultation and showcase different diamonds and jewelry items available for purchase.

Each has its advantages. In the event you need immediate assistance, James Allen is the best option. However, Blue Nile is excellent if you want to see jewelry firsthand.

There are great policies offered by both companies.

  • Returns: There is a generous 30-day return policy offered by both companies. Whether you’re unhappy with the purchase or not, you can return your ring or jewelry for a refund or exchange. It is free to return items on both sites in the US, however James Allen does not offer free international returns.
  • Resizing: Within the first year, both companies offer free resizing if you ordered the wrong size.
  • Warranty: They both offer lifetime warranties, but James Allen offers a greater amount of coverage. Only manufacturer defects and complimentary diamond ring cleaning are covered by Blue Nile’s warranty.
  • Upgrades: There are lifetime diamond upgrade policies offered by both companies. The new diamond must be at least twice as expensive as the old diamond in order to be exchanged for 100% of the original price.

We love these sites because they have excellent resources for educating you and supporting you in feeling confident with your purchase – this is a really important service for diamond retailers to provide, especially online. 

Prior to buying a diamond, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of diamond education with PriceScope. It is easier to shop confidently and informed when you have a resource like ours at your fingertips.


James Allen elegant red packaging, with one ring box open presenting a diamond engagement ring


Winner: James Allen

Blue Nile’s classic packaging consists of a rectangular carton with the company’s logo embossed on its surface. You will find a folder inside the box that contains all the documents you need to conclude your purchase. 

When the velvet blue box is opened, the ring is positioned face up within a padded slot, presenting the ring in the best light.

Packaging quality is a minor disadvantage for Blue Nile. Although it’s nice, it could (and should) be a bit fancier. If you ask for his or her hand in marriage, this is what you are presenting.  

Blue Nile blue open ringbox with small diamond engagement ring inside

It’s a big deal to present the love of your life with an engagement ring, and James Allen’s packaging is pretty swanky. Even if it seems silly at first, it’s not when you’re down on one knee. 

Several functions are served by the presentation box. Besides protecting your new treasure during transit, it also holds an array of documents and a jewelry cleaning cloth from James Allen.

In the top level of the jewelry box, you can find the original red ring box, the color of love. On the bottom tier is a drawer containing all the guarantees and warranties associated with your diamond, as well as a James Allen appraisal for jewelry insurance.


Winner: Tie

Online jewelry retailers are undoubtedly more cost-effective than brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. For diamonds with similar characteristics, the prices offered by both sites are similar. However, James Allen’s pricing may be lower for comparable diamonds than Blue Nile’s.

There is a Diamond Price Match Guarantee offered by both retailers; Blue Nile and James Allen will match the price of a comparable diamond if you find one elsewhere for less.

The guidelines are a bit strict, but that’s understandable.

In order to be eligible, the competitor diamond must have the exact same characteristics (carat, cut, color, clarity, fluorescence, table and depth percentage, symmetry, etc.). The lower price will be honored for 48 hours if it is determined that it’s a match and is qualified.

A slight edge goes to Blue Nile in the fine jewelry department. With free shipping and gift packaging, it makes fine jewelry more accessible and offers a wide selection of pieces under $100.

As a large and established brand, Blue Nile also offers credit options if you’d like to buy your ring with a credit line.

Blue Nile, Whiteflash and James Allen offer exceptional value in their online diamond shopping experience when you're looking for diamond retailers who offer a seamless selection process, exclusive features, and a wide variety of options.

James Allen vs Blue Nile: Final Thoughts

The internet makes jewelry shopping so much easier. Although there are many people who feel more confident about buying rings if they can actually see and hold them before making a purchase – this debate is moot, however. 

In addition to bulletproof returns, certifications, excellent images, customer reviews and experts at your fingertips, this is definitely a comfortable way to buy diamonds online.

How do you decide which is the best? Well, it depends on the item you’re purchasing and how you evaluate quality.  

Both companies have many things to love, with only small differences between them. Customers should always take advantage of the low pressure that comes with buying online and shop around before making a decision. 

Comparing companies and deciding which one to choose will help you make an informed decision.

There is no doubt that both companies are reputable. They both provide excellent customer service and offer a wide selection of inventory options.  Blue Nile and James Allen are both one of PriceScope’s Featured Vendors, so regardless of who you crowned a winner, you’ll be in safe hands for your diamond purchase.

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