Looking for the best places to buy diamonds and engagement rings online? This question ranks high among the most frequent inquiries from our readers. And it’s a crucial one, whether you’re investing $1k or $30k on that special ring. Exercising due diligence with your hard-earned money to ensure maximum value for your expenditure is essential.
While this article is comprehensive and detailed, as we compare some of the Best Places to Buy Diamonds from the most acclaimed online retailers, we’ve also summarized our top selections for the year 2024 and beyond for those who prefer a concise overview:
Best Online Diamond Retailers
- James Allen Jewelers: Premium Overall Diamond Retailer
- BlueNile: Top-notch choice for modest budgets
- Brian Gavin: Superior Diamond Cuts
- Whiteflash: Excellent Boutique Dealer
We based our choices on several factors:
- Website experience
- Imaging technology
- Customer + After Sales Service
- Jewelry vs. loose stones
Continue reading for a comprehensive analysis of each of our top recommendations!
Quick note: This guide highlights the best places to buy diamonds for retail purchases, not wholesale transactions.
Subsequent to our analysis, we’ll provide tips on purchasing diamonds, jewelry, and engagement rings that can assist you in saving money and making an informed choice!
1. James Allen: Prime Destination for Engagement Rings and Diamonds:
Why JA is our favorite store?
- Selection exceeding 320,000 stones (as of June. 2023)
- 360-degree interactive HD image viewing of products, up to 40x magnification
- 30-day money-back guarantee and complimentary resizing for 1 YEAR!
- Authentic photos of diamond inventory (no generic stock images)
- Create your dream engagement ring from scratchBroad range of ring styles – from solitaire to vintage and everything in between
- Impressive collection of designer jewelry pieces from renowned designers
- Inspiration Gallery to guide your journey in designing a gorgeous diamond ring
- Virtual Ring Sizer
- Free Shipping to all locations
- Certified Conflict-Free Stones
- Exceptional customer support (you can verify this by talking to their 24/7 chat agents)
If you’re buying any type of jewelry there’s one spot you want to go first – James Allen.com.
The Full Rundown
So, why opt for James Allen when choosing the premier online jewelry store?
It’s straightforward – they are one of the industry’s leading diamond jewelry and engagement ring retailers, providing the most exemplary shopping experience.
Online forums and message boards abound with unbiased, genuine, and favorable reviews and experiences with the company. Many perceive it as the best online platform for purchasing engagement rings (and regular jewelry as well!).
Help and Insights
Even if you’re entirely clueless, they’ll guide you through the entire journey – from selecting the diamond to finding the perfect setting.
We’ve tested them (as mystery shoppers) multiple times, conversed with their customer support before & after the purchase, and the whole process was flawless. They even provided some unique proposal ideas!
James Allen stands out as the optimal choice for shopping engagement rings or wedding bands due to:
Their Online Custom Ring Designer
If you’re inclined to design an engagement ring from scratch, you can begin with either the setting or the diamond and proceed to completion.
You have the freedom to choose the metal – gold, platinum, etc. – and then opt for a brilliant colorless or fancy color centerpiece.
Explore their exclusive jewelry designer – it works really well.
Their Selection and Price Point
With a selection of over quarter a million diamonds to choose from, you’re bound to find the ideal match.
Not interested in designing your ring? Browse through their vast collections engagement rings, they have solitaire, pave, channel set, side-stone, three stone, tension, halo, vintage, and bridal sets.
They also feature branded engagement rings in their designer collection.
These are among the most exquisite certified diamond rings available online – from designers like Verragio, Danhov, Jeff Cooper, and Martin Flyer.
It’s highly likely they’ll have your dream piece within their extensive selection.
Full 3D, 360-degree High-Quality Imaging
You’ll be shown a 3D view of the exact diamond you’re about to purchase.
This is crucial when investing in diamond jewelry.
Let’s be honest, the purpose of this is to flaunt your jewel’s beauty and perfection. You wouldn’t want to inadvertently pick something dull or tinted – particularly for an engagement ring.
Seeing the actual diamond you’re about to purchase is crucial.
And that’s why James Allen is an unparalleled jewelry store online.
Is James Allen Good for Loose Diamonds Online?
James Allen does indeed sell loose diamonds online, and it’s a strong contender for your consideration.
Again, you have the advantage of viewing the actual diamond prior to purchase.
However, other factors (whether you’re buying from JA or any other store) come into play when you buy diamonds as a commodity or a store of value, rather than for its aesthetic appeal.
When purchasing an item as a commodity or investment, such as a loose stone, the primary concerns are usually price and volume.
2. Blue Nile: Top-notch choice for modest budgets
Price Range: $250 to $40,000
Customization Available: Yes
Virtual Advisors: Available
At-Home Try-On: Not Offered
Return Policy and Warranty: 30-Day Returns and Lifetime Warranty
Financing Options: Available
Blue Nile, one of the Best Places to Buy Diamonds, pioneered fine jewelry retailers to fully embrace online shopping. Their selection of engagement rings is extensive, with customization options, their unique collection, and partnerships with renowned designers like Zac Posen. Blue Nile places a strong emphasis on ethically sourced diamonds, and they provide valuable features such as a price-match guarantee and a diamond upgrade program, catering to those looking to enhance the quality of their ring over time.
What do they offer?
Their selection includes classic and contemporary solitaire, halo, and three-stone ring designs. The experienced team is readily available to assist you in selecting a diamond from their extensive inventory of 150,000 GIA-graded diamonds. Whether you opt to create your own custom design or explore their ready-made catalog, Blue Nile has the ideal engagement ring waiting for you.
A glimpse of what customers say
“I recently bought a 2-carat oval-cut diamond set in gold with 4 white gold prongs and proposed to my fiancé with it. It was absolutely stunning, and we both adored it. The entire process was incredibly straightforward and hassle-free. The selection was extensive, allowing us to find exactly what we wanted. The customer service representatives were exceptional, always available to answer any questions, no matter the time of day.”
Shipping: Enjoy complimentary, secure shipping
Returns: Benefit from a 30-day return window and a lifetime guarantee
Financing: Consider the Blue Nile Credit Card for interest-free financing with full payment within six months
Shipping Duration: Delivery times may vary depending on the chosen ring
Blue Nile empowers customers with unparalleled control over their jewelry shopping journey. Whether you opt for the “Build Your Own Ring” feature, explore the “Ready-to-Ship” ring collection, or seek a loose stone, the brand offers expert support through comprehensive educational resources and innovative online utilities, ensuring customers make informed decisions. With round-the-clock, year-round customer service and the introduction of virtual appointments, Blue Nile is committed to delivering exceptional service and knowledge from the comfort of your home.
Pros & Cons
- ✅ Extensive selection of diamonds
- ✅ Easy-to-navigate shopping process
- ✅ Diverse pricing options
- ✅ Knowledgeable diamond advisors
- ⛔ No option for at-home try-on
3. Our Runner Up: Brian Gavin
What’s the deal?
- Known for the best cuts in the world
- Wide Selection of true Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
- All stones individually approved By Brian Gavin
- 360-Degree Videos of inventory
- Ideal scope images & ASET images
- Lifetime upgrade policy (just pay the difference)
Brian Gavin is a well-recognized name in the diamond industry and it’s no wonder why…
The Full Rundown:
Brian Gavin is a South-African diamond cutter who got the business in his genes. He’s a fifth-generation cutter who personally inspects all the stones in the “signature line” on his website.
And that’s important. Why?
The name is known for having cuts that do not compromise on quality, featuring the best symmetry and proportions you’ll find. So whether you want a marquise cut or a princess cut, having Gavin inspect each diamond for quality means you’re going to get the perfect stone.
They also have some of the best ring brands in stock, much like James Allen.
It’s not just about symmetry with Brian Gavin, it’s also about how light reacts to and within the diamond. Gavin’s gemstones are known for their light performance in addition to their perfect cuts.
To gain a better understanding of diamond cuts, you can explore our guide titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Diamond Cut Perfection“.
Brian Gavin is one of the best jewelry websites online, but this comes with a cost of course. Their prices are somehow “affordable”, but not to everyone, more on this shortly.
And if you’re looking for something special, check out the Brian Gavin Blue line of stones which offer a beautiful blue fluorescence.
Normally diamonds that offer fluorescence can be hazy, but not with Brian Gavin Blue – they are guaranteed not to exhibit negative effects associated with fluorescence, this is one of the cases when fluorescence can be taken to your side!
Ideal scope & ASET images
Although the site offers a 360-degree look at their stones, they also offer something called Ideal scope and ASET images.
These images help you determine the light performance of different diamond cuts. The images show how much light is leaked.
Brian Gavin Prices Review
When you’re shopping diamonds from a hand-picked store by one of the most renowned jeweler on earth, you don’t expect to have the cheapest prices, do you?
So it should be obvious that it’s not fair (doesn’t even make sense) to compare diamonds prices from Brian Gavin with those you can get on Blue Nile or James Allen (although you definitely you can get spectacular diamonds there), but the comparison isn’t fair here.
To put this into the correct context, when you’re shopping from Brian Gavin website, you’re paying a little extra for the guarantee that comes with each diamond, a guarantee that it has unmatched sparkle, fine-picked, and outstanding from all other diamonds you see elsewhere.
How much is this “extra”? It’s not a fortune, it completely depends on the diamond you’re getting, the difference for a $5k diamond is indeed not the same when you get a $30k diamond, roughly speaking, you might be looking at somewhere between 10-20% increase on BG.
4. Best Boutique Shop: Whiteflash
What’s the Deal:
- Known for their “A CUT ABOVE®” Signature Line
- Amazing selection of designer brands
- Ideal scope & ASET Images
- All Diamonds are AGS certified
- Lifetime upgrade policy (paying just the difference)
- One year Buy-back Guarantee
- Better Business Bureau A+ Rating
- Free worldwide shipping
- Awarded BBB “Winner of Distinction” Award 7 Years Consecutively
The Full Rundown:
Whiteflash is another well-known spot based in Houston and claim to be all about the ideal cut. They offer top quality hearts and arrows diamond and even have a line of super-ideal cuts called “A CUT ABOVE®”
If you’re looking for a high-performing & ideal cut then Whiteflash is a great place to shop online. They offer Ideal scope and ASET images, and a lot of their collection has 360-degree view.
As far as what you can purchase, Whiteflash works with and offers jewelry pieces from a variety of high-end designers. Some of the brands they carry include Tacori, Verragio, Simon G, Ritani, Danhov, Vatche, and Benchmark.
One of the best things about Whiteflash is their after-sales policies. Customer service is top notch, but they also offer a one-year buy back guarantee, a one year service plan and a money-back guarantee AND a customer loyalty program.
They’ll also give you a “lifetime trade-up” opportunity where you can upgrade your purchased diamond ring or jewelry at any time. You’ll only pay the difference in the ring prices between your upgrade and your old one.
Are People Still Buying Diamonds?
In the past there were a lot of headlines that claimed millennials and young people weren’t purchasing diamonds because they were too “old-school.”
And though there was some truth to it, it wasn’t the full story.
But in reality, millennials ARE buying diamonds. They’re just getting them for themselves to celebrate achievements in their life.
Even if the store ranks as one of the best places to buy diamonds, is online shopping still a good idea?
Shopping online is the way to go. Why?
Because competition online is fierce – so you’re going to get the best price, selection and research/viewing tools available.
However, a lot of people may think it makes no sense to get diamonds online.
When choosing jewelry, you need to see the product, right?
Right. But we’re almost in 2023 now and technology has brought us super-high-quality images and a full 360-degree view so you can view your potential purchase exactly like you were there in person.
Even more, on sites like James Allen with their superb imaging technology, you see the diamond online BETTER than how you see it in the store!
And our picks above offer great customer service. So if you’re not happy with what you get after ordering, there’s always a way to make things right.
What to Look For When Purchasing Online
Diamond jewelry and engagement rings are expensive – so you want to know you’re buying the right stone, from the Best Places to Buy Diamonds.
Aside from all the specific things you need to know about how to choose a diamond correctly, there’s general things you want to search for in a reputable establishment.
Some online diamond stores have less than desirable customer service or, worse yet, inferior quality. You can be sure that not all retailers are equal.
If you are planning on purchasing diamond jewelry online, here’s what the store MUST offer:
1. High Quality Images
No image? Don’t purchase, EVER!
A lot of options out there won’t give you high quality, real-life images of the inventory you’re selecting from.
Some offer stock images and others only offer one or two angles.
But the top diamond shops offer fully interactive, 360 degree high quality images of the actual rock you’re looking at picking up, and some went an extra mile (James Allen to be precise) and offered not only 20x 360-view of a diamond, but an insane 40x magnification for every diamond on their store.
So, make sure whoever choose gives you the ability to fully examine your purchase before you purchase.
2. GIA/AGS Certifications
This market – like any other marketplace – is rife of scammers and unscrupulous vendors.
When you’re looking online, make sure you’re buying from a store that offers certification for all their inventory. The GIA and the AGS are the two most reliable and consistent labs in the world.
The last thing you want to do is find the perfect engagement ring and center stone, and later realize it’s a conflict diamond that has the blood of innocent people on it.
The best part about buying gemstones online is the insanely huge selection you get. Most regular diamond shops have a limited inventory of stones. What they have in front of you, is what they have.
Have you ever imagined that you can browse between hundreds of thousands (literally) of diamonds in a single website? As of now, James Allen for example offers +500k diamonds, while Blue Nile offers +430k!
Almost 1 million diamond in just 2 stores.
What does that mean for you? You don’t have to settle for anything less than exactly what you want.
4) Customer Service and Policies
In the old world, diamonds and engagement rings were a pretentious endeavor.
But today, a lot of the players have realized the power really is in the hands of consumers.
The best online engagement ring stores have stellar customer services and return policies. Since you’re buying online, you want to be able to return an item that doesn’t meet your expectations in real life.
And in case you needed any info or help (resize, pre-sale inquiry, upgrade), you will find what you need from almost all reputable online stores before making any commitments to purchase.
Unfortunately, this is an area some retailers fall short on, so be wary.
Getting Great Value
Aside from the things we described above, there’s another thing you want to look for when deciding on a jeweler to spend your hard earned money with.
That can mean a couple of things.
For example, you can get great value by opting for a genuine lab created diamond (which is still real, not a fake like some people think)
Value can also mean paying for what something is worth, and not a penny more.
Another clear example is when you buy from competitive stores like Whiteflash or Blue Nile, versus getting almost the same diamond from Tiffany & Co, you’re paying extra grands just for the sake of the name, here comes the “Value”.
You do have to account for retailer markup and the middle-industry that helps along the way.
So you’re going to have to pay more than the intrinsic value of whatever good you’re acquiring.
But you shouldn’t be getting taken advantage of, or worse, ripped off.
And the truth is, you can normally save between 30-50% by shopping online vs. in-store, that’s simply because of the lower overhead costs involved in e-commerce as opposed to a brick and mortar location.
A High Profile Value Test – GMA
A report on Good Morning America compared diamonds purchased from big-names Costco and Tiffany’s. We all know Tiffany’s is a luxury brand, like Cartier or Bulgari, with a huge name around the world and expensive diamond jewelry pieces like engagement rings.
Most people would expect to pay more for something because of the value of the brand (and sometimes the uniqueness of the diamond jewelry setting/design).
They purchased a diamond ring from Tiffany’s for over $16,000 and another for $6,000 from Costco. They wanted to see if they got their money’s worth.
In short, they did. They got the shiny rocks appraised and found that they paid exactly what they should have at Tiffany’s, but they got a pretty damn good deal at Costco.
The Problem With the Test
The problem with the above test in answering the question of where to buy diamond rings is the spectrum of the test.
They chose one of the highest end diamonds retailers on earth and compared it to a bargain shop that sells everything and not just diamonds.
But what if you don’t want the G5 and won’t settle for the bottom of the barrel either? You don’t have to choose from Tiffany’s, Cartier or Bulgari for a great diamond. And you don’t have to get a Costco diamond or shop at Walmart for a great price.
That’s where we see the need to share knowledge and educate everyone about how and from where to buy their diamonds and engagement rings, the internet left nothing unexplained.
Why Buying Diamonds Online is Actually the Best Idea
You can purchase really fancy diamond bracelets and diamond earrings from a Cartier or you can go the more modest route and get a diamond necklace or diamond ring that’s just as good at either James Allen or Blue Nile.
And all the other great points we mentioned in the diamond store reviews above make them the ideal choice when deciding where to buy diamonds.
We highly recommend checking out their diamond inventory, and we’re sure you’ll find some really great diamond jewelry products that you’ll want to purchase right away!
What’s more is that online diamond shops are the best to shop at because they have much lower expenses than big box retailers you have to physically visit.
This makes the jewelry like engagement rings, promise rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other diamonds you buy at these online stores much more affordable than walking into a spot and choosing the same product.
Pros and Cons of Buying Diamonds Online
Is it safe to buy diamonds online? To ensure minimal risk, knowledge and due diligence is necessary.
As with any purchases, there are advantages and disadvantages that come with online shopping, here are some pros and cons of buying diamonds online:
1. Wide Selection
If you walk into your typical jeweler and ask to look for a specific loose diamond (i.e. defining your own exact 4Cs), chances are they don’t have any and say that they have to bring some in. Online jewelry stores seem to have endless inventories. They are able to show all of their wholesaler stocks, giving customers a large selection. Buying diamonds online means you have access to a wide selection of diamonds from larger and well-known companies.
2. Great Deals
Online jewelry stores have lower operation costs and save on overhead cost. They can pass on the savings to consumers. Generally, you will find lower prices from an online store than in your local jeweler.
Since there are hundreds of online stores to choose from wherever you are, competition arises. Consequently, they are lowering their prices to attract customers, while in local stores, there will be a limited number of stores in the area, making competition less heated >> prices will be higher.
Ever been bothered by a salesperson trying to convince you with a specific diamond? Or walked in to a store but couldn’t find any help due to many shoppers (like the famous 47th street in Manhattan)?
Shopping online gives you the the convenience to browse diamonds on your own, without having to deal with traffic, other shoppers, and pushy salespersons. You don’t have to feel pressured into buying a larger gem, especially if you already know exactly what you are looking for in a diamond.
4) Sales Tax Savings
Buying a diamond online from an out-of-state vendor can save a lot of money. In some places like Texas where the sales tax is 8.25%, buying diamond jewelry online worth $10,000 will save you $825. Just ensure that the credit card charges, handling fees and shipping charges will not eat up this legitimate cost saving feature.
It’s also worth verifying this with your accountant on how to properly report this, and/or if there is anything blocks you from doing this.
How can you be sure that you are actually getting what you are paying for? Some people are not even sure if they will get the right product at the right time. This uncertainty is one of the reasons why people don’t take the risk of online shopping.
To give the full picture, this case is more common with less-known online stores, but when you’re shopping from the giants, this uncertainty is almost non-existent.
2. Inability To Compare Diamonds Physically
Online jewelry stores use different types of photo editing software and lighting on the diamond themselves. What you will see are full-color, high resolution images of diamonds. It is similar to ordering a red shirt online only to see that it looks pink or orange when it arrives. It can be very frustrating and disappointing.
How much more disappointed would you be when you receive a diamond that’s not what you ordered?
This is common when you a “static” photo of the diamond, some sites (even large ones like Blue Nile & Whiteflash) uses just an image of diamond, while viewing the diamond in 360-degree is way better since you can examine it under different lighting angles.
The internet is a vast unregulated marketplace with good and bad merchants selling good and bad diamonds. There is the possibility that you get a diamond that is worth less than you paid for or worse, if you get a fake diamond.
4) After Sale Services
Most online jewelry stores don’t offer a longer-term relationship for extremely important after sale services like cleaning, sizing, tightening, and upgrading.
Diamond and Gemstone Jewelry Purchase Tips
Here are some final tips that will help make your buying experience the best it can be.
1. Find a Reputable Vendor
Do your homework and research on the company first to ensure they have an astounding reputation. Don’t just settle for a few online reviews. Search for unpaid customer testimonials. You can also post questions about the company on forums and through social media. Also, check their credentials and services. Do not hesitate to ask about a vendor’s credentials if you cannot find them on their website.
2. Check Their Policies
Make sure you understand the store’s policies on returns, guarantees, and terms and conditions. Have the store email you copies of their policies before buying.
Take pictures or screenshots of all relevant information such as the diamond you are purchasing, the vendor’s contact information and policies to serve as proof in case something goes wrong.
3) Educate Yourself
Nothing beats a well-educated shopper.
Before you buy diamonds, whether online or a physical store, take time to educate yourself about diamonds. What makes one more valuable than another? Learn about the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) and get a better understanding of how to buy diamonds.
Using the diamond language & terminologies in any store will immediately let the salesperson know that you know more than they think, and they would be more careful offering some stupid upgrades just for the sake of “let’s just get more money from this customer”.
You’re on the right track by being here right now looking for the best places online to get diamonds.
4) Diamond Certificate/Report
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most well-known institute in diamond graindg. They are considered as the most consistent and reliable in their grading.
Next comes the AGS (American Gem Society), they are highly reputable as well, considered (along with GIA) as the best diamond grading labs globally.
As you are shopping for diamonds, the grading report for each diamond should be visible. If it is not, ask to see a copy of it. Make sure that the GIA/AGS report comes with the diamond you purchase.
5) Get Independent Appraising
Take the diamond you purchased to a independent appraiser within the timeframe the vendor allows for returns. They will ensure that the diamond matches the independent grading lab’s report. They can also check for structural problems within the stone and evaluate the diamond’s beauty and value.
Buying diamonds online can be a pleasant experience. If you don’t feel comfortable in making your purchase online, you can use diamond sites as a way to educate yourself about diamonds. If you decide to buy your diamonds online, practice your due diligence to avoid risks and problems.
There are several reputable companies out there; waiting to make your diamond dreams come true.
6) Take Your Time
Buying diamond jewelry and gemstones online (even when shopping at the best online diamond retailer you can find) is a big deal. Take your time when shopping and read up on different tips. There shouldn’t be any rush.
Make sure the diamond is the right size, color and shape. If you have questions, no matter how basic (like “can diamonds scratch or even break?”), don’t be afraid to ask a customer service rep.
7) Secure Your Purchase
Wherever you choose to get your diamonds from, make sure they have great customer service and a solid refund/return policy. You don’t want to be stuck with a bill for multiple thousands of dollars and a product you absolutely hate.
Again, James Allen and Blue Nile both offer great 30-day return policies on all of their diamond products. Not satisfied with the diamond you got? No problem. And a lifetime warranty would be nice.
8) Make Sure You Made The Right Choice
Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to hire a diamond appraiser to have your new jewelry tested? You can do it yourself!
There’s a device called a Presidium Multi Tester that you can use to test the products you buy online. (Diamonds conduct heat really well so when pressed up against the tester it should cool the tip immediately. If it doesn’t, it might be a fake!)
That’s All about the Best Places to Buy Diamonds
There you have it – some awesome online diamond jewelry stores (in our opinion). Which of them you choose really depends on what your purpose is. But regardless of which you choose to get diamonds from – if you stick to our top picks above, you likely won’t go wrong. No chipped stones here!
Definitely visit James Allen to buy your jewelry (at the very least and check out their awesome 3D images of the actual diamonds they have for sale online). Their site is pretty great, navigation wise and definitely our fav. If you need help with other aspects of the process – like finding chipped or cracked diamond repair, we’ll try to put something together for you.
What about you – what is your idea of the best place to buy diamonds? Do you have any favorites on the internet? Have you had good experiences, bad experiences, or mediocre experiences? Let us know in the comments below.