James Allen vs Blue Nile: Which One Is Right For You?

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When it comes to buying an engagement ring, you’ll hear about James Allen and Blue Nile very often. After all, they’re currently two of the best online diamond retailers in the market at this moment. But which one is better? Which vendor will give you the most value for your dollar? That’s a very broad question with a lot to unpack and consider. So in this post, we’ll dissect the differences between James Allen vs Blue Nile, and we’ll analyze which one is right for you.

Bottom Line Recommendation
If you’re looking for a great shopping experience, a large selection of high-quality diamonds, amazing virtual features, helpful 24/7 customer support, competitive prices, and tons of post-purchase care like lifetime warranty, you can’t go wrong with James Allen.

NOTE: As of September 2022, James Allen’s parent company Signet Jewellers has acquired Blue Nile.

FeaturesJames AllenBlue Nile
Inventory210,000 loose diamonds with HD video + 360 degree detail190,000 loose diamonds, but not all have HD video
Signature DiamondsTrue Hearts: Round, Cushion, & Princess CutAstor: Round, Cushion, & Princess Cut
Return Policy30-day return policy, free return shipping in US + Canada30-day return policy, free return shipping in US + Canada
Support24/7 support via live chat, phone, and email24/7 support via live chat, phone, and email
Setting Designs600+ Unique designs available350+ Unique designs available
WarrantyLifetime warranty with free prong tightening, re-polishing, rhodium plating, & cleaning servicesLifetime warranty on manufacturing defects with complimentary cleaning & inspections
WebsiteVery comprehensive, intuitive, & easy to useSearch filters are difficult to use and not as easy to navigate
PricingAverage 40% lower than other storesAverage 40% lower than other stores
Upgrade PolicyLifetime upgrades for 100% of the diamond value as long as new purchase is double the price of original diamondLifetime upgrades for 100% of the diamond value as long as new purchase is double the price of original diamond
Buyback PolicyN/ABuyback available via Mondiamo-Circa based on market value and cash offer
Year Founded20061999

Table of Contents
Customer Support
What We Love About James Allen
What We Love About Blue Nile
What We Dislike About James Allen
What We Dislike About Blue Nile
Final Verdict


James Allen

James Allen was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing consumers with a better way to shop for diamonds. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar jewellers, James Allen is completely digital (with the exception of a physical showroom in NYC and Washington D.C.).

Read also: Looking for a James Allen Store Location? Here’s Where To Find Them

james allen nyc showroom

The founders carry more than 60 years of combined experience in the diamond industry and have quickly made themselves a household name for online diamond retailers.

That’s really all you need to know about their history at a high-level overview. We’re not here to bore you!

If you want a deeper look into James Allen, we have a complete detailed guide + review here.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile was founded before James Allen, dating back to 1999. They were one of the first companies to offer high-quality diamonds and fine jewelry for sale directly to consumers over the internet.

blue nile showroom

Over the years, Blue Nile has become known for their transparency and customer satisfaction by providing detailed information about each of their diamonds to shoppers.

Blue Nile has overtime expanded their products beyond diamonds to beautifully crafted rings, earrings, necklaces, and more.

Now that you have a brief understanding of who came first and their history, let’s get into the interesting part!


We’ll be the first to say that quality is subjective. If you have a higher budget, naturally you’ll get higher quality diamonds.

Check out our guide here to shopping for diamonds with a budget, and how to get the most bang for your buck.

Another factor to quality of a diamond is the 4C’s (cut, clarity, color, & carat). We have an entire guide here for what they are and why they’re so important.

diamond quality

Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into what we’ve all been waiting for: the quality comparison of James Allen vs Blue Nile and which one comes out on top.

James Allen

A lot of readers have messaged us saying they were very satisfied with the quality of their diamond engagement ring from James Allen.

Read also: James Allen vs Tiffany: The Answer May Surprise You

With their 360 degree visual studio with 40x magnification, shoppers can clearly see any inclusions and flaws in their diamond before they purchase it. Of course, this depends on what clarity your diamond is.

james allen carat size preview

For the price you pay for a diamond engagement ring at James Allen, we typically find that you get the most appropriate quality diamond in return.

Read also: The Dark Side of James Allen: Unveiling Complaints

And there’s no surprises since you can view the diamond up close in detail with their 360 degree visual studio, almost exactly as if you were to view it physically in person.

Blue Nile

We don’t personally know as many people who’ve purchased from Blue Nile compared to James Allen. But the few people whom we do know that have purchased from Blue Nile are just as happy with their purchase.

Read also: Are Tiffany Engagement Rings Worth It?

This is yet again another case of whatever price you pay, you get the equivalent value. Blue Nile isn’t a vendor that gives you less quality for the price point, unlike many designer diamond jewelry stores that inflate prices on shoppers because of their brand name.

Blue Nile’s quality is quite straight forward. If you’re in the market for a 1.00 carat diamond, that’s exactly what you get.

Verdict: TIE


Now let’s take a look at who has a larger selection of diamonds between Blue Nile and James Allen.

James Allen’s inventory is a big one. With over 210,000 different loose diamonds to choose from, we’re certain you’ll find your perfect diamond on their site.

Blue Nile offers slightly fewer loose diamonds at 190,000. Is the difference of 20,000 loose diamonds a deal-breaker? Not likely, but it’s always nice knowing you have a greater selection.

Verdict: James allen


This category is the most sought-after difference between James Allen vs. Blue Nile.

James Allen and Blue Nile both offer an astonishing selection of fine diamonds so that couples can be sure they are getting great value and striking beauty out of their purchase.

Every one of their stones come with a valuable certificate that ensures the quality, carat size and craftsmanship is simply unmatched elsewhere.

More importantly, both James Allen and Blue Nile understand budgets and have reasonable prices to ensure everyone can find their dream ring without breaking the bank.

However, if we’re comparing two diamonds of the same cut, clarity, carat, and color, Blue Nile offers the more affordable option.

Verdict: Blue Nile


Time to compare the websites of James Allen vs Blue Nile. In this section, we’ll take a deeper look into which website looks better and provides an overall positive shopping experience.

Right off the bat, we can see that James Allen’s website is very intuitive, easy-to-use, and highly informative.

Read also: How To Use James Allen’s Virtual Ring Try On Feature

james allen website

Not to mention they have plenty of pictures of their diamonds up-close and with lifestyle pictures to show how the diamond would look on a person.

We find it very easy to navigate their website and find relevant information rather quickly.

On the other hand, the Blue Nile website seems a bit more plain with slightly confusing filters and search results. We tried navigating through their website via the search bar but wasn’t always successful in finding what we wanted.

blue nile website

Overall, Blue Nile has a decent website but for what it’s worth, James Allen wins here by a landslide.

Verdict: James Allen

Customer Support

Not only does James Allen have a huge selection of high-quality jewelry, but their customer service is second to none.

Each purchase comes with free shipping and a lifetime warranty, giving you peace of mind that your jewelry has been professionally inspected by experts before it arrives to you.

james allen customer support

And if anything happens to your piece after purchase, their customer service team is always available to help out. No matter what diamond or gemstone you’re looking for, the attentive and knowledgeable team at James Allen will make sure that your shopping experience is second to none.

Blue Nile’s customer support takes services to the next level. Their representatives are extensively trained to handle any situation with compassion and efficiency. They take the time to understand each customer’s individual needs while providing friendly and helpful guidance.

blue nile customer support

Whether through phone, email or live chat, Blue Nile Diamonds’ customer support provides quick and reliable assistance in order for customers to shop with confidence and satisfaction.

As an added bonus, customers can count on receiving comprehensive feedback about the diamond of their choice for better decision-making.

Not sure if you need both an engagement ring and a wedding ring? We got you covered here.

However, when we factor in the website from the previous section and how easy it is to navigate to get through to customer support, along with James Allen’s 24/7 knowledgable customer support, we would have to say that James Allen takes the win here.

Verdict: James Allen

Visit James Allen here

What We Love About James Allen

One of the key benefits of shopping at James Allen is the ability to view each diamond in 360 degree detail, allowing customers to see exactly what they’re purchasing. With the additional help of 40x magnification, shoppers can easily take a look at any inclusions and flaws in the diamonds they’re buying.

james allen diamond closeup

They also offer shoppers to virtually try on diamond engagement rings with their smartphone from the comfort of their house.

Moreover, their site offers a variety of helpful tools to make the shopping experience as smooth as possible, including a diamond comparison tool and a ring sizer.

Check out our guide on how to measure your ring size at home in 3 simple steps.

Finally, James Allen offers free shipping and returns, and lifetime warranty on all of their diamond jewelry.

What We Love About Blue Nile

Blue Nile takes a different approach to the whole shopping experience of buying an engagement ring.

One of the key reasons why Blue Nile is so great is its commitment to transparency and customer education.

blue nile education

The website provides a wealth of information about each diamond, including detailed a grading report, as well as a variety of helpful tools and resources to assist customers in making informed purchasing decisions.

For instance, on the upper-right hand side of their website is the education tab. Under this tab, we found some relevant blog posts on topics like their lab diamond process, their conflict free diamonds, their diamond upgrade program, and more.

For a beginner new to their website, their education section is a great place to get started to understand who they are and what they stand for.

What We Dislike About James Allen

One drawback we hear many people say about James Allen is that shopping for a diamond engagement ring online is that you don’t get to see and feel the product in front of you before purchasing.

But we’d argue with their Virtual Ring Try-On feature, you can get the exact same experience from your smartphone.

james allen virtual try on

Another thing we’re not a big fan of for James Allen is their delayed shipping for custom-made rings. From past experience, we noticed shipping can sometimes take 1-3 weeks to arrive at your door.

In this day and age of Amazon Prime and overnight/same day shipping, 1-3 weeks can definitely feel like a long time.

Of course this can easily be dealt with by planning ahead. Order early, and if you’re not satisfied, you have a free 30 day return policy. Which brings us to our next point…

James Allen currently does not offer free international return shipping if you live outside US or Canada. Customers in all other countries have to the bare the responsibility of paying for a return label.

And finally, James Allen currently does not offer reservations. This means if you come across a diamond ring you really love, you may want to order quickly incase it becomes unavailable.

Thankfully, they carry a large selection of diamonds so ideally you shouldn’t have an issue shopping for your next diamond ring.

What We Dislike About Blue Nile

Similar to James Allen, we find many shoppers don’t like the online shopping experience at Blue Nile. However, unlike James Allen, Blue Nile does not have a virtual ring try-on feature.

This means shoppers aren’t able to see how the diamond looks on their finger before making the purchase.

Lab diamonds are all the craze nowadays. Check out our guide here on where to find the best affordable lab grown diamonds.

Another thing we don’t really like about Blue Nile was what we felt like was a limited selection of diamonds. We inputted some search filters for diamonds and found a very limited selection compared to other online retailers.

blue nile selection

Truth be told, we find Blue Nile to be a very middle-of-the-pack online retailer. They’re not the best in our opinion, but they’re certainly not the worst.

Final Verdict

When we compare James Allen vs Blue Nile, our bottom line recommendation is the following:

James Allen and Blue Nile are both leading online retailers of fine jewelry, offering a wide selection of beautifully crafted engagement rings. Blue Nile and James Allen are known for their high-quality cut diamonds, which are certified by independent labs for their cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

However, there are some differences between the two companies.

For instance, James Allen offers a unique feature that allows customers to view each diamond in 360 degrees with 40x magnification and virtually try on rings with your smartphone. This can be very helpful when making an informed purchasing decision.

On the other hand, Blue Nile provides shoppers a variety of education resources and tools to assist customers in choosing the right diamond.

For instance, their education section is filled with information about their lab diamonds and conflict free diamonds. This information is also very important to know when making an informed purchasing decision.

Both James Allen and Blue Nile offer a lifetime warranty of free prong tightening, re-polishing, rhodium plating, and complimentary cleaning services with access to diamond experts.

Both companies also offer comparable quality and competitive prices. But what good would a comparison article be if we said both Blue Nile and James Allen are great choices? If we had to pick one, the winner would be…drumroll please…

James Allen

At the end of the day, if we’re looking for a great shopping experience, a large selection of high-quality diamonds, amazing virtual features, helpful 24/7 customer support, competitive prices, and tons of post-purchase care like lifetime warranty, you can’t go wrong with James Allen.

Check out our detailed review of James Allen here.

james allen diamond ring

Photo of author
John Anderson
With over two decades of wedding experience, John Anderson is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor at Life Line Wedding. He writes a variety of articles spanning over multiple areas of expertise including engagement rings, diamonds, wedding jewelry, and wedding planning. John's mission is to help soon-to-be-married couples make educated and well-informed decisions. He now spends his time writing articles to help couples on Lifelinewedding.com. John is based in Brooklyn, NY.