Updated September 22, 2022

Best Place to Buy Engagement Ring Online

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Thinking of buying an engagement ring online? Here are the top 3 diamond stores for selection, quality, and overall experience.

Online shopping for a diamond ring bears many benefits. You can browse in peace and choose from a wider selection. Also, get more customization options and often, lower prices.

But buying a diamond ring is not the most lightweight decision. This is a ring your loved one will cherish forever. And online options can seem scary if you don't know what you're looking for.

Where is the Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring?

Buying an engagement ring is one of the most important purchases you'll ever make. You want your soon-to-be fiancée to love it. But you also want your wallet to love it, too.

How do you select the best store for your ring?

Here's a little help choosing.

Best Jewelry Stores for Stunning Engagement Rings

Luckily, we have helped you with the research and narrowed it down to three favorites:

Each takes a different approach. So you should choose the one that best suits your taste and budget.

ForDiamond Retailer
Best Place to Buy OnlineJames Allen
Good Selection & PriceBlue Nile
Good QualityWhiteflash

Before You Begin: Factors to Consider

Price
Unless you have an unlimited budget, cost is going to be a major factor. You can usually find better prices for diamonds online.

Remember, there is no one right answer for how much you should spend on an engagement ring. The best advice is the ring should cost what you can afford without going into debt. But also pricey enough to demonstrate your commitment.

Amount of Data
Being unable to see the diamond is the biggest downside of shopping for diamonds online. You'll have to rely on the specifications of the 4Cs (clarity, color, cut, carat weight) provided. Also, a photo or life-like HD videos, given the website offers them.

If being able to "see" it is important to you, you'll want to buy from a site that offers those features.

Selection
A bigger selection of diamonds gives you a bigger chance of finding the one you want that's also within your budget. It also means you'll have more flexibility in customizing the perfect ring exactly how you like it.

Tip: Don't get ripped off buying diamonds online. Always go for a GIA certified or AGS certified diamond.

Customer Service
This is an important factor. Especially if you know little about diamonds and need professional help.

Being able to call, live chat, or email a pro when you have questions can be a huge advantage. Additionally, buying a diamond engagement ring does come with risk. You want to make sure you can easily return it if anything goes wrong.

Shopping for a diamond ring is no easy task, especially if you're not very familiar with women's jewelry. You may want to start by reading this comprehensive guide on how to buy an engagement ring online first.

Top Engagement Ring Stores Review

Let's go over what each diamond retailer offers, how they are different, and any downsides you should know about.

Best Online Shopping Experience: James Allen

James Allen wins the title of best ring shopping experience hands down. The whole website is extremely user-friendly. Even if you're intimidated by the process of shopping for a ring.

What Makes James Allen Great?
James Allen provides an unmatched online shopping experience with its "Diamond Display Technology." This feature allows you to view a 360-degree, high-definition video for every single diamond in their collection.

If you create a free account, you can access a "super zoom" feature. It lets you examine the diamond with the tools of a professional jeweler. This helps alleviate the fear of buying a diamond online. You can see the actual stone you'll be purchasing.

Another aspect of James Allen's excellent shopping experience is its endless customization options.

Do you want a specific engagement ring style?

James Allen offers 10 diamond shapes. And a huge selection of ring setting options in all materials. You'll also get to view each setting in stunning 360-degree detail. And see what the ring will look like from every angle.

Rings from James Allen Website
See how your ring will look from every angle

The website is also easy to navigate. You can start with a loose diamond or a setting.

Let's say you decided to choose a setting first. The website will then show you diamonds that fit within that setting. It's also helpful when shopping for a matching wedding ring.

If you get stuck, you can get a Real-Time Diamond Consultation with an expert any time of day. This diamond pro can advise you as you consider your options.

James Allen also offers a Diamond Price Match Guarantee. If you find a comparable diamond elsewhere for less, James Allen will match the price. The diamond can be eligible for price match if it:[1]

  • Has the same characteristics (carat, cut, color, clarity, fluorescence, table & depth percentage, symmetry, etc.).
  • The competitor diamond must be available for purchase to the public.
  • It must have a GIA grading report.

If James Allen decides to match the competitor's price, it will honor the new price for 48 hours.

The Downsides
If you're looking for a high-quality, super ideal cut diamond, the selection isn't as good. In that case, you may be interested in Whiteflash, the next retailer on this list.

Additional Information:

  • Return policy: Free 30-day full-refund return policy
  • Resizing: 1 free resizing within the first year of purchase. Exclusions apply, some rings cannot be resized
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty that covers cleaning, polishing, and maintenance
  • Diamond buyback: Not currently offered
  • Diamond upgrade: Return a diamond for 100% credit for a bigger one, provided it's twice the price of the original

Best Quality: Whiteflash

If brilliance is your top concern when looking for an engagement ring, then Whiteflash is the place. Whiteflash is known for its world-class A Cut Above super ideal cut diamonds.

What Makes Whiteflash Great?
Bigger is not always better. Many jewelers sacrifice a diamond's potential by opting for a bigger diamond with a poorer cut.

But the cut is the most important C of the 4C's. This means a well-cut diamond can appear bigger, shinier, and better at hiding any imperfections. Whiteflash is one of the few stores that really puts the emphasis on cut.

Their A Cut Above diamonds have been cut and polished for maximum brilliance. All these diamonds:

  • Are certified by the AGS Laboratory as Triple Ideal. The highest rating possible in light performance, polish, and symmetry.
  • Go through a further evaluation by Whiteflash's experts.

Diamonds that pass all requirements are branded as A Cut Above.

A CUT ABOVE® Diamond
A CUT ABOVE® Diamond Screenshot from Whiteflash Website

Whiteflash is completely transparent about the quality of its diamonds. They provide an exceptional amount of data for every in-house diamond. This goes way beyond the 4Cs.

Along with actual photos and video, you also get light performance images, which show the amount of light leakage. And hearts and arrows patterning, which shows symmetry. It's very rare for a diamond seller to give out this much information.

Screenshot from Whiteflash Website
Idealscope, ASET Scope, and H&A imagery of each diamond

The images speak for themselves, so you can feel confident about what you're getting.

Tip: If the A Cut Above diamonds is out of your price range, Whiteflash also offers Expert Selection and Premium Select. These are the diamonds that didn't quite make it into the line. Because Whiteflash's requirements are extremely strict, even small reasons could put a diamond into these other categories. This is where you can really find a high-quality diamond at great value.

Downsides
Whiteflash's in-house diamond inventory is limited to round or princess-cut diamonds.

If you'd like another shape, Whiteflash has a wider selection of virtual inventory sourced from partner vendors. But you won't get a photo or imagery in advance with these diamonds. But they still go through Whiteflash's expert evaluation.

Keep in mind that the skill and precision required to make super ideal cut diamonds means they're more expensive. Try to not go over budget when browsing.

Additional information:

  • Return policy: 30 days for in-house diamonds; 10 days for virtual inventory
  • Resizing: 1 free resizing within the first year. Exclusions apply, some rings cannot be resized
  • Warranty: One-year service plan covers refinishing and repairs for the metals and accent diamonds
  • Diamond buyback: Get 70% of the purchase price back within one year
  • Lifetime trade-up: Swap the existing eligible stone for a new one that's worth the same price or more

Wide Selection of Engagement Rings: Blue Nile

Blue Nile is a huge, mega-online diamond jewelry giant. It offers the biggest selection of diamonds at the lowest prices.

What Makes Blue Nile Great?
Blue Nile gets its huge inventory by signing exclusive contracts with diamond wholesalers all around the world. Not only are their diamonds sourced worldwide, but other retailers aren't even allowed to sell them.

This also ensures that you get the lowest prices. In fact, Blue Nile offers the lowest price guarantee. If you see a lower-priced diamond with the same specs elsewhere, they will match the price.

Tip: Keep in mind that Blue Nile's Diamond Price Guarantee is only available before you make your purchase.

Blue Nile's huge inventory means that a search for a diamond with your specifications will easily pull up hundreds of options.

Screenshot of Blue Nile Website
The website is easy to use, with slider bars for adjusting your criteria. This simple search pulled up 549 diamonds.

Blue Nile offers:

  • Ten diamond shapes and a decent selection of settings
  • Wide range of gemstones and fancy colored diamonds
  • Signature Collection of their super ideal cut diamonds
  • Selection of designer rings

If you have a very specific style and budget in mind, you're bound to find something to your liking in Blue Nile's vast selection.

The Downsides

Blue Nile has recently made huge strides to improve its online shopping experience. There are a few downsides now.

It used to lack photos. But now, most of its diamonds have a 360-degree video preview. Some are still sold only by the specs (just the 4C's and the GIA Grading Report). But there are so many diamonds with videos. There's no reason to purchase blind anymore.

Additional Information

  • Return policy: 30-day full refund return policy
  • Resizing: 1 free resizing within the first year. Exclusions apply, some rings cannot be resized
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty and complimentary cleaning and inspection
  • Diamond buyback: Diamond buyback program through CIRCA for current market value.
  • Diamond upgrade: Return the diamond for 100% credit towards a bigger one, provided that it's twice the price of the original

Worst Places to Buy an Engagement Ring

These are some of the things you should look out for in stores.

Lack Certified Diamonds
Make sure you understand the diamond certifications of the retailer. And that they provide a certification with the diamond. You should be able to see and read the certification of each diamond on the website. Look for GIA or AGS certificates.

No Clear Return Policy
Never buy from a store that does not have a return policy within a reasonable time frame. You don't want to get stuck with a ring if it's not what you expected.

No GIA Graduate Gemologist on Staff
Buy your diamond from a store with trained professionals. A GIA grad can correctly evaluate a diamond and help you make the best decision. A place that doesn't have one is not legit and won't be able to help you.

Only Mounted Diamonds Sold
There is very little flexibility when your only options are already set whole rings. With loose diamonds, you can pick the perfect diamond that matches your specifications.

Already mounted rings can make the diamond look better quality than it really is. So you may overpay.

Bottom Line: James Allen vs Blue Nile vs Whiteflash

Blue Nile has a large selection. So no matter your budget, you will find something that works for you. Or you can design the perfect ring on James Allen and view it from every angle. And if you know your sweetie has discerning tastes, you can't do better than a true hearts and arrows diamond from Whiteflash.

Ultimately, the best store for you is the one that you feel most comfortable with and offers what you're looking for. Before you buy, you should visit all three retailers:

  • Blue Nile
  • James Allen
  • Whiteflash

Buying the perfect engagement ring is a huge purchase. You want to feel confident throughout the process. And don't forget the wedding ring.

FAQs

Any tips for buying online without photos?
We understand. James Allen and Whiteflash both let you view the actual diamond you'll purchase. Blue Nile provides 360-degree videos for their Signature diamonds.

With James Allen, each diamond is in 360 degrees in an HD video. So you can see for yourself if it's eye-clean. They also provide Idealscope images for free for up to 3 diamonds.

Whiteflash provides light performance imagery, so you can see how the diamond performs.

Where can I buy a custom design ring?
All three retailers will work with you to custom design the perfect ring from your sketch or idea. Of course, you will have to purchase the diamond from the store.

Where can I shop for non-diamond engagement rings?
If you're looking for a gemstone, James Allen offers a huge selection. And just like with their diamonds, you can browse for gemstones and view each one in HD 360 degrees.

Where can I buy colored diamonds online?
Both Blue Nile and James Allen have a large selection of rare colored diamonds. But keep in mind that not all diamonds have a 360-degree video at Blue Nile. Meanwhile, James Allen provides you with an HD video for every diamond.

Where can I find designer rings?

  • Whiteflash offers a large selection of brand name designer rings with designs by Tacori, Verragio, Simon G., Vatché, Ritani, and Danhov.
  • James Allen offers brand name designer rings by Danhov, Jeff Cooper, Martin Flyer, and Verragio.
  • Blue Nile offers rings by Monique Lhuillier, Colin Cowie, Truly Zac Posen, and Blue Nile's own designer studio.

Why and where should I get ideal cut diamonds?
Ideal cut diamonds are cut and polished to the most ideal proportions to give off the most brilliance and fire. This is extremely hard to achieve.

For true ideal cut diamonds, it's hard to beat Whiteflash's A Cut Above diamonds. And the most important thing is that Whiteflash provides you the imagery to prove the quality of their diamonds.

Where can I find a ring setting for my diamond?
Both James Allen and Whiteflash can set a diamond you already have in one of their settings. Whiteflash requires that the diamond is either GIA certified or AGS certified. Some special cases may require a mounting fee, so check with a rep.

Where can I mount a diamond?
Whiteflash can set one of their diamonds into your own ring setting for a $100 mounting fee.[2]

Where can I buy loose diamonds?
Most online diamond jewelers will sell you loose diamonds.

For instance, you might want to buy a loose diamond online and have it placed in a custom setting by your local jeweler. This can allow your fiancée to pick the setting she wants while still allowing the diamond to be a surprise.

Where can I find a rose gold setting?
James Allen and Whiteflash both have a large selection of rose gold settings. If you're more on a budget, James Allen is a better bet.

Which jewelers offer engraving?
All three retailers offer engraving. James Allen offers it for free, while there is an engraving fee with Blue Nile and Whiteflash.

Before you engrave a ring, note that Blue Nile engraved rings can only be returned for credit. James Allen and Whiteflash engraved rings can be returned for a refund.

Which diamond stores offer discounts?
Blue Nile and James Allen offer a 1.5% discount if you pay by bank wire transfer.[3][4] Whiteflash offers a 3% discount for wire transfers.[5] But note that some designer settings are not eligible for this discount.

It is generally recommended to pay with a credit card to get the various purchase protection benefits offered by credit card issuers. Plus, when you pay with a cash back or airline miles credit card, you'll earn rewards that you can use toward your honeymoon.

Which diamond jewelers offer a price match?
Blue Nile offers price matching, but there are strict terms. The competing diamond must be GIA certified or AGS certified and must match all of the 4Cs. Other criteria may be compared too, such as symmetry, polish, and fluorescence.[6]

I want a big diamond, but how can I save money?
Diamond prices increase significantly as they hit whole carat weights. To get the best deal, look for a diamond just slightly under whole carats.

A .90 carat diamond is significantly cheaper than a 1 carat diamond. This is only a difference of 0.2mm. Consider opting for a diamond just shy of the next weight category.

Why are round, brilliant diamonds more expensive?
Round, brilliant diamonds are the most popular shape. And their price reflects the higher demand and higher costs.

A fancy-cut diamond may offer more bang for the buck since there's less manufacturing waste. But a round diamond's brilliance is hard to beat.

What if I want to sell my diamond ring?
Don't treat your diamond as an investment. While a diamond is valuable, it's unlikely you'll recoup the emotional value when selling it.

Which diamond retailers collect sales tax?
Unlike local brick and mortar, an online jewelry store usually only collects sales tax in certain states.

References

  1. ^ James Allen. Diamond Price Match Terms, Retrieved 9/21/22
  2. ^ Whiteflash. Working With Customers Diamonds And Jewelry, Retrieved 9/21/2022
  3. ^ Blue Nile. U.S. Order And Shipping Policies, Retrieved 9/21/22
  4. ^ James Allen. Payment Options, Retrieved 9/21/22
  5. ^ Whiteflash. Do I Receive A Discount If I Pay By Wire Transfer?, Retrieved 9/21/22
  6. ^ Blue Nile. Terms & Conditions For The Blue Nile Diamond Price Guarantee, Retrieved 9/21/22

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Read Next:

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How to Buy an Engagement Ring

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