james allen review
Perhaps the best all-around online diamond jeweller, James Allen offers customer service that is head and shoulders above the competition. I had a truly personal experience with my purchase, and I must admit that this personal touch was very refreshing, not to mention rare in today's business world. If you are somewhat skeptical or hesitant to make such an important purchase (engagement ring) online, James Allen might just be the place for you. Their customer service representatives patiently answered all my questions in an extremely timely manner. Lets get to the details, shall we...
Definitely no complaints here. Their site is very user-friendly and doesn't appear to have any glitches when searching for loose diamonds. Their utilization buttons rather than sliders when narrowing down a loose diamond search is considerably easier to use than most of its competition.
James Allen is one of the only online diamond company that features actual pictures of the majority of the thousands of diamonds in their database, complete with a virtual magnifying glass that actually allows the customer to closely inspect a diamond before purchasing. They've recently taken it a step further and basically brought it to a whole new level by introducing 360° Diamond Display Technology. Described as "the most vivid diamond viewing experience in the world" and I would have to agree. In my experience, this appears to be unique to James Allen and is a very impressive feature.
One final item of note regarding their website is a section where they post actual pictures of recently purchased diamond rings. Not the fancy, professional photos that don't give the customer a true idea of what to expect, but rather basic photos with no lighting enhancements. This is a great way to see what your ring will look like before purchasing, and is well worth checking out.
Not much to complain about here. James Allen's loose diamond pricing is generally number one or two when comparing identical diamonds. They have a vast inventory of not only loose diamonds, but ring settings as well. You can build pretty much any type of diamond ring you like--solitaire, sidestone, pave, etc. The only drawback in my opinion is the lack of pre-set diamond rings for the consumer who isn't concerned with the Four C's of diamond grading and isn't interested in building their own ring. You can, of course, draw your own conclusions on pricing and selection by browsing their site and comparing it to their competition.
As previously mentioned, the customer service I received was top-shelf. Immediately upon placing my order, I received a personal greeting from one of their customer service agents--not just the standard generic order confirmation email. She explained that she would be available to answer any questions I had while I waited for my ring to be assembled and shipped. This is a nice touch and one that I have yet to experience anywhere else.
My ring shipped approximately four days after I ordered it, which is not bad but not the best. They shipped via FedEx Overnight shipping (free) and it arrived on-schedule.
The packaging was very nice and professional, and ensured that there was no possibility of the ring being damaged during transit. The actual ring box is classy (despite the logo on the inside, but that sadly seems to be standard for all diamond companies these days) and the ring itself presented very well to the naked eye.
(click HERE to enter James Allen photo gallery)
The particular ring I bought from James Allen would have cost me 29% more if I had bought a comparable ring locally. Part of my review process is getting the ring appraised for a local replacement value. Keep in mind that these numbers will be different depending on where you live, but my James Allen ring appraised for 151% more than I paid for it. Allowing for the fact that appraisals generally come in on the high side, I feel I got a great deal compared to my local stores.
The final and one of the most important aspects of my review process is determining whether or not a company will honor a refund request. In the case of James Allen, there were no issues. Their representatives inquired as to why I was requesting a refund, and made a token attempt to talk me out of it. I've seen pushier salesmen at local electronics stores, so I won't blame them for trying. They gave me their return address and instructions and I sent the ring back to them, receiving my refund a few days later.
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Recommendation: You can't go wrong buying from James Allen. Their newly introduced Risk-Free Retail policies outline their commitment to your satisfaction and are among the best in the industry (30-day returns, free return shipping, etc). You'll save a bundle versus your local stores, the quality is great and the customer service is a throwback to the "Customer is Always Right" days. As always, I encourage you to draw your own conclusions in deciding what's best for you, but I would strongly encourage anyone to give James Allen a look before making a purchase.