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Jewelry stores can be overpriced and going into one can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. That’s why buying an engagement ring online may be the best solution. Diamonds are meant to be forever and you want that ring to be perfect for your loved one. So, let’s get started on your ring search.
- Should You Buy A Ring Online?
- Diamond Certifications
- Best Places To Buy An Engagement Ring Online
- Price Comparison Tables
- Unranked Online Engagement Ring Retailers
- Tips For Buying An Engagement Ring (Video)
- Additional Ring Resources
Buying an engagement ring online may sound scary. How do you know if the diamond is good and what about seeing the size of it in person? Don’t let questions like this deter you from purchasing your ring online. Compared to bricks and mortar jewelry stores, buying an engagement ring online can be half the cost.
Are you more of a tactile learner? No worries. Before purchasing an engagement ring online we suggest going into an actual store and getting a feel for the rings. See them in person and hold some in your hand.
No law states when you go into a jewelry store you have to buy something, especially at the high price associated with diamond rings. Figure out what color, clarity, cut and carat weight you want. Did we lose you there? That’s okay, we discuss the 4 C’s in our engagement rings 101 article.
Diamonds are sometimes graded by different laboratories. This helps identify a diamond’s quality and value and helps standardize them. Below are some well-known diamond grading laboratories that we mention in this article.
- American Gem Society (AGS)
- The Certified Gemological Laboratory of Europe (CGL)
- Gem Institute of America (GIA)
- Gemological Science International (GSI)
- GS Laboratories (GSL)
- Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD)
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)
- World Gemmological Laboratory (WGL)
We chose our top three based on products offered, photos of rings and diamonds, customization, inventory size and customer service reputation. We feel that an online store should have a much larger offering than a physical store since they don’t have to pay for the storefront and there are no limitations to storage space.
James Allen is really in a league of its own. This company really knows how to sell online engagement rings and has been our winner for Best Online Engagement Rings since 2015. They have individual 360° views of each diamond and band, which is especially great if you are designing your own ring. Their customer service reputation is outstanding and they have a huge selection to choose from.
To top it off, they ship the ring in beautiful packaging which may not be a big deal to some, but if you’re spending thousands of dollars it should come in more than a cardboard box and packing peanuts. James Allen sets a high bar for success in this category.
Every diamond is certified by either GIA, AGS or IGI. If you are looking for a more ethical option, consider a Lab-Created Diamond for your sweetie. James Allen also has many perfect diamonds called “TrueHearts,” which are available on its website. So if you’re looking to purchase a perfect diamond, look no further.
Fun fact, my husband purchased my engagement ring from James Allen after reading this article. We also purchased our wedding bands from here. Each step of the way was smooth and their customer service was super helpful. We have also recommended them to friends because of our experience. All of our friends have been pleased. This helped reassure us that James Allen deserved the #1 spot again this year.
Whiteflash takes our #2 spot because of their outstanding service and number of diamonds available. They have service plans on all their rings, and a staff of photographers to take photos of each diamond. After the 30-day money back guarantee window, they offer a lifetime 100% trade up guarantee.
Most of their diamonds are certified by AGS Laboratories. Whiteflash also offers a large selection of designer rings from Tacori, Verragio, Simon G and others.
There are lots of rave reviews of Brilliant Earth. They have great customer service and their rings are gorgeous. Of course, there is a review here and there with an unpleasant experience, but overall they are very well liked.
Unfortunately, if you have already purchased the gemstone elsewhere and are only looking for a setting they will not sell to you. You must purchase a center stone with every setting.
If you happen to live in L.A., San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Diego or Denver, you are in luck as Brilliant Earth has showrooms in these cities to check out their inventory in real life.
Below are two tables displaying examples of similar solitaire ring settings and round cut diamonds from each online engagement ring site. Unfortunately, some companies are not included in the comparison tables because they do not sell individual diamonds and ring settings.
Please know that some websites may not have had the specifics that we were looking for across the board so they may not be exact comparisons, but we tried to supplement the closest option we could find.
Ring Settings Compared
|Blue Nile||Brilliant Earth||Diamonds-USA||Gemvara||James Allen||Jared||Jewlr||Ritani||Whiteflash||Zales|
|Ring Name||Low Dome Comfort Fit Solitaire Engagement Ring||2mm Comfort Fit Ring||Tiffany Style Solitaire Engagement Ring||Simply Round Solitaire||14K White Gold 2mm Comfort Fit Solitaire Engagement Ring||Solitaire Ring Setting 14K White Gold||Classic Solitaire Engagement Ring||Solitaire Diamond Cathedral Tulip Engagement Ring||14k White Gold Classic 4 Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring||Solitaire Engagement Ring|
|Metal Type||14K White Gold||18K White Gold||14K White Gold-Rhodium Dipped||1White Gold||14K White Gold||14K White Gold||14K White Gold||14K White Gold||14K White Gold||14K White Gold|
|Blue Nile||Brilliant Earth||Diamonds-USA||Gemvara||James Allen||Jared||Jewlr||Raymond Lee||Ritani||Whiteflash||Zales|
Below are the websites that didn’t make our top three. Some of them are still great places to purchase engagement rings, while others we wouldn’t recommend due to price, inventory or something else. Be sure to read all the reviews to see which one fits your needs best.
Blue Nile is one of the largest online jewelers. They have countless rings and GIA-graded diamonds available but there are some things we think they could improve upon.
Blue Nile claims lower markup prices — up to 20% to 40% less than traditional jewelers, similar to other online jewelers in our top three. They want you to purchase your ring in the right size the first time, so they’ll send you a free ring sizer in the mail — although if you want the engagement to be a surprise it may be difficult to sneak this on to your fiance-to-be’s ring finger.
The downside is that only a portion of its diamonds have custom photos, the rest have stock photos. So, you may purchase a gemstone with an imperfection or make unnecessary upgrades since it’s hard to know what you are getting without seeing it first.
One thing we like about Blue Nile is that it listens to its customers. There were previously complaints about the standard packaging, but Blue Nile has upped its game and ships its jewelry in better packaging now.
Diamond Delight has some good prices but you cannot create a ring yourself. The website does not sell individual diamonds or settings and they only sell round or princess cut rings, so if you’re looking for a more unique shape this isn’t the company for you.
Diamonds-USA offers loose diamonds for you to create your own engagement ring. Its pricing is comparable to our top picks and it offers a lifetime upgrade plan.
However, it doesn’t have as many loose diamonds as competitors and it can be confusing to design your own ring. Additionally, you must email the company for actual photos of the diamonds. Other companies offer the photos without any additional work.
One cool feature is that you can send in a photo of a ring you want made and Diamonds-USA will make it at no extra charge.
Overall, Diamonds-USA comes off a little less professional with its website’s appearance. There are misspellings across the site, inconsistent capitalization and unequal spacing.
Gemvara has you design your ring differently from other online engagement ring sellers. First, you choose the ring you like. Then, you choose the diamond(s) you want to be included in the ring. Finally, you select the metal you’d like.
It’s the same type of choices, just in a different order. All diamonds are either GIA or AGS graded. You don’t have the same number of options as our top three picks though, which is what kept them out of the top three.
Don’t let your partner say, “He went to Jared!” Why you ask? Because you’ll most likely be paying wayyyy too much money and that’s no way to start a marriage (in our opinion).
Online reviews and consumers alike say that Jared has crazy high markups. Some of their diamonds and rings are reported to be nearly double the price of competitors.
Jewelry.com has really increased its inventory. Previously, it only offered 12 rings, but it now offers more than 600 rings (which is still a rather small inventory).
Jewelry.com does have really low prices though. So, you could start your search at Jewelry.com and glance through the rings. If you see one you like, boom, you’re done. If you aren’t pleased with what you see, move on to the next site. Either way, it’s not like you’ve wasted your time.
If you are a student, this is the best first stop for you since they also offer a student discount.
Be cautious though, if you’re looking for a diamond only ring you’ll want to read carefully. Some of their engagement rings are made out of cubic zirconia.
Jewlr’s website isn’t as fancy as some of its competitors, but it gets the job done. There just aren’t as many customization options for pairing your diamond with the setting you prefer.
If seeing a photo of the diamond you select is a must, you’ll want to go with another company. However, if you trust the 4C details it lists, you can get a diamond you’ll be happy with. All diamonds are certified by the GIA or IGI.
Kay Jewelers is owned by Sterling Jewelers, the same company that owns Jared. We’re sure you’ve now come to the conclusion that since Jared was not the place to ring shop, then neither is Kay Jewelers. You’re right. Kay Jewelers is wrong, every kiss doesn’t have to begin with Kay. Your soon to be fiancé will give you plenty of kisses even if the ring isn’t from Kay. 😉
Kay Jewelers had some bad press in May of 2016. Women were coming forward with their nightmare stories from Kay’s saying their diamonds had been replaced with lesser quality jewels when they turned their rings in for repairs. This story might be worth researching before you buy from this company.
Kevin Jewelers offers many composite engagement rings, which are rings made up of multiple smaller diamonds to make it appear like one larger stone.
They do have decent prices, so if this is the style ring you are looking for feel free to check them out. We do think there are better options available since their site is not as detailed as competitors. For instance, it doesn’t tell you some of the 4C’s for diamonds. There are 35 retail stores you can visit if you live in southern California.
Raymond Lee is a good option if you’re looking to buy loose diamonds or a pre-made ring. You cannot customize a ring by choosing your preferred setting and diamond because Raymond Lee does not sell settings.
You can create a custom design but you’ll have to speak with a consultant, unlike the competitors where you can design a ring online. Diamonds may be certified by AGS, CGL, GIA, HRD, IGI or no one.
You can sell any of your old jewelry to Raymond Lee Jewelers as well. So, if you have jewelry from a previous relationship, or just don’t wear a piece any longer, you can sell it for cash.
Reeds Jewelers doesn’t have a lot of rings to choose from but they do have okay prices. They also have bricks and mortar stores, so prices aren’t as cheap as their competitors, but they’re still better than some others. Shipping materials could be better, the jewelry ships in an envelope and the item is loose, according to some reviews.
Ritani works with authorized retailers nationwide, so you can see your ring in person before you buy. It also launched a showroom program where its gemologists are available to help customers learn about diamonds, select their diamond and pickup their order. Gemologists are not paid on commission, ensuring the customers’ interests are put first.
All 80,000+ diamonds offered are either AGS, IGI or GIA certified. You can also opt for a Lab-Created Diamond, which is a more ethical option. Most diamonds have photos and 360º views.
If you wonder why that ring has that price tag, you will appreciate the transparency that Ritani offers when it provides the breakdown of the wholesale diamond cost, company margins and the cost for shipping.
Ritani also has a Ring Recommender, which can be very helpful in giving you a straightforward answer to what type of ring you could get that is in your budget.
We like that Ritani has great customer service reviews. Where it can improve is offering 360º views and photos for all diamonds, since some are missing these visuals.
Compared to our top three, SuperJeweler has a bit of a tacky feel to it. Other websites do a great job of feeling professional, whereas SuperJeweler comes off a bit spammy with all of its scrolling banners, red font and use of capitalization.
However, we haven’t found anything that points to this website spamming potential customers, we’d just prefer to go with a site that feels more professional and has a cleaner look to it. Diamonds from SuperJeweler are WGL certified.
We DO NOT recommend purchasing from World Jewels. All of the other engagement ring websites in this article offer a warranty of some type. However, World Jewels states the following on its website:
World Of Jewels, worldjewels.com/net specifically disclaims warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to warranties of title or implied warranties of merchantability. No oral advice or written information given by World Of Jewels, worldjewels.com/net or its Associates shall create a warranty. You expressly agree that the use of the Site is at your sole risk.
Zales was founded in 1924 and has many brick and mortar stores. You can also purchase a ring online including designing your own ring. All diamonds from Zales are either GIA, IGI, GSL or AGS certified.
One of the biggest cons we found for Zales was the way they display their diamonds online. They do not show true images of each diamond — they use stock photos. You could be purchasing a diamond that is not as flawless as you would like for it to be, but the photo may mislead you.
However, Zales is upfront about this stating on its website, “Merchandise…may not always be exactly as pictured.”
Rachel Cruz has some tips for you while you’re engagement ring shopping. Tips include financial budgeting, managing expectations and more.
Diamond searching is exhausting, but well worth it since you’ll have a fiancé and lifetime partner in the end (we hope). If you plan on designing an engagement ring yourself, be sure to check out this article for some help.
What are you planning to do when you propose? We’d love to hear it in our comment section below!
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