The confidence of online shoppers has risen dramatically over the past decade and this has brought about a new generation of diamond buyer, reaping the benefits of shopping for loose diamonds online.
The freedom to shop at your own pace, refine your searches, choose from a huge inventory and enjoy significantly lower prices makes for an altogether more relaxing and cost-effective shopping experience. However, just as every diamond is unique, so too do diamond vendors have their own individual perks.
I have refined my choices to the vendors who I believe go beyond ticking the essential boxes, and instead give a positive experience in all aspects of diamond buying.
Whiteflash are based in Houston, Texas and while they say everything is bigger there, Whiteflash certainly prove that things are brighter! With a sharp focus on customer education, cut quality and super-ideal cut diamonds Whiteflash are a standout choice for both diamond novices and diamond connoisseurs those looking for the best of the best.
✓ Largest Selection of Super Ideal Cut Diamonds
✓ High-res imaging and light performance reports for all diamonds
✓ Diamonds and Settings are in stock and available for immediate shipping – no wait times
✓ Huge Selection of Designer Engagement Rings
✓ AGS and GIA certified diamonds
✗ Smaller selection of Diamonds and Settings
✗ Limited selection of Fancy Diamonds Shapes as they specialize in Round and Princess Cuts
✗ No Fancy Colored Diamonds
Whiteflash’s A CUT ABOVE® diamonds are an in-house collection of super-ideal cut diamonds. Achieving exceptional light performance (with all the diamond imaging to back it up) these diamonds are widely accepted as some of the most beautiful diamonds on the market. Whiteflash provide in-depth explanations of exactly what makes their diamonds so special, with light performance reports and cut parameters that testify the A CUT ABOVE® collection is the best of the best.
Their user-friendly website is loaded with in-depth guides covering the basics right up to the most complex areas of diamond knowledge. They have an impressive inventory of in-stock diamonds with high-res imaging and videos to give buyers a complete view of their diamond before purchasing. They also hold an incredible selection of designer settings to suit any style.
People turn to Whiteflash for their A CUT ABOVE® diamonds, but they stay for the customer service – all staff are AGS and GIA trained and are consultants rather than sales staff, so the purchasing experience is relaxing. Their lifetime trade-up scheme is particularly impressive, offering customers the chance to trade-up their diamond without purchasing a diamond for double the price; with no catches and no fine print, their trade-up scheme was created with the customer in mind, and this trend continues through all of their customer loyalty programmes.
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James Allen paved the way for diamond shoppers with cutting edge diamond display technology. While other vendors have since caught up, James Allen have continued to build the virtual shopping experience with ‘actual size’ on the hand images and real-time virtual diamond inspections.
✓ Cutting edge technology for an enhanced online shopping experience
✓ Large inventory of diamonds, including many fancy shapes
✓ Diverse portfolio of engagement ring settings
✗ IGI certified diamonds
✗ Diamonds are not in stock and wait times can be long
✗ Lack of diamond light performance images
James Allen appeal to a range of budgets and their large inventory of diamonds spans from lower quality right up to their TrueHearts™ collection of Hearts and Arrows diamonds. They sell AGS and GIA diamonds but also IGI, a lab I do not recommend due to inflated grades and inconsistency.
Their trade-up scheme is what I would consider a more ‘typical’ policy, offering customers the chance to trade-up providing the new diamond is double the cost of the original stone (with various other caveats). Though not uncommon in the diamond world, this truly highlights the value of Whiteflash’s customer-focused option.
A lovely collection of settings and a large inventory of diamonds (including a great selection of fancy shapes) make James Allen a wonderful choice for buying fancy shaped loose diamonds.
Blue Nile were the pioneers of online diamond buying. The first to sell loose diamonds to an online market, they still boast the largest inventory of any online vendor. Blue Nile have had contracts with some fantastic designers, offering exquisite settings at prices that bricks and mortar stores simply cannot compete with.
✓ Multinational company with offices around the globe
✓ The largest inventory of loose diamonds
✓ Collaborations with esteemed designers
✗ Diamonds are not in stock – and wait times can be long
✗ Lack of diamond light performance images
✗ Cut quality is not as good as their competitors
Blue Nile’s in-house collection is the Astor™ collection; they are GIA graded diamonds with an additional brilliance certification by GemEx® – I have a full review of the Astor™ collection of diamonds for those wanting to know more.
Blue Nile bring full potential of online diamond buying to a UK and European market. While Whiteflash and James Allen have made it easier than ever for customers outside the US, I appreciate the convenience and confidence that Blue Nile offer customers in the UK and Europe.
These are my tips for choosing a vendor for loose diamonds: