By

Bent Johnson

Dec 22, 2022

Where’s the Best Place to Buy Diamonds?

Getting married? The engagement ring and wedding rings you select for you and your fiancée will be symbols of your love and commitment for the rest of your life. Of course, the diamond industry knows this and does a brilliant job enticing consumers to spend a small fortune on nuptial jewelry.
A savvy buyer can save money on engagement rings and other diamond jewelry — up to 50% — by avoiding big box jewelry stores. The best place to buy diamonds for cost-conscious romantics is a jeweler based exclusively or primarily online, like James Allen, Blue Nile, or Clean Origin.

Although quality engagement rings and wedding bands (like all fine jewelry) come at a cost, there is no reason you should pay what the mainstream jewelry industry asks you to pay for these rings. It is very possible to save money on engagement rings — in fact, you may be able to save up to 50% off the typical retail price of a diamond engagement ring, without compromising on the stones or setting you want. Here’s where to look.

Best Selection: James Allen

Boasting an inventory of thousands of diamonds for sale, it’s hard not to find what you want from James Allen. You can purchase loose diamonds in 10 different shapes. You can shop for natural and lab-grown diamonds in 10 colors. Or you can custom design your own ring if you don’t find what you want on the site.

On top of its diverse offerings, James Allen is often more affordable than other accessible luxury online jewelers in its class. And finally, James Allen ensures that its diamonds are conflict free.

Best Customer Service: Blue Nile

Free shipping, free returns, cleaning and servicing, financing availability, a lifetime manufacturer warranty, and the potential to match a competitor’s price are just a few of the benefits that the ”OG” of online jewelry retail, Blue Nile, offers.

Blue Nile is not only concerned with getting customers but also keeping them. Its longevity — Blue Nile was founded in 1999 — is earned.

SALE: Blue Nile’s Winter sale is on now with 15% off settings (excludes Designer Settings). Use promo code WINTER15. *Exclusions apply

Best Lab-Grown Diamonds: Clean Origin

Founded in 2017, Clean Origin only uses lab-grown diamonds, advocating that they are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than traditional, mined diamonds. The company’s CEO is Alexander Weindling, a third-generation diamond merchant.

Clean Origin’s mission is to introduce the world to 100% conflict-free diamonds. It offers 100-day returns, free sizing, and all of its lab-grown diamonds are certified. You can schedule a virtual appointment on the website, or those who don’t want to order online can visit Clean Origin’s showroom in a Dallas suburb.

​​Best Custom Jeweler: CustomMade

Founded in 2009, the aptly-named online custom jeweler CustomMade makes pieces from conception to fruition using a four-part process. It appears to be working — the company says that it’s helped more than 8,000 couples get engaged.

Below is CustomMade’s process for clients who want to get a piece designed. Most of the rings start at $1,000.

  1. Talk About It – Discuss design ideas, options, and budget with your jewelry consultant — your guide to the custom experience.
  2. Get It Designed – See sketches and concept art designed just for you by CustomMade’s jewelry artists.
  3. See It Come to Life – Visualize your piece with high-resolution 3D renderings, and adjust every detail until it’s perfect.
  4. Treasure It – Receive your custom piece, with the assurance it’s been made to wear and last a lifetime.

Best Private Jeweler: SevenJune Jewelry

If you want a more personal touch when purchasing diamonds, consider using a private jeweler such as SevenJune Jewelry.

“As a private jeweler, I am not beholden to any one supplier or pressed to sell an item just because I have to make a quota, or because an item is in stock, the way a retail jeweler is,” said Zenobia Morrow, owner and designer at SevenJune Jewelry. “I really have a full range in the market to source the right item for that particular customer’s needs. From a pricing perspective, my overhead is low and I am able to extend savings to my customers.”

Morrow’s style aesthetic is feminine and clean. The Georgia native studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of America and was once a managing director of a New York City diamond house. She uses natural diamonds.

Best Pricing: Ritani

With its easy-to-navigate website and extensive natural and lab-grown diamond selection, Ritani is one to watch in the competitive, cost-conscious online jewelry space.

If an online competitor’s diamond is less expensive, Ritani will try to find a similar diamond at a lower price. The White Plains, New York jeweler has a “transparent diamond pricing tool” that breaks down the cost of every diamond from the wholesaler, the operational costs (shipping, packaging, and process), and the final margin earned by Ritani on every sale, according to its website.

Ritani’s motto? “We’ve made getting to know your diamond easier than getting to know your in-laws.”

If Not Chain Jewelers, Where?

If your goal is to get the absolute best deal on your ring, and you don’t live near a diamond district, you should probably buy your engagement ring from a reputable online jeweler.

During my ring-buying experience, I was blown away by online diamond stores like James Allen and Blue Nile.

The sites let you search through over 25,000 diamonds to find those in your price, size, and quality specifications, and you can match your chosen gem with dozens of setting options. Prices seem to be nearly half of comparable rings in brick-and-mortar jewelers, and they also offer free shipping and free returns.

How Much Can You Save?

Quite a bit. We found a simple 4mm platinum comfort fit men’s wedding band for $780 on James Allen compared to $1,450 at a local Jared the Galleria of Jewelry store — nearly half the price! The savings on diamond engagement rings can be even greater.

eBay is also rife with some incredible diamond deals, although buying through an online auction is a bit riskier than through a reputable online dealer. If you decide to buy an engagement ring on eBay, make sure you’re well-versed in diamond values and eBay transactions. Only purchase a ring if the seller agrees to use an escrow account for payment and allows you to take the ring to a jeweler for appraisal once you receive it.

Remember: It Doesn’t Have to Be a Diamond!

Although this post is mostly about saving money on a diamond engagement ring, there is no rule saying that an engagement ring has to be a diamond.

It’s just a tradition that has been successfully propagated by a powerful diamond lobby keen on profit. You can find beautiful engagement rings with alternative stones for a tenth of the cost of a diamond.