Which has better prices and quality in lab-created diamond selection, James Allen vs Brilliant Earth? These charts give you the updated answer.
Here’s the executive summary
In my observations, James Allen comes in at least at a consistent 10% less, in general. Sometimes more. (And sometimes, Brilliant Earth flips the script and has lower prices on a specific shape. See the updated info below.)
BUT! See the each-Monday updated summary of James Allen vs Brilliant Earth in Lab-Created Diamonds … right here …
Round Brilliant Cut
How do I price compare?
How did I price compare so many diamonds, since there are possibly hundreds of thousands of diamonds in this contest? I did so logically, and by using the diamond search engines at each retailer:
- I set the color search in all cases for F-Color.
- I set the clarity search in all cases for VVS2-Clarity.
- I selected in all cases for only IGI-certified diamonds. (James Allen has only IGI-certification for lab-created diamonds, in my observations. Brilliant Earth has IGI too. They also have GCAL, GIA, and others. So to compare apples to apples, I went with only IGI certified Lab-Created diamonds from each retailer.)
- I then checked the first two or three dozen diamond prices in each shape (Round, Princess, Oval, Asscher, etc.). In every case, there was a clear trend. A clear winner. You don’t need be a Quant to see it.)
Here’s how to find the diamonds in any of the price compare pictures on this page: Before you begin, open these two tabs!
Before we begin, open two tabs:
- This one of the Brilliant Earth lab-created diamonds search page. (It’s not possible to embed specs in Brilliant Earth’s URLs.)
- This one of the James Allen lab-created diamonds search page. (Specs in the screenshots are embedded in this one.)
A quick word about fluorescence when comparing prices at James Allen and Brilliant Earth (or any other diamond seller for that matter)
Fluorescence is a lesser-known factor in diamond appearance and pricing. Most diamond search engines (for example at James Allen and Brilliant Earth) don’t set their fluorescence filters to anything automatically. In other words, they show you all the diamonds in your search, and they don’t make checking for fluorescence obvious. By default, the diamonds in standard search results could have a lot of fluorescence, or none, or somewhere in between.
The problem with that is this: too much fluorescence can really cut the price of a diamond, but it can also make it turn quite blue in sunlight.
You wouldn’t know why you’re getting a lower price, unless you know about fluorescence. And you wouldn’t know why your diamond is glowing blueish in sunlight, until it was possibly too late.
The diamond sellers are not being tricky. Truly, in my opinion. Yes, brick and mortar diamond sellers have traditionally sold awful diamonds without educating consumers. And at terribly high prices.
But James Allen, Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and many other Internet retailers of diamonds are different. They want you to know about diamonds. That’s their whole value proposition! They revolutionized diamond shopping by allowing you to search for the best buy in a diamond for you, by using their awesome inventory search engines.
But … there are only so many filters you can put on a diamond search engine before potential customers will just feel overwhelmed and click away. It’s just true. It’s natural. Things get too technical, potential customers bail.
That’s why you’re lucky to have me as your guide. 😉
Short version of my advice: Definitely set your diamond search engine filters to “Faint” or “None” in Fluorescence.
Want to know more details about how to avoid making diamond fluorescence mistakes? Then see my article Diamond Fluorescence Sunlight Facts — Don’t Buy a Diamond Until You Check for This.
Now, below, some screenshots that back up my general results summarized above … (Usually, James Allen wins.)
Oval Cut at Brilliant Earth
Oval Cut at James Allen:
Cushion Cut at Brilliant Earth:
Cushion Cut at James Allen:
Pear Cut at Brilliant Earth
Pear Cut at James Allen:
Brilliant Earth Lab-Created Princess Cut Prices:
James Allen Lab-Created Princess Cut Prices:
In the Emerald Cut lab-grown diamond department, James Allen once again beats Brilliant Earth’s prices. You can see that it’s a consistent trend by looking at those images. Or by running your own search. (Scroll to the top of the article of course, to see how to set your sliders for that. It’s easy enough, but then again when someone is new, it can all be more than a little overwhelming.)
The specs are the same on these. The prices differ radically. Obviously you’ll need to evaluate each diamond on its own merits. But IGI grades mean something. A VVS2-Clarity grade from the IGI means the diamond can be classified with other VVS2 diamonds.
There’s no catch. There’s no “logic” about the diamonds themselves as to why one store has significantly lower prices than the other. The price differences reflect different business models. Different efficiencies. Different pricing strategies. Different capital supplies probably.
James Allen consistently has better prices on these in every shape so far except the Princess Cut.