montage of famous online diamond retailersAt that time, Blue Nile was the first online retailer I visited since they had the largest diamond inventory. While I did manage to shortlist several potential diamonds, I couldn’t convince myself to buy blind as I am a risk averse person.

That said, I did try to approach their customer support to request more data like videos and photographs for the diamonds they are selling. Unfortunately, my request was explicitly rejected by their live support.

Blue Nile does not provide any additional information beyond what was shown on their website and they don’t entertain any such requests for tangible data.

Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased to hear that since all it takes is just a little effort to obtain the information. To make things worse, the support staff started doing blatant self-promotion about how long they had been in business and why I should buy diamonds from them.

Its the kind of talk about how “trustworthy” their business is and how they only list high-quality diamonds in their inventory. This just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Take a look at the screenshot below and you’ll see the obvious contradictions.

bluenile filtering tool

Fair? Good? These are “high quality” diamonds? Are you joking?

I didn’t like the fact that the reason behind a rejected photograph request was never properly explained. Instead of addressing the issue on hand and alleviating my concerns, the live support staff kept on mentioning stuff like how “wonderful” the company is.

Here’s my gripe – If the job of customer support is to give help to customers, then they should focus on taking care of their customers. If your company is really so “awesome”, prove it to the customer through actions and not via some fluffy bulls*** talk.

So, I Dinged The World’s Biggest Online Diamond Retailer. Now What?

I moved on and guess what? I managed to find the same exact diamond at Needless to say, I contacted their support staff via a phone call immediately. A guy named Chris was on the other end of the line and he was really helpful and patient.

He gave me further tips on choosing diamonds and notified me of several other diamonds that I had missed in my initial search. For a first time shopper, this type of information was greatly appreciated.

Besides being able to inspect diamonds with magnified images at, they also had great looking ring designs. At that point in time, I wasn’t ready to commit myself to the purchase. Instead, I sat on the decision for 2 days and didn’t place the diamond on hold.

That was a decision I regretted later. When I was finally ready to make the purchase and contacted James Allen again, the diamond had already been sold to someone else! Damn



The search for a new stone is now on again since I couldn’t find any other alternatives I liked at James Allen. It’s back to sieving through more inventory and visits to other online sites. I literally had to browse through hundreds of other heart shaped diamonds before I managed to find the perfect stone.

If you are looking for a round-cut diamond, Whiteflash and Brian Gavin are 2 other vendors you want to check out. Their signature diamonds are some of the best in the industry.

On the next page, I finally pulled the trigger and made the purchase…

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  1. Elizabeth-
    January 20, 2017 at 5:14 am

    do you think moissanite diamond engagement rings are good investments and increase in their value overtime? have you heard of a company called Brilliant Earth?

  2. Paul Gian-
    January 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Buying jewelry as a form of investment is really foolish. Neither moissanite or diamonds hold long term value well. For comparison, moissanite is much worse than diamonds in resale value. For a deeper look, read this article that shows the differences between moissanite and diamonds.

    I’m quite familiar with and had purchased a number of stuff there before:

  3. Seemungal-
    March 14, 2018 at 2:11 am

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful website and all the information you provided in such detail! I’m in the process of engagement ring shopping and will be meeting with a jeweler tomorrow in the diamond district.

    My top choice so far with online shopping is Whiteflash, however I’m unsure of the settings as I am very particular. I’m worried though that if I buy a diamond from Whiteflash and take it to a jeweler they might damage it or ruin it somehow with a setting I like.

    So far I narrowed my criteria to:
    1. CUT –Ideal Excellent
    2. Carat – 1 – 1.5
    3. Clarify – no lower than VS2
    4. Color – no lower than H

    I just wanted to double check with you, GIA doesn’t grade diamonds as Ideal only as Excellent?

    Thanks and have a great day!

  4. Paul Gian-
    March 15, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Yep. GIA’s grades are “Excellent” and not “Ideal”. It’s a difference in terminology but AGS is much stricter in grading performance compared to GIA. Given a choice, I would prefer AGS over GIA because the better cut diamonds get sent there for grading.

    Regardless of where you buy your diamond from, I would recommend getting the setting from the vendor. This makes one party solely responsible for the entire ring and saves you alot of unwanted hassle/stress.

    It’s a bad idea to shop at the NYC diamond district:

    My advice is to buy your diamond at White Flash instead of the diamond district if you don’t want to get ripped off.

  5. Seemungal-
    March 15, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Thanks so much for the follow-up response. My experience with the jeweler in the diamond district was not as I had hoped. She did not have an Ideal scope and when I mentioned this, she said it would be useless. I was very disappointed. I also did not notice much fire/scintillation from the GIA diamonds I saw. Also supposedly all of the diamonds she showed me were VS2, however, I was able to see all of the imperfections without use of a loupe.

    Is this normally the case with VS2? I thought I would only see VS2 inclusions under a magnifier.

    I’m also very interested in James Allen, as they are located in NY and also have a showroom where I can look at the diamonds/settings also.

    However, I’ve read a few negative reviews about stones falling out and also about the settings. This is my major concern. I also like the lifetime warranty offered by James Allen.

    Thanks again, Paul.

  6. Paul Gian-
    March 16, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Well, I have already told you to skip the diamond district and it would do you well to ditch the vendor. For somebody to say that a tool that REVEALS performance of a diamond to the layman being useless says a lot about how they conduct business and their knowledge of the industry. If it were a GIA graded diamond, you would unlikely see inclusions for a VS2 diamond. My suspicion is that the jeweler is trying to take advantage of you by offering non-GIA certified diamonds.

    Now, diamonds fall out of settings and that isn’t isolated to James Allen, Tiffany, Cartier or any other vendor. Much of it has to do with what the wearer does with the ring. I can tell you based on experience that James Allen’s craftsmanship is good and NONE of my readers have experienced issues like this. From the thousands I had helped, it is still a relatively small sample size compared to the scale of operations that James Allen run.


  7. Seemungal-
    March 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Since we last emailed, I have been reading through your advice more and more. I’ve decided to give James Allen a chance and want to look at 2 diamonds in their NY showroom. Could you tell me which one is your top choice? I was ideally looking for a solitaire between 1.40 – 1.50 on the website and these were the best ones I could find. Also, I’ve included the setting I like, please let me know if you think this setting would work well or if you recommend one with a basket. Thanks so much!




    This is the setting I am interested in:

    Have a great day!

  8. Paul Gian-
    March 23, 2018 at 1:32 am

    You have a hands down winner here with this diamond:

    This diamond is fantastically well cut for light performance and sparkle. And from experience, I can tell you that this will blow the other 2 out of the water.

    In terms of settings, it’s a personal choice and your preferences matter. For myself, I’m extremely biased towards pave settings like these and purchase 3 such rings for my wife. The thing is, it doesn’t matter if I like it or not (which I do), what matters most is you.

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