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When it's time to "pop the question" you want to be sure everything is perfect - especially the thing you're about to slip on your to-be fiancee's finger.
Where you decide to purchase an engagement ring from isn't a decision you want to make lightly. And it's not a purchase you want to make from just any old diamond jewelry shop.
That's why it's important that you choose the best place to buy an engagement ring out of the numerous options available to you.
In this independent review, we'll help you pickthe right place to buy from - ensuring you get exactly what you want, at an affordable price with the best experience.
Here's our quick take...
Top 3 Diamond Engagement Ring Stores Online
- Best Overall Online Jeweller- James Allen
- Great Price Range - Blue Nile
- Best Cuts - Brian Gavin Diamonds
Below you'll learn why these are the top picks from our editorial team's diamond store review: shopping experience, product quality, ring/diamond selection, price/shipping and, of course, customer/after-sale service.
Our #1 Pick - Best Quality, Selection + Shopping Experience
James Allen is the industry's leading online retailer and is the best place to buy diamonds from on the internet.
The website shopping experience is second-to-none, with REAL pictures (360-degree view in full 3D) of the ACTUAL diamonds you're purchasing - whether they're natural or lab-grown diamonds. It's like inspecting the stones in-person.
They also have the best customer support and pre/after-sales service - they make the whole thing stress-free. Even if you know nothing about diamond engagement rings, an expert will help you all along the way.
Add to that their user-friendly custom design maker, inspiration gallery, virtual ring sizer and selection of designer brands and you'll understand why it's #1!
Why James Allen is the Best
- 320,000+ high quality diamonds to choose from at affordable prices
- Ethically sourced, conflict-free natural diamonds (GIA Certified)
- Full 3D, 360-degree interactive imaging with 40x magnification
- 30-day money back guarantee, lifetime warranty and upgrade policy
- Custom designs, virtual ring sizer + inspiration gallery
- Wide range of designer engagement rings from Verragio, Danhov, Jeff Cooper, Martin Flyer, etc.
- 1 year of free re-sizing
- Free shipping
- Exceptional support (24/7 chat available)
The Runner-Up - Best Pricing and Good Selection
Blue Nile was among the first diamond retailers to embrace the internet and online shopping for engagement rings. They have a long history and good reputation.
The company started in 1999 and has become the best place to buy loose diamonds, as it's owner believed diamonds were a commodity. He founded the store after getting frustrated with the available selection while shopping for one.
They are known for their affordable pricing and selection. Because of their exclusive agreements with diamond wholesalers, you're often getting the best bang for your buck.
Blue Nile tries to get you the best deal possible while being as helpful as possible. However, the shopping experience, support/service and selection just does not compare to that of our top pick - James Allen.
What Blue Nile Offers
- Great reputation in industry
- Good selection of stones + good price range
- Designer brands, lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds
- GIA Certification (conflict-free loose diamonds)
- 30 day return policy, free shipping + lifetime warranty
Blue Nile vs. James Allen
The biggest drawbacks to choosing Blue Nile over James Allen are the selection, lack of high quality imaging, and limited service/support.
In other areas like certification, warranty, shipping, etc. Blue Nile is very similar to James Allen, but the shopping experience isn't as good.
The Honorable Mention - Best Diamond Cuts
Brian Gavin Diamonds is a "boutique" style shop. The selection, website, support and images don't come close to James Allen's (or Blue Nile's).
So why include them as a top store to purchase engagement rings? Brian Gavin Diamonds is the go-to for ideal diamond cuts - they're known for some of the best in the world.
Each stone is approved by Brian - a fifth generation diamond cutter from South Africa. For him, it's as much about symmetry as it is about how light reacts to the cut.
Unfortunately, they don't have the wide selection or the high level experience/service that you'll get with James Allen.
It's not the best shop to buy from for most people. But it deserves a mention.
Top Stores to Buy Engagement Rings Online: Review Criteria
When comparing retailers, we looked at several factors. Our jewelry store review criteria included:
- Overall shopping experience: how easy/fun/intuitive/enjoyable is it to shop and purchase items?
- Customer service: level of support before, during and after the purchase
- Product quality + selection: best ring settings, gemstone cuts, inventory, designers, etc.
- Reputation: what industry insiders and reviews say about their experiences with the company
- Pricing: who has the best pricing for the product you're getting?
What is an Engagement Ring and What is it's Significance?
An engagement ring is jewelry given by one person to another as a symbol of their love and intention to marry in most Western societies, but it's significance varies across cultural and personal beliefs.
It's often adorned with a gemstone, usually a diamond, and is worn on the ring finger of the left hand. The ring is seen as a tangible symbol of love and dedication to one another.
The History of Engagement Rings
This tradition dates back thousands of years. Giving a ring as a symbol of betrothal traces back to ancient Egypt, where woven reeds were exchanged between couples.
In ancient Rome, they believed that a vein in the ring finger, called the "vena amoris" or "vein of love," connected directly to the heart.
By the Middle Ages, the jewelry became elaborate and featured precious gemstones.
The rings we know today became popular in the 19th century after a marketing campaign by the De Beers diamond company.
Best Engagement Rings to Buy
Choosing one of these jewels is no small task. From the gemstone cut to the metal type and style, there are countless options.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone has their own preferences and tastes.
So, what different types of engagement ring settings are available?
A minimalist approach focuses on simplicity and clean lines, typically featuring a single, understated gemstone or small cluster of gemstones set in a minimalist band. It is little ornamentation and a sleek, modern design.
Vintage engagement rings are characterized by their age and unique designs that reflect the style and craftsmanship of a previous era. These are sought after for their historical significance, rarity, and timeless appeal.
A solitaire engagement ring features a single, prominent gemstone mounted on a band. The design showcases the beauty and brilliance of the central gemstone, making it the focal point of the ring.
A pave engagement ring is covered in small, closely set diamonds typically held in place by tiny prongs or beads. This style is known for its sparkling and glamorous look, adding extra brilliance and shimmer to the overall design.
Channel set options feature a row of small gemstones placed closely together in a channel within the ring's band. It creates a sleek and elegant look, with stones securely held in place by the metal walls of the channel.
Side stone rings have one or more smaller stones placed on either side of the central stone. They can enhance the overall appearance and brilliance of the ring, adding extra sparkle and elegance to the centerpiece.
A tension engagement ring has a gemstone held in place by the tension of the metal band. This creates the illusion the stone is floating or suspended in air, giving the ring a modern and unique aesthetic.
Halo engagement rings have a central gemstone surrounded by a halo of smaller stones. The halo enhances the appearance and brilliance of the central stone, creating a radiant and glamorous look.
Three-stone designs consist of three gemstones set in a row. The center stone is large and flanked by two smaller stones, symbolizing the past, present, and future of the couple's relationship.
Benefits of Buying Engagement Rings Online vs In-Person
Buying your ring online offers many benefits that often exceed the in-person shopping experience.
- Convenience: browse and make a purchase from the comfort of your own home, without the need to travel to various stores.
- Selection: online stores have a larger variety of engagement rings and diamonds to choose from compared to physical stores, giving you more options to find the perfect ring.
- Price Range: you'll often get lower prices online due to reduced overhead costs. Plus, you're able to compare prices of similar rings across jewelry stores easily.
- Customization + Support: an online retailer like James Allen allow you to customize an engagement ring or design your own. And the customer support is much better than many in-person stores.
Finding the Best Affordable Engagement Rings
You don't need to spend a ton of money. The important thing is to set a budget before shopping.
You'll be able to find a beautiful, affordable ring that will mesmerize if you shop online. Our picks above have some of the best prices, selection and value available.
Things to Look At When Shopping for an Engagement Ring
Here are the important factors to consider before buying:
Precious Metals and Gemstones
Brush up on the different types of metals (white, rose and yellow gold, platinum, etc.) and gemstone options available to you and learn about the 4 C's of diamonds - cut, clarity, color and carat weight.
It can be helpful to know the basics of reading diamond grading reports. This can be a bit confusing, but there are great resources online likethe GIA website.
Be wary of shady diamond sellers and be sure you're purchasing conflict-free diamonds from a reputable source (via certification).
Make sure they give you the best shipping and return policies, post-purchase support (like free resizing), pre-purchase help and resources to make an informed decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Buying an Engagement Ring Online Cheaper than In Person?
Yes, it is generally cheaper to buy online compared to purchasing them from physical stores because of lower overhead costs and the various sales that occur.
Can I Return an Engagement Ring?
Yes, often the most reputable stores - like our two top picks above - will have a good return policy.
What Type of Engagement Ring Should I Choose?
To choose a ring, balance your budget with your partner's personal style. What type of metals/gemstones do they wear? Have they mentioned styles they like? Make a decision based on that.
When Should I Start Shopping for an Engagement Ring?
You should start looking at least a few months prior to your proposal date. This lets you find the perfect ring, save up, have it shipped and make sure it's right. Start as early as possible.
How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring? How Big Should it Be?
Some people may like large, extravagant rings to make a bold statement while others prefer an understated ring that fits their style/values. Someresearch shows money spent on engagement rings relates to mate value. Ultimately, the size and cost of your ring should reflect your unique relationship.
What are Some Popular Gemstone Options for Engagement Rings Besides Diamonds?
Popular gemstone options besides diamonds include sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. These gemstones offer a unique and colorful alternative, allowing couples to express their individuality and personal style.
Concluding Thoughts on the Best Jewellers for Buying Engagement Rings
The perfect engagement doesn't have to be a stressful experience. If you correctly choose the best place to buy engagement rings online, you'll find exactly what you want at a great price range with all the help and advice you'll ever need.