Shane Co vs James Allen [Feb 2020]: Which is Better?

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Main Differences Between Shane Co vs James Allen

The main differences between Shane Co vs James Allen are:

  • Shane Co offers natural diamonds, whereas James Allen also offers lab-grown diamonds.
  • Shane Co works directly with partners they source with, whereas James Allen applies more general conflict-free standards.
  • Shane Co offers more high-end rings as well as budget-friendly rings, whereas James Allen offers a larger selection overall, with many mid-price rings.

In September 2019, British royal Princess Beatrice caused a buzz in the bridal and fine jewelry industry when she debuted her 3.5 carat., brilliant-cut diamond ring by Italian designer Mozzi.

But Mozzi didn’t get the last word–with designers speculating and later analyzing what wedding dress style the princess would wear for her nuptials, and companies Brilliant Earth and Shane Co having spokesmen analyze the ring.

If you think James Allen didn’t get into the hype, consider that, in the wake of not just Princess Beatrice’s engagement, but even higher profile weddings such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, they now have an entire Royal Engagement Collection for consumers to peruse.

Even without celebrity and royal weddings, one thing clear: there’s stiff competition between jewelers like Shane Co vs James Allen.

Is Shane Co or James Allen the better company to buy a ring from?

To compare Shane Co vs James Allen, we’ll take a look at some essential features you need to look for when diamond shopping for the best place to buy an engagement ring online. HINT: it’s not Costco!

While both offer some overlapping services, there are several distinctions that will help you make your decision.

How does the philosophy of Shane Company vs James Allen compare?

While not the most important factor, company statements, and philosophy give an indication as to the focus of the company and how it operates.

  • Shane Co touts itself as a generational, family business that directly sources quality diamonds. Founded in 1929, the company has been handed down four generations and focuses on what they term “cutting out the middleman” with direct contact with three major diamond-producing locations: Tel Aviv, Antwerp, and Mumbai, for which they send representatives almost every week of the year for direct contact. They also mention in house designers, ethical sourcing, and natural diamonds (as opposed to lab-grown).

  • James Allen, by contrast, emphasizes lab-grown diamonds from the largest private online diamond retailer. Also passed down originally through three generations, James Allen focuses on its extensive stock of diamonds: over two hundred thousand, and also plays up customer service and friendly policies, such as support, warranties, and more. Technology and innovation are also front and center.

Verdict: Both companies have reasonable, but very different approaches. Shane Co is more focused on specific partnerships, whereas James Allen very much is focused on a large supply of diamonds and bringing technology and customer service for a more innovative and newer experience.

How does Shane Co compare with James Allen for customer policies?

 

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Customer service is critical, is especially if you’re shopping for an engagement ring online. In this category, it’s important to find a company that not only offers generous return and exchange options, but also is transparent when it comes to payment options and terms of service.

Shane Co offers a free lifetime warranty for all products, including engagement rings which covers free inspections, cleaning, resizing, and even lost stone replacement, which is exceptionally generous. They also cover metal bands; limited exclusions include stolen jewelry.

  • Returns and Exchanges may be made for the first 60 days. The only condition is that the product must not have been altered.

  • Flexible financing is offered via the Shane Co credit card or flexible payments. There is no interest if the total cost is paid within a year, with additional options for 24, 36, 48, and 60-month payment plans.

  • Shipping is free via FedEx 2 Day. Other options include Priority Overnight and FedEx International, with ten and twenty-five dollar fees, respectively. For security, all packages are insured and must be signed for upon delivery.

  • Contact is available direct phone line, email, and you can visit a physical storefront.

James Allen also offers a free lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and also for free cleaning and repairs. Prong tightening and polishing is covered, but it’s possible some additional charges could apply for other services. As is the case with Shane Co, you can either mail your ring or visit at a physical storefront. Resizing is free for the first year.

  • Returns and Exchanges are offered for 30 days. They must be shipped with tracking, and loose diamonds must be accompanied by a certification of authenticity.

  • Flexible Financing is offered in six or twenty-four-month installments. The six-month plan allows deferred interest, while the twenty-four-month plan has a 9.90% APR rate.

  • Shipping is free for all orders over five hundred dollars, including international, and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight. Packages are insured and must be signed for.

  • Contact is available via several toll-free hotlines; instant chat; and email. You can also visit a physical storefront, and customer service is offered 24/7.

Verdict: Both offer generous customer service, but Shane Co edges James Allen out. While James Allen offers 24/7 customer service and free international shipping, Shane Co offers a more generous flexible financing plan without interest. Also of note: the lifetime warranty with Shane Co offers free resizing beyond the first year and even stone replacement. James Allen does not.

How does the sourcing and quality of diamonds compare for Shane Co vs James Allen?

 

 

Ethical sourcing, and above all, transparency is important. For diamonds, there are many things we’d ideally want to see, but most important of all is a degree of information so customers can make informed decisions.

  • Shane Co diamonds are all-natural, sourced from Aviv, Antwerp, and Mumbai. All come with official GIA certification from third-party experts (AGS, GSI, IGI) with a complete report of color, carat, weight, and clarity. All diamonds are in compliance with the Kimberly Process, with the diamond sellers they work with. The Accent Diamonds collection includes all fully faceted diamonds for extra clarity.

  • James Allen sells both natural and lab-grown diamonds, which comply with the requirement for conflict-free via the Kimberly Process. As is the case with Shane Co, diamonds from James Allen come with official certificates of authenticity and diamond grading. In addition, James Allen has diamonds are “eye clean,” which means they have no inclusions in daylight; however this is basically just educating consumers on how diamond grading works. They have diamonds at a variety of levels of clarity.

Verdict: Shane Co gives just a little more information about its diamonds. Both James Allen and Shane Co comply with the Kimberley Process for conflict free diamonds,  but Shane Co does mention regions it works directly with. James Allen seems slightly more detached from the diamond suppliers it works with. Both could go a step further and offer diamonds that also support local communities and are sustainable, and also provide more specific details about where the diamonds are sourced from. Still, both provide enough information to instill some confidence.

How does the selection of engagement rings compare? 

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Shane Co allows you to shop by popular styles or take a style finder quiz; you can also shop by metal and shape.

  • Metal options include white gold, yellow gold, rose gold and platinum. Round, oval, princess and cushion are available shapes and styles include halo, vintage, solitaire, classic, and promise rings. Prices range from $350 for a 14K white hold solitaire ring to about eight thousand dollars for higher priced rings.

  • There are many affordable options, and rings are available with sapphire and ruby settings as well.

  •  While most engagement rings are fairly modern or classic, the Vintage Collection offers milgrain detailing and diamond accents for unique and beautiful options.

James Allen has a somewhat larger selection, and allows you to begin your search with by metal type, style, and designer collections.

  • Metal choices include platinum, two grades of yellow gold, two grades of white gold, and rose gold. Solitaire, Pave, Channel Set, Side Stone, Three Stone, Tension, Halo, and Vintage are the collections offered.

  • Rings start at $530 for a 14K white gold solitaire, with the most expensive options sitting at around $5,000 for pre made rings, though this increases if you customize other options. While starting at a slightly higher price point, James Allen also has less at higher price points.

  • James Allen also offers a vintage collection, as well as the following gemstone settings: blue, yellow and pink sapphires; emeralds, and red rubies. You can sort by natural or lab grown diamonds.

Verdict: Both offer a decent selection of pre made rings, at reasonable prices per industry standards, but James Allen has more options. To be sure, more is not always better. More options can be downright overwhelming (though James Allen does have helpful search filters). If you are looking for a gemstone ring, or if you want a lab grown diamond ring, however, you’d have to go with James Allen over Shane Co.

How does customization with James Allen vs Shane Co compare? 

 

 

Both James Allen and Shane Co allow you to build an engagement ring from scratch, and both do so in a relatively similar way.

You may start with a setting, diamond, or gemstone, and then you’ll be taken through a step by step process of selecting the metal of your choice, as well as style and carat and cut of your setting. Both offer 3D visualization as you build your ring.

Verdict: Compared, Shane Co and James Allen have fairly equal customization options.

How does Shane Co’s collection of wedding bands compare with James Allen? 

  • Shane Co offers the following collections for wedding bands: Vintage; Infinity; Ruby and Sapphire; Diamond; Contour and Classic. Men’s bands are available in a wide variety of metals, including alternatives like titanium, cobalt and steel. The collection of 600 options ranges from one hundred dollars to just under ten thousand.

  • James Allen collections include: Classic; Eternity; Stackable; Diamond; and Carved and Alternative rings for Men. Prices range from $180 to a little under four thousand, with a fairly large collection.

Verdict: Both companies offer wedding rings at a variety of prices and styles. There is not an inherently large advantage of one company over the other, though Shane Co has a few more high end options, while James Allen offers more for men’s ring, especially less typical metals.

How do ratings compare for Shane Co vs James Allen?

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Finally, let’s see how the two companies compare when it comes to delivering on their promises and products.

  • Shane Co has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1992 and holds and A minus rating. On Yelp, customers awarded the company 4.5 out of 5 stars, and 4.9 out of 5 stars on SiteJabber. Most customers praised the quality of the rings; a few but notable complaints mentioned long delays of service.

  • James Allen has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2000 and holds an A plus rating. James Allen averaged 4.2 out of 5 stars on Trust Pilot, and 3 out of 5 stars on Yelp. Many praised both the quality and service, but ratings were far more polarized. On Yelp, for instance, nearly half of customers rated James Allen with 5 stars, and nearly half with one star. The service seems rather inconsistent–sometimes excellent, and sometimes opposite and sub par.

Verdict: Neither are perfect, but a relative draw here if you counter the BBB ratings with Trust Pilot and Yelp.

Final Verdict:

James Allen offers a bigger selection, but Shane Co provides a great service for what they DO sell. To be sure, both companies offer a number of admirable features, products and services, so if you are looking for a wider collection with higher fidelity visuals (360 real diamond views, etc…), James Allen probably has what you are looking for.

Shane Co has more consistent customer satisfaction, more information about its diamonds, and offers a more personal experience overall.

Where to Buy: You can purchase rings from the James Allen site directly here OR Shane Co on their site.

FAQ’s About Shane Co vs James Allen

Is it cheaper to buy engagement rings on

This depends. There are a number of different reasons people decide to shop for rings online. The first one, of course, is convenience, but also a variety of selection. Compared with going solely to physical storefronts, you’ll have more options to easily peruse, and perhaps a wider variety of styles and easier ways to visualize options for customization. It will be easier, even, to compare companies. As far as pricing, shopping online can be less expensive, especially if the company buys and stocks in bulk or outsources, though there are pros and cons to this.

How far in advance should you purchase an engagement ring?

As is the case with ordering a wedding dress, you need to budget some time. If you buy a premade design, it may take a matter of a week–if that ring is in stock. But if you’re ordering custom, keep in mind this takes time to create, and also a good deal of thought on your part. A few months out before a proposal, it’s good to start shopping. That way you can also comparison shop between competitors, which is a wise choice when buying something as important and as much of an investment as an engagement or wedding ring.

Does Shane Co buy rings?

Shane Co has a trade-in policy, which means that and diamond, ruby, or sapphire your purchase from them may be eligible for credit towards an upgrade. In addition, Shane Co has a Gold Buying Service, where they buy gold, platinum, and sterling silver rings, as well as diamonds. You can either send via mail (Shane Co-pays for shipping) or sell in person at a physical storefront. You will have the option to either accept or decline an offer and will be sent or prevented with a check.

Does Shane Co make custom rings?

Both Shane Co and James Allen have options to design custom rings. We’ll see how the options for customization compare later in this article.

Is James Allen good quality?

This is something we’ll be investigating as we compare Shane Co vs James Allen. What you want to look for in terms of quality include factors such as sourcing and standards; metals used; method of production; the three c’s; certification of authenticity, among other factors.

Are James Allen diamonds lab-created?

Joining many companies, all James Allen diamonds are lab-created. Lab-created diamonds, unlike diamond simulants, share the same chemical structure, without the blemishes that occur with natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can also be better in terms of avoiding ethical and sourcing issues associated with it. Of curse, there are still customers that prefer natural diamonds.

Is James Allen owned by Jared?

When you hear the name James Alen, the name Jared will come up more readily than Shane Co, and for good reason. Jared, James Allen, Kay Jewelers, and Zales are all owned by the parent company Signet Jewelers. James Allen is the corporation’s most recent acquisition, purchased in 2017. When you review James Allen then, keep in mind you also need to be aware of the parent company’s track record as well.

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Erin Jamieson

Erin has always loved wedding-related planning and fashion, and regularly follows bridal fashion in the news. She has also worked for a bridal boutique and is passionate about helping couples plan and budget so they can enjoy their wedding day with as little stress as possible. She is an accomplished writer who writes on many subjects, but she has a special place in her heart for new brides and is here to make their day extra special with great recommendations and ideas you can't find anywhere else. 

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