Review of 4 Online Engagement Ring Retailers – USA

Union Diamond James Allen Diamonds USA Rothem Collection
4 Prong Solitaire Setting $299 (14K) $445 $475 $715
 1 ct Round Cut (Good,F,VS1) $6,405 ($3,819 EGL) $7,130 $7,677 $7,100 (SI2, G, Very Good)
1 ct Princess Cut (VVS2, G) $5,887 ($3,090 EGL) $4,690 $5,754 (EGL $5,355) $4,377
Certification GIA (EGL only) GIA GIA (EGL) GIA
Online Viewing Sample image only 3D video, 40x Photo Sample image only HD video
Personal Viewing Yes – Atlanta, GA 30339 No No No
Return Option 30 day – to return 60 days – to ship return 10 days – to notify return 30 day – to ship return
Upgrade Policy No Yes – on 2x value upgrade Yes – on 2x value upgrade No
Credit $1,000+ Terms not stated $1,000+ , 0%, 6mths to pay Layaway plan 0%, 0%, 6mths No

 

Comparison

 

Our price comparison has been done as closely as possible, matching as closely as possible the ’4Cs’ of Carat,Cut, Clarity,  and Color. For the round stone with James Allen, Diamonds USA and Diamond Union  the comparison was done on the basis of diamonds with Clarity ‘ VS1′, Colour ‘F’ and Cut ‘ Good’.  Rothem Collection seem to have a smaller selction of diamonds than the others, the closest match we could find was  Clarity ‘SI2′, Color ‘G’, and Cut ‘Very Good’.

For the Princess cut stone the comparisons where done on the basis of 1ct, VVS2, G. The cut varied from site to site  The setting is a Classic four claw 18k white gold ring except for Union Diamond which is a 14k white gold setting. Please remember, the ’4Cs’ are only the first step for comparing diamonds. If you want to make a more exact comparison you will have to look at the other factors which appear on  a GIA or other certificate. One aspect is depth and table percentages which affect brilliance and fire. You will find an article explaining this here.

 

Upgrade Policies

 

If you think you may ever want to trade in the engagement ring you choose for an even more beautiful one in the future, then Upgrade policies are going to be important to you. If you simply try to sell the original stone or the entire ring, you may find you can only get 40-50% of what you originally paid, whereas upgrade policies will give you the full sum to put towards a new stone. Be aware though that in most cases, it is only the stone cost which is included in the upgrade policy. It is also worth checking whether if you get the stone set with someone other than the original supplier whether the policy will still be valid. Again, if it’s important, don’t rely on the site, ask directly and if you want to be sure get a written response.

 

Returns

 

Obviously you hope you ring will be absolutely perfect and in most cases it will be, but to give you extra assurance, any quality retailer will offer a period during which you can return the item for a full refund. Obviously on such a large purchase this can be very important so make sure you check the small print. Normally if your purchase involves any custom design you will be excluded from their returns policy. Also be careful to check when the return period applies from. You may have to notify  the seller of your desire to return, have it posted to them, or actually have it back in their hands, in the given time period. Obviously this can make the difference between your refund being accepted or rejected, so if you have any doubts at all regarding when you have to make returns by, check carefully. Sometimes it is not absolutely clear on the site, so don’t hesitate to give the retailer a call if you need assistance.

 

Credit Arrangements

 

Credit arrangements are always complex affairs, and when buying an engagement ring it is no different. The most important things to be clear about, are when you need to pay by and what happens if you don’t.

James Allen have a quite good 6 month interest free payment  option. However, you do need to be aware that if you make the minimum payments advised on the statement, you won’t have paid it all back in 6 months. At that point you’ll have interest for the initial 6 months added at the rate of 29% APR. This will then continue until the full amount is paid off.

Diamonds  USA ‘Layaway’ plan can be quite a good option, but you need to be aware that 5% of the sum you put down is none returnable, so you are effectively losing your Money Back Guarantee if you choose this route.