Vrai vs. James Allen

A thorough comparison of James Allen and Vrai, to help you decide which is best for you

James Allen and Vrai take different approaches to selling engagement rings, and which one is best for you may depend on exactly what you’re looking for.

In this comparison, based on my 10 years of experience helping people buy engagement rings online, we’ll look at how to decide which is the best fit for you: James Allen or Vrai

James AllenVrai
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Diamond Information
Number of settings657133
Number of natural diamonds166,236/
Number of lab-grown diamonds61,502/
Natural Diamond Price: Round 1 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$5,190
Lab Diamond Price: Round 2 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$3,190$1,100
Diamond imageryBest quality images of every single diamondHigh-quality images and interactive videos
Diamond labs: naturalMainly GIA, some IGIVRAI diamond certificate
Diamond labs: lab-grownIGIVRAI diamond certificate
Diamond searchVisit NowVisit Now
Company Information
Year founded20062014
Number of physical locations26
Owned bySignet JewelersVanessa Stofenmacher
Service Policies (Click each to learn more)
Finance availableCredit card at 9.90%Yes
ShippingFree to you, but you will have to pay to returnSmall shipping fee for all orders
Resizing1 year, freeComplimentary resizing on most items
Returns period30 days14-day returns
WarrantyLifetime, with some exclusionsLifetime warranty
UpgradeCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x priceCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x price
EngravingFreeEngraving comes with a fee
Customer service hours24/724/7
Ringspo Ratings
Diamond selection
Value for money
Service policies
Overall rating
Ringspo overall opinionExcellent imagery of diamonds, allows you to understand exactly what you’re buying, with competitive pricesModern ring styles, good user experience, prices and customer policies, but lack of independent grading report lets them down
Ringspo ReviewJames Allen Review#
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James Allen was originally founded in 2006 and since then they have led many innovations  – the most significant being a complete with 360˚ video on every loose diamond in their large inventory – something that many competitors still can’t match.

By cutting out the middleman and providing full transparency, James Allen continues to offer loose diamonds and or complete engagement rings at competitive prices.

The company is headquartered in New York and is now part of Signet Jewelers – the same company that owns Blue Nile and the largest jewelry company in the world.

Vrai is a newcomer to the online diamond game and they’ve made quite a splash since 2014. Vrai is now owned by Diamond Foundry, a carbon-neutral and 100% sustainable lab diamond producer that has received accolades from celebrity co-owner Leonardo Dicaprio.

While not all lab grown diamonds are sustainable, all of the diamonds created by Diamond Foundry are. Unlike most online diamond retailers, VRAI gets their diamonds straight from the foundry, while other companies resort to third party diamond manufacturers. This gives them significantly more control over the quality of their merchandise.

VRAI mainly functions as an online diamond retailer, but they have 13 showrooms in various places across the world, not just the US. US locations are in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in case you would like to view a lab-grown stone in person.

Diamond Selection and Quality

Both James Allen and Vrai offer a large selection of loose diamonds and engagement ring settings, as well as an extensive collection of fine jewelry.

In this section we’ll look at several factors:

  • Diamond choice
  • Diamond quality
  • Diamond imagery

While natural diamonds are used to be the default offering for engagement rings, lab grown diamonds have garnered more attention over the last ten years and Diamond Foundry and Vrai have been at the forefront.

James Allen gives customers the choice between 166,236 natural diamonds or 61,502 lab grown diamonds for their engagement rings. They also have a selection of both natural and lab grown fancy colored diamonds ie. yellow, pink, blue, green, etc.

As a subsidiary of Diamond Foundry, all of the diamonds offered at Vrai are lab-created diamonds. Unlike most diamond retailers, VRAI does not disclose how many diamonds they have in their inventory. However, I’ve looked at their offerings and they seem to have enough diamonds to choose from to create a great engagement ring.

Something I found interesting about Vrai is that in addition to selecting loose diamonds, you have the option to have a Vrai diamond cut for you by having Diamond Foundry cut diamond rough for you.

Vrai’s cut for you offers 30 shapes, including shield, rand, kite and more. This is far more than the 10 regular shapes that most diamond retailers offer and a real point of difference for them, which in an increasingly-commoditised online diamond market is important.

Certifications and Ethical Sourcing

Buying a certified diamond ensures that you are getting the quality you’re paying for. Diamond certificates and grading reports give you a general assessment of the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of your diamond, also called the 4Cs of diamond quality. Additional information such as shape, measurements, and origin may also be annotated on the certificate. Diamond certs may be digital or printed.

I typically recommend buying certified diamonds with GIA, AGS, or IGI certifications. These are the top three in the industry and are said to have the most consistency in grading.

James Allen’s natural diamonds are mainly certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), with some diamonds certified by the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

All of the diamonds offered at James Allen are said to be conflict-free, under the terms of the Kimberley Process.

Vrai provides their own diamond certification in-house from Diamond Foundry. Their diamonds are housed by GIA trained gemologists, but they are not GIA diamond certifications. These gemologists have gone through the Graduate Gemologist program at the GIA, something I am also doing.

Being honest, this is a major negative for Vrai compared to James Allen. Even with identical training, the being employed by the same organisation as the one that is selling the diamond they are grading means that a grader may be more likely to be more generous with a grading.

All of Vrai’s diamonds are sourced from Diamond Foundry, ensuring they are carbon-neutral and ethically produced. They also ensure that everyone involved with the Diamond Foundry brand and workforce have fair wages and ethical working environments.

Pricing and Value

Lab-grown diamond prices can vary significantly between retailers and the best way to see which is better value is to compare two diamonds that are as similar as possible.

We’ll start with an excellent cut round lab grown diamond from James Allen weighs 3.09cts, has VS1 clarity, and has been graded F for color by IGI, who issued the independent grading report.

This diamond is currenrly priced at $5,880 in a sale, down from a regular price of $7,970.

One of the best things about James Allen is the high quality diamond imagery, which allows you to zoom in 40x to see any potential imperfections.

This makes it really easy to understand exactly what you’re buying and is especially helpful if you are considering a diamond with VS2 clarity or below, where being able to understand the size and location of the inclusions is really important to understand whether the diamond will be ‘eye-clean’ or not.

If you haven’t already checked out James Allen’s ‘super zoom’ feature it’s definitely worth clicking through here and checking them out.

I’ve chosen a similar graded diamond from Vrai that also weighs 3.03cts with VS1 clarity and F color grades.

This diamond comes with a Vrai diamond certificate and is priced at $6,030.

At the time of writing, James Allen’s sale price is therefore lower than Vrai’s, although Vrai’s regular price is lower.

However, James Allen does run frequent sales with 25% off lab-grown diamonds, so it’s always worth comparing the prices at the time you are looking.

One other thing to note is the quality of the imagery provided. James Allen’s interactive 360˚ video allows you to rotate the diamond as you please so you can see it up close from any angle. Vrai does also show their diamonds in a 360˚ video clip, however it is further away and doesn’t let you control it, making it more difficult to focus in to check the quality.

Customization and Design Options

When it comes to jewelry, especially something as personal as an engagement ring, customization is key – you want to find the exact combination of diamond size, quality and ring setting style that suits you.

Let’s explore how James Allen and Vrai stack up against each other.

The first thing I want to point out about James Allen’s design process is all the options you have to choose from. Choose from natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds, colored diamonds (natural or lab-grown) and colored gemstones for your engagement ring center stone.

You can select from a multitude of diamond filters that extend beyond the shape, cut, clarity, color, and carat weight of your diamond. Customers can narrow filters down to measurements, lab certificates, and even diamond fluorescence.

Once you’ve chosen your diamond, you can select from a wide variety of over 250 settings. Their collection ranges from classic solitaire settings to more intricate vintage designs.

James Allen was the first online diamond retailer to offer interactive 360˚ technology on over 400,000 diamonds when they first appeared online. This is useful for those trying to save on diamond cost by picking diamonds with clarity grades below VS clarity. By controlling the zoomed video of your diamond, you can easily identify the location of any clarity characteristics and zoom out to make sure you can’t see them from far away.

Vrai’s diamond selection is a little different compared to James Allen’s. They specialize in emission-free lab grown diamonds, which takes up most of their focus. The option to have a Vrai diamond “Cut For You” is a great option to give your engagement ring some extra personalization and customization.

Browsing can be a little complicated when selecting a diamond from Vrai’s inventory. They don’t list how many diamonds they have and they only allow you to select from grade groups instead of individual clarity and color grades.

While you can sort the results that are produced by clarity, color or carat weight, this lak of control makes it more difficult

Unlike James Allen, VRAI only offers excellent and ideal cut diamonds, so theoretically all Vrai diamonds should sparkle brilliantly. However, another are where Vrai doesn’ allow the user as much control as James Allen is over the proportions of the diamond.

James Allen’s advanced features allow you to specify table % and depth %, which is getting into the nitty-gritty of diamond selection, but many people find this useful to ensure that they are getting a diamond that is likely to sparkle as brilliantly as possible.

Without this ability, and without an independent grade, you are relying on Vrai employees’ opinions on the quality of the stone you are considering.

Ultimately, for me I prefer the granularity of James Allen’s search function as it gives me the control I am looking for. However, if you are less willing to dig deep into things like depth % and table % then you may prefer Vrai’s simpler search experience.

Service: Both Before & After Purchase

Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase.

You want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.

This attitude can be boiled down to one term: customer experience – essentially how hard a business is trying to make sure that your interactions with them are smooth, friction-free and, ideally, delightful.

James Allen offers 24/7 customer service via email, chat, text or phone. You can also request a live diamond inspection on any one of their diamonds by clicking beneath it. You’ll be connected to a live expert to tell you all about the diamond you’ve selected.

You can contact Vrai by live chat or phone 24/7. They respond to emails within one business day. You can also schedule a diamond consultation with their experts or visit one of their 13 locations in person-if you live close to one.

Additional Services

Additional service policies such as diamond upgrades, financing options, and engraving can impact your ultimate choice. Let’s see what popular service policies James Allen and Vrai offer their customers.

James Allen:

  • Engraving: James Allen offers free engraving services done online before the time of purchase.
  • Financing: They provide financing options through the James Allen credit card with special interest plans.
  • Shipping: James Allen offers free shipping on all orders, but customers may have to pay return shipping.
  • Resizing: James Allen offers one free resizing within the first year of purchasing the ring.
  • Returns: James Allen has 30 day returns and they can be initiated on the website.
  • Warranty: James Allen provides lifetime warranty that covers selected repair services as well as manufacturer defects.
  • Upgrade: The diamond upgrade program allows you to upgrade your current diamond while picking a new one that is at least 2x the original price. This only applies to their natural diamonds, not the lab grown ones.
  • Physical Stores: James Allen has two physical locations, one of which is their headquarters in New York City. They primarily operate online, not in-store.


  • Engraving: Vrai offers engraving for a $60 fee.
  • Financing: Financing at Vrai is available through Klarna and Affirm. Financing through PayPal is only available to customers in Germany and the UK.
  • Shipping: Vrai does not offer free shipping and their returns have a $300 restocking fee for recycling measures that take place after being returned.
  • Resizing: Vrai offers resizing up to 1 full size up or down for free.
  • Returns: Vrai has a 21 day return policy with exceptions.
  • Warranty: Vrai offers a manufacturer’s warranty that covers any defects to your diamond or its setting. This is part of the Lifetime Care package which also includes an annual analysis of prongs, stones, and redipping for white gold. Other repairs may be done for a cost.
  • Upgrade: Unlike James Allen, Vrai allows you to upgrade any diamond for another diamond that is 50% more than the one originally purchased.
  • Physical Stores: Vrai has 13 showrooms all over the world.

Payment and Financing Options

James Allen accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, bank wire transfers, and Paypal. They also offer financing options at checkout through their partnership with SplitIt, allowing customers to pay for their purchase over equal payments.

With Affirm, James Allen offers flexible financing plans ranging from 3 to 24 months. With the James Allen credit card, you’re given the choice of no interest plans if paid off in six months or 24 monthly payments with rates as low as 9.9% APR

Vrai offers payments using all major credit/debit cards and Paypal. You are able to use Shop Pay checkout. Shop Pay offers the option to pay for your order in full at checkout, or to pay in installment payments for orders from $50 USD to $17,500 USD.

Vrai offers financing plans through Klarna, which allows customers to finance or make payments for any US order under $10,000 USD. You’ll either have the option to finance or you can pay in 4 interest free installments for orders under $1,000.

You can select payment plans through Affirm and choose four biweekly, interest-free payments, for orders from 50 USD to 999.99 USD. Monthly payments for orders from $150 USD to $17,500 USD. Monthly installment orders are interest-bearing from 10 to 36% APR, and may be paid in three, six, or twelve months depending on the purchase amount.

For more details about the various payment and financing options through VRAI, check them out in detail here.

Warranty and Repairs

Vrai’s lifetime care package includes three main components that are given to ring buyers for free. It guarantees your diamond upgrade terms, covers manufacturing defects, and gives an annual inspection for polishing, rhodium for white gold, prong retipping, and cleaning. Other repairs are done for a cost.

Customers who believe their purchase has a defect will have to submit evidence to Vrai. If they think that it could be a defect via the pictures, you’ll need to send it in with a $50 fee. Once they’ve observed it in its entirety, the $50 fee will be refunded for items that are under warranty. If the issue isn’t part of the manufacturer’s coverage, the fee will go toward the repair cost. Should you decide not to have it repaired, the $50 is not refundable.

Costs may vary depending on the country you’re from, so check out their policy in full detail here.

James Allen offers a free lifetime warranty that covers wear and tears as well as manufacturing defects. The wear and tear repairs include prong tightening, re-polishing, rhodium plating and cleaning services. All other repairs may be done for a cost.

You’ll need to contact James Allen’s customer service to initiate a repair. All repairs must be accompanied with a non-refundable $30 shipping label to be sent to James Allen for inspection. James Allen will ship the ring back to customers in the US for free, but there will be a return shipping fee for international customers.

Shipping and Returns

James Allen offers free shipping to all customers. Return shipping is also free, but only to US customers. International customers will have to pay a $50 fee to return. Free returns are limited to three per customer.

They provide a 30-day return policy, which is pretty standard in the industry.  All returns are done through their customer service phone number. Make sure to include the certificate with loose diamonds, otherwise they’ll charge you a $150 fee to replace it. Special orders are not returnable.

Vrai does not offer free shipping to any of their customers. They have a 2-day ship through Fedex that costs about $10. Fedex overnight shipping costs $50, which could be frustrating for those needing their engagement ring in a hurry. They don’t do weekend delivery either. Shipping fees for international customers are different for each area, which you can find more about here.

Eligible engagement rings and fine jewelry can be returned to the original form of payment within 21 days. This is a shorter period than most online diamond retailers, but they offer an extended 45 day return period if you want a VRAI gift card instead. That could be helpful for those wanting to exchange their ring or jewelry for another piece of Vrai jewelry.

Vrai has a few exceptions to the return policy, so make sure to read their policy thoroughly before making a purchase. I’ll highlight the main points to help you out.

Rings that have been resized,  personalized nameplate jewelry, and custom orders can’t be returned. If you’ve chosen a Cut For You diamond, only certain diamond shapes can be refunded. This includes round brilliant, oval, emerald, pear, radiant, cushion, marquise, trillion, Asscher, princess or elongated cushion cut diamonds less than or equal to 5 cts.

VRAI offers free return shipping on all orders from the US, Canada, European Union, and United Kingdom. If refunding an engagement ring, Vrai will deduct $300 from your refund to cover unsetting the diamond and melting the gold for recycling. If refunding a wedding band, the fee will be $50.

While it’s good for the environment to recycle unused gold, these fees may be frustrating for many customers. Other diamond retailers that also recycle unused engagement rings don’t typically give a restocking fee, let alone a $300 one.

So which is better, James Allen or Vrai?

James Allen offers a comprehensive online diamond-buying experience, with high-resolution imagery, a vast inventory, and hassle-free returns. They do not charge a restocking fee and offer a longer return policy.

Vrai stands out with its emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing. They carry competitively priced lab grown diamonds and give customers the opportunity to have their own diamond cut into a variety of diamond shapes not available with James Allen.

Your choice between James Allen and Vrai should depend on your priorities. Vrai’s lab grown diamonds are less expensive than James Allen’s, but their services are lacking. They don’t offer free shipping, returns have a hefty restocking fee, and do not have GIA certified diamonds. James Allen offers free shipping and returns (except international returns), natural diamonds, and GIA certified diamonds.

Both James Allen and Vrai have a great reputation in the industry. Either of these online diamond retailers would make a good choice if they align with what you’re looking for.


What is the primary difference between Vrai and James Allen?

James Allen offers a vast inventory of both natural and lab-grown diamonds with high-resolution imagery. Vrai emphasizes sustainability with a focus on lab-grown diamonds and modern, minimalist designs.

Do both retailers offer lab-grown diamonds?

Yes, both James Allen and Vrai offer lab-grown diamonds. However, Vrai primarily focuses on selling and manufacturing lab-grown diamonds. All of their lab diamonds have been created in-house. 

Which retailer offers better diamond imagery and viewing options?

James Allen is renowned for its high-quality diamond imagery and offers an interactive 360-degree view of each diamond. Vrai also provides video, but it doesn’t have the same zoom or controllable features as James Allen.

Which retailer is recommended by Ringspo?

Ringspo recommends both James Allen and Vrai, highlighting the strengths of each retailer based on different criteria. Both companies are reputable and make a good option to buy from.

One thing to note is that diamonds themselves aren’t usually discounted, but the discount on a ring setting or an eternity ring could run to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Again, these offers do change, so it’s always worth checking out the James Allen site to see what the current offers are.