- My husband and I bought my engagement ring online after visiting several jewelers and researching buying options. It’s more common than you’d think and there are a lot of great (and secure) options.
- Based on our personal experience, I’ve put together a guide to the best places to buy engagement rings online.
- Our top picks include Blue Nile, With Clarity, Mejuri, Vrai, and Ritani.
- Read more: The best places to buy wedding rings online
My now-husband and I bought my engagement ring and our wedding bands online, and both were much more efficient and relaxing than visiting a brick-and-mortar store and dealing with pushy jewelers. Shopping for a huge investment like this is always going to be stressful, but it’s a little less so when you can wear PJs and Google things you don’t understand at midnight.
According to a 2017 report from The Knot, about one-third of the 14,000 engaged or married couples surveyed reported shopping for the engagement ring together, and 14% of the grooms said they bought the ring online, citing better prices and convenience among other reasons. My husband and I fall squarely into those categories.
We decided to shop for the engagement ring online after visiting several jewelry stores in Manhattan’s Diamond District and not feeling comfortable with the process. It goes something like this: a friend or family member refers you to “a guy,” you tell them your budget and diamond specs (the 4Cs), and then the jeweler will source a handful of loose stones for you to see in person.
You can (and should) do this several times before someone loses their patience, but we wanted to see more stones and didn’t want to feel pressured into buying the first sparkly thing we saw, so we went online. It was definitely helpful to see diamonds in person but we wanted to make sure we were getting the best one within our specs and only being able to see three stones at a time just wasn’t enough.
There was so much more inventory at the online shops we looked at, and being able to view stones in magnified zoom without a salesperson hovering over is was an immense stress reliever. That being said, there are a ton of sketchy sites that don’t have in-house photos, magnified zoom, 360-degree views, and more, so make sure it’s a reputable and secure site with insurance options, GIA certification for every stone, and at the very least, a return policy.
During our search, we zoomed in on diamonds and settings at more than 10 online stores, including the five below that we thought really stood out and made the buying process easier and more personable.
Here are the best places to buy engagement rings online:
- Best for engagement rings overall: Blue Nile
- Best for at-home try-on experience: With Clarity
- Best for in-store try-on experience: Ritani
- Best for nontraditional styles: Mejuri
- Best for lab-grown diamonds: Vrai
Prices and links are current as of 1/23/2020.
The best overall
- Blue Nile
Blue Nile has the biggest variety of loose stones, settings, and prices we’ve seen. Loose natural diamonds can range between $250 and $2 million while settings start at $180 and go upwards of $12,500.
The search function for loose diamonds and settings is intuitive, and you can easily create filters based on exactly what you’re looking for. Choose your budget, shape, cut, color, clarity, and carat weight and then look through the numerous results until your eyes glaze over. I’d suggest starting with a very curated search otherwise you can get overwhelmed.
Images of each diamond are taken in-house with 30 to 50x zoom, and there’s a 360-viewing option. That’s both a blessing and a curse because you’ll see every tiny speck and will obsess over whether it’ll show up when you wear the ring in real life. What I’ve learned after making myself cross-eyed is that unless the blemish is black when you zoom in, it likely won’t be visible to your eyes.
If you’re not convinced though, you’ll also have the stone’s report from the Gemological Institute of America and access to Blue Nile’s customer service with a handy 24/7 chatbox. My fiancé and I used this religiously when looking at stones and settings, and when the customer service rep couldn’t answer a question on their own, they would reach out to the in-house jeweler or gemologist.
Blue Nile offers a 30-day free returns policy in case the ring isn’t what you or your partner expected. The company, unfortunately, doesn’t have a showroom in which you can view the specific stones you’d want to purchase, so until you see the final ring on your hands, you don’t know what it’ll really look like; the return policy comes in handy for this very reason.
Pros: Large selection of stones and settings, knowledgeable 24/7 customer service, 30 to 50x zoom view, 360-degree view, free shipping and returns, lifetime warranty, financing options, diamond upgrade, free ring resizing within 30 days
Cons: No physical showroom to view your specific stone, process can seem impersonal
The best for an at-home try-on experience
- With Clarity
With Clarity gives you the opportunity to wear a replica of the ring you’d want before you commit. Loose natural diamonds can range between $180 and $400,000, and settings range between $250 and $2,650.
After you create a ring from the large inventory of loose stones and settings, With Clarity will send you up to two replica rings to wear for three days. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the rings, you can return the fake ones and get the real deal. You can contact customer service if you need a few extra days, otherwise, you’ll be charged $100 per unreturned ring.
This is a great try-on experience that I haven’t seen with other online shops and one that indecisive people like myself can definitely appreciate. Being able to wear the replica ring for a few days to see how it fits into your lifestyle will give you an idea about whether or not the ring is right for you.
Founder and CMO Slisha Kankariya tells me that the stones and metals used in the replica ring mimic all the properties of the real stuff, and when I wore one for a few weeks in place of my real engagement ring, it truly didn’t look any different. The brilliance of the stones and shine of the metal could’ve passed for the real deal, and if I didn’t tell my fiancé, he seriously wouldn’t have realized any difference.
With Clarity has a smaller selection of stones and settings than Blue Nile but they’re more curated, so it’s a good option for people who get overwhelmed by too many choices. The settings, in particular, are really unique. There are the traditional plain and pavé bands, and halo settings, but there are also ones with halos on the accent stones or ones that twist and have an underhalo.
As for the stone-shopping experience, With Clarity’s search function is easy to use and has a 30x to 50x zoom so you can inspect each stone for inclusions easily.
Pros: Authentic at-home try-on experience, curated selection of stones and settings, free shipping and returns, lifetime warranty, financing options
Cons: Selection might be limiting for people who want all the options
The best for an in-store try-on experience
With Ritani, you can create your ring online and then head to one of the brand’s jewelry store partners to try it on. Loose natural diamonds can range between $169 and $1.1 million and settings range between $270 and $8,240.
One way a lot of online retailers (not just engagement ring stores) keep costs down is by not having a physical store. This might be great for something like shoes, but not for engagement rings where the process is much more involved and the item much more meaningful.
Ritani solves this issue with free in-store previews of your actual ring. Unlike With Clarity, which sends you a replica ring, you can try the ring you designed online at a local Ritani store or one of its jewelry store partners around the US. There’s no pressure to buy the ring, though the company does put a hold on your credit card as insurance.
This option is the best mix of online and in-person shopping since you can make your ring online, see it in person, and then decide. In theory, you could create one or two different rings to save yourself the trouble of going back to the jewelry store to preview a ring, but that’ll depend on your line of credit, I guess.
In case you’re just starting your engagement ring search and don’t know what shape or style you like, Ritani has a helpful “ring recommender” feature. You put in your budget, shape, and setting, and it’ll recommend a ring that fits within those parameters. You only get one result each time so you’ll have to play around with the feature. Either way, it’s a good way to get some inspiration if you don’t really know what style you’re looking for.
Pros: Free in-store previews around the US, helpful ring recommendation feature, can buy loose diamonds without a setting, free shipping and returns, lifetime warranty and cleanings at local jewelry store partner, diamond upgrade, free ring resizing within one year of purchase (with some exceptions)
Cons: Ring recommendation feature only gives one result each time
The best for nontraditional styles
For unique styles that don’t look like engagement rings at all, Mejuri has nontraditional pieces that still feel special. There’s no customization, so pre-made rings start at $625 and max out at $2,150.
If you’re looking for a modern, unique ring that doesn’t look like an engagement ring at all, check out Mejuri.
There are no traditional settings like solitaires or halos, or even the use of diamonds as the center stones. Instead, the settings are clusters and consist of a large center stone like a peach-colored morganite or a blue sapphire encircled by smaller stones like diamonds or white sapphires. The metals are either 14K yellow or 14K white gold, both of which are also less expensive than platinum.
Mejuri’s prices are surprisingly reasonable for something you’d plan on wearing forever. Prices start at $650 and max out at $2,150, and since there’s no customization aspect where you can select your center stone, there are no surprises at checkout either.
Shopping for an engagement ring at Mejuri feels more like your usual online shopping experience for clothing or shoes than one specifically for an engagement ring. You can’t customize much beyond ring size and engraving, and there’s no zoom, 360-degree viewing, or lifetime warranty either. This might be great for a chill couple who doesn’t want all the fuss and stress that comes with shopping for a big purchase. If you still want to see the rings up close, there’s a store in Toronto, NYC, and LA.
Pros: Inexpensive for such a big purchase, curated selection is less overwhelming, modern styles for nontraditional brides, inexpensive base prices, free expedited shipping and returns, 2-year warranty
Cons: Ultra-curated styles can feel limited to some, no lifetime warranty, physical stores are limited
The best for lab-grown diamonds
If you’re looking for a more ethical ring, Vrai has a great selection of conflict-free lab-grown diamonds. Loose stones can range between $1,018 and $15,550 while settings range between $1,908 to $2,598.
While every diamond engagement company we’ve listed so far uses natural stones, Vrai only uses lab-grown diamonds in its engagement rings, and in all its other fine jewelry too.
The stones come from The Diamond Foundry, a Leonardo DiCaprio-backed company that creates conflict-free, lab-grown diamonds with solar energy. All the stores we’ve highlighted so far are committed to the Kimberly Process, an organization that actively prevents blood or conflict diamonds from being sold, but there still isn’t enough transparency in how diamonds are mined. Vrai & Oro avoids the whole issue by only using lab-grown stones.
The lab-grown diamonds look, feel, and shine the same as natural stones, and in some cases, can be cheaper too. For example, at the time of publishing, a 1.10 carat brilliant with an excellent cut, I color, and VS1 clarity can start at $1,903, while a natural stone with the same specs can start at $6,139.
That being said, one con to consider with lab-grown stones is that there’s no inherent value. Visually, natural and lab-grown stones with the same specs will look the same, but there’s inherent resell value in a natural stone due to limited resources. Obviously, this isn’t something you and your partner would want to think about as you’re shopping for rings, but it’s something to consider or at least be aware of if you’re deciding between natural or lab-grown stones.
As for the rings themselves, Vrai & Oro’s engagement pieces are very much like its fine jewelry – unique yet wearable. It has the most curated selection of settings than the other brands in this guide with just eight styles that you can customize, but they’re all thoughtfully designed. There are the classic solitaire and halo styles, as well as a bezel style for someone who frequently uses their hands like nurses or doctors, and a “hover”style in which the stone looks like it’s hanging off the side of the ring.
Pros: Ethical stones, curated styles, potentially cheaper base prices, lifetime warranty on the diamond, pre-paid returns
Cons: Selection can be limited for some shoppers, only one-year guarantee against defects on the ring, can’t buy diamond and setting separately, only non-engraved rings can be returned and restocking fees from $75-$200 apply, can only return an engagement ring once and your second one is considered final sale