blue nile review
In this first-hand Blue Nile review, I will go into detail on perhaps the most well-known and recognizable of all the major online diamond vendors. Blue Nile is one of the first places most online shoppers visit. They are a giant in the online diamond industry and are a publicly traded company (NASDAQ symbol NILE; investor information can be found here), so any concerns about their legitimacy can quickly be dismissed. Blue Nile is best known for their "Blue Nile Signature" diamond collection--diamonds whose cut quality falls within the top 1% of all diamonds. As you may or may not know, it is the quality of the cut that determines the sparkle and shine of a diamond, making Blue Nile's Signature diamond collection among the most coveted of any diamond.
|Blue Nile Coupon Codes
The holiday shopping season is behind us, but Blue Nile is still offering shoppers discounts and Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Click here to view a list of current coupon codes and to enter Blue Nile. Updated regularly, these are the most current Blue Nile offers.
Blue Nile's website is very nice both visually and in terms of its functionality. Their loose diamond search feature is easy to use--though I would prefer buttons rather than sliders--it still works just fine. Blue Nile's website contains an incredible amount of information for the diamond shopper to use for research. From articles about Insider Tips to Better Diamond Buying (an excellent read, by the way) to a full-blown Education section, there's something for all shoppers on their website. I actually found myself browsing the many articles on their for nearly two hours before I realized how much time had passed.
The crown jewel of Blue Nile is their Signature Diamond collection. Picked from the top 1% of diamonds, this is the route to take if your primary concern is quality. You'll pay more for a Blue Nile Signature diamond than you would for lesser quality stones, making them better suited for those who aren't overly concerned with a budget.
Like James Allen, Blue Nile's website includes a section with actual photos of recently purchased diamond rings, allowing you to get a better idea of what your ring will look like before you buy it. They also do not offer pre-set diamond rings, so if you're a no-hassle shopper who doesn't want to build their own ring, you may want to look elsewhere.
In August, 2016, Blue Nile began to unveil their diamond visualization project, which aims to offer actual images and 360° video of all their diamonds. This cutting edge feature allows customers to see exactly what they're buying, offering even more peace of mind during this incredibly important purchase experience. One of the biggest questions people often have with buying engagement rings online is: "how do I know I'm getting exactly what I ordered?". This feature aims to answer that question.
pricing and selection
Blue Nile has a diamond inventory of over 150,000 stones, approximately 5000 of which are Signature Ideal cut. On the one hand, their Signature diamond collection is perhaps the finest diamond offering anywhere online. The problem, of course, is that such exceptionally high quality does not come without a price. I'd compare it to buying a car--if you want a Ferrari, you're not going to get it for the price of a Honda. For some people, of course, money is no object. If you are one of those people, my congratulations! Signature Ideal is for you. If you are on somewhat of a budget, Blue Nile does offer an extensive selection of diamonds, all of which are GIA certified, making it a "something for everyone" business.
*** Blue Nile Diamond Price Match Guarantee ***
Since I originally wrote this article, Blue Nile has adopted a policy of price matching. If you find a comparable GIA graded at one of their competitors, call their diamond consulting phone line and get started. To read more about this offer, click here.
Blue Nile has introduced it's own credit program in an effort to help customers pay off their purchase instalments, rather than have to pay in full up-front. This is a particularly good option for people who may not have all the money right now, but know that they will have it over the coming months. It's definitely something worth reading into if you find yourself in this category (and lets face it, in today's economy that includes a lot of us), so check out http://www.bluenile.com/blue-nile-credit-card for all the relevant information.
I will admit: prior to placing my order, I wasn't sure what to expect from Blue Nile. I opted for a build-your-own ring to keep things consistent with my reviews, and I decided to order a Blue Nile Signature Diamond to see what all the fuss was about. I had no issues placing the order on their website, received my order confirmation email and basically forgot about it, thinking it would take a few days. I was wrong.
The very next night, I received a shipping notification email. We're talking 24 hours here for a custom ring to be assembled, packaged and shipped. This is easily the fastest service I've received in my secret shopping experiences. The ring arrived the next day via FedEx express shipping I have to admit I was impressed.
The presentation of the ring was nothing to complain about, maybe a touch below James Allen, but still not bad. I am definitely a fan of their logo and branding. It included a full information package, complete with receipt, certificate, Blue Nile Signature Diamond certificate and other documents. All in all, it presented fairly well, and the diamond itself was as advertised: very sparkly with lots of brilliance and fire. Check out some of the pictures below, or click here to see the full photo gallery for my Blue Nile purchase.
(click HERE to enter Blue Nile photo gallery)
As previously mentioned, the only drawback with Blue Nile is their pricing in comparison to some of the "discount" online jewelers. I saved approximately 22% versus the cost of a similar ring at one of my local jewelers, however I would have a very difficult time finding a truly comparable certified ideal cut diamond locally, so it's a tough comparison to make. Part of my review process is getting the ring appraised for a local replacement value. Keep in mind that these numbers will be different depending on where you live, but my Blue Nile ring appraised for 119% more than I paid for it. Allowing for the fact that appraisals generally come in high, it still seems as though I got a nice deal.
I requested a refund via email and received a timely response. As is the standard, they expressed disappointment but agreed to honor the refund. Unlike some other companies, however, Blue Nile's return process is a little tedious and involves acquiring third-party insurance and following a very detailed and specific set of steps regarding the FedEx return label. It was somewhat of a burden and the skeptic in me thinks it might be meant to deter potential returns. Ultimately, however, if you follow their instructions, you will receive your refund. No problems here.
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Recommendation: A previous analogy I made here was "you can't expect to get a Ferrari for the price of a Honda", and that applies to Blue Nile. Their prices for Signature Ideal diamonds can be on the high side, but they deliver the highest quality and they do it faster than anyone else. It bears repeating that Blue Nile has a diamond inventory of 150,000+ stones, so you are not limited to a Signature Ideal diamond and will have no problem finding a good value that meets your budget. They also boast the fastest delivery times of any company I have experienced. If money is no object to you; if you want to have the best quality; or if you need your ring as soon as possible, Blue Nile is the best choice for you.