Is Blue Nile a reputable store to buy diamonds? What do Blue Nile reviews say? Read on for an in-depth review of this online jewelry store.
Blue Nile History
In the late 1990s, the diamond industry was largely carrying its operations offline.
In 1998, Mark C. Vandon was a management officer at the Bain & Company. He identified a gap in the market when he was looking for an engagement ring. Upon further searching, he stumbled upon Doug William’s website and was wowed by it, even though it was a small retailer.
Vandon took the bold step of reaching out to the owner of the company and acquired 85% of its shares with the hope of revamping the website a year later. His efforts gave rise to Blue Nile. From that time, Blue Nile earned a spot among the preferred online stores of loose diamonds.
Blue Nile fully acquired the company in February ,2017. Today, Dough Williams is no longer a company trading in public domain.
The acquisition was completed by three companies and cost $300m. This resulted in Blue Nile being a private company. The three companies that invested in Blue Nile are Bow Street and Adam Partners, Private Equity, and Bain Capital.
Blue Nile Quality of Setting and Selection
Blue Nile boasts of more than 180,000 diamonds in its inventory. The online jewelry retailer classifies its diamonds in various specifications and settings.
Browsing around the Blue Nile inventory, you will find 10 different settings. These are pear, emerald, heart, oval, asscher, radiant, cushion, pave, marquise, and princess.
These styles and settings provide a wide selection, especially if you are searching for an engagement ring. Blue Nile even allows you to build your ring. You get to decide how much you want to spend, the diamond shape, 4Cs, and any other characteristics you may like.
Blue Nile works closely with famous designers to create pre-set jewelry, which you can see under their “Designer Rings” section. You also have an option of adding special touches to the designer rings.
Blue Nile engagement rings’ prices are very high. However, the brilliance of the rings is not compromised at all.
Blue Nile majorly deals with diamond jewelry. However, there are also other metals, such as platinum, silver, yellow gold, rose gold and white gold. The gold options are available in 14K or 18K.
Blue Nile has earned the reputation of selling quality diamonds. There are very few complaints regarding the quality of the diamonds.
Having such a large inventory of loose diamonds, it is likely that customers would question their quality. However, Blue Nile goes at extreme lengths to ensure that they stock only quality gems. For example, reliable certificates (from GIA or AGS) are required by Blue Nile members before any of their diamonds is listed on the retailer’s website.
The website’s large inventory can be a little daunting to browse through. However, there is no doubt that Blue Nile has quality diamonds.
Blue Nile Price Vs Value
Blue Nile jewelry prices are significantly lower than what you will find at most brick-and-mortar stores like Shane Co. or Jared. This is because Blue Nile follows the drop-shipping model. You will surely save some money if you shop from Blue Nile.
When compared against similar online stores that use the drop-shipping model, jewelry prices from Blue Nile are almost equal to theirs. James Allen is one of such stores and has more than 200,000 diamonds.
However, while James Allen and Blue Nile match up when it comes to inventory, the former’s rings are a little cheaper. Looking at reviews from customers, the prices of these two online stores are reasonable.
Blue Nile enjoys a spot above its competitors with its Price Match Guarantee program. This program assures customers that their prices will match that of diamonds sold by other jewelers.
This program, however, has some restrictions: you must provide the accurate cut, carat, weight, depth percentage, color, fluorescence, and other requirements. Other things you need to provide include an original and reliable GIA grading certificate and a link that shows the actual diamond price.
James Allen has the same price match program.
Blue Nile does not take responsibility diamonds that are already sold. Even so, you have up to 30 days to return a diamond ring that you are not satisfied with.
Blue Nile Packaging
Blue Nile does not mind so much about its jewelry packaging. An engagement ring from this online store comes packaged in a standard, ordinary blue box. Nothing is catchy about the box. However, it is not unattractive either.
The package is well designed and you can add a gift card with a personal message, in case you are buying jewelry for another person. The package includes a blue box, grading report, jewelry maintenance tips, and other product documents.
Being a high-end online store, you would expect elegant and fashionable presentation from Blue Nile. However, the company prefers to keep it simple but classy.
Check this video review of a customer unboxing Blue Nile jewelry:
Blue Nile Customer Service
Blue Nile also offers great customer service.
The company addresses customer issues in a variety of ways. For example, there is an FAQ page on Blue Nile’s website that answers questions on some of the most common topics. There is also a “Help Topics” section that contained detailed information on various topics. For more specific questions, you can chat live with customer care representatives of the jeweler through the available Live Chat program.
Blue Nile responds to customer concerns promptly.
Blue Nile Website Experience
For any business that operates online, there is a general perception that their customer service is better than the shopping experience on their website. When shopping online, you expect the process of choosing a product to be easy just.
What is Blue Nile’s website shopping experience?
Let’s find out.
To start with, Blue Nile’s website layout is attractive and is easy to navigate. You can use search filter options to find the particular loose diamonds, precious metals, or pearls that you want. This helps you to save time.
However, the website is not so appealing. If you are just moving around, trying your luck and hoping to land on a classy diamond, you will be disappointed by BL.
Blue Nile does not have any tools for viewing diamonds.
UPDATE: As of August, 2016, Blue Nile has invested in HD cameras. Today, you can visualize their diamonds using the 360 degrees HD display technology.
Generally, the shopping experience offered by BN may attract many customers there. Moreover, with the availability of high-quality visualization, you can know confidently spend any amount you wish to buy diamonds that you are satisfied with.
Blue Nile Return Policy
Like most jewelry retailers, BN provides a 30-day full refund return policy. The 30 days start immediately the diamonds are shipped to you.
The returns process is hassle-free, especially if you have bought a jewelry costing less than $500. If you buy diamonds worth more than $500, expect to get multiple phone calls and instructions on how you can return the items.
In general, the return and refund process is easy.
To initiate a return, you need to contact BN and request for a shipping label. It is important to purchase insurance for your diamonds when returning them to BN.
Blue Nile does not take responsibility for any diamonds that get lost or stolen while on transit during the return process.
If your main aim for returning is to get a refund, Blue Nile will process the refund in days. You can keep track of your return once the process begins.
Blue Nile Warranty
The warranty from Blue Nile comes in form of a lifetime assurance. The warranty covers all replacements and repairs that are a result of the manufacturer’s fault.
If your diamond needs repairs, that is not the manufacturers’ fault. In such a case, Blue Nile expects that you take care of the repair cost out of pocket. The company will inform you of the estimated cost.
Blue Nile Buyback and Upgrade Programs
Like James Allen, Blue Nile has an upgrade program for its diamonds. This program allows you to upgrade to a new or better diamond whose price or value is twice that of the diamond you currently own.
However, for you to upgrade, your diamond must have the original grading report and be in its original condition.
The buyback program came into place after Blue Nile collaborated with Circa Jewels (Previously known as Mondiamo) as their main diamond evaluator. If you wish to take advantage of the buyback program, you need to start at the Circa Jewels site. You will have to enter the details of the diamond and be patient as the company evaluates the diamond again.
Circa Jewels offers about 60-65% of the initial diamond price value. The company also uses Blue Nile’s diamond prices algorithms.
I would not really sell my precious diamonds for such price margins. I don’t know about you.
Blue Nile vs James Allen
Blue Nile and James Allen are miles ahead of other online retailers. Therefore, let’s start the comparison against James Allen.
Both of these online jewelry retailers have more than 100,000 different kinds of jewelry in their inventory. With them, you will get to select the right pieces for your jewelry collection.
However, while they both have large inventories, these two online retailers are different.
Blue Nile Vs James Allen: Shopping Experience
Both websites are attractive. However, Blue Nile looks a little more traditional. James Allen website, on the other hand, is more modern with a beautiful white and pink layout.
On both sites, there are options to filter your jewelry search as well as grading reports from GIA, in case you are looking for a specific kind of diamond.
Both stores have 360-degree technology for viewing diamonds, but JA is advanced with this technology.
The diamonds at JA also have 360-degree video, which is not available in Blue Nile. James Allen also offers a one-of-a-kind “Super-Zoom” feature that gives up to 20x image magnification.
Our Choice for Shopping Experience: James Allen
Blue Nile vs James Allen: Diamond Costs
One great advantage of buying diamonds at online vendors is that you will get the best deal for your money.
Both Blue Nile and James Allen offer services online, which keeps their costs lower than a typical brick-and-mortar store.
On the same note, both online stores offer coupons and discounts to their customers. However, Blue Nile has steeper coupons than James Allen.
Our Choice for Diamond Price: Blue Nile
Blue Nile vs James Allen: Customer Service
Both BN and JA have built an admirable reputation due to the experienced and passionate staff who handle customer concerns. The customer service representatives do a very good job to help you find the right jewelry for you.
JA has live chat support that is operational 24/7. Your questions or concerns will be responded to in a matter of seconds.
Blue Nile also has a live chat feature, which seems to be operations during US working hours. Therefore, depending on the time that you are on the website, you may not always find a live agent to answer your question.
One notable thing about Blue Nile is that you can reserve diamonds for a maximum of 48 hours. Therefore, if you have come across a particular diamond that you would like to buy, you can reserve it at the website. When you reserve a diamond, it is pulled down from the website to prevent other potential customers from also reserving it. James Allen does not have this option.
Our Choice on Customer Service: James Allen
Blue Nile Vs James Allen: Money Back Guarantee
Whether buying from Blue Nile or James Allen, you will get a 30-day full refund guarantee. As long as you return the jewelry within the first 30 days after receiving your jewelry, you can get all your money back. 30 days is enough time to decide whether you love a diamond ring you’ve bought.
The difference between these two diamond vendors is that JA offers free shipping returns. If you are in the US, you will not incur any expenses for shipping the diamond. Blue Nile, on the other hand, will charge $7 to your credit card to process your refund.
Our Choice on Money-Back Guarantee: James Allen
Blue Nile Vs Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth is not as popular as James Allen but they are widely known for their principle of sourcing diamonds ethically. Let’s find out how Brilliant Earth compares to Blue Nile.
Blue Nile vs Brilliant Earth: Imaging Technology
Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile have invested in high-quality images for the diamonds they have. These images do not only help you know what you will be getting later but also figure out where the defects and inclusions are. Some grading reports leave out these details.
Both these online stores do not have live images or videos of all the diamonds they have in their inventory. You may have to filter your searches to the specific diamonds that have real time images and videos.
James Allen has invested heavily in live image and video technology. The company has ASET maps and ideal scope images for all the diamonds. Although BE and BN have imaging technologies, they still have to do much to keep up with JA.
Our Choice of Imaging Technology: It’s A 50/50.
Blue Nile Vs Brilliant Earth: Product Inventory
Brilliant Earth has small inventory compared to Blue Nile. The low inventory at Brilliant Earth is attributed to the fact that they only stock diamonds that have been sourced ethically. The inventory at BE is more or less 20,000 while that at BN is over 190,000.
Both these stores have 10 different kinds of diamond settings, including oval, cushion, and emerald.
Our Choice for Product Inventory: Blue Nile
Blue Nile vs Brilliant Earth: Showrooms
Most online diamond vendors do not have physical stores. However, some traditional shoppers may want to go to a physical store to verify what they saw on the website.
Blue Nile works almost completely online. The company has a huge selection but needs to do more about its buying process. It’s tricky to purchase costly products like diamond jewelry without seeing the images at least. If you can see the diamonds in a showroom, this would even be better.
On the other hand, Brilliant Earth has physical stores, and among the few online jewelry vendors that have physical stores in the United States. Their showrooms are located in San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, Washington D.C, Denver, and Los Angeles. This is an advantage if you want to physically look at the diamond pieces before buying jewelry.
Our Choice for Showrooms: Brilliant Earth
Other Blue Nile Guides
In this Blue Nile review, we have all the details about this reputable online store. Continue reading the details below about Blue Nile to get the jewelry of your choice.