- A comparison of Blue Nile and Ritani
- What sets Blue Nile and Ritani apart from each other
- Which store has a larger selection of diamonds
- Which store offers the superior warranty
Blue Nile and Ritani offer a similar shopping experience, as they both offer loose diamonds and ring settings while adhering to the sale of conflict-free diamonds. However, there are notable differences between these two retailers.
If you’re new to the world of online diamond shopping, you’ve probably heard of Blue Nile. As the first online retailer to offer loose diamonds on the web in 1999, they set the standard for others that followed. Blue Nile’s longevity and reputation in the industry attract many new diamond buyers who may be apprehensive about making such a significant purchase online without seeing it in person. Their vast online presence instills confidence in buyers.
Blue Nile boasts one of the largest online inventories of loose diamonds, with over 380,000 diamonds in various carat weights, color and clarity grades, and diamond shapes. They also offer a vast collection of fine jewelry, lab-grown diamond jewelry, and fancy-colored diamonds. Their selection rivals that of a mega jewelry store like Zales, but with better quality jewelry and more competitive diamond prices.
Like most online retailers, Blue Nile offers a 360˚ viewer to inspect diamonds. The viewer is adequate, allowing you to see inclusions or blemishes while searching for an eye-clean diamond in a lower clarity grade. However, some may find the zoom function lacking compared to other retailers like James Allen.
Not every diamond at Blue Nile offers 360˚ viewing. However, you can easily filter those diamonds out, leaving around 120,000 options to choose from. While the selection does narrow as you become more specific, 120,000 is still a significant number of diamonds to peruse.
One of the best things about Blue Nile is that every loose diamond is certified by GIA. Unfortunately, when I worked at Kay and began learning about diamonds, they didn’t emphasize the importance of GIA certification. Instead, they primarily sold diamonds with less reliable certificates and rarely offered the five GIA-certified engagement rings. For those who, like me, are unfamiliar with the significance of GIA certificates, it’s reassuring to know that all of Blue Nile’s diamonds are certified by the world’s leading authority in diamond quality.
Furthermore, Blue Nile offers a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee for online purchases of wedding and engagement rings. This guarantee provides peace of mind for buyers who may be hesitant about making such a significant purchase online.
While Ritani has been established since 1999, they did not start out as an online diamond retailer. Instead, they were initially recognized for their designer ring settings. Although their headquarters are in New York, they have collaborated with several local jewelers and even online retailers. As a matter of fact, some of Ritani’s ring settings can be found on Whiteflash, which is another one of our recommended retailers.
It wasn’t until about 2012, when former Blue Nile CEO Brian Watkins joined the company, that they started selling loose diamonds online. Today, they sell both natural and lab-grown diamonds, including fancy yellow diamonds, even after Watkins’ departure. However, their collection of fine jewelry is limited, and they do not offer colored gemstones.
With over 80,000 loose diamonds available in various grades, one aspect that falls short for Ritani is their diamond viewing system. Given that Blue Nile has one of the best 360˚ viewers, it’s surprising that Ritani did not adopt a similar approach.
Not all diamonds on their site have 360˚ viewing, with some only having HD photos, others having both HD photos and videos, and some only featuring a stock photo. They are not sorted in any particular order, and there is no way to filter them. To determine the type of photo or video available for a specific diamond, you need to check the emblem located on the side of the picture.
The video clip showcasing the diamond spinning is subpar, as it spins rapidly and is not centered properly against a black background. Further investigation revealed that some 360 videos suffer from this issue, while others are magnified and some refuse to load altogether. This kind of online diamond viewer is unacceptable.
It’s worth noting that Ritani exclusively deals in loose diamonds that have been certified by either the GIA or AGS.
The grading reports provided by the American Gem Society (AGS) are on par with those from the GIA, which is useful for customers unfamiliar with diamond certification, as is the case with Blue Nile.
In addition, Ritani offers a 30-day return policy for engagement ring purchases. However, free shipping is only available to customers located in the US.
Blue Nile’s customer service is available round the clock through various channels, including phone, email, live chat, text messaging, and even WhatsApp. The brand’s commitment to providing options for all forms of technological communication reflects their dedication to customer care.
It’s worth noting that the majority of Blue Nile’s customers have never physically visited one of their stores. Many of these customers may be surprised to learn that Blue Nile has 13 showrooms across 10 states in the US, which is a greater number of locations than several of our recommended diamond retailers.
Whether you prefer to visit in-person or online, you can schedule an appointment with a gemologist from Blue Nile. You can choose to book at a physical location or opt for a virtual appointment.
When it comes to customer service, people often seek out extra benefits and features. Blue Nile offers a lifetime-trade up policy, allowing customers to trade up their engagement ring at any time, provided that the new one is double the price. This policy is consistent with industry standards.
In addition, Blue Nile provides an appraisal for your purchase, which can assist with insurance purposes. This service eliminates the extra step required to get your engagement ring or wedding band insured. However, you have the option to obtain your own private appraisal if you prefer.
Blue Nile also offers a price match policy for comparable diamonds found on other online retailers. Additionally, they have partnered with Circa to allow customers to sell their ring from another jewelry store, which I find to be a great feature.
Blue Nile provides free shipping on all orders, regardless of their destination, making them an excellent choice for international customers.
If you’re considering upgrading from a different retailer, Blue Nile offers a unique service. They’ll provide you with a quote, and once you’ve sent in your item, you have the option of receiving a check, bank transfer, or 110% of the amount in the form of a Blue Nile gift card. This service is exclusive to Blue Nile and could be highly beneficial for those looking to upgrade their jewelry collection.
RECOMMENDED: Blue Nile Review
Ritani’s customer service team has flexible hours but they are not available 24/7. They operate from 9am to 10pm EST Monday through Thursday, close at 9pm on Fridays, and are closed on Saturdays except for Sundays when they operate from 11am to 6pm. Although it may seem unusual for them to be closed on Saturdays, you can still schedule a private appointment outside of these hours for convenience.
Ritani can be contacted through email, live chat, and phone number. Although they do not offer 360˚ viewing on all diamonds, you can request HD photos of any diamond through customer service and they will send them to you within 48 hours.
Ritani is well-known for its partnerships with jewelers across the United States. They offer an in-store preview service, which allows you to see your custom ring in person without any obligation to buy. If you are not satisfied with your ring, it can be melted down. This service was temporarily discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic but is being reinstated. Additionally, you can buy online and pick up in-store.
Ritani also provides a unique feature called the Diamond Market Analysis (DMA). The DMA can be found in the details of any diamond and is used to show customers how the price of each diamond is broken down. Ritani shows you how much a vendor is selling the diamond for, how much they have to pay in customs and fees to get it, and how much markup they take as a company.
In addition to their 30-day return policy, Ritani provides the convenience of scheduling a pick-up for your return, so you don’t have to leave your home. They also offer a diamond buyback and upgrade program for all their customers.
Furthermore, if you come across a comparable diamond on another website, Ritani provides a price matching service.
RECOMMENDED: Ritani Review
Many individuals may underestimate the importance of having a warranty for their engagement and wedding rings; however, I strongly advise you to consider obtaining one. These rings are typically composed of natural metals that are not indestructible.
Gold, a commonly used material for rings, is a soft metal and is susceptible to scratches, nicks, and fading. This is not a reflection on the quality of the craftsmanship, but rather the natural wear and tear that occurs with regular use.
If I had to choose one aspect of Blue Nile to alter, it would undoubtedly be their warranty – or, to be more accurate, their lack of one. Blue Nile’s warranty, which they refer to as a “manufacturer’s warranty” or a “lifetime manufacturer’s warranty,” is what I would refer to as a “cop-out warranty.” This type of warranty only covers design defects or flaws in the ring, which should be a given for any product that a company sells.
Blue Nile’s current warranty may not be enough to satisfy customers, and I believe that they could significantly increase their sales by offering a more comprehensive warranty. James Allen, for instance, offers a free lifetime warranty that includes routine maintenance, a factor that sets them apart in diamond comparisons.
Despite this concern, Blue Nile’s engagement ring settings appear to be of high quality as I do not encounter many complaints about the need for repairs. Blue Nile offers one free resizing within the first year and provides free cleaning inspections, but the customer is responsible for paying the FedEx shipping fee.
In terms of warranties, Ritani surpasses Blue Nile by offering a lifetime warranty similar to that of James Allen. While their website specifies that their warranty does not cover wear and tear, it does include services that are often associated with it, such as rhodium plating for white gold ring settings and the tightening of prongs and stones. However, services such as rebuilding worn-down prongs and reshaping the ring shank are not covered and may incur additional costs.
Although there is a $35 shipping fee for warranty services, Ritani covers the cost of return shipping and insurance for your ring. Additionally, you have the option of taking your ring to a partner retailer, but any associated costs would be the responsibility of the customer, not Ritani.
To activate your warranty, you must sign up for it online within 45 days of purchase. However, if you miss this window, you can still activate it later. It’s important to note that the warranty only applies to engagement rings and wedding bands and not to fine jewelry.
Ritani also offers free engraving and one free resizing within the first year, making their warranty even more appealing to potential customers.
Price and Value
For many people, the cost of a ring is a primary consideration that comes to mind, often before considering any added features or benefits. However, it’s possible to find an excellently priced diamond with no benefits or pay a little more upfront with a debit or credit card and save money in the long run. In such cases, it’s not just about the initial price but also about the overall value that the price offers in the long term.
As Blue Nile and Ritani are quite similar, it will be interesting to observe how they price-match against each other. As an example, I have selected a 1-carat diamond with ideal cut, VS2 clarity, and G color grade from Blue Nile, with excellent polish and symmetry and no fluorescence. Its price is $6,234.
Blue Nile has introduced a branded line of ideal cut diamonds, called Astor Ideal, but they do not appeal to me. These diamonds are comparable to James Allen’s True Hearts line, but they are not specially cut or even super ideal. The only additional feature is a GemEx report that shows the amount of brilliance, sparkle, and scintillation on a scale.
While the GemEx report is interesting, it’s not necessary and doesn’t make much of a difference other than price. I would recommend sticking with Blue Nile’s regular ideal cut diamonds.
Ritani doesn’t offer any gimmicky or special tier diamonds, and the highest quality diamonds on their site are their ideal cut diamonds. I have chosen a similar diamond to Blue Nile’s with the same diamond grades, and it costs $6,287.
The price difference between the diamond offerings of the two retailers is small, but significant to some buyers, while others may find it outside of their budget. Ritani may have cheaper loose diamonds, but their ring settings are more expensive, with most priced above $800. There are only a few ring settings available with pave diamonds priced below that.
On the other hand, Blue Nile provides both branded and unbranded ring settings, with a range of unique designs at lower prices. Shopping with Ritani online may save money over the years due to the lifetime warranty, which covers maintenance costs like the annual rhodium plating required for white gold ring settings.
This process typically costs between $40-$120 per year and could add up over the fifty years you might wear the ring. When evaluating a company’s value, it’s important to consider warranties. Yellow and rose gold jewelry doesn’t require rhodium plating, so that’s a cost savings to consider.
There are plenty of customer reviews available on platforms such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, and Yelp, most of the reviews filed tend to be complaints about the retailer. While these reviews can be informative, it’s important to take them with a grain of salt.
As an alternative, we suggest exploring Reddit and its various subreddits that focus on diamonds and engagement rings. This platform provides a space for users to share both positive and negative experiences, giving a more balanced perspective on the retailer.
The primary subreddits dedicated to diamond engagement rings are mostly dominated by customers and postings related to Blue Nile and James Allen. Although there aren’t many recent discussions focused solely on Blue Nile, users can find answers to their questions by searching for related posts. However, Blue Nile is frequently mentioned when comparing with other online retailers.
On Reddit, the most common complaints or negative posts about Blue Nile center around their diamond pricing, which can be unpredictable, as noted in a recent Reddit post:
It’s essential to take your time and compare diamond prices from different sources, going site by site, rather than relying on platforms like Rare Carat. This is because Rare Carat mostly features diamonds from retailers that aren’t well-known to the general public.
Additionally, vendors have to pay a fee to be included on Rare Carat, so you’re unlikely to find any major players on the platform. We provide a detailed comparison of Rare Carat and James Allen in our guide to help you understand this better.
The number of Ritani reviews on Reddit is quite limited, with only a few posts available. However, it appears that many of those who do purchase from Ritani are dedicated to the brand.
Ritani is known more as a specialty retailer, prioritizing design over affordability. Despite this, their designer ring settings are typically less expensive than those of other designers. Some Redditors have also reported buying lab diamonds from Ritani.
While there are only a handful of engagement ring reviews from Ritani on Reddit, they do exist. Additionally, one Redditor recommends purchasing Ritani diamonds exclusively through their online store, rather than from a partner retailer.
When it comes to choosing between Blue Nile and Ritani, our preference is for Blue Nile. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, while Ritani has some excellent features, Blue Nile offers a better buying experience. Ritani’s selection of medium-sized diamonds dwindles quickly, particularly if you’re seeking specific diamond grades. In contrast, Blue Nile has a much broader selection, which allows for more specificity.
Secondly, Blue Nile’s 360˚ viewer is superior to Ritani’s viewing inconsistencies. Although the viewer is not available for all diamonds, it is available for many, which is a nice feature. At Ritani, you must browse and wait for the video to load.
Thirdly, Blue Nile doesn’t offer I clarity diamonds due to their numerous inclusions. While I clarity diamonds are the lowest clarity tier, buying one can save you a significant amount of money. Kay’s mostly stocks I clarity diamonds, which are often overpriced by thousands of dollars. By searching diligently, you may find an eye-clean SI clarity diamond that is of higher quality and less expensive.
Fourthly, Blue Nile’s ring settings are more affordable than Ritani’s.
Ultimately, Blue Nile is the better online retailer because it caters to a broad range of budgets by offering a range of diamonds at different price points. A retailer with more to offer and cheaper prices is often more attractive to shoppers. However, one should avoid the Astor Ideals. Although super ideal diamonds are lovely, they do not significantly increase value or enhance the appearance of the diamond compared to ideal cut diamonds. Most people cannot detect a difference in sparkle.
Regardless of the recommendation, one should now have a better understanding of which retailer may be the best fit for their budget. Ritani’s simple solitaire settings are less expensive, but the more complex the setting, the higher the price.
Ritani is a fantastic retailer with a great lifetime warranty and excellent diamond prices, it may not be the ideal choice for every diamond buyer, especially those with limited budgets. Blue Nile, on the other hand, caters to individuals with varying budgets, making it a retailer for everyone.