Choosing between Blue Nile’s extensive range of jewelry and Brilliant Earth’s dedication to ethical sourcing can be quite a challenge. However, through meticulous research and analysis, I have created a comprehensive comparison that will assist you in making an informed decision on your next jewelry purchase.
Brilliant Earth vs. Blue Nile
Continue reading to discover which retailer comes out on top in the showdown between Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile.
Upon comparing the shopping experience of Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile, I have observed that both offer exceptional loose diamonds and ring settings of excellent quality. Additionally, both retailers are committed to offering conflict-free diamonds that are responsibly sourced through the diamond mining supply chain.
Notwithstanding, there are some noticeable differences between the two.
As I perused the Brilliant Earth website, I observed that they share the same primary offerings as other online diamond retailers, such as empty ring settings and loose stones that can be viewed through a 360˚ viewer. However, they do provide a variety of options, including loose lab-grown, blockchain, standard natural, and recycled natural diamonds, as well as a vast collection of colored gemstones and loose colored diamonds.
Brilliant Earth’s selection is significant enough to rival top competitors like Blue Nile and James Allen. They have over 111,000 natural diamonds in different grades and nearly 3,000 lab-grown diamonds.
If you’re considering diamonds that are not eye-clean, like I, SI, or VS diamonds, the 360˚ viewer at Brilliant Earth is excellent for viewing blemishes and inclusions. It’s important to note that they don’t carry I clarity diamonds, and Fair Cut diamonds should be avoided. For round cut diamonds, you should only purchase those with a Very Good or Ideal cut.
Their filter options allow you to view roughly 97,000 of their natural loose diamonds in real-time. Although not their entire inventory, it still provides a substantial number of choices. Keep in mind that the more specific your diamond grades are, the fewer options you’ll have.
Brilliant Earth’s diamonds come with various certifications, including GIA Origin Report, GIA Diamond Report (standard), IGI Report, and HRD Report. For natural diamonds, I recommend only purchasing those with GIA or AGS certifications. When it comes to lab diamonds, reports from GIA, IGI, and GCAL are acceptable.
In case the engagement ring you purchased from Brilliant Earth isn’t to your liking, they provide a 60-day money-back guarantee. You can return it to one of their 14 showrooms in the US or through their website for free. During the return process, their customer service representatives are available to assist you with any queries or concerns.
Blue Nile, founded in 1999, is the pioneer in the online market for loose diamonds and ring settings, earning its place as the oldest name in the game. With its extensive history in the industry, the company has established a loyal customer base.
Boasting a massive collection of over 200,000 loose natural diamonds with varying grades, their selection is unparalleled, a testament to their long-standing presence in the market.
Although they share similarities with Brilliant Earth, such as the absence of 360˚ videos on every diamond, their video quality is crystal clear. However, it would be beneficial if the diamonds were positioned better to view the underside. One advantage of their videos is the ability for customers to control the viewing experience.
Blue Nile is a great choice for those who want the assurance of GIA-certified diamonds. With Blue Nile, there’s no need to worry about unreliable grading reports, making it easy for newcomers to navigate the world of diamonds.
However, I’m surprised that despite the rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds and moissanite, Blue Nile does not offer either option. While they do provide a section for Lightbox Lab diamond jewelry, the selection is limited to preset items such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Unfortunately, there is no option to customize a loose lab-grown diamond and pair it with a high-quality ring setting.
Another downside is that Blue Nile doesn’t offer a repair warranty, which can be inconvenient when needing rhodium plating or prong retipping for your white gold engagement ring. While they do provide a lifetime manufacturing warranty, it doesn’t cover these types of repairs.
Thankfully, if you’re not satisfied with your purchase, Blue Nile offers free 30-day returns. However, it’s important to note that special ordered items are not eligible for return and are labeled as such.
The service provided by companies often stands as one of the primary causes of customer loss.
Consider the approaches of Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth, both offering the opportunity for customers to consult with a diamond specialist for assistance in their purchasing decisions. Here are some specific ways each company caters to their clientele.
Blue Nile’s extensive experience in the diamond industry is a factor that inspires trust among customers and deters them from exploring lesser-known brands.
However, fear alone cannot explain the brand’s ability to retain its customers. Blue Nile provides a variety of services beyond the standard custom engagement ring offerings, including a broad selection of fine jewelry.
While many people are unaware that Blue Nile has physical locations, the company actually has 15 stores and is opening another in Glendale, California. Additionally, Blue Nile offers customer benefits that are similar to those of other online diamond jewelry retailers, such as a diamond upgrade program. However, Blue Nile also offers a unique program in partnership with Circa that allows customers to sell their diamond engagement rings, even if they were not originally purchased from Blue Nile. Customers who choose to receive a Blue Nile gift card instead of cash will receive an additional 20%.
Blue Nile’s customer service is available 24/7 via multiple channels, including online chat, phone, SMS text, and WhatsApp. This level of accessibility is unparalleled among online retailers.
One area where Blue Nile could improve is its Astor diamond collection. Although many diamond retailers have their own exclusive super ideal diamond brands, the Astor diamond is not well described on the Blue Nile website, and the only significant difference between the Excellent cut and regular ideal cut diamonds is the GemEx report.
GemEx reports, which measure the light performance of a diamond, are not particularly exceptional. These reports are exclusive to the GemEx company and do not increase the value of a diamond, only the price. Unlike ASET and Idealscope images from Whiteflash’s super ideal cut diamonds, GemEx reports do not provide visual confirmation of the best light quality diamonds.
While Blue Nile offers the option to schedule a virtual appointment with a jewelry expert on its website, booking an in-person appointment requires a phone call to the showroom location.
Brilliant Earth offers 24/7 customer service through online chat, email, or phone, and has 15 locations in various US states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and more.
To schedule an appointment with a diamond expert either in-person at one of their showrooms or virtually, simply visit the website, select the desired location and service, and book a 45-minute appointment.
The Kimberley Process ensures that conflict diamonds are not used to fund wars, it does not address concerns related to human rights and working conditions. Recognizing the growing importance of ethical diamond sourcing to consumers, Brilliant Earth offers GIA-certified diamonds that come with an Origin Report identifying the country of origin, a feature that is not available from other diamond retailers. Additionally, Brilliant Earth offers recycled diamonds that are not only environmentally friendly but also come with a personal history.
To ensure the highest level of transparency and security, Brilliant Earth has become the first company to combine natural diamonds with blockchain technology. With each purchase of a blockchain diamond, customers receive a unique access code that allows them to view the diamond’s history on an unalterable ledger. This system ensures that customers can trace their diamond’s journey with confidence.
Brilliant Earth is committed to ethical practices and community engagement, exemplified by their Moyo gemstone collection, which is sourced from female miners in Tanzania.
The funds generated from the collection are allocated towards supporting the education and living standards of upcoming female miners and artisans, as well as promoting greater participation of women in this field.
RECOMMENDED: Brilliant Earth Review
Rings are typically crafted from malleable metals such as gold and sterling silver, rendering them susceptible to everyday wear and tear including scratches, dents, and nicks. As a result, a warranty can prove advantageous in such cases.
We shall compare the warranty offerings of Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth to determine which one is superior.
Compared to James Allen, Brilliant Earth doesn’t provide a lifetime maintenance warranty. However, they do offer a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, which only covers design defects and flaws.
Having a warranty that includes rhodium plating for white gold is preferable, although it may not be necessary for rose gold and yellow gold engagement rings. Nonetheless, other repairs may be covered under the warranty.
To address this, Brilliant Earth provides the Brilliant Benefits Extended Service Plan, which is similar to the Extended Service Plans offered by Kay and Jared. Unfortunately, this service plan is only valid for 3 years, and if you wish to continue with the warranty, you need to renew it by paying an additional fee that depends on the item’s cost. It would be better if the warranty were a lifetime one, it’s commendable that Brilliant Earth offers this option.
If you’re in a hurry to make a purchase, you may miss seeing the Brilliant Benefits Extended Service Plan (ESP) in your cart on Brilliant Earth’s website. To add this service, you must call their customer service after your purchase and request it over the phone. It’s unclear why they don’t have the option to add the ESP directly in your cart, as Kay Jewelers does.
Apart from the ESP, Brilliant Earth offers a resizing option for 60 days after your purchase. However, most companies provide one free resizing within the first year.
Blue Nile’s repair warranty is brief because they don’t offer one. Instead, they provide a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty that covers manufacturing defects. This type of defect may include recurring issues like a stone repeatedly falling out or the shank continuously breaking.
Many rings sold by retailers are mass-produced, and occasionally, flawed products slip through to customers. A manufacturing warranty will cover these defects, but it’s reasonable to expect companies to rectify design flaws without a fuss.
If you need repair work on your ring, you can still send it to Blue Nile, but they’ll provide an estimate for the cost of the repair. Additionally, you’re entitled to one free resizing.
Price and Value
Given that Blue Nile doesn’t offer loose lab-grown diamonds, we will focus on their natural loose diamonds in comparison to a blockchain diamond from Brilliant Earth.
In general, most people perceive Blue Nile as less expensive than Brilliant Earth. The primary complaint about Brilliant Earth is that their diamond prices tend to be high. However, while it’s understandable to have a budget, it’s important not to be too deterred by the price tag. Let’s compare these two companies to see how they stack up against each other.
For the comparison, I’ve selected 1.51-carat diamonds from both companies with G color grades and SI1 clarity. The Brilliant Earth diamond is labeled as ideal cut, while the Blue Nile one is Very Good. Both have GIA certification.
It’s important to note that cushion cut diamonds can’t technically be ideal, but the label indicates that the proportions of the diamond are optimal for that particular shape. Therefore, the two diamonds are comparable with only minor differences.
Surprisingly, despite its reputation for high prices, the diamond from Brilliant Earth turned out to be cheaper than the one from Blue Nile. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this won’t always be the case. That’s why it’s crucial to compare the specifications and not settle for the first diamond you see.
On Reddit – Blue Nile vs. Brilliant Earth
There are plenty of customer reviews available online at places like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, and Yelp, most people tend to file complaints about the retailer. While this can be useful, we always recommend taking reviews with a grain of salt.
Instead, we suggest checking out Reddit and various subreddits focused on diamonds and engagement rings. Here, you can find a range of experiences, both positive and negative, shared by real people.
It would take years to list all the Blue Nile reviews from Reddit, indicating their popularity as a leading online diamond retailer. While the majority of customers report positive experiences, as the company expands, some problems may arise. This trend is not unique to Blue Nile, as other popular retailers like James Allen also face similar complaints.
It’s worth noting that there are negative reviews that highlight issues with their service. However, it’s important to keep in mind that reviews should be approached with caution, as they often only represent one side of the story.
It’s important to acknowledge that reviews are subjective, but they can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation. This is evident in the case of Brilliant Earth, where a particular reviewer on Reddit has left scathing reviews.
The negative sentiment towards Brilliant Earth started when a jeweler in New York conducted an investigation and claimed that the company’s diamonds were sourced from India instead of Canada as they had advertised. However, it should be noted that Brilliant Earth clearly states that their diamonds are mined in Canada and then sent to India for production.
Regardless of the truth, the rumor had a damaging effect on their reputation. Other jewelers like Kay and Jared have also faced similar accusations that have tarnished their reputation.
As for Brilliant Earth, opinions are divided among customers. Some have purchased and love their rings, while others feel that their pricing is more expensive compared to competitors like James Allen or Blue Nile.
Reasons for choosing Brilliant Earth:
- Offers lab diamonds, natural diamonds, and both natural and lab created colored gemstones.
- Provides a paid warranty to cover maintenance for 3 years and the option to renew it.
- Offers a 60-day return policy.
- Provides blockchain ethical diamonds.
- Allows customers to book appointments in-store or online on the website.
- Offers GIA Diamond Origin Reports.
- Blue Nile doesn’t offer loose lab grown diamonds or semi-precious gemstones, only has a manufacturer’s warranty, only offers a 30-day return policy, and requires contacting the location to book an appointment.
- Both retailers are top-notch online retailers, but Brilliant Earth seems to offer more services that buyers today are looking for.