blue nile review
In this 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, 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. However, much like all good things--they come at a price.
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, almost an overwhelming amount, actually. But if you're thorough and want to know everything, Blue Nile likely covers every topic you have in mind.
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 at some other sites, 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.
This is the one area where Blue Nile displays a weakness in comparison to its peers. 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! Blue Nile might just be the site for you. If you are on somewhat of a budget, other options are out there.
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 fairly basic, not on the same level as James Allen, but still not bad. It included a full information package, complete with receipt, AGS 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 biggest drawback with Blue Nile is their pricing. I only saved approximately 18% versus the cost of a similar ring at one of my local jewelers, however I would have a very difficult time finding an AGS 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 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 incredibly tedious and involves acquiring third-party insurance and following a very detailed and specific set of steps regarding the FedEx return label. It was definitely a bit 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.
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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 are on the high side compared to some of their competitors, but they deliver the quality. 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 might be the best choice for you.