Understanding how to search Blue Nile diamonds effectively is essential for buying an engagement ring. In the first place, there were 221,698 round brilliant cut diamonds as of our latest Blue Nile Review.
Secondly, you risk buying a dull-looking and lifeless diamond if you don't know what to avoid. Sadly, most people will get it wrong because they make the mistake of thinking that GIA Excellent is good enough.
Fortunately, we're going to show you how to buy a stunning-looking diamond from Blue Nile. First, we'll show you how to set the advanced filters to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then, we'll explain how to interpret the lab report and avoid undesirable clarity characteristics.
How to Set Up Your Blue Nile Diamond Search:
This is a crash course in buying a diamond that exhibits the highest volume of light return and sparkle factor. After all, nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on a lifeless chunk of crystallized carbon.
Considering the true meaning of an engagement ring, I'm sure that you want it to blind the daylights out of anybody who sees it. You're probably also hoping to find a great-looking diamond at a fair price.
Those are both perfectly reasonable goals that this tutorial will help you achieve. Unfortunately, most people go about buying a diamond all wrong.
In the first place, they wrongly assume that GIA Excellent means the best light performance.
Under those circumstances, it helps to know what characteristics are essential to performance. Otherwise, you'll be rolling the dice, randomly trying to pick the best from the 221,698 diamonds available.
Set the Advanced Filters & Go Beyond the Basics:
In the first place, you need to know that the GIA Excellent rating encompasses a broad range of proportions. Under those circumstances, you want to focus on the middle of the spectrum.
The proportions that we recommend for round brilliant cut diamonds are as follows:
Understand that that subtle differences in crown and pavilion angle or height can significantly affect light performance. Less obvious factors, such as contrast brilliance and obstruction, also affect performance.
Unfortunately, Blue Nile does not provide the ASET, H&A Scope, or Ideal Scope images necessary to judge light performance. However, I can sometimes find them within the multiple listing services we use to trade diamonds globally.
Please submit a request via our Diamond Concierge Service if you want me to search for images.
Follow Along By Setting These Search Parameters:
For the sake of this example, use the following basic settings:
Adjust the slider for "Cut" to Ideal / Astor Ideal. In this case, those simple adjustments reduce the number of diamonds available to 3,811. Of course, that's still too many options to consider. So we'll continue to fine-tune things by using the Advanced Filters.
The Advanced Filters We Use to Search Blue Nile:
The simple act of setting the Advanced Filters on Blue Nile to the proportions I recommend will significantly reduce the options. Although you will have fewer options, it will increase the odds of success.
- 1Click on the drop-down tab for More Filters.
- 2Set the parameters as shown below.
The number of diamonds available has decreased to only 430. That's a step in the right direction, but checking the box next to 360º brings that number down to 317.
Limiting the options to only those with a diamond video produces a more manageable number. We've also significantly improved the quality of choices. Why is that?
A round brilliant cut diamond with a total depth deeper than 62% won't perform well for one thing. After all, it means that the crown and pavilion sections are steep/deep or the girdle edge is too thick.
In that case, the light will not reflect properly, or the balance of brilliance and dispersion will be off. To say nothing of the fact that the visible outside diameter gets smaller as total depth increases. In that case, you're paying a premium for diamond carat weight hidden in total depth.
360º High-resolution and Clarity Photographs:
Blue Nile provides high-resolution 360-degree videos for most diamonds in their virtual inventory. That enables you to see the inclusions and judge how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamond.
- 1Check the box for 360-video in the upper left corner.
- 2Right-click your mouse over the line listing for each diamond.
- 3Open each page in a new tab in your browser.
There is an option to view the alternatives in a visual format. However, I find it faster and easier to work from the list view. Repeat this process for every one of the 317 diamonds available. It might seem like you have a million tabs open, but it's just part of the process.
Choosing the Best from Hundreds of Blue Nile Diamonds:
I freely admit that it can be daunting to have 111 tabs open in your browser. However, you're not going to have that many tabs open because you'll skip over any diamonds with a culet size other than none.
If the culet size is small or very small, skip over that option. Once all the tabs are open, you're going to click on each one to view the diamond details page.
Go straight down the line of tabs. Click on each one, then drop down about six inches and click on the GIA icon to open the report.
Don't wait for the report to load. Immediately click on the next tab in your browser and repeat the process for the rest of the pages.
Consequently, I was able to complete the entire process in less than ten minutes. Of course, I search Blue Nile multiple times per day and have 35+ years of experience as a buyer.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff:
The next step is to eliminate any options without the correct crown and pavilion angle offset. We'll only focus on the portion of the proportions diagram highlighted in green to do this quickly.
You are only interested in rounds with a 34.3 – 35.0 degree crown angle, offset by a 40.6 - 40.9 degree pavilion angle. That will produce a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. It also sets the stage for a high volume of light return, but the degree of optical precision is essential.
Don't waste time looking at the other measurements yet. Just close the tab on any diamonds with proportions outside the range we recommend.
If you're following along, there are only 26 diamonds left. Consequently, those remaining have characteristics of the Top 1% of annual round diamond production.
Picking the Best GIA Excellent Cut Diamonds:
You probably realize that we're reviewing the diamond details in waves. Each pass ensures that we're only considering the best of the best. Not to mention that we're eliminating options that aren't likely to deliver the best performance.
With that in mind, the next pass focuses on three things. See the red line running over the measurement of 16% in the picture to the right? That crown height is not conducive to the crown angle.
Likewise, the pavilion depth should be 42.5 - 43.3% for a 40.6 - 40.9 degree pavilion angle. In that case, we're going to eliminate this diamond because the cutter "cheated the stone."
The 75% measurement circled in green indicates the length of the lower girdle facets (LGF). Focus on options with an LGF between 75 - 78% if you like larger flashes that are bolder and more vivid. Look for options with an LGF between 79 - 80% if you prefer pin-fire sparkle smaller in size.
Diamond Clarity Characteristics to Avoid:
At this point, we've eliminated all the options with proportions outside our preferred range. If you're following my lead, you've also closed the tabs for any diamonds with 80% lower girdle facets.
That leaves us with ten diamonds left in this Blue Nile review. Be sure to eliminate any diamonds that feature the following clarity characteristics:
The key to symbols on the diamond grading report indicates the type of clarity characteristics. We eliminate the types of inclusions above because they pose a potential durability risk.
Winner of This Blue Nile Diamond Search:
The next step is to close all the diamond grading reports and take a look at the diamonds. Click your mouse over the "X" located in the upper right corner of the diamond grading report.
Then click on the icon of the diamond in the face-up position as indicated by the green arrows. That will stop the diamond from rotating in the video and enable you to judge the degree of contrast brilliance.
This diamond has excellent contrast brilliance, as evident by the dark arrows' pattern. There is also minimal obstruction visible under the table facet. In that case, this is the best option available within the guidelines of this Blue Nile Diamond Search.
Of course, the global inventory changes daily, so there might be other options available tomorrow. I'm happy to help you search until we find the perfect diamond for your desires. Please submit a search request via our free Diamond Concierge Service.
Step-by-Step Summary of the Search Process:
Now you know how seasoned professionals evaluate diamonds. The approach we recommend in this Blue Nile review is different from how most people search for diamonds. Then again, you're not looking to buy an average diamond. In that case, let's review the steps real quick:
Buy a Blue Nile Diamond in 3 Easy Steps:
The entire Blue Nile Diamond Search above process breaks the process down into three easy steps:
- 1Set the Search Criteria, Including the Advanced Filters.
- 2Evaluate the Details on the Diamond Grading Report.
- 3Review the Blue Nile 360º Video.
I hope that you enjoyed this in-depth Blue Nile review. Remember that it took me only 20 minutes to review the diamond details pages and pick the best one.
Of course, I've been buying diamonds professionally for 35+ years. In that case, this stuff is second nature for me. That is why it might be easier for you to use our free Diamond Concierge Service.
Please take a moment to fill out the form and provide me with the details of the diamond you seek. I'll take care of running the searches and provide you with a list of the top contenders from Blue Nile.
Of course, you can always try to do it yourself using Blue Nile's Guide to Ring Styles by Zodiac Sign. I'm laughing with you, I swear.