Blue Nile Reviews: Unveil the Secrets of the Most Sparkling Diamonds

This page may contain affiliate links.

  • Home
  • //
  • Blue Nile Reviews: Unveil the Secrets of the Most Sparkling Diamonds

Are you seeking an impartial Blue Nile Review that provides the in-depth details necessary to make an informed decision? Then you've come to the right place because this "diamond critic" has 35+ years of trade experience and doesn't pull punches.

This review will help you determine whether Blue Nile is the best place to buy a diamond engagement ring. It will also show you how to search Blue Nile like a Pro so you can find the most incredible sparkling diamonds.

While some reviews highlight the pros and cons of Blue Nile's diamond quality, they often overlook its unique business approach. In this article, we'll delve into the quality and value of Blue Nile diamonds and explore their intriguing history and sibling rivalry with
James Allen.

Blue Nile Reviews featuring some of the most popular engagement rings styles of 2023.

Design Your Own Blue Nile Engagement Ring

Ready to discover the secret to getting the best value and sparkle factor? Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of Blue Nile and see if they shine brighter than their competitors.

Blue Nile Review Contents: click to expand or collapse.

What Makes This Blue Nile Review Worthwhile

Blue Nile has undeniable online dominance, leveraging its influential market position to offer special pricing and return benefits. While that's an obvious benefit, the downside is offering a wide range of diamond qualities to appeal to the broadest market share breeds inconsistency.

In their rush to buy the best-looking diamond possible, most focus on GIA Excellent cut without realizing it represents a broad range of performance potential. Few recognize that GIA's proportions guidelines should be narrower, and they only consider polish, symmetry, and proportions in determining the overall cut grade.

Those underlying conditions and Blue Nile's vast selection and stature lead to varied reviews, which may be skewed by mismatched customer expectations and occasional customer service mishaps. Under those circumstances, it's vital to approach Blue Nile (and every other vendor) with realistic expectations and a rudimentary understanding of the Diamond 4Cs.

A hasty judgment based on limited diamond-buying knowledge and the false security of a lab report indicating excellent cut quality may lead to disappointment. Therefore, this Blue Nile review focuses on how to buy a high-performance diamond and the company's basic fundamentals to provide you with a complete overview.

For example, take these two Astor by Blue Nile diamonds, which have an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent. The top diamond has proportions within our recommended range and reflects light evenly. The stone on the bottom has proportions outside our desired specifications and shows signs of obstruction under the table facet.

Astor by Blue Nile Review based on comparison of two round brilliant cut diamonds side-by-side showing why to buy this and not that one.

Buy This Not That Astor by Blue Nile Diamond.

Full Disclosure

We're Former Blue Nile Competitors. Nice Ice is one of the first sites to sell diamonds online, beginning in 1996, and blazed the trail for the online diamond business. We have 35+ years of experience in the super ideal cut diamond light performance niche and consult for the trade.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we closed our jewelry store in 2012 and converted the site from a direct sales platform to an affiliate model. We use our expertise to help you find the best-looking diamonds and jewelry from Blue Nile and its competitors.

Consequently, that means focusing on the Top 1% of the annual round production and eliminating most Blue Nile GIA Excellent cut diamonds. It's essential to adhere to a precise range of proportions and optical precision if you want a genuinely spectacular-looking diamond.

How to Ensure the Best Blue Nile Experience

We offer in-depth diamond buying guides for all the popular shapes for those who like to dig deep and dive into knowledge. However, we recommend using our free Diamond Concierge Service to ensure a seamless and satisfying diamond-buying experience.

How many supposedly "excellent cut diamonds" exhibit substandard performance and moderate light leakage due to poor optical precision is astounding. Decades of experience enable us to identify pitfalls and recognize positive and negative performance factors.

Let us know what shape Blue Nile diamond you're looking for and your preferred carat weight, color, clarity, and price range. We'll search their inventory and identify the best-looking diamonds available while balancing quality and value.

Disclaimer: We may earn a small commission when you purchase using the links provided, but it doesn't affect your price. Blue Nile diamond and jewelry prices are the same, regardless of who performs the search, and 35+ years of experience is a good thing to have on your side. Please refer to our material connection disclosure for more information.

Blue Nile Review 2023 How to Buy the Best Diamonds.

Blue Nile Review 2023 Spectacular Performance.

Who is Blue Nile

Have you ever wondered where to find top-tier diamonds without the high-retail markup and condescending attitude? That question inspired Mark Vadon to create Blue Nile in 1999, based on his frustrating ring shopping experience.

Mark Vadon is an American entrepreneur with a background in finance and strategy, which paved the way for his e-commerce endeavors. He's a Harvard alumnus with a Stanford MBA who spent six years at Bain & Company before founding Blue Nile.

After shopping for an engagement ring in traditional brick-and-mortar jewelry stores, Vadon recognized an opportunity for vast improvement. He acquired the online diamond retailer Internet Diamonds in 1999 and transformed how we buy diamonds and jewelry.

Introducing Blue Nile, a trailblazing mega-digital diamond retailer born from Vadon's vision for a transparent, detailed, customer-friendly experience. Under his leadership, Blue Nile quickly gained market share and became the 800-pound Gorilla in the room.

Blue Nile Reviews highlight their ultra-modern and trendy retail jewelry store and luxurious display area.

Review Blue Nile Jewelry Store Locations

What Is Special About Blue Nile?

Many Blue Nile reviews suggest its customer-centric approach, competitive pricing, transparency, and diamond-education resources are the reason for its success. In our experience, most internet diamond dealers offer similar features and benefits, but only some can leverage venture capital investment.

Bain & Company acquired Blue Nile for $500 million in February 2017 in partnership with Bow Street LLC. There is no doubt that Vadon's time working for Bain was well spent and also influences how Blue Nile harnesses technology to create distinct advantages:

  1. 1
    Cost Leadership: Blue Nile aims to offer high-quality diamonds at lower prices than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Blue Nile relies on exclusive distribution contracts based on annual volume projections and generous return policies for its competitive edge.
  2. 2
    Detailed Filtering System: In addition to being able to specify essential 4Cs criteria, the advanced filters on the diamond search platform allow you to pinpoint a specific range of fluorescence, polish, symmetry, table diameter, and total depth.
  3. 3
    Diamond Display Technology: Blue Nile provides a high-resolution 360 video for most diamonds, providing comprehensive insight into the extent of the inclusions.
  4. 4
    Dual-Certification: Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds are dual-graded by GEMEX and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
  5. 5
    Education Center: Blue Nile features an extensive educational section, providing information on diamonds, their characteristics, and how to select the perfect stone.
  6. 6
    Integrated Blue Nile Reviews: Blue Nile incorporates customer reviews and feedback directly on each product page, providing an added layer of transparency.
  7. 7
    Mobile Experience: Recognizing the shift towards mobile shopping, Blue Nile has optimized its website for mobile users, ensuring a seamless shopping experience across devices.
  8. 8
    Robust Backend Inventory Management: Blue Nile's system efficiently manages a vast inventory of diamonds from suppliers worldwide. This enables them to offer a broader selection without physically holding all the diamonds, reducing overhead costs.
  9. 9
    Security Measures: Understanding the high value of transactions, Blue Nile has implemented robust security measures for safe online transactions. This boosts consumer trust in the platform.
  10. 10
    Streamlined Supply Chain: Leveraging technology, Blue Nile has streamlined its supply chain, quickly sourcing diamonds and reducing lead times for custom jewelry orders.
  11. 11
    User-Friendly Website Design: Blue Nile's platform is easy to use, with straightforward navigation, detailed product descriptions, and high-resolution images, streamlining the shopping experience.

Blue Nile's customer-centric approach and passion for developing and implementing technical advancements earn them global recognition and a significant market share. Frankly, it's difficult for traditional brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop jewelry stores and many online diamond dealers to compete.

Signet's Acquisition of Blue Nile

Signet Jewelers is a global conglomerate and the world's largest retail jeweler. They're best known for Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry, and its mind-numbing radio advertisements, but they acquired Blue Nile in August 2022.

Signet purchased Blue Nile for $360 million, a significant reduction from the $500 million Bain Capital and Bow Street LLC paid in February 2017. Consequently, Signet Jewelers acquired James Allen's parent company, R2Net, in August 2017 for $328 million. Most recently, they acquired Diamonds Direct for $490 million in November 2021.

Despite their new-found sibling rivalry, Blue Nile and James Allen operate as separate brands within Signet's portfolio. However, it's reasonable to assume that we might see R2NET's Diamond Display Technology on Blue Nile shortly. 

After all, Signet did integrate some of James Allen's advanced online capabilities and technologies into its other brands. In that case, Blue Nile might provide additional Hearts & Arrows Scope and Ideal Scope images for select diamonds at some point.

Blue Nile Review reveals Signet Jewelers Acquisition of a leading online diamond and jewelry retailer.

Signet Announces Blue Nile Acquisition.

Is Blue Nile Trustworthy?

Blue Nile is a front-runner in the online diamond and jewelry business, but you might wonder whether it can be trusted. It's perfectly natural to ensure that where you buy your precious engagement ring is trustworthy.

If you're looking for an online jewelry retailer that combines quality, value, and trustworthiness, delve deeper into Blue Nile's credentials and customer testimonials. You'll soon see why they've become the go-to choice for countless satisfied customers worldwide.

Blue Nile has cemented its reputation through a commitment to consumer education, customer satisfaction, and price transparency. With thousands of positive reviews, stringent quality checks, and a vast selection of certified diamonds, their dedication to providing only the best shines bright. 

Comprehensive review of Blue Nile hidden halo engagement ring, sparkling diamond set in an elegant 14k white gold setting.

Blue Nile Hidden Diamond Halo Setting.

This commitment is further reinforced by robust security measures, safe online transactions, and a generous 30-day return policy guaranteeing your satisfaction. In short, yes, Blue Nile is trustworthy. Here are some reasons why:

  1. 1
    Established Reputation: Since its founding in 1999, Blue Nile has become a significant online retailer of GIA-certified diamonds and fine jewelry. Its long-standing presence in the industry is a testament to Blue Nile's reliability and trustworthiness.
  2. 2
    Certified Diamonds* Blue Nile offers one of the largest selections of GIA-certified diamonds, and Astor by Blue Nile diamonds are dual-graded by the GIA and GEMEX. These diamond grading reports provide detailed information about the diamond's characteristics for valuation purposes.
  3. 3
    Transparent Business Practices: Blue Nile is known for its transparency and provides extensive educational resources, allowing people to conduct due diligence and make informed decisions.
  4. 4
    Customer Reviews: Blue Nile has garnered thousands of positive reviews; many praise the company's quality, customer service, and overall shopping experience.
  5. 5
    Secure Shopping: Blue Nile's website employs robust security measures to protect personal and payment information. This commitment to security is essential given the high value of diamond engagement rings.
  6. 6
    Return Policy: Blue Nile offers a 30-day return policy, demonstrating their confidence in their product quality and commitment to customer satisfaction.
  7. 7
    Price Transparency: Prices for diamonds and fine jewelry pieces are clearly listed, so you can easily compare products and ensure good value.
  8. 8
    Trade Associations & Memberships: Blue Nile is a member of various trade associations, further emphasizing their commitment to ethical business practices and quality.

Blue Nile is a trustworthy place to purchase diamonds and fine jewelry online due to its long-standing reputation, transparent business practices, and positive customer testimonials.

Does Blue Nile Sell Real Diamonds?

Yes, Blue Nile sells genuine diamonds and their lab-created counterparts. Blue Nile is a respected online jewelry retailer and offers an extensive selection of natural and lab-grown diamonds.

  1. 1
    Natural Diamonds: Historically, Blue Nile focused on natural earth-mined diamonds and only recently introduced lab-created diamonds. Over billions of years, natural diamonds form deep within the Earth's mantle, reflecting specific conditions present at that time.
  2. 2
    Lab-Grown Diamonds: Blue Nile has incorporated lab-grown diamonds into their repertoire, recognizing the growing interest in and demand for man-made diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled environments using advanced technological processes that replicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop. Lab-created diamonds have the same chemical, optical, and physical properties as natural diamonds.

Regardless of your preference, Blue Nile provides detailed information about the characteristics of natural and lab-grown loose diamonds. They're accompanied by a diamond grading report from an independent gemological laboratory, and most of the product pages feature 360-degree high-resolution video.

Blue Nile ensures transparency by distinguishing between natural and lab-grown diamonds using separate tabs on its platform, allowing customers to make informed decisions based on their preferences and budgets. Consequently, the advanced search filter settings remain intact when you toggle back and forth between natural and lab-grown diamonds.

Highlights of the Blue Nile Diamond Finder for natural and lab-grown diamonds, updated August 29, 2023.

Natural and Lab Grown Blue Nile Diamonds.

How to Search Blue Nile Diamonds

Searching Blue Nile for natural and lab-grown diamonds by carat weight, color, clarity, cut quality, and shape is easy. This review aims to show how to find the best-looking Blue Nile diamonds; open their Diamond Finder in a new tab if you want to follow along.

We'll start with earth-mined diamonds and toggle back and forth between the lab-created tab to compare prices. Set the basic search criteria as follows:

  • Shape = Round
  • Maximum Price = $15,000
  • Carat weight: 1.00 - 30.00
  • Color between D-G
  • Clarity VS2 to Flawless
  • Cut: Ideal to Astor Ideal

Most people mistakenly think limiting their search to GIA Excellent, Ideal, and Astor Ideal guarantees performance. Unfortunately, "ideal" is a relative term, and the GIA only evaluates polish, symmetry, and proportions when determining its overall cut grade.

Additionally, GIA's proportions guidelines should be narrower, and the overall cut grade should account for optical precision or the lack thereof. Our recommended proportions adhere to a more limited range, resulting in high light return and a balance of brilliance and dispersion.

Setting the Advanced Filters

The Blue Nile diamond search features Advanced Filters, enabling you to specify your preference for polish, symmetry, fluorescence, table diameter, and total depth.

Click the Advanced Filters button to reveal the dropdown box and check all the boxes to activate the options. Simultaneously, fields to set those additional options will appear beneath the basic search parameters previously set.

Move the sliders for polish and symmetry to excellent, and adjust fluorescence based on your preferences. In this case, we will set the fluorescence range from none to medium, although there is nothing wrong with strong blue.

Set the range for Table (%) between (Min Table) 54 and (Max Table) 58, and the Depth (%) between (Min Depth) 59 and (Max Depth) 61.9 percent. Unfortunately, Blue Nile doesn't allow us to search using crown or pavilion angles, so we must review each lab report to see if those measurements match our criteria.

If you prefer a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, focus on round brilliant cut diamonds with a 34.3 - 35-degree crown angle offset by a 40.6 - 40.9-degree pavilion angle. We strongly suggest not considering round diamonds with a 36-degree or steeper crown angle because it's likely to increase light leakage.

How to set Blue Nile's advanced filters for polish, symmetry, proportions, and fluorescence.

Blue Nile Advanced Filters Drop Down Menu.

Gaining Visual Perspective

Blue Nile diamond search results display in the List view by default, which is useful when comparing Blue Nile diamond prices. However, we're searching for the best-looking diamonds, so we want to select Visual, which enables us to visually compare them in the face-up position.

Consequently, all the Astor by Blue Nile diamonds pictured here meet our proportions criteria. However, the two on the right side reflect light more evenly and exhibit better contrast brilliance, resulting in better overall performance.

In contrast, light is not reflecting evenly throughout the two diamonds on the left. Pay particular attention to the arrow shaft in the six o'clock position of the diamond in the upper left corner.

Meanwhile, the diamond in the lower left corner shows signs of light obstruction under the table facet. If you want to dive deeper into this subject, please read our tutorial on How to Search Blue Nile Diamonds.

Comparison of four Astor Blue Nile Diamonds showing the unique characteristics of each gemstone.

Visually Compare Astor Blue Nile Diamonds.

360-degree HD Images

The HD images and 360-degree views that Blue Nile provides enable us to see the diamonds close-up and determine whether light reflects evenly. It also makes it possible to see the inclusions at significantly higher levels than the industry standard of 10x magnification.

At Nice Ice, we pride ourselves on providing in-depth tutorials on how to buy a diamond for light performance. This ensures you find the perfect diamond with the highest light return and bright, vivid sparkle factor. With that aim in mind, let's conduct a thorough Astor by Blue Nile review.

Here's a screenshot of the search results showing five 1-carat Blue Nile Astor diamonds that face-up eye-clean and colorless. The red, green, orange, and blue frames highlight each stone and coincide with our observations.

This Blue Nile review provides a visual comparison of five Astor by Blue Nile diamonds and explains why one is better than the other four.

How to Choose the Best-looking Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds.

Online Diamond Evaluation

This Blue Nile review intends to help you choose the best-looking diamonds available. Therefore, our reasons for quickly rejecting four out of five Astor by Blue Nile diamonds in the example above appear on the screenshot. However, focusing on why the 1.05 carat, D-color, VS2 clarity, Astor by Blue Nile diamond is more productive:

  • The arrows' pattern exhibits intense contrast brilliance.
  • Light reflects evenly throughout the stone.
  • There is minimal obstruction under the table facet.
  • The proportions meet our selection criteria.

Let's explore the diamond details Blue Nile provides via the icons surrounding the 360-degree HD video of the diamond. Click on the small image of the diamond in the upper left corner to view the static clarity photograph. You can rotate the diamond by left-clicking your mouse and holding the button down while you drag left and right.

Click on the icon representing the top-down view to see the measurements for the outside diameter determined by the GIA. Then, click the diamond's side profile icon to see the table diameter and total depth measurements.

The icons in the bottom row access the GIA diamond grading report and the light performance reports by GCAL or GemEx. Clicking on "Super Zoom" opens the high-resolution video in a separate frame in your browser.

Close-up of a round diamond showing how to toggle between the clarity photograph and video, including how to rotate the diamond from left to right.

How to Rotate Blue Nile Diamonds Left and Right.

What are Astor by Blue Nile diamonds?

Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds are a curated collection specifically chosen for their superior brilliance, fire, and sparkle. Here's what distinguishes Astor by Blue Nile diamonds from standard GIA Excellent cut:

  1. 1
    Superior Cut: The overall diamond cut quality significantly influences its brilliance and light return. Astor by Blue Nile diamonds have precise angles and proportions to optimize light reflection. Similar to the GIA's proportions criteria, the range should be narrower and suggest strict adherence to our recommended proportions.
  2. 2
    Independent Grading: The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades each Astor by Blue Nile diamond for carat weight, color, clarity, and overall cut grade. Additionally, they provide a GemEx certificate showing the light performance based on brilliance, fire, and sparkle.
  3. 3
    GCAL or GemEx Certified: A GemEx certificate accompanies each Astor by Blue Nile diamond. GemEx is an independent certification system that measures a diamond's brilliance (white sparkle), fire (dispersion), and sparkle (contrasting light and dark areas).
  4. 4
    Limited Selection: Not every diamond qualifies as an Astor by Blue Nile diamond. Only a fraction of diamonds meet the rigorous standards set for this collection, ensuring that the collection contains some of the best diamonds available.

Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds are intended for customers looking for diamonds that offer exceptional brilliance and sparkle. By providing rigorous certification and grading, Blue Nile ensures that the light performance of these ideal cut diamonds truly stands out.

Are Blue Nile Astor Diamonds Worth the Premium?

According to Blue Nile: "Every diamond in The Astor Collection™ is graded for triple excellence in its cut, symmetry, and polish by industry experts, including GIA, GCAL, and GemEx."

Fair enough, but they need to define the range for proportions on the Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds product description page. Otherwise, people might assume that Blue Nile Astor and GIA Excellent cut diamonds are identical. 

After all, Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds are GIA-graded with an overall cut grade of excellent, and they don't provide hearts and arrows images. Assuming they are standard ideal cut diamonds marketed privately seems logical without the information necessary to judge optical precision.

Astor by Blue Nile Review featuring a loose round brilliant cut diamond and another set in a 4-prong white gold pendant with a link chain.

Review Astor by Blue Nile Diamond Jewelry.

Astor Ideal versus Super Ideal Cut Diamonds

Understand that there are different classifications of ideal cut diamonds, and GIA Excellent represents a broad spectrum of potential. Diamonds with proportions on the outer regions are less desirable than those in the middle of the range.

Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Cut Diamonds are the pinnacle of diamond cutting skill and exhibit the most vivid and intense broad-spectrum sparkle. They are a cut above the rest and take about one day longer to polish than standard GIA Excellent cut diamonds.

We cannot determine the optical precision since Blue Nile does not provide hearts and arrows scope images for Astor Ideal diamonds. Under those circumstances, we can only assume they are standard GIA Excellent cut diamonds, dual-graded by GCAL or GemEx.

Illustration showing how light reflects off the main pavilion facets of a round diamond to create the hearts and arrows pattern.

Discover the Magic of Hearts & Arrows Diamonds.

How to Judge Diamond Light Performance

GIA's overall cut grade depends on an excellent rating for polish, symmetry, and proportions; it does not account for optical precision, which is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360 degrees.

A diamond's proportions set the stage for the volume light return and balance of brilliance and dispersion. However, it's only one piece of the performance equation; optical precision is an essential component and is most often lacking.

The Optional AGS Ideal Light Performance Report

The standard GIA diamond grading report excludes contrast brilliance and optical precision. However, GIA's recent acquisition of AGSL's Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool enables them to grade light performance similarly to the AGS Laboratory.

Be that as it may, the AGS Ideal report from GIA is an optional supplement that most diamond cutters avoid, like the plague. Why? Because ASET reveals where their work falls short. Consequently, we've yet to see the optional AGS Ideal report offered for Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds nor a GCAL 8X Light Performance report.

The live report feature for the supplementary GEMEX report lets you view the sparkle factor images in larger sizes, but those provide less insight than ASETH&A Scope, or Ideal Scope. Under those circumstances, we encourage Blue Nile to provide more details regarding the cut quality of diamonds in their Astor collection.

Blue Nile Review of Astor Diamond GemEx report featuring five images revealing the incredible sparkle factor under different lighting environments.

Review the Astor by Blue Nile Diamond GemEx Report.

The Natural Diamond Selection at Blue Nile

Are you searching for the perfect, shimmering natural diamond whose sparkle speaks louder than words? Blue Nile's exquisite collection of natural diamonds features spectacular-looking diamonds in every size and shape.

Of course, some diamonds perform better than others, so knowing how to pick them is essential. You'll find links to in-depth diamond buying guides for every option in our article on Performance by Shape. We also provide recommendations for specific proportions that optimize light return.

That's important so that you can eliminate the wheat from the chaff. For example, there were 271,823 natural diamonds in Blue Nile's inventory when this article was written. Of those, 140,101 are round brilliant ideal cut diamonds with a GIA Excellent overall cut grade.

Imagine trying to choose the best natural diamond from that vast field of possibilities. It may seem daunting initially, but our round brilliant diamond buying guide will show you how to knock it down. You can also rely on our free Diamond Concierge Service to search on your behalf and identify the best options.

Comprehensive Blue Nile Reviews featuring stunning engagement rings.

Build Your Own Blue Nile Engagement Ring.

The Lab Grown Diamond Selection at Blue Nile

Lab-created diamonds are grown in a laboratory using controlled conditions and state-of-the-art technology. Lab-grown diamonds' chemical and physical properties are virtually identical to their natural counterparts.

Because of their lab-grown origin, Blue Nile's lab-created diamonds cost less than earth-mined diamonds. By adhering to our recommended selection criteria, you can enjoy the exceptional beauty of lab-grown diamonds, which offer an eco-friendly alternative to mined stones.

Unlike many competitors, Blue Nile, Brian Gavin, and Whiteflash hesitated to add lab-grown diamonds to their repertoire. That delay might have cost some sales, but it reflects their commitment to providing the highest quality products for their clients.

Recent technological advancements enable diamond growers to manufacture a higher-quality, cost-effective product in less time. Similarly, diamond design and polishing improvements allow cutters to produce better-looking lab-created diamonds.

Four exquisite lab-grown diamond engagement rings by Blue Nile shown on a finger for comparison.

Shop Blue Nile Lab Grown Diamonds.

Are Blue Nile Lab Grown Diamonds Certified?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) analyzes and grades all Blue Nile loose diamonds, whether natural or lab-created. Astor by Blue Nile diamonds are GemEx certified for light performance to ensure each stone meets the highest standards.

Blue Nile is one of the most trusted sources of natural and lab-grown diamonds. Its expansive selection of diamond shapes and sizes, competitive prices, and commitment to quality make it an obvious choice. 

We're excited that Blue Nile recently introduced a collection of fancy-colored lab-grown diamonds. Lab-created fancy-colored diamonds are significantly more affordable than their earth-mined counterparts. That is excellent news if you're looking for a spectacular-looking alternative to traditional colorless diamond engagement rings. 

Review of the Blue Nile Lab-grown diamond report from the GIA in full color, showing Diamond 4Cs, measurements, and proportions diagram.

GIA Report for Blue Nile Lab Grown Diamonds.

Blue Nile Diamond Prices

Understanding the factors influencing diamond prices before buying an engagement ring is essential. First, there are the grading characteristics commonly known as the Diamond 4Cs:

Cut: A diamond's cut grade depends on how well it has been shaped and faceted. A well-cut diamond reflects light beautifully, resulting in optimal brilliance and sparkle. Diamonds with excellent cuts are more desirable and tend to reflect higher prices.

Color: The GIA diamond color grading scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (noticeable yellow or brown tint). Colorless diamonds are the most sought-after and generally command higher prices. However, the choice of color ultimately depends on personal preference and budget.

Clarity: Diamond clarity grades reflect the absence of internal inclusions and external blemishes. The clarity grade scale ranges from Flawless (no imperfections visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions visible to the naked eye). Although higher-clarity diamonds are scarcer and more valuable, lower-clarity grades like VS2 and VS1 look the same in the face-up position.

Carat Weight: Diamond carat weight is the measured mass or size with one-carat equivalent to 200 milligrams. Larger diamonds are generally more expensive, but the price depends on other factors, such as cut quality, color, and clarity.

In addition, less apparent characteristics influence diamond prices per carat. For example, specific proportions range and higher degrees of optical precision influence prices by as much as sixty percent. This explains why diamond prices vary dramatically among seemingly comparable stones.

Natural versus Lab-grown diamond prices at Blue Nile

Blue Nile offers an extensive selection of natural and lab-grown diamonds; the difference is primarily their origins. Natural diamonds form within the Earth's mantle over billions of years under extreme heat and pressure. Earth-mined diamonds are rare and unique, and the resource-intensive mining process contributes to the cost.

In contrast, advanced technological processes replicate natural conditions in a controlled lab environment to produce lab-created diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can be produced consistently in large quantities in as little as weeks to months, making them more affordable than their natural counterparts.

Let's Compare Blue Nile Diamond Prices

It's essential to maintain consistency when comparing diamond prices to ensure accuracy. Under those circumstances, we're comparing two 1-carat, D-color, VS2 clarity, Blue Nile diamonds with virtually identical proportions and cut quality:

1.05-carat, Astor by Blue Nile diamond $12,080, SKU 18396306.
1.05-carat lab-grown diamond $1,620, SKU 16260086.

In this case, the $11,060.00 cost difference is 87% less than its natural counterpart. To all the beloved math teachers who insisted we explain how we reached a mathematical conclusion, here's the formula:

$12,680 - $1,620 = $11060 less
$11,060/$12,680 = 0.87223
0.87223 * 100 = 87.22% reduction

The 4Cs characteristics on the GIA diamond grading report are identical for carat weight, color, clarity, polish, and symmetry, and the proportions are within our recommended range.

Blue Nile Engagement Rings

The Blue Nile engagement rings collection offers a variety of memorable and timeless designs. From traditional solitaires, vintage-inspired settings, and modern designs, each is precision crafted with attention to detail.

You can create an engagement ring in different metal types tailored to your style and preference. Blue Nile diamond engagement rings are available in popular precious metals, such as:

  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Rose gold
  • White gold
  • Yellow gold

Classic four and six-prong solitaire settings feature a single stone in an elegant, timeless design. Traditional three-stone rings contain three stones of the same or different sizes set side by side and are often referred to as past, present, and future rings.

Modern halo settings feature a halo of smaller diamonds surrounding a larger center stone, making the sparkling circumference of the center diamond appear more prominent. Pavé and micro-pavé settings feature smaller melee diamonds closely set together in rows, creating a sparkling effect along the finger.

Blue Nile Designer Jewelry

There is a vast collection of Blue Nile engagement ring styles, and you can customize your e-ring by center stone shape and alloy type. They also offer designer engagement rings by the following designers:

  • Bella Vaughan
  • Blue Nile Studio
  • The Gallery Collection™
  • Zac Zac Posen

Bella Vaughan Designs for Blue Nile

The Bella Vaughan designer jewelry collection incorporates intricate details fashioned using modern state-of-the-art jewelry design techniques. Bella Vaughan's exclusive Blue Nile collection features luxurious custom-designed engagement rings with timeless beauty and sophistication.

The Blue Nile Bella Vaughan designer collection results from a partnership between LoriAnn Vaughan-Biggers and Rotem Fartook of Dallas, Texas. The collection features platinum rings adorned with sparkling diamond accents that highlight your center stone with great attention to detail.

The collection features platinum and diamonds architected and designed to highlight your center stone in the most pleasing way possible by utilizing fancy-cut side stones with exceptional diamond and platinum accents. Each Bella Vaughan engagement ring is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, reflecting the uniqueness of the woman who wears it.

Blue Nile Reviews of three stunning Bella Vaughan 3-stone diamond engagement rings.

Review the Bella Vaughan Collection on Blue Nile.

Blue Nile Studio Engagement Rings

The Blue Nile Studio Collection features custom jewelry designs from some industry-leading designers. Each design reflects the artist's impression of classic elements, creating unique modern interpretations of treasured timeless pieces.

The captivating ring styles featured in the Blue Nile Studio Collection are based on classic heirloom-quality designs. Shop this collection of eternity, halo, pavé, and solitaire engagement rings and discover your perfect style.

The Gallery Collection™

Blue Nile's Gallery Collection of handcrafted engagement rings incorporating sophisticated design elements; most are adorned with sparkling diamond accents. You'll find everything from a classic, six-prong Trellis solitaire to a diamond-encrusted emerald-cut three-stone ring with an impressive presence.

The Gallery Collection features captivating platinum designs that showcase the center stone from every angle. Explore the selection of matching wedding bands once you've found the perfect engagement ring.

Zac Zac Posen

The exclusive Zac Zac Posen engagement ring designs for Blue Nile feature modern lines and sleek design elements. Shop the collection, and you'll find a mixture of simple and sophisticated designer settings.

We're enthralled with this Art Deco Hexagon Halo diamond engagement ring by Zac Zac Posen. The round brilliant diamonds within the hexagon halo increase the circumference of the sparkle factor, creating a mesmerizing beacon of light.

Other Zac Zac Posen designs incorporate tapered baguettes, emerald-cut, round brilliant accents, floral elements, and milgrain edges. This collection features elegant cathedral settings, channel settings, halo settings, triple-band solitaires, and traditional solitaire engagement rings.

In our experience, these ring styles are timeless designs, always in fashion. Although not every design in this collection has a matching wedding band, several include custom-designed bands that perfectly accentuate their particular style.

The acclaimed designer’s collection of modern engagement rings and wedding bands by Zac Zac Posen for Blue Nile.

Zac Zac Posen Designs for Blue Nile.

The Online Shopping Experience at Blue Nile

The inspiration for Blue Nile stems from Mark Vadon's frustration trying to buy an engagement ring through traditional retail channels. Under those circumstances, it's unsurprising that they strive to make buying an engagement ring online easy and convenient.

This commitment to convenience is especially crucial because purchasing an engagement ring is incredibly overwhelming for many due to several factors:

  1. 1
    Significance of the Occasion: An engagement ring is more than a piece of jewelry; it symbolizes love, commitment, and your future together. The pressure to choose a ring that represents these perfect sentiments can be immense, and that's why engagement ring shopping sucks.
  2. 2
    Variety of Options: There are countless options in diamond shapes, sizes, clarity, colors, settings, and metal types. Navigating these options can be daunting for someone just learning about diamonds and jewelry.
  3. 3
    Budget Constraints: Engagement rings can be a significant financial investment; some suggest spending two to three months' salary. Balancing the desire to choose the perfect ring with budget constraints can be stressful, especially since many characteristics are indistinguishable.
  4. 4
    Lack of Knowledge: Understanding the 'Four Cs' of diamonds (carat weight, cut, color, and clarity) is essential for making an informed decision. However, only some people are familiar with these terms, which can lead to buyer's remorse due to uncertainty and doubt.
  5. 5
    Fear of Making a Mistake: The fear of choosing a ring that the recipient may not like or not fit can be overwhelming. There is also the pressure to select a ring your partner loves and which friends and family will admire.
  6. 6
    Time Pressure: Often, a deadline is associated with the proposal plan, which adds another layer of stress to selecting and purchasing the ring. As romantic as it can be to propose on Valentine's Day, or holidays when families traditionally gather to celebrate, the added pressure can outweigh the benefits.

Website Navigation and Design

Blue Nile's intuitive design makes shopping for diamond engagement rings and jewelry gifts for every occasion easy. The homepage features a dedicated section that makes it easy to explore featured products:

Select one of the options above, then decide between natural and lab-grown diamonds, and adjust the filters for price, shape, size, clarity, color, and more.

Blue Nile's No Hassle 30-Day Return Policy allows returns for either a refund or an exchange up to 30 days after the shipment leaves their facility. Within one business day of receiving your return request, they will email you a fully insured, complimentary shipping label. Please be aware that they limit free returns to two per customer annually. 

Blue Nile Customer Support

The Blue Nile customer support team prides itself on providing prompt and knowledgeable service to all its customers. They aim to ensure you purchase a diamond that meets your expectations and receive the best possible service.

In our experience as a vendor, there are times when things go differently than planned despite the best of intentions. Nobody is perfect, and mistakes and oversights are bound to occur occasionally as part of the human condition. Our measure of a company depends on how it responds to errors and oversights to make things right.

The odds are that you will experience excellent Blue Nile customer service, but here is what to do if there is a need for improvement. Contact customer support via chat, email, telephone, or schedule a virtual consultation.

Consequently, virtual appointments can be helpful when choosing between several diamonds or selecting the perfect jewelry gift. However, conducting your research first is essential so that the time spent in the virtual diamond consultation is well spent.

Shipping and Returns at Blue Nile

Blue Nile offers free, secure shipping on all orders within the United States. They ship domestic orders via FedEx or UPS, insured with the purchaser's signature required at delivery time. Delivery times vary depending on the amount of your purchase:

Minimum Purchase

Domestic Shipping Method

Up to $500

FedEx Two Day Saver

More than $500

FedEx Priority Overnight.

Blue Nile domestic shipping methods based on purchase amount (applicable at the time of publication).

Double-check the "ship by date" below the diamond carat weight and title on the product details pages and your order summary. Given Murphy's Law, it's best to anticipate delays and allow ample time before your "drop dead date" to ensure a satisfactory experience.

Allowing extra time for custom-designed jewelry, engraving services, and holiday orders is advisable due to high demand regardless of proposed order times. Also, be advised that shipping schedules are subject to delay due to various conditions, such as natural disasters and weather. 

International Shipping

Blue Nile offers international shipping to select countries depending on various conditions, including whether their insurance company provides coverage. It's essential to realize that the "insurance" FedEx and UPS provide does not cover jewelry valued at more than $500, no matter what the counter person indicates.

International customers are eligible for express or standard shipping depending on preferences and product value. Anticipate approximately 5-10 business days for standard international shipments. In contrast, express international shipments usually arrive in 3-5 business days, depending on the destination.

Minimum Purchase

International Shipping Method

Up to $500

FedEx Economy

More than $500

FedEx International Priority

Blue Nile international shipping methods based on purchase amount (applicable at the time of publication).

30-Day Returns and Exchanges

Suppose you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase at Blue Nile. Thankfully, their commitment to earning your business does not end when you place your order or sign for delivery.

Blue Nile offers free 30-day returns or exchanges on qualifying items within thirty days of the shipping date. Any refunds issued will also be in the same form as the initial payment, which is standard for the industry.

Terms and conditions apply, such as all merchandise must be accompanied by the original sales receipt and be in its original condition. Specific merchandise, such as custom engagement rings and jewelry, are non-refundable and can only be exchanged if manufacturing defects exist.

Read Blue Nile's return policy carefully before making a purchase decision because terms and conditions are subject to change. Blue Nile's lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects complies with standard industry practice.

Consequently, it does not cover stone loss due to normal wear and tear, accidents, theft, or fire. We recommend purchasing a jewelry insurance policy from BriteCo or a similar company. It's also advisable to register your diamond's inscription with GEMTRACE™ to create a record of ownership.

Who are Blue Nile's Top Competitors?

Blue Nile has an excellent reputation for high-quality diamonds and jewelry, but it's good practice to conduct due diligence when making significant purchases.

Accurately comparing diamond prices requires a solid understanding of the Diamond 4Cs and knowing what level of light performance you seek. It's also essential to balance those expectations with cost and understand that standard ideal cut diamonds cannot produce hearts and arrows performance.

Blue Nile offers an extensive selection of GIA Excellent cut diamonds but has yet to provide hearts and arrows diamonds. In that case, we divide Blue Nile's competitors into two categories: Those selling GIA Excellent cut diamonds and those specializing in Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal cut diamonds.

Where to Buy GIA Excellent Cut Diamonds

Hearts & Arrows Diamond Dealers

Summary of Our Blue Nile Review

Blue Nile is a leading online destination for loose diamonds, engagement rings, and fine jewelry. They offer natural and lab-grown diamonds of every shape and size in various qualities to accommodate practically any budget.

In our experience, Blue Nile strives to streamline buying diamonds and jewelry online and provides a satisfactory experience. They offer easy 30-day free returns and exchanges that provide peace of mind and quality assurance.


  • Impeccable customer service.
  • Easy to navigate website.
  • Seamless shopping experience.
  • Vast selection of natural and lab-grown diamonds.
  • Dual-graded Astor by Blue Nile Diamonds.
  • Fair market prices on GIA-graded loose diamonds.
  • Large selection of diamond and jewelry settings.
  • Straightforward customization options.
  • Pre-set genuine and lab-grown diamond jewelry.


Some Blue Nile reviews indicate that their diamond prices are higher due to GIA grading, implying that all grading is equal. In contrast, diamond grading is subjective, and some gemological laboratories are more consistent and reliable than others.

Maintaining consistency when comparing diamond prices, including laboratory grading, carat weight, color, clarity, polish, symmetry, and proportions, is essential for accuracy. The slightest variation in characteristics, including inclusion type and location, can vastly affect a diamond's market price.

Our Final Analysis

Blue Nile is an excellent place to purchase earth-mined and lab-grown diamonds and jewelry. They offer a large selection of GIA-graded loose diamonds at prices competitive with most online retailers.

Blue Nile's diamond division includes in-house GIA Graduate Gemologists who inspect each diamond for quality assurance purposes. In that case, they can answer any questions about a diamond's characteristics before purchasing.

Blue Nile's customer service division strives to ensure your complete satisfaction. Additionally, they provide a reasonable return period and a lifetime manufacturer's warranty against defects in craftsmanship and materials.

Ultimately, our Blue Nile review confirms they are a reputable place to purchase loose diamonds, engagement rings, and fine jewelry. Our diamond concierge service can help you choose the best-looking diamonds, whether you prefer lab-grown or natural.

A side-by-side comparison of Blue Nile lab grown round diamond stud earrings, ranging in size from one-half carat up to 4-carats total weight in 14k yellow gold 4-prong settings.

Blue Nile Diamond Stud Earrings by Total Weight.

Super Charge Your Diamond Buying Skills:

Follow the Steps in The Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and Unlock the Secret for Maximizing Sparkle Factor and Light Performance. These are the Tips & Tricks from the back office of Nice Ice Diamonds.