This Blue Nile Review casts new light on the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Consequently, that is how people in the diamond business refer to the Blue Nile Powerhouse.
The industry giant seems hard to beat because of its business model, impressive size, and the financial backing of Bain Capital. However, every beast has its weakness, and that makes for a great story.
Blue Nile generated more than $500 million in revenue during the 2021 calendar year. In August 2022, Signet Jewelers announced their intent to purchase Blue Nile from Bain Capital for $360 million in an all cash transaction. If you've read our James Allen Review, then you know that Signet acquired them in August 2017.
A Quick Summary of What Blue Nile Offers:
Blue Nile is on the Cutting Edge of Online Diamonds:
As a leader of the online diamond industry, Blue Nile must constantly struggle to stay on the cutting edge. Otherwise, they risk losing market share to a growing list of competitors with venture capital support.
Plus, the internet and technology make it easier for smaller jewelry stores to create a more significant presence. These days, anybody can boast a large inventory of virtual diamonds by simply republishing the multiple listing service data.
Although that may be true, it's hard to compete with Blue Nile on 30-day returns and their lifetime trade-in policy. It is also difficult for many retail jewelers to offer competitive pricing.
In that case, their only hope is that somebody will write a negative Blue Nile review. Speaking of which, be sure to read our thoughts on Astor by Blue Nile.
Blue Nile Diamond Prices Are Hard to Beat:
Blue Nile offers the most extensive inventory of GIA Excellent cut diamonds in the world. However, that does not necessarily mean that those diamonds are all sitting in the vault in Seattle, Washington.
The majority of diamonds that you see online are virtual inventory. In most cases, the supplier provides clarity photographs and high-resolution video. However, the diamonds remain in their vault until somebody wants to buy them.
That is part of the reason that some diamonds look brighter than others in those images. But it also explains part of the reasons why Blue Nile diamond prices are so reasonable. Under those circumstances, they pay minimal flooring costs and don't have to buy the diamond until it sells.
Most Retail Jewelry Stores Hate Blue Nile:
Blue Nile is arguably the most hated and revered retail jeweler in the world. On the one hand, their business model encourages fair pricing and transparency. However, it also makes it extremely hard for small mom-and-pop jewelry stores to compete.
In the first place, most family-owned jewelry stores can't afford to float the difference that your upgrade creates. After all, they have to shell out a bunch of money every time you upgrade your diamond.
In contrast, Blue Nile's sheer volume makes it easy for them to absorb the trade-in value. Secondly, many of the diamonds are from India, and those suppliers don't offer credit or memo terms.
In other words, your jeweler has to buy the diamond, and you're stuck with it because there is no return period. In comparison, most diamond cutters will do anything for a piece of the pie and give Blue Nile generous terms.
Those kinds of Wal-Mart vs. mom-and-pop store differences enable Blue Nile to thrive. However, it also leaves most retail jewelers with a bad taste in their mouths. Under those circumstances, you might not tell them about your Blue Nile engagement ring. Unless, of course, you happen to be standing in a Blue Nile Jewelry Store.
Blue Nile's Exclusive Diamond Inventory:
As stated previously, Blue Nile offers the largest selection of GIA Excellent cut diamonds. However, that doesn't mean that they have the most extensive inventory of GIA-graded diamonds. But instead, that they have the exclusive rights to list those diamonds online.
In other words, Blue Nile has contracts with various suppliers for exclusive representation of a percentage of their inventory. That is the reason why you rarely see the same diamond on other sites.
Consequently, Blue Nile will Diamond Price Match any legitimate listing. In that case, they guarantee you the best price. If you find the same diamond on another site for less, you only need to bring it to their attention.
An Extensive Selection of Loose Diamonds:
Blue Nile offers loose diamonds in every size, shape, and price range. In essence, there are two categories, such as the generic and Astor by Blue Nile diamonds.
As I write this review, Blue Nile has 221,405 round brilliant cut diamonds available. That number drops to 16,513 if you adjust the search criteria to a total depth between 59 - 61.8% and a 53 - 58% table diameter.
Only 5,694 of those diamonds have 360-degree high-resolution video or clarity photographs. Even less will have the diamond proportions we recommend and the correct crown/pavilion angle offset.
Of course, there is more to diamond buying than simply adhering to a specific set of proportions. It would be best if you also took the degree of optical precision and inclusions into account. Our tutorial on How to Search Blue Nile will guide you through the process.
Unfortunately, Most People Search for Diamonds All Wrong.
First, they wrongly assume that GIA Excellent means the best light performance. Secondly, they fail to account for contrast brilliance, light leakage, or optical precision.
Although those are essential characteristics of diamond grading, the GIA does not take them into account. The GIA only considers the proportions, polish, and meet-point symmetry. In contrast, the AGS uses their Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool to grade light performance.
As that may be, the AGS still does not take optical precision into account. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360-degrees.
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 those images within the multiple listing service. Please send me a request via our Diamond Concierge Service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Nile:
Given the True Meaning of an Engagement Ring, you might be wondering:
People ask those types of questions to feel more confident and secure buying a diamond online. That even be the reason why you're reading this Blue Nile Review. In that case, I'll tell you what I know about Blue Nile in the order presented above.
Is Blue Nile a Reputable Company?
According to Forbes, Blue Nile was founded in 1999 by Mark Vadon. Allegedly, he got the idea after having a less than satisfying experience shopping for an engagement ring through traditional channels.
At the time, Vadon had been working for the venture capital firm Bain & Company for six years. You might have purchased shares in Blue Nile when the company went public on May 18, 2004.
Blue Nile raised $76 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on that day. The share price for Blue Nile was $28.40 at the close of business.
In February 2017, an investment group acquired Blue Nile for $40.75 per share in a cash transaction. Bain Capital Private Equity, Bow Street LLC, and Adama Partners comprise the backbone of that venture.
A Securities and Exchange Commission 8-K document said: "(the) total amount of funds used to complete the merger and related transactions and pay related fees, and expenses was approximately $520 million."
$520 million! As stated previously, Signet Jewelers announced their intent to acquire Blue Nile for $360 million in August 2022. Despite the apparent loss, I think Blue Nile can afford to issue a full refund if you aren't delighted with your purchase. I think it fair to say that Blue Nile is a reputable company that's now backed by an even more well known industry giant.
Are Blue Nile Diamonds Good?
Blue Nile offers a broad selection of diamonds in many different qualities. In that case, it's a good idea to know the characteristics to look for in different diamond shapes.
Does Blue Nile sell certified diamonds?
Blue Nile boasts the most extensive inventory of GIA-graded diamonds online. However, it is essential to realize that gemological laboratories do not certify diamonds. Instead, they issue a report based upon the characteristics of the diamond at the time of grading.
Are Blue Nile diamonds expensive?
Blue Nile offers diamonds in all different price ranges depending on the characteristics. Most people don't realize that the overall cut quality can affect diamond prices by up to sixty percent.
In that case, unforeseen factors can influence the perception of cost. Although that may be true, we generally find that Blue Nile diamond prices are much better than traditional retail.
What Is Blue Nile's Return Policy?
You can save a lot of money buying a diamond online. Understandably, most people worry more about what happens if they aren't delighted. Thankfully, Blue Nile offers 30-day hassle-free returns.
That means you can buy your Blue Nile engagement ring with confidence and peace of mind. Return it for a full refund if you're not completely satisfied. They'll even pay for the return shipping and insurance.
Meet the Makers of Blue Nile Jewelry (video):
As part of this Blue Nile review, I want to introduce the people who will be making your engagement ring:
Putting This Blue Nile Review in the Box:
I hope that you enjoyed this in-depth Blue Nile review. Be sure to read our tutorial on how to search Blue Nile for the best diamonds.
You'll see that it takes me less than 20 minutes to review the details for 111 diamonds and help you 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 you should take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service.
Please take a moment to fill out the form and provide the details of the diamond you seek. I'll search Blue Nile and provide you with a list of the top contenders. In the meantime, you might also enjoy reading our latest article on Vintage Style Engagement Rings.