“Hi Todd, I really appreciate all of the information you provide on the web site, it has been a tremendous resource which I have relied on extensively while shopping for a diamond online. I’m wondering what you think of the vintage inspired diamond engagement rings from Blue Nile, which they introduced via email a few days ago, I don’t know whether you’re signed up to receive that sort of thing from Blue Nile or not, but I don’t see any mention of it on your web site. I think that my favorite is the Heirloom Halo micro pave diamond engagement ring from Blue Nile.
Could you help me identify some potential center stones in the range of 1.10 – 1.49 carats, G-H color, VS-2 or higher in clarity. It’s all right to respond via blog post, I’m probably not going to pull the trigger for another month or two, but would like to get an idea of the sort of diamond that you would select from Blue Nile. Thank you.”
I actually did receive the introductory email from Blue Nile pertaining to the launch of thee new collection of vintage inspired diamond engagement rings by Blue Nile, but did not have an opportunity to go and look at the collection until just now, the collection looks like it has a lot of beautiful vintage style engagement rings in it… I’m sure that it is going to be quite popular! I definitely like the look of the Heirloom Halo micropave diamond engagement by Blue Nile that you are considering, it looks like it is going to sparkle like crazy and provides diamond coverage from all angles! It appears that the bottom section of the ring shank was left open to allow the ring to be sized up or down one finger size.[separator]
I really like the side profile view of this heirloom halo micropave diamond engagement ring by Blue Nile, I like how the diamond ring is going to sparkle from every vantage point, because of the way they set the diamonds on the side of the halo, and down the side edges of the ring, it’s going to be quite lively without a doubt!
It can be extremely difficult to find the best diamonds on Blue Nile, because they are a virtual diamond dealer that acts as a clearinghouse of sorts for diamond cutters located all over the world, thus they offer a wide range of diamond cut qualities in what is an attempt to appeal to the broadest market share possible. This is how I search for the best diamonds on Blue Nile, the first thing I do is set all of the advanced options that are available to filter the results using basic criteria.[separator]
Using the advanced filters option to limit the search results produced by conducting a search for the best diamonds on Blue Nile, reduced the field of possibilities from almost 1400 diamonds down to 59 diamonds, which means that I only have to open up 59 separate tabs in my internet browser, and flip through only 59 diamond grading report, to eliminate the options that don’t meet my criteria for crown and pavilion angle, or inclusion type, at this point.
Unfortunately the diamond search engine on Blue Nile sucks, there’s no other way to describe it; and believe me, they know exactly what I think of it… unless you’re a diamond buying moron, who has no intent on even trying to figure out the most basic details about the diamond you are going to buy, you’re going to have to click on the little orange arrow “>” located to the right hand side of the first diamond listing, in order to expand a column that will list the same basic line details in a new format.[separator]
Apparently this is just in case you didn’t understand them the first time they were presented…
And then right click your mouse over the “More Details” to open that diamond details page in a new tab.
And then go back and click on the next orange arrow “>” for the next line listing…
And then right click your mouse over the “More Details” button to open the diamond details page for that diamond in a new tab…
And if you think that I’m kidding about having to do that, rest assured that I am not, the picture above shows what my internet browser looks like right now… Do you see all those little tabs lined up to the right of the one that is open to the Diamond Search Engine on Blue Nile? Each of those represents a diamond details page, where I’ll have to click on the icon for the diamond grading report, and wait for it to open, so that I can determine whether the crown and pavilion angle offset are within my preferred range, and whether the crown height and pavilion depth measurements are properly balanced for those angles, and whether the inclusions meet my selection criteria, more on that later…
Oh and right about the time that I was about half way through clicking, right clicking, and found myself staring at an endless list of tabs for diamond details pages, I realized that I forgot to click on the column for carat weight before I began this whole process, to order the search results in order of carat weight, so everything is out of order in terms of being able to consider the options from smallest to largest, but I’m not about to start the process over… I’ve got a bunch of diamond grading reports to look at.
Now I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, it really doesn’t take me very long to glance at a diamond grading report and know whether the diamond has potential or not, it just bugs me that a company like Blue Nile, which maintains a technical development division on par with the National Security Agency (NSA) couldn’t come up with a more user friendly diamond search engine than this clunky, cumbersome, exercise in mental frustration.
Why is it necessary for “us” to click on a little orange arrow “>” to expand the line listing in order to get to the “More Details” link, so that we can open that up in a new tab? Why can’t I simply right click on each line listing, and open that up in a new tab? That would save about ten minutes, and a whole lot of wrist action!
Anyway, ten minutes of click, right click, and open new tab later, I was clicking on each tab in my internet browser, and sliding down half a page to click on the icon for the diamond grading reports… all fifty nine of them, the method that I’ve developed for doing this on Blue Nile is to simply click down the line from one tab to the other, allowing the diamond grading reports to open while I’m five or six diamonds further down the line, clicking on those diamond grading report icons, and then I go back to the beginning, and close the tab for each diamond that doesn’t have a crown and pavilion angle combination that meets my selection criteria, which is as follows:
* Note that a crown angle of 35.0 degrees is acceptable if combined with the right pavilion angle, but I do prefer that it be slightly shallower.
Once all of the diamond grading reports were loaded, it took me five minutes to flip through the fifty nine diamond grading reports that resulted from my diamond search on Blue Nile, at which point there were ten options which met my selection criteria “by the numbers” and these three were eliminated for the inclusions:
All of which were eliminated due to the presence of a diamond inclusion referred to as a “knot” which is actually a diamond crystal that breaks through the surface of the diamond, as indicated by the red and green oval shaped marks that appear on the lower facet plotting diagram featured to the left.[separator]
On the diamond clarity grading plotting diagrams featured on diamond grading reports, the color red is used to indicate inclusions within the diamond, and the color green is used to indicate clarity characteristics on the surface of the diamond. The potential problem with knots as a diamond clarity characteristic (inclusion) is that there is that they are similar to a knot found in a piece of wood, they can be caught on something and knocked out, or loosened with time, so I generally avoid them and recommend that you do also… and so, then there were seven diamonds from Blue Nile to review.
This 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile is my top pick of the litter, because it has the best proportions of the seven diamonds remaining from my search for diamonds on Blue Nile. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return, while the 34.5 degree crown angle will produce a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and the 75% lower girdle facet length should provide broad spectrum sparkle, which is sparkle that is larger in size, which is bolder, brighter, and more vivid than it would be if a diamond with the same pavilion / crown angle offset were cut with lower girdle facets in the range of 80 – 82% which is quite common for GIA Excellent cut diamonds. The primary inclusions are “clouds” which are simply small clusters of pinpoint size diamond crystals, which are no big deal.[separator]
My second choice would be this 1.31 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, because the 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return, while the 35.0 degree crown angle should produce a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 75% lower girdle facet length will produce broad spectrum sparkle! The primary inclusions are nothing more than a few tiny diamond crystals and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals which are no big deal.[separator]
This 1.17 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile is another excellent option! Once again, the 40.8 degree pavilion angle will provide a high volume of light return, while the 35.0 degree crown angle provides a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 75% lower girdle facet length provides broad spectrum sparkle! You might be beginning to sense a pattern here as far as the proportions go! The only thing that we can not determine when shopping for diamonds with Blue Nile is the degree of optical precision.[separator]
Since Blue Nile does not provide reflector scope images, such as ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, or Hearts and Arrows Scope images, we can not determine the extent to which this diamond, or any of the diamonds reviewed herein are making use of the light which is available to them from within the room, or how consistently light is being reflected throughout the diamond as a result of how consistently, or inconsistently the diamond has been faceted (ASET Scope) or to what degree it is leaking light (Ideal Scope) or whether the diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, thus all of these diamonds can only be judged by the proportions and overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, which places them in the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds, but not within the Top 0.001% of annual production like Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows diamonds.
So this 1.12 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile has the same basic proportions as the other diamonds reviewed thus far, it has a 40.8 degree pavilion angle which is offset by a 35.0 degree crown angle, so we know that it is going to exhibit a high volume of light return, and a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, but it has 80% lower girdle facets instead of 75 – 78% lower girdle facets, so it is going to exhibit pin-fire type sparkle instead of broad spectrum sparkle, and this is a factor of sparkle that is rarely discussed.[separator]
While the size of sparkle that a diamond exhibits is largely a matter of personal preference, the fact of the matter is that our human eyes have difficulty dispersing smaller flashes of light into colored light / sparkle, and thus diamonds such as this are likely to appear to be more brilliant, than exhibit a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) even when the proportions of the diamond would normally produce a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
Thus people are more likely to describe ideal cut diamonds that feature lower girdle facets in the range of 80 – 82% as looking “icy” or more like “crushed ice” whereas diamonds of the same proportions, but which are cut with lower girdle facets in the range of 75 – 78% are going to produce sparkle that is larger in size, and which is bolder, brighter, and more vivid.
This 1.20 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile features the same 40.8 degree pavilion angle as the other diamonds, so it is also going to exhibit a high volume of light return, and a 35.0 degree crown angle which is going to produce a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, with 80% lower girdle facets, so it will also exhibit pin-fire type sparkle, that is very much like the smaller sparkle that is reflected off of the tiny mirrors of a disco ball. This is a perfect diamond for somebody who prefers that icy, crushed ice look.[separator]
This 1.26 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile will produce a high volume of light return because of the 40.8 degree pavilion angle, and the 35.0 degree crown angle will provide a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, while the 80% lower girdle facet length will produce pin-fire type sparkle. The thing to realize about this diamond, and the last few diamonds featured in this Blue Nile round diamond review, is that there is not a right or wrong choice when it comes to the type of sparkle factor exhibited by a round brilliant ideal cut diamond. If you think you might prefer broad spectrum sparkle that shows up from across the room, then buy one of the Blue Nile diamonds referenced above that has lower girdle facets in the range of 75 – 78% and buy one of the ones with 80% lower girdle facets if you think you might prefer smaller, pin-fire type sparkle.[separator]
The same principle applies to this 1.31 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Blue Nile, which also features a 40.8 degree pavilion angle, which is offset by a 35.0 degree pavilion angle, and which has 80% lower girdle facets… it’s going to exhibit a high volume of light return, with a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion, and pin-fire type sparkle; this type of stuff is actually pretty easy to predict by the numbers. The unknown factor remains the degree of optical precision that will be exhibited by these diamonds.[separator]
And frankly it is the lack of this type of detail that causes Blue Nile to fall short as compared to other online diamond dealers who provide high resolution video, diamond clarity photographs, and photographs of each diamond as seen through an ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows scope where applicable; it would be amazing if Blue Nile stepped up to the plate and began to offer this type of in-depth detail, thereby enabling their customers to make a truly informed decision.
But for now, customers of Blue Nile will have to settle for the basic diamond grading details provided on the diamond grading report for diamonds that are not part of the Blue Nile Signature collection, which are accompanied by supplementary images provided in the form of a GCAL report, however these are not ASET Scope or Ideal Scope images… If you’d like help searching for diamonds on Blue Nile or any other internet diamond dealer, please take advantage of my free diamond concierge service.
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
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