Blue Nile(5 / 5)
Everyone is familiar with Blue Nile. They are the powerhouse of loose diamonds online and have been operating their online diamond business since 1999. Based in Seattle, Washington, their advantage in the online diamond market is shear size. At the time of this writing (November 2016), they have more than 230,000 diamonds available for search online at any given time.
Although Blue Nile was once a public company, it was recently purchase by a private investment group in November 2016. It is yet to be seen how this major move will effect the business and it’s future. For now, Blue Nile is still the largest online retailer for loose diamonds and engagement rings. Diamond rings still make up about 70% of Blue Nile’s sales as they cater to the first time diamond buyer. Because most people don’t know where to start their diamond engagement ring shopping, they rely upon Blue Nile to help educate and steer them in the right direction.
Blue Nile also has a very popular “design-your-own-engagement” ring tool. This allows the consumer to choose their loose diamond and the ring separately. Choosing a diamond is a critical piece to ensuring a successful jewelry purchase as quality varies widely in the market. Unlike other boutique diamond retailers, Blue Nile doesn’t fully own or house the 230,000+ diamonds that are in their online inventory. They instead utilize the very common drop-shipping business practice of showcasing diamonds on their website which are owned by various diamond vendors located elsewhere. This helps to keep the overhead costs down and thus pass on the savings directly to the consumer.
Blue Nile’s Diamond Visualization – 360 Degree Magnified Videos of Diamonds
Blue Nile recently launched their new diamond visualization which allows consumers to search for diamonds that have a 360 degree magnified HD video. This is a feature not to be missed, as seeing a diamond in a magnified video allows the consumer to see how well the diamond is cut and what inclusions and/or blemishes it might have. As this feature is new, there are only a few hundred or so diamonds that have accompanying videos but Blue Nile aims to add more as time continues.
Even with the Blue Nile diamond visualization feature, it is still important to know how to search for a top quality diamond. Here’s how you can start your search:
Step 1 – Go to Blue Nile’s Search for Diamonds page and enter in the following:
– Enter round brilliant for your desired diamond shape, carat weight, and diamond color
– Leave the Price parameter untouched
– Choose “very good”, “ideal”, “signature ideal” for cut
– Choose your desired clarity grade (recommend VS2 – VS-1) (SI1’s may not be eye-clean and therefore without pictures it is safer to choose a VS2 or better in clarity)
Step 2 – Advanced Criteria (Very Important!)
– Choose ‘excellent/ideal’ polish and symmetry
– Choose 53% to 58% Table (55%-57% is optimal but will show less results)
– Choose 59.5 to 62.5% Depth (60% to 61.7% is optimal but will show less results)
– Leave everything else blank
*It’s important to note that we cannot search by crown or pavilion angle and so, we are limited in this capacity as well.
Step 3 – Results The results that show up according to the above parameters is a refined list of available diamonds that are of top cut qualities. Go through the list and see if there are that have an available HD video or image. Outside of a magnified image, you can search for diamonds with an AGS lab report (try to find an AGS graded diamond with an AGS’s Platinum Diamond Quality Document. These specific lab reports have an electronic ASET image to help illustrate light performance. An ASET image is vital when evaluating how well a diamond is cut and it’s resulting light performance.)
Most of Blue Nile’s loose diamonds are GIA certified and if can’t find a diamond with an HD video or picture then you must know that you are buying your diamond blind. It is very possible to find a GIA graded diamond that looks good on paper but isn’t cut well. Remember, a diamond must be cut well in order to be brilliant and show beautiful sparkle.
Blue Nile Offers:
– Actual diamond videos and images via their Diamond Visualization Tool
– Free delivery for both domestic and international orders
– Blue Nile Credit Card with various financing options
– 30 day return policy
– Conflict-free diamonds
– Specific Canadian diamond selection (for those that are very concerned about where their diamonds are sourced)
– Some Blue Nile Signature Diamonds have H&A GCAL reports which are misleading to consumers. These reports are not to be be used as confirmation if evaluating a H&A precision cut diamond
– The vast majority of Blue Nile’s diamond inventory does not have any videos or images to view before purchase
– No longer the cheapest and most competitively priced for loose diamonds online
Why Most People Still Buy From Blue Nile:
Blue Nile is the oldest and largest online jewelry retailer that started it all. They ship internationally without the worry of customs fees or additional taxes. They offer thousands of loose diamonds to search through for any budget and have a great selection of fine jewelry and engagement rings to fit any personality and lifestyle. Their Blue Nile Credit Card offers various financing options that many people love to take advantage of. With 24/7 customer service and the ability to create your dream engagement ring online, it’s easy to see why Blue Nile is the first place consumers go to purchase their jewelry online.
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