Blue Nile Reviews: Are They Really Cheaper?

blue nile logoWant to have the finest diamond that your money can buy? Contact us and tell us how much you are willing to spend for the kind of diamond that shines the brightest. We’ll sort out through thousands of genuine diamonds online and send you a sample of stones to choose from; each perfectly suited to your personal taste and budget.

Overall Score:4.5



Customer Service:4.5


  • Most robust exclusive online inventory of diamonds
  • Super efficient fulfilment
  • Best in class customer service
  • High-quality images on thousands of diamonds


  • Only about 20% of diamonds in inventory have images
  • Standard packaging


Blue Nile is the biggest and best online jewelry store in the world today. For a number of years, Blue Nile allowed James Allen, their biggest competition, to continuously inch closer to their level of dominance in the market through unique, technological breakthroughs.

In the final quarter of 2016, Blue Nile began integrating high-quality videos of its diamonds. Complementing that with their superior inventory and effective business model has empowered their business again.

Blue Nile and James Allen Diamonds are now back as the two best companies that we can suggest to our readers.

If you want to experience the best of Blue Nile, visiting their Recently Purchased Engagement Rings page will guide you in getting the ideal setting. The setting type/color you choose will determine the minimum quality of diamond that suits you best.

They provided to us exclusive single-use Blue Nile promo code that we will give for free to our readers. If your thinking about purchasing diamonds from Blue Nile, don’t forget to contact us so we can hand you one of these exclusive discount codes.

HISTORY OF BLUE NILE was first created by Mark Vadon in 1999. The idea of Blue Nile came to fruition when Mr. Vadon was looking for affordable diamond engagement rings and got tired of the available choices.

He thought that diamonds were basically a commodity and that all that was required to do was to become knowledgeable about the commodity and then shop for the best price.

In his quest, he stumbled on an online site called that captured his interest. He called the owner of the site, made a partnership, and marketed his idea to the venture capital circuit. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Blue Nile What We Believe

The business model that Blue Nile follows is pretty straightforward. It is a simple but highly effective model that has now become the standard for online diamond jewelers.

Instead of buying diamonds, storing them in an inventory and then selling them for profit online through their website, Blue Nile lists diamonds directly from the source. This gives them a plethora of diamond offers for their customers without much cost. You can learn more about the business model and its advantages in this article.


Blue Nile’s dominance as a top diamond provider online has allowed the company to build partnerships with the biggest wholesalers in the world. This has allowed them to enjoy a comparative advantage over other diamond sellers by signing exclusivity contracts with the whole sellers.

This dominant position in the market has given them the freedom and means needed to produce an extensive array of amazing settings to satisfy a wide scope of consumer needs and tastes. They have also built long-term partnerships with some of the most exceptional designers like Monique Lhuillier (Her interpretation of the twist pave setting was simply superb!) and Zac Posen (the architect of the popular solitaire setting).


While Blue Nile enjoyed a strong position in the market, they lacked one crucial feature. Diamond buyers wanted the ability to see the diamond before purchasing them. This gave other companies the opportunity to carve out a significant share of the market by catering consumers who are looking for innovative tools to buy diamonds. As we revealed in our clarity article, you are better off purchasing an eye-clean SI diamond to get the most value out of your money.

Right now, however, Blue Nile is no longer missing out on this important feature. Before the onset of 2017, Blue Nile introduced their very own video technology. The images they provide are a distinct style to the ultra-clear James Allen images. For professional diamond experts, like us, the James Allen images are ideal because they provide a pristine view of a diamond like you were looking through it from a jeweler’s loupe.

But we acknowledge the fact that diamond buyers might feel comfortable with Blue Nile’s unique style of images that feature more of the diamond’s innate quality and not its flaws. It provides the impression that your diamond will be eye clean (the moment your eye glances on the inclusions magnified, you may get discouraged in an instant!)


Back in 2011, we secretly shopped Blue Nile Jewelry Store and weren’t satisfied as we hope we would be. But as more and more of our readers raved about the company, we thought it would be fair to give Blue Nile another chance. This time, we didn’t just secretly shop the company but we personally spoke with the people that work behind the curtains at Blue Nile.

On both occasions, we were completely satisfied and our previous impression about Blue Nile changed in an instant.


During our previous review, we pointed out that majority of their Jewelry manufacturing was outsourced to a company in Kentucky. We weren’t thrilled at this discovery since it meant surrendering a lot of responsibility for a crucial process.

It’s clear now though that Blue Nile is putting a special priority on quality control. We began making contact with the BN team at their corporate office in Seattle. Instead of defending their side of the topic (which should be natural considering our Blue Nile reviews was not that friendly), they tackled the issues directly. They shared the changes they made to make the situation better.


Everything started on a memorable tour of the company’s fulfillment center. Inside the building we met Hide, who supervises operations. He chaperoned us around the center. Ira and I share years of experience in the business and have met with numerous jewelry companies at all levels of the industry (from mining down to small mom and pop stores). Hide takes great pride in his work and maintains a high standard of quality and it was clear that the entire team was following his lead.

Ira and I were amazed at the exceptional level of quality and craftsmanship that Blue Nile’s pieces maintain. We were also equally amazed at how the center was so laser-focused on quality control to bring the best out of their products. But nothing is perfect and I’m sure there will be errors along the way. However, it’s undeniable that Blue Nile is trying to achieve a standard of perfection that is simply out of this world; a true quality of greatness in a company.

blue nile policies


We don’t want to be biased with our feelings and declare Blue Nile as the God of diamonds just because they treated us with a nice tour. We want to know firsthand if customers are impressed with the company as we are. We also wanted to test out their claims to see if there was any shred of truth in their words. So we shopped them not just once but twice; one was conducted abroad to evaluate their overseas services and their popular earrings. On the next occasion, we secret shopped them in the United States to evaluate them on their main source of revenue: An engagement ring.

To fast-forward things, we discovered that Blue Nile was the number one option (and the race is not even close) if you are looking to buy from Europe. The company has a base of operations in Ireland, which provides seamless processing and shipping. You will also know how amazing their earrings are in our diamond stud review. Now we move to the prime time show of this review.


blue nile build your own ringIn this purchase, I chose a setting that most of our readers are drawn with – a fine tapered pave 14kt white gold setting. I also opted for a pretty 0.70ct I SI1 round diamond. You can see for yourself that the cut on this diamond is truly brilliant. Using Blue Nile’s new video technology, you will also see that the diamond is flawlessly eye-clean.

The constellation of beautiful options is remarkable. Blue Nile has enjoyed a dominant position in the market for many years and they have used this advantage to nurture robust partnerships both in diamond and setting supplies. The company possesses a huge inventory of diamonds for consumers to shop and are now equipped with the tools necessary to help you land the diamond that is perfectly suited to your needs and taste.


I contacted Blue Nile through live chat and was connected with Gen. Gen was exceptionally helpful. Despite the complex intricacies of my order (I resided abroad and requested Gen to keep the ring until exactly before my flight arrival to the US then send it to a FedEx location that was convenient for me to pick up), Gen delivered fast and accurate responses.

Picking up a diamond was easy for me but she verified that I made a superb choice. After my plane landed in NYC, I immediately picked up the package.


Speaking of service, Blue Nile should be the number one company on your list if you want to make an order overseas (even if you’re making the order abroad and picking it up in the US).

The beauty of Blue Nile is that they will provide a net price of your purchase for you in your local currency. On top of that, the customer service was also satisfying. They even arranged return shipping from the Czech Republic back to their European base in Ireland.

In terms of the European experience in purchasing diamonds, the company was highly successful in combining the experience of buying locally with the better price rates that you witness in the US.


All the necessary documents were sent in an organized fashion to go along with a neat packaging. With that being said, it was not that impressive. I’m not sure if they have a more elaborate packaging for bigger purchases, but all in all the packaging struck me as too ordinary for such a luxury item. And for obvious security reasons, the exterior of the box needs to maintain a generic style.

But the box housing the ring was nice and simple. You will also find an envelope that says “Important Documents Enclosed” which contained my certificate, invoice and warranty information.

Packing is one aspect where James Allen, Blue Nile’s fiercest competitor, has a clear edge.


But the item that is held inside the package is what counts the most and this is the area where Blue Nile stands out from the rest of the crowd. Upon opening the box, a stunning ring instantly left me pausing in awe. Even though the tapered pave does not belong to Blue Nile’s line of high-end settings, the craftsmanship was just unbelievable.

The diamond was eye-clean in person (reaffirming my initial thoughts about it), the cut was remarkable, and then I color appeared white in the ring. It was set perfectly and the entire ring sparkled with brilliance.

I was actually with my old colleagues at one of the biggest manufacturers in the world when I opened the package. I managed to share the experience with them before sending it to a photographer. Their reaction was priceless – they found the ring simply amazing, especially given its value.


The total price I paid for the ring was a little less than $2,600. If you have been exploring our site, we made comparisons about Blue Nile with numerous companies. The price for their rings are always competitive compared to similar products from other online lenders. Their straightforward but effective business model gave them the freedom to work on sharp margins giving consumers great price offers for their products.


As mentioned in this article, there is no other retailer on this planet that can replicate Blue Nile’s pricing, and the difference is not even close. You can examine a couple of examples we used in reviews such as Jared and Shane Co. The examples will reveal that you can actually enjoy a little discount for a superior product all at the same time.

Blue Nile has always proven that they have the cheapest or at least a little cheaper than a few competitors in the market when it comes to diamond products online. The company, together with James Allen, has always provided the most value for every dollar for the overwhelming majority of our readers.

Blue Nile vs James Allen – HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISON

Because James Allen and Blue Nile are light years ahead of the rest of the crowd, we thought it might be convenient to present a chart openly comparing the distinct advantages that consumers can enjoy with each company.

Benefits & Features

Inventory, as of 3/30/2017

(Advantage: Blue Nile)

140,314 Diamonds

181,250 Diamonds


(Advantage: James Allen)

The images that James Allen provides replicate the viewing experience of a jeweler’s loupe. This means you get a full view of the diamond in high detail. This offers a big advantage, although you should know what to look for (i.e. you should know how to comprehend the photo and verify whether the diamond is eye-clean). Through the aid of one of our diamond experts, this is an ideal route to the market.

While Blue Nile’s images are not that elaborate, they are very friendly to the ordinary shopper.

If you ask our opinion, both have their distinct advantages. If you need our help to interpret a certain ring via photo imagery, then we would prefer the JA format. It’s also important to note that Blue Nile currently has 17% of their diamonds photographed.

Return Policy

(Advantage: James Allen)

If you are not happy with your order, you simply return it to its original, undamaged condition within 30 days, and you will get your money back in full. And there is no restocking fee involved whatsoever. James Allen will personally cover the expenses for the return shipping. (U.S. and Canada customers only).

Blue Nile also has its own 30-day money back guarantee policy; the big difference is that you will be the one to cover the return shipping and insurance fees. You must make sure the order still maintains its original purchase condition including all product documentation.

Customer Service

Both have quick and responsive 24/7 customer service

Upgrade Policy

All loose diamonds bought from James Allen and Blue Nile can be converted to 100% credit for any replacement diamond for at least twice or greater value. The diamond that is being enhanced must maintain original condition and supported by the authentic grading document.


(Advantage: James Allen)

James Allen’s packaging is unique and one of a kind. The ring is housed in a spacious and beautifully decorated jewelry box, which can be utilized for storing other jewelry as well. The box also features a neat drawer that seamlessly confines the documentation.

Blue Nile follows industry standard packaging – which is quite mundane.


To make the review genuinely complete, we will tackle Blue Nile’s return process experience. Besides, you never really know whether or not the company is actually true to their claims. With that being said, my personal experience was fast and spot-on. It worked particularly well and my card was properly credited with ease.


Blue Nile is hands down the King of the online best place to buy diamonds in the world. When it comes to sheer inventory size and depth for loose diamonds and engagement ring settings, Blue Nile is ahead of everyone else and the separation is not even close.

The company has also successfully coupled their dominant position in the industry with a fervent resolve for quality and fulfillment. And if you add in their recent technological advances by integrating videos, the company is poised for industry supremacy for many years to come.


  • Provides the biggest selection of diamonds in the world
  • Amazing selection of settings
  • Solid customer service
  • Obsession with quality control
  • Very competitive pricing


Kevin Lee is a former tech advisor who cut his teeth in Silicon Valley. He now spends his time sharing his passion for investing in diamonds and jewelry. You can reach Kevin for any comments by using this form.