Has anyone bought a Diamond from Blue Nile.com?

createFebruary 17, 2006

I was checking out diamond prices online and found Blue Nile. Their website gives lots of information, and their prices seem good. I'm nervous about buying such an expensive item online. Are they legitimate? Do you get good quality?

Has anyone actually purchased a diamond from them???

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My husband's friend at work bought two diamonds from them. He seems happy.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 9:13PM
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I've not purchased from them myself, but I know others who have and are pleased.

The main thing to remember is that with diamonds, price is always driven by quality. Blue Nile has both lesser quality diamonds and better quality - with huge price differences between the two.

For a 1 carat stone for example, the following guidelines would net you a nice white stone with minimal inclusions:

Color: G or better (nothing below a G)

Cut: Ideal (ID/ID) or Excellent (EX/EX) - means the diamond is cut to maximize brilliance rather than size.

Clarity: If purchasing on line, I'd stay in the VS category or better. I have purchased lovely SI category diamonds that are what is called "eye clean", but you'd have no way of verifying that on line.

Certificate: ALWAYS, without exception, insist on a certificate. GIA certificates are the best in my humble opinion, and are the most accurate. EGL certificates come from europe, and are a little on the questionable side. They may rate a diamond color as G, when a GIA cert would say it was an H...best to stick with a GIA

I'd price some stones on Blue Nile and then go to my local jeweler to see what he/she could do. You can print out the specs on line from BN, and there's no arguing with the specs - they are what they are, and the diamond is priced according to them.

When you view diamonds in person, make sure you always view them on a white background. Ask for a color grader if they have it (it's a folded piece of white paper) and make sure to view it from both the top and the bottom of the stone. Never view it against a black velvet pad - it strips the color and clarity difference away, making it hard to see the quality (or lack of it).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 11:11PM
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Meskauskas- Thanks for the information. You seem to know a lot about diamonds.
I'm looking for a bigger stone, and local jewelers don't have much to show me. Of course, they can get any kind/size I would like, but I wouldn't have a selection to compare. And then it's hard to know if you're getting a good price.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 12:01AM
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I know what you mean about poor selection amongst the local jewlers - larger stones represent a big investment that many are reluctant to make.

My DH (bless his heart!) wanted to give me a 2.5ct stone for our 25th anniversary last year, and I spent about 3 months researching diamonds, as their valuation is such a detailed science. I'm an avid antique jewelry collector, so my previous experience was with older stones.

I would recommend searching out diamond brokers in your area for a price comparison - they have access to supplies of diamonds from the bigger houses that smaller jewelers don't have. Also, with a diamond broker or wholesale dealer, cash is preferable and can save you quite a bit of money.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 1:55AM
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Meskauskas- Thanks for your help.
I have realized that this is a process, and you get an education as you go along.
I'll just continue shopping.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 9:45AM
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Also take a look at tradeshop.com. Among other things, my husband had them design my engagement ring and bought diamond stud earrings from them, and my brother is currently having them design him an engagement ring. Their diamond selection and prices are great, as is their customer service. They'll even send you a couple of diamonds to look at before you buy. We've dealt with the same guy for 7 years. It's fun to look at their custom section just to see what kind of amazing things they're making. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 2:44PM
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I have, I bought earrings from Blue Nile. They were good quality, I have no complaints about quality or price. However, later I saw the same size similar quality earrings at Filene's Basement (local outlet store) at 20% less, so it does pay to shop around.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:40AM
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My husband bought the diamond for my engagement ring from Blue Nile back in 2001. It came with a GIA Certificate and he was very pleased with Blue Nile's service. It is a beautiful 1.5 carat emerald cut and he had it mounted at our local jeweler. He got an appraisal from our local jeweler for insurance purposes and we were both pleasantly suprised at how it appraised.

We highly recommend Blue Nile.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 12:53AM
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I have not shopped there, but I do think it's a very very good site. It's nearly impossible to get pieces over 2.5 ct in a local retailer, unless you have a great relationship with your jeweler and he has a good relationship up the chain. Again, same problem with qualtiy being available at local retailers, we had jewelers selling I2s, when I asked for VS1 - so other than Tiffany's for quality it was quite challenging.

Good luck with your purchase. I do think that the diamond industry is going to change a lot in the next 10 years. Wired magazine has a big article on how engagement rings are a fairly new thing to our society whereas it was a marketing ploy, and he whole Debeers thing. Last year they had an article about manufactured diamonds, so I think that it will be interesting to see where this industry goes.

The one thing that I would strongly strongly caution anyone is that a diamond is not an investment - don't look at it that way. It doesn't matter what any appraisal says, or cert. You will never never never be able to resell a diamond. I sold a diamond that was purchased with a GIA cert for $2700, and after shopping around a lot for resellers managed to get about 12% of what I paid. So I really really encourage you to consider these funds spent and likely not recoverable unless it it purchased at a very very reputable retailer like Tiffany's and even still you're going to have a hard time recovering more than 40%. I did a lot of research before I got my current ring and always cringe when I hear people talking about their 'investment'. Buy art, rugs, silver, or stocks if you want the value to go up - not a diamond.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 2:08PM
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This thread has been so helpful. I'm not looking for a giant rock but something to replace CZ necklace and earrings I have worn nearly every day for many, many years. I got an unexpected bonus and I think I am going to treat myself to the real thing. I got very engrossed in shopping around on the Blue Nile webpage.

I am going to also talk to a local jeweler that I have used in the past (who may actually have smaller things my size) but I am seriously thinking about ordering from Blue Nile.

DH continues to be awestruck by what I come up with from the Kitchen Forum......

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 8:14PM
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My son just got engaged, and I learned a lot throughout his shopping process.
Make sure you get GIA certification on any sizable diamond. The other certificatons are much more lenient, and the ratings are inflated.
Good cut is most important and then color.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 10:32PM
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Your local jeweler will most likely GET you anything you ask for. Just walk in and tell him what it is you want. That way, your money stays local, he will be there to help you later on, and will even take a trade-in if you want to upgrade.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 8:37PM
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knitmarie -
Unfortunately - most local jewelers cannot GET you what you want if you want something big, or a good grade. I noticed that you jsut registered, so I'm not sure where you're from, but I checked in two very large cities and still struggled significantly.
For example, it is nearly impossible to get an IF diamond that is over .5CT at a local jeweler, and if you do the color is going to be awful. They just don't have the buying power, and believe me if you send them on a hunt to find a stone and they get it you're stuck with it. It would be like goign to the car dealer and asking him to go to the auto auction for something specific - it's flying blind.

A friend at work just asked me about where to buy a diamond and I popped on bluenile and we were looking together. I have to say that after all - I think think their prices are even better now than they used to be. The prices are actually shockingly low compared to what a normal market would bear.

I have also found that local jewelers aren't big fans of certs and normally I get a song and dance about how they aren't useful, etc. Obviously it just depends on what you're looking for, but when you get into the more rare stones it seems to be an excellent option.

If you purchase from there please report back, I'd love to hear how it goes. A girl can never have too many diamonds, right?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 10:51PM
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It's true that many local independant jewelers (plese stay away from chain stores - they are horrible rip offs) can have difficulty gaining access to more impressive stones - but some can get stones from the local wholesaler's on spec for a client's consideration if they have the right connections. However..if your'e truly considering an IF stone - the color and grade of cut you choose should be excellent as well..and the price is pretty steep.

Just for giggles, I did a search for an IF stone of 2.5 carats with a D color and an ideal/excellent cut. Running price on Blue Nile right now is $87,000. It's up to each consumer of course...but you could get a VS quality stone in a G color with an ideal/excellent cut for about 1/4 that price. Clarity on stones is a tricky thing. While I personally believe it's foolish to invest good money in anything under an SI eye-clean quality, and I would't ever buy SI quality on line without a microscope...I also know that anything over a VS is not discernable to the naked eye. Given that, it seems questionable as to the merits of purchasing an IF stone. I personally would put my money into a VS quality stone with great color, even at the larger carat sizes.

As to the certificate issue - there's no way that I would purchase a 1ct or bigger stone without a GIA certificate. In order to make a confidant purchase, a person who is not a gemologist has nothing to go on but what is certified to be true from a reputable source, and a reputable certifier. Given that slight variances in color or clarity could cost you thousands - if you are not a certified gemologist, you would not be able to ascertain whether the non-certified stone was what the seller said it was just by looking at it.

Additionaly, when shopping for a good price, the GIA certificate specs are unbending and invaluable. If you get a price of $25,000 for a GIA certified stone, and take the specs of the stone to another dealer for comparison, the numbers don't lie. He's got to match it in order to compete. If you have found a $25,000 stone that is certified as a VS1 and another jeweler says he can do better, but then shows you an SI certified stone that's less, you will know that it's cheaper because it's not as clear. You may decide to purchase the SI stone...there's nothing wrong with that grade...but you will know what your'e buying and no one is pulling the wool over your eyes.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 12:34AM
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Before buying, read up a bit on this site - Pricescope. There are lots of references to great online wholesale diamond sellers that are wonderful - Blue Nile is just one of them. The people on this site are also very knowledgable and will be able to tell you if the diamond you are choosing is a nice diamond, a good deal, and if not, where you can go to get exactly what you want.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pricescope diamond message boards

1 Like    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 5:11PM
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wow, pebbles, that stinks. I'd never actually heard any feedback from folks who have tried to sell loose diamonds. Estate jewelry, yes, but not the diamonds themselves. What a drag that must have been for you.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 8:14PM
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thanks fly - I didn't mean to sound harsh, but I feel like some many times couples purchase this 'investment' with the idea that if they had to sell it under huge hardship they could - and I just have to dispell that rumor/sales tactic.

fly - similar to your situation with the crystal, etc and a former life I had a ring that had been purchased and I felt like I just didn't want to have it anymore and although I didn't sell it for the money I sold it because I sort of felt like there was no reason to keep it and that someone else might love and cherish it as I had. Unfortunately mine didn't gain value, lol.

As far as what you choose for your qualities in a diamond it really is a personal choice. I have qualities that I want that others may not. I'm just making the point that getting an IF may be a priority and you cannot find IF at a jeweler. I have seen jewelers try to sell diamonds that are WAY down the color scale inventing them as champagne diamonds, um, no they're just really really dark.

I heard the whole certification song and dance so many times, I don't want to say taht people get 'duped' into buying w/o one, but when shoping smaller venues I found that they po-pooed the certs. Thank you meskaukas for reinforcing the importance of not just any cert but the GIA cert.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 11:53AM
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Okay - here I am a year later still thinking about purchasing myself a present with my bonus this year - since I never did it last year. I got some doors and windows instead.

I saved this info for reference and now thinking about this again and I really like the idea of getting a good value by purchasing online. However the idea of buying something like this online kind of freaks me out. Can someone explain the logistics - shipping, returning, insuring, appraising, etc?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 4:01PM
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I'd like to second what pebbles said about GIA certificates. At the higher end of the diamond world, stones are traded based strictly on certificates. They are that important.

I'm another one who did a good deal of research a few years back. The way the market is structured, there are cities such as Antwerp and NY and sources in Russia and Israel where the market is centered and the best stones are traded and cut.

There are wholesalers who buy stones, make up the rings and then sell them -- even to the high end stores like Tiffanys and Cartier though those often have exclusive styles. Harry Winston has their own workshop upstairs above the store where they make some pieces.

But if you are going for a stone larger than 2 carats and with good cut and color -- pebbles again is quite right, chances are you are not going to do very well outside a big market. Even some discounters here have trouble getting larger stones of good quality. Many local jewelers are clueless about diamonds no matter what they say.

The industry is structured on fixed pricing per carat, clarity and color. There's a publication used in the wholesale market that determines this and changes weekly or monthly (can't recall). Then there is cut, which is an eye thing developed only by extensive looking and relationships with the 'better" dealers who get the better stones.

Point is, there are regional diamond centers in big cities such as Chicago and elsewhere, plus the online folks. With every layer of distance from the source there is an upcharge.

Pebbles also makes a really good point about resale. The only fallback anyone has is to buy the best color, clarity and largest carat size you can afford from a name jeweler such as Tiffany, Cartier, Winston, Bulgari etc. as these command a premium if you resell them at auction. But you will pay retail and those brands command premium prices.

I had a Cartier engagement ring that I resold at auction after many years and got a good price. But it was registered there with a number and I had retained the original invoice that stated the specs. I had worn it a lot and the engraving had worn off so I took to to them and they reengraved their name in the ring It was a pretty ring and I was able to sell it at auction advantageously because it was a prestige brand. But that's the only reason to pay retail (though styles go in and out of fashion and even values of the prestige brands fluctuate accordingly).

If you are going for a larger stone than 2 carats then I would recommend a ton of research and asking everyone you know so you can get through the chain and as close as possible to the source. It might also be a good idea to check around on jewelry auctions where engagement rings are sold with certificates as you can sometimes do a bit better.

My youngest brother got engaged two years ago. They had shopped extensively and he really knew his onions, plus the style she wanted and what he could afford. By making the right wholesale connection and shopping in NY (i.e. in a source market) rather than in Arizona or California, he was able to buy a ring that was a carat larger with the same color and clarity, and a better cut within his budget.

The dealer was happy to deal with him because he knew exactly what he was buying and knew how good the price was and didn't dither over making the decision.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:12AM
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I don't know about Bluenile, but if you have a Costco near you take a look there - you can start on their web site (you need a membership but it wold be worth it in order to buy from them). All their diamonds are certified by IGI.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 4:11PM
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We bought Platinum earrings and a set of pearls from Blue Nile. They were very good quality and my jeweller couldn't believe they were bought online. Good company to deal with.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Well, I'm not getting anything of the 2 carat size and I'm not planning to resell - planning to wear until I die - so maybe this can be a less involved purchase than it might be for some. I have looked at Costco a bit too - which is reassuring in that I can go to a bricks and mortar store to talk to someone if needed. There is a local "no frills" diamond store where I've purchased some things in the past - upon someone's recommendation that they had good quality at good prices. I think I need to go see some things in person and then decide if I'm willing to order online.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 11:06PM
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Snookums, thanks for the pointer to pricescope - that's an awesome site and really educated me on how important a good cut is. Gibby, I've seen a recommendation on pricescope to use online vendors that will ship the diamond to an independent appraiser for evaluation. Then you can choose to keep the diamond or send it back to the dealer. I think I'll probably do that with a local appraiser and an online store.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 11:34PM
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Just thought I would report back that I made my purchase - picked everything up today - such fun. I decided to go with the local no frills diamond dealer. I like their service and I think I got a relatively good deal - at least based on my comparison of similar quality stones on blue nile. I also got my wedding ring reset for the third time - DH thinks I'm crazy. I'm averaging a new one once every ten years - same diamond - just a new ring. Anyway, the diamond info here was very helpful. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 12:15AM
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I second the Costco recommendation. My engagement ring with Costco diamonds was appraised at about 60 percent more than what we paid.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 11:44AM
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I think the difference between Bluenile and costco lies in their range of selections available. Bluenile certainly has more options than Costco.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2015 at 11:05PM
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