Blue Nile Review (2023) – Should You Buy Lab-Grown Diamonds at Blue Nile?
Blue Nile Lab-Grown DiamondsUSD 1436
- Excellent shopping experience
- Great customer service
- Large jewelry selection
- High-quality lab diamonds
- Trustworthy and reliable
- Prices are not the lowest
- Only GIA-graded diamonds
- Could focus more on sustainability
- Shipping sometimes irregular
- No fancy-colored lab diamonds
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by LabGrownCarats
Blue Nile is one of the most trusted names in the industry when it comes to buying diamonds and diamond jewelry. For many years, Blue Nile only sold mined diamonds. Later, they added lab-created diamonds from Lightbox Jewelry. And recently, they started selling lab-grown diamonds outright, just like James Allen, Ritani, and Brilliant Earth do. That’s why we decided to review Blue Nile.
With a wide selection of lab-grown diamonds, customizable options for unique pieces, and their commitment to quality assurance, our Blue Nile review finds that they are an excellent choice for shoppers looking for top-notch service and great prices on lab-grown diamonds.
Read our lab-grown diamond Blue Nile review below to learn more about what makes them stand out from other retailers. We’ll cover all aspects, including the types of diamonds available at Blue Nile, the shopping experience at this retailer, customization options, lab-grown diamond prices, and how Blue Nile stacks up to other highly-rated lab-grown diamond jewelry. To learn this and more, continue reading our Blue Nile review!
- Round lab-grown diamond prices at Blue Nile
- Fancy-shaped diamond prices at Blue Nile
- Fancy-colored diamond prices at Blue Nile
Who is Blue Nile
Blue Nile is an online diamond and jewelry retailer founded in 1999. It was the first to offer customers a wide selection of diamonds, settings, and loose stones at competitive prices. The company has since grown into one of the biggest online diamond and fine jewelry sellers.
History of Blue Nile
Mark Vadon founded Blue Nile in 1999 with the goal of making it easier for people to buy quality diamonds without having to visit a physical store or be subject to sales pressure from jewelers. He believed that customers should have access to all the information they need about a diamond before buying it, so he created an easy-to-use website where shoppers could compare different stones side by side. Since then, Blue Nile has become one of the most trusted names in diamond shopping.
Is Blue Nile trustworthy?
Blue Nile is a trusted online diamond and jewelry retailer offering customers a wide selection of certified conflict-free diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, engagement rings, wedding bands, and more. Customers appreciate their easy-to-use website with detailed information about each diamond and custom design options for something truly unique. Blue Nile is legit and trustworthy, and we recommend shopping for diamonds there.
Blue Nile sells both mined and lab-grown diamonds
Blue Nile offers a variety of jewelry products, including loose diamonds, engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary gifts, and more. They also provide expert advice on selecting your perfect piece as well as custom design options if you want something truly unique. In addition to their extensive selection of certified conflict-free diamonds, they also carry lab-grown diamonds, which are becoming increasingly popular due to their ethical sourcing practices and affordability compared with mined diamonds.
In the next part of our Blue Nile review, we’ll look at Blue Nile’s lab-grown diamonds in more detail.
The lab-grown diamond selection at Blue Nile
Lab-grown diamonds are created using advanced technology in a laboratory setting under controlled conditions. They have identical physical properties as natural diamonds but cost significantly less due to their man-made origin. Lab-grown diamonds offer an eco-friendly alternative to mined stones while still providing exceptional beauty and quality at an affordable price point.
While a little late out of the gate, our Blue Nile review finds that they are quickly becoming a leading retailer of lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry. With its expansive selection, competitive prices, and commitment to quality, Blue Nile is already one of the most trusted sources for purchasing lab-grown diamonds.
Blue Nile offers an extensive variety of lab-grown diamonds in all shapes and sizes. From classic round cuts to more unique fancy diamond shapes like princess or cushion cuts. At Blue Nile, there’s something for everyone. Almost.
Blue Nile does not sell any fancy-colored lab-grown diamonds. We think that’s a big miss since lab-created fancy colors are a lot cheaper than their mined counterparts. Many consumers look to lab-grown diamonds when shopping for colored diamonds since mined fancy-colored diamonds are often prohibitively expensive.
All lab-grown diamonds at Blue Nile are certified by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This ensures that each stone meets high standards for clarity, color, and carat weight, so you can be sure you’re getting a beautiful diamond every time.
GIA is probably the best-known diamond grading institute in the world and the inventor of the diamond 4Cs. However, that leaves out many IGI-certified diamonds, as we shall get back to later in our Blue Nile review.
Customization options at Blue Nile
At Blue Nile, you can customize your diamond jewelry to make it truly unique. So whether you’re looking for a special gift or want something one-of-a-kind, Blue Nile has plenty of customization options available.
This includes picking your own diamond from their vast lab-grown diamond inventory instead of relying on a pre-set diamond piece. We always recommend that you do that because you’ll be able to get a much better diamond and save money! All you need is to follow our tips for buying the perfect diamond.
At Blue Nile, that’s easy. You can customize diamond pendants and rings, including engagement rings. You either pick a lab diamond or a ring or pendant first, then the other. Blue Nile has a nice feature that lets you preview the jewelry piece set with the actual diamond you have picked.
It’s not as advanced as the ring designer tool at Grown Brilliance, but it’s much better than what most jewelers offer.
Blue Nile offers a large selection of jewelry settings that can be paired with loose diamonds. These include solitaire settings, which feature a single stone in an elegant design; three-stone settings, which feature three stones arranged side by side; halo settings which feature smaller diamonds surrounding a larger center stone; and pave settings which have multiple small diamonds set closely together in rows creating a sparkling effect.
When selecting their setting style, you can also choose from various metal types, such as gold (yellow/white/rose), platinum, and palladium.
In our Blue Nile review, we’ve experienced that they make it easy for you to create custom pieces that reflect your individual style and taste while maintaining the highest quality standards for all its products. From choosing your own lab-grown diamond and pairing it with one of their many jewelry pieces to picking the jewelry metal that suits you best, you’ll find plenty of ways to make your diamond jewelry truly unique at Blue Nile.
Next, our Blue Nile review will compare lab-grown diamond prices to our highest-rated places for lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamond prices at Blue Nile
Diamonds are a timeless symbol of love and commitment, but they can also be expensive. Luckily, lab-grown diamonds have changed that, and Blue Nile, one of the most popular online diamond retailers, now sells lab-created quality diamonds at competitive prices.
In this part of our Blue Nile review, we’ll take a closer look at their prices and compare them to competitors. Below is an overview of what you can expect to pay for lab-grown diamonds at Blue Nile.
Round lab-grown diamond prices at Blue Nile
Round lab diamonds are the most popular diamond shape for lab-grown diamond engagement rings, and Blue Nile offers a wide selection in all sizes and qualities. When we conduct price comparisons, we use a reference diamond, as we’ll do the same in this Blue Nile review.
Our reference diamond is a round brilliant-cut lab-grown diamond weighing 0.93-1.07 carats (by going just under and over the popular 1-carat, you can sometimes find a slightly lower carat but much cheaper diamond). The clarity is VS1-2 with an I or J color grade (some will prefer a higher color grade, but most often, it’s excessive). The cut, of course, should always be the best. With lab-grown diamonds, most often certified by IGI, that is ideal, and for GIA the top grade is excellent.
Blue Nile only sells lab-grown diamonds certified by GIA, not by IGI or any of the other independent diamond laboratories. So the highest cut grade would be excellent. However, Blue Nile refers to the cut grade as “ideal” on the website, which is probably to make it comparable to IGI-graded diamonds.
Moreover, Blue Nile does not offer any lab-grown diamonds in our reference range. That’s because their inventory skews higher diamond color grades than we typically recommend. As we noted in our review of James Allen, their inventory of lower-grade colorless diamonds is also limited, and it’s not uncommon to see some jewelers focusing on more expensive, higher-grade diamond colors.
The closest to our reference range is a G-colored 1.02-carat lab diamond listed at $1,436, and prices for similar lab-grown diamonds at Blue Nile go up to around $1,600. This is higher than the price-leading lab-grown retailers such as Clean Origin and Ritani, where a similar diamond costs around $600 to $900.
The key difference is that diamond graded by GIA is more expensive than IGI-graded diamonds. One reason is that GIA certification is more expensive. Another reason is that GIA sometimes applies slightly stricter conditions when grading diamonds.
So comparing the prices at Blue Nile to those of Ritani and Clean Origin is not apples-to-apples (but also not apples-to-oranges, more like Granny Smith to Red Delicious). So, they are not impossible to compare, and we believe that GIA-graded diamonds, in general, tend to be overpriced. You’re paying a high premium for the slightly better brand name of GIA. Learn how GIA and IGI compare and what you should know.
Accounting for the more expensive GIA certification still leaves Blue Nile more expensive than Ritani and Clean Origin, as well as very competitively priced Grown Brilliance and With Clarity. Blue Nile is closer to the prices at James Allen, which also carries some GIA-certified lab-grown diamonds (and IGI).
Fancy-shaped diamond prices at Blue Nile
Blue Nile was one of the last online diamond jewelers to offer lab-grown diamonds alongside mined ones. But, as lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly popular over recent years due to their ethical sourcing practices and affordability compared to natural counterparts, Blue Nile has joined the future of diamonds (they did carry the Lightbox Jewelry lab diamonds for a while).
Fancy-shaped lab diamonds such as princess cuts (square) or cushion cuts (rectangular) tend to be less expensive than rounds due to their lower demand among buyers, while heart-shaped and other more intricate shapes tend to be more expensive.
At Blue Nile, you can find fancy-shaped diamonds starting at around $1,100 for 1-carat diamonds with G-H and VS1-2 clarities for oval, emerald, or pear-shaped diamonds. But prices go up significantly with larger sizes and more expensive fancy shapes.
Fancy-colored diamond prices at Blue Nile
Unfortunately, Blue Nile only offers mined fancy-colored diamonds for now. However, we’ll keep a close eye on their inventory and update this review if Blue Nile expands their selection to cover fancy-colored lab-grown diamonds.
The online shopping experience at Blue Nile
Website Navigation and Design
Shopping for lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry can be overwhelming, but Blue Nile makes it easy with its intuitive website design. The homepage features an interactive carousel of featured products that allow shoppers to browse through the selection quickly. From there, customers can easily filter by diamond or jewelry piece type, budget range, shape, size, color grade, and more.
Additionally, the site offers helpful educational resources, such as a guide to understanding the 4 Cs of lab-grown diamonds (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight). Blue Nile has also added specific information about lab-grown diamonds, which accurately highlights the many benefits of lab-grown diamonds.
One of the things we focus a lot on at LabGrownCarats and in our reviews is the ability to inspect the diamonds you are considering. This allows you to ensure that you end up with the perfect diamond that shines and sparkles precisely as it should. And that’s what we’ll examine next in our Blue Nile review.
The first thing to look for is the ability to see the lab diamond close-up in HD images and 360 degrees. Blue Nile does have that feature, albeit not as advanced as James Allen, offers.
Blue Nile lists all essential information about the particular lab diamond. Still, we think they could have done a better job at contextualizing the information, especially for customers who are not diamond experts. Ritani does this very well, as you can read in our review of Ritani.
As our Blue Nile review mentioned, all lab-grown diamonds are graded by GIA. Therefore, a crucial part of the diamond inspection process is examining the lab diamond certificate. Blue Nile makes all certificates readily available, which is a huge plus (as we have learned in our otherwise top-rated review of Grown Brilliance, not having access to them detracts from our evaluation).
Blue Nile customer support
At Blue Nile, they take pride in providing only top-quality products backed by exceptional customer service. Their team comprises GIA-trained gemologists, similar to James Allen and others, who have years of experience evaluating gems according to industry standards such as cut and clarity grades.
That helps ensure that customers receive exactly what they expect and that you’ll end up with the right diamond for your needs. In our Blue Nile review, we learned that their customer service is very responsive and knowledgeable. There were a few cases where we didn’t receive a clear answer, but this was rarely the case. You can always ask again.
You can access customer support through phone, chat, and email. It’s also possible to book virtual appointments, similar to what you can do at places like Ritani, Clean Origin, With Clarity, and Grown Brilliance. Virtual appointments are an excellent option for getting help deciding on a lab diamond or piece of jewelry. Just make sure to do some research first, so you know exactly what you are looking for.
Lastly, you can also visit one of their 25 stores spread out over the country. It’s also possible to book an appointment at any store if you want dedicated customer service while you are there.
The last part of our Blue Nile review is assessing their shipping and returns policies and execution.
Shipping and Returns at Blue Nile
Blue Nile offers free shipping on all orders in the United States. All orders are shipped via FedEx or UPS, with a signature required upon delivery. Delivery times depend on how much you spend.
|Minimum purchase||Shipping method|
|Up to $500||Ground Shipping (1-7 business days)|
|$500 – $1,500||Two-Day Shipping (2 business days)|
|$1,500+||Overnight Shipping (1 business day)|
|Additional charge||Overnight Shipping with Saturday Delivery|
Some customers have reported that some items may take longer than expected to arrive due to delays in production or delivery times from third-party vendors used by Blue Nile for certain products, such as custom rings or engraving services. In our Blue Nile review, we have not experienced any delays, but they seem to occur occasionally. So make sure you order well ahead of time!
Blue Nile also offers international shipping to select countries around the world. Customers can choose from standard or express options depending on their needs. Standard international shipping takes approximately 5-10 business days, while express takes 3-5 business days (depending on destination). Please note that some items may not be eligible for international shipment due to size restrictions or other factors.
Returns and Exchanges
If you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase at Blue Nile, they will accept returns within 30 days of receipt of merchandise as long as it is in its original condition and accompanied by an original sales invoice. Refunds will be issued in the same form of payment used for purchase.
Certain items, such as custom jewelry pieces, are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged unless there is a defect present when received by the customer.
30-day return policy is standard among the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds; however far from as generous as Clean Origin’s 100-day return period.
Do note that returns can be complicated since they must be shipped back directly to the vendor rather than through Blue Nile itself, so you should read all return policies carefully before making a purchase decision.
Lastly, Blue Nile offers lifetime warranty coverage against manufacturing defects, which is pretty standard among the best lab-grown diamond jewelers.
Blue Nile accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal payments. Customers also have the option to finance their diamond purchase with Affirm financing plans which allow them to pay over time in monthly installments. For added convenience, they offer gift cards that are redeemable on any product available on their website.
Summary of the Blue Nile Review
Blue Nile is one of the most popular online diamond jewelry retailers, and they have now entered the lab-grown diamond scene. In our Blue Nile review, we have found that they have done so very successfully.
While Blue Nile may not be up there yet with the very best places to buy lab-grown diamonds, such as James Allen, Ritani, Clean Origin, or Grown Brilliance, they are closing in. Below, we list the pros and cons of Blue Nile lab-grown diamonds:
- The customer service at Blue Nile is impeccable.
- Seamless and easy shopping experience.
- Excellent customization options, including pairing with a diamond of your own choice.
- Large selection of colorless diamonds and jewelry settings.
- Good prices on pre-set lab-grown diamond jewelry.
- Prices of loose, colorless lab-grown diamonds are higher than some competitors.
- Only GIA-graded lab-grown diamonds (which partly explains the higher prices).
- No fancy-colored lab-grown diamonds are available.
- They could focus more on sustainability, such as Brilliant Earth and Vrai does.
- Some reports of late deliveries and issues with returns (that we didn’t experience)
In conclusion, Blue Nile is an excellent option for shoppers purchasing lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry. They offer an extensive selection of quality diamonds at competitive prices with excellent customer service. In addition, their customization options and quality assurance processes ensure that customers get the perfect piece of jewelry every time. All things considered, our Blue Nile review shows that Blue Nile is a reliable source for purchasing beautiful lab-grown diamond jewelry.
If you’re looking for a unique and ethical way to buy diamond jewelry, you should consider lab-grown diamonds from Blue Nile. Lab-grown diamonds are the perfect choice if you want an affordable, sustainable diamond! With their extensive selection of rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and more in stunning designs crafted with expert craftsmanship – there’s something special here for everyone.
See if there’s a sale at Blue Nile and follow our up-to-date list of all diamond deals.
3 diamond jewelers we like as much as Blue Nile
Blue Nile Frequently Asked Questions
Can Blue Nile be trusted?
Yes, Blue Nile can be trusted. They are a reputable company that has been in business since 1999 and is one of the world’s leading online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry. An industry-leading lifetime warranty backs their products, and they have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. All their diamonds come with a certificate of authenticity from independent gemological laboratories, ensuring customers receive only high-quality stones at competitive prices. Additionally, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all purchases.
Is it worth buying from Blue Nile?
Yes, it is worth buying from Blue Nile. They offer a wide selection of lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry at competitive prices. Their customer service team is knowledgeable and helpful, guiding the purchasing process. Additionally, their secure online ordering system ensures that your purchase will be safe and secure. All purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind when shopping with them.
Is Blue Nile high quality?
Yes, Blue Nile is a high-quality retailer of lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry. They offer an extensive selection of certified lab-grown diamonds that are graded by the world’s leading gemological laboratories. Their products come with detailed product descriptions and reviews from customers who have purchased them in the past. Additionally, they provide excellent customer service to ensure satisfaction with every purchase.
Does Blue Nile sell real diamonds?
Yes, Blue Nile sells real diamonds. All diamonds sold by Blue Nile are either mined from the earth or lab-grown (yes, lab-grown diamonds are real, too). They also offer lab-grown diamonds, which have been created in a laboratory setting to mimic the properties of a naturally occurring diamond. For authenticity and quality assurance, both types of diamonds are certified by third-party gemological laboratories.