Blue Nile Diamonds: Should I Buy An Engagement Ring Online?

Important Update: I did end up getting my diamond from Blue Nile. It’s amazing. I ended up getting a setting done custom by a small ring designer, but the diamond from Blue Nile was incredible. Great experience, amazing value compared to every diamond shop I checked out (Shane, Fred Meyer, Zales)

So, I may or may not be looking into engagement rings : ).

Here’s the thing, I’ve read all about the different C’s (Carat, Cut, Clarity, Color). I know about how much I want to spend. I even have some general ideas about the type of setting.

Now, where the heck do I actually buy the thing? I’ve been looking online a ton, and Blue Nile seems like the best choice if I go that route. However, I want to go into a brick and mortar shop first just so I get a sense of what these shiny diamond things really look like up close.

I’ve read nothing but positive things about Blue Nile. It seems like you just get more for your dollar there, and they are a Seattle company, so that makes me feel a little better as well.

So, anyone ever bought a diamond online before? Were you happy with the purchase? Any tips or suggestions? I know Blue Nile (see blue nile promotional codes) at least has a 30-day guarantee, so I’ve thought of just ordering what I want and then seeing how it turns out, knowing I can just ship it back if the diamond isn’t what I was expecting.

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  • stan

    get a diamond online but get the setting at a local jeweler. That way if (when) you need it re-sized you can just go to the local place.

  • debt kid

    Oh, that’s a really good idea.

    I did take a look at a local place this weekend just to get an idea of what a carat 1/2 carat, 3/4 carat actually looks like. It was helpful to be able to actually hold the thing, but I like the idea of just getting the diamond online.

  • Forest

    I bought at blue nile. went to a few brick and mortar stores and hated the high-pressure salesmen. loved the blue nile experience and loved the ring. so did she :)

  • CJ

    I used Blue Nile and liked the experience. It’s true that you might be able to save a few dollars someplace else, but I really felt comfortable buying from Blue Nile, which was important to me buying a ring online. A good comparison might be buying shoes from Zappos for a couple dollars more, but knowing that returns and customer service far exceed all other competitors. As for the quality, my (now) wife loved her engagement ring and we went on to buy our wedding rings there as well. My wife didn’t like the thickness of her wedding ring and it was super easy to ship the ring back and get the right size. I know this sounds like I work for Blue Nile, but I don’t. I was just pleasantly surprised by how easy everything went. I’ve since returned to Blue Nile for anniversary gifts as well. With all that said, a good friend bought an engagement ring on amazon and was very happy with the experience.

  • Pat

    I bought on Blue Nile and was happy, but there’s something to be said for buying from a store as far as warranties and cleanings go. I would check a few out and see if any of them make you feel comfortable. There are stores that do it right, without the pressure-laden salesmanship.

  • Chris

    Love your site!

    So first step after determining budget: Is your GF is part of the selection process? I highly recommend getting input unless you are dead set on surprising her…

    Other tips:

    Color: Biggest cost driver after weight. Don’t even bother with colorless (DEF) unless you can find an F at a great price. Only an expert can differentiate between colorless and higher grades of near colorless with the naked eye; and some people like lower grades of near colorless better because they are “warmer”. I ended up with an H. Going to a brick and mortar to check things out is a good way to get a feel for this.

    Clarity: I recommend staying within the range of SI1 to VS1. Anything better is more expensive without obvious benefit and anything less you can start to see flaws with the naked eye. Again a good reason to visit a brick and mortar to see for yourself.

    Cut: This is where the live jeweler shines. A so-called “ideal” cut can still look bad and you will pay more for it. My wife’s diamond was not an ideal cut and it’s awesome.

  • Liz

    I haven’t bought a diamond from them, but like you I’ve only heard good things about Blue Nile. Whether you buy online or in person, you should definitely get a diamond that comes with a GIA Diamond Grading Report. The 4C’s of a diamond can’t be determined using the naked eye, and the best way to make sure you’re getting a good value for your diamond is to get one that comes with a certificate detailing its qualities. You can use the report for insurance purposes, and I just feel like it’s a good thing to have for such a significant piece of jewelry. Good luck and happy shopping!

  • JTS

    Maybe it’s just me, but after following the entire arc of your blog (you know, lessons learned and all that), wouldn’t a better, more mature use of your money be to continue paying back the debt you’ve accumulated? A ring is an expensive token that’s marketed as a necessity…honoring your debt to your mother and being financially stable and debt free is probably the best gift you can give a new spouse…

  • jessica w

    I have some jewlery from Blue Nile. I like it and it’s just fine, the quality has been very good.

    My engagement ring is a tension-set diamond. I don’t know the first thing about diamonds, and wouldn’t likely ever buy them for myself. I’m glad the ring came from a store because due to the tension-setting it has to be retightened frequently, and there is both a waranty and service agreement.

    May I propose (pun intended) that you buy a placeholder CZ (with your intended’s knowledge) and a high-quality setting, promising to buy her the real diamond as soon as your debts are paid? (It would be silly to delay the engagement for sake of bills, but it would be equally silly, in my humble and educated opinion, to buy the ring of your/her dreams when you’ve got to keep your progress towards debt-repayment on task.)

    That seems like a good “meet in the middle” option. CZ in my experience is just as beautiful as diamonds, but substantially less cost.

    Good luck and congrats!

  • hanna

    I’m with some of the others — the debt is more important than the ring. Hopefully the woman you want to marry shares the feeling that the debt is a huge responsibility and should be handled first. I personally think diamonds are overrated — you could easily go for CZ or something else — my engagement ring is sapphire and I could not love it more. The diamond isn’t the point…..

  • chris

    from a long time reader dk..

    “Maybe it’s just me, but after following the entire arc of your blog (you know, lessons learned and all that), wouldn’t a better, more mature use of your money be to continue paying back the debt you’ve accumulated? A ring is an expensive token that’s marketed as a necessity…honoring your debt to your mother and being financially stable and debt free is probably the best gift you can give a new spouse…”


    I know through reading your blog that you’re a rational person – I hope you are continuing to stick to the principles that have brought you this far.

  • Kerri

    My husband just surprised me with nice diamond earrings for my 30th birthday from It came recommended (it’s a reputable diamond provider and site), and I think they’re gorgeous. Congratulations on maybe (or maybe not!) looking ;)

  • Lisa

    Blue Nile is fine, although it is a slight premium over true wholesalers, it is a steep discount over a store.

    I live in the NYC area and am trying to sell my old wedding ring. It is 3/4 carat diamond solaire. Blue Nile says it is worth about $2,000 but a a few reputable wholesalers will offer me $1400 for the whole ring including gold band, and two small 1/4 stones.

    If you can buy “used” jewelery and know what the quality of the diamond you are getting is, that is a much much better deal in general abd Blue Nile is slightly worse deal but better than a store.

    Also, check if a store will price match for you. You can then bring in some diamond certs and get the store to sell the diamond to you at the same cost.

    Another general tip for later if it interests you. I was told since my diamond was under 1 carat, it has less resale value.

  • Maggie

    My husband bought at Blue Nile and I adore my ring. He had a great customer service experience and everything with them. Of course, we had discussed the ring beforehand, so I went and tried on at actual stores to get my ring size and check the size of diamonds on my finger (which is small). The salespeople at the shop kept telling me I didn’t want to go lower than 1 carat, but when I tried the 1 carat rings on, it looked monstrous. My husband actually made me go into the store with him because he didn’t believe me! The 1/2 carat is the perfect size and I always get complimented on my ring. Also, the cut greatly affects how big the diamond looks – an emerald cut might look bigger than a princess of the same carat – so I would check them out in the store.

    Also, the value of an engagement ring does not equate to the resale value of the diamond. Buy the ring with her in mind, planning for a financial future together where you never have to sell something with such emotional value. Of course, you need appraisal for insurance purposes, but if that number bothers her, you haven’t quite found Ms. Right.

    Good luck!

  • Kim

    The whole endeavor is expensive – like $3k expensive. Not to mention the wedding – even if parents pay for it, it’s still expensive to the couple. Maybe she’ll drop a hint as to what she likes? I have many friends who simply who wanted a pearl ring – MUCH cheaper. Ditto blue diamonds. Or ask her good friend.

    If you decide to do it, with a 1 carat, it’s so expensive that w/o all of the right things, it won’t look quality. But if you get a third or half carat, you can do these things to make the diamond look more quality and sparkle more- set it up high, channel set diamonds surrounding it (not expensive since they’re chips), white gold or silver ring (light reflects), and the cut has many many facets. Also try pre-set, you can get a 1/2 carat for $2k.

    You know, I agree w/ those above – nobody will ever know if you get a “used” ring, it’s not like it has a brand name on it. Ask relatives. Someone always has a ring in their jewelry box , and would be glad that it could go to good use. Someone probably got divorced, or upgraded. Ask your mother or aunt, she’ll gladly ask around.

    Good luck!

  • LD

    CJ – was your wife happy with the quality of her engagement ring setting? If so, what setting did you choose? Thanks.

  • Holly Danielson

    My husband bought my engagement ring from Blue Nile, and while I wasn’t crazy about the idea of getting a diamond from an online store (this was 6 years ago when I didn’t trust anything from online), it’s just perfect! It came with the appraisal for insurance purposes as well as the certification of the diamond. I took it to a jeweler to look under a microscope for the GIA cert, and it was there. The ring also appraised for more than what my husband paid. I’m now doing a report for an MBA class on Blue Nile, and so far, I haven’t run into anything negative about the company or products, except for the stock price. I say go for it. With free FedEx shipping and a 30 day return policy, what do you have to lose? Oh yea, PLUS you can pick out everything!

  • RingShopper

    To save some money and still get a quality diamond engagement ring, consider buying an odd carat sized diamond instead of buying a round carat. Buying a .95 carat diamond instead of a 1.00 carat diamond will cost you less money but no one will be able to tell the difference.

  • charlotte

    Hi Holly, did you buy the complete ring from Blue Nile? and if so which metal? i am looking at the platinum diamon solitare rings and although i have read lots of positive comments on the diamonds from blue nile i am concerned about the bands as i have read horror stories of them being poor quality becoming discoloured and some even giving people blisters! can you please tell me how long you have had your ring and whether the bands the diamonds are set in at blue nile stand the test of time!? many thanks, charlotte.

  • Louis

    Great and very interesting info here. I shop often at a particular online store, for diamond ring I think Blue Nile is good but lately I have bought 2 diamond rings from Diamondsare. They are very good too.

  • Scott Mitchell

    Just an update here….I only bought the diamond from Blue Nile. The metal I got somewhere else. I will say….2+ years later, the diamond is still absolutely breathtaking. My wife loves it. All her friends still tell her it’s the best diamond they’ve ever seen.

    Anywho, I’m very happy 2+ years later!

  • Wendy

    I just got an amazingly beautiful ring from Blue Nile, the diamond and the setting are perfect. We went to many retail stores, nothing compared. I worked in Fine Jewelry for a few years and my ring is so much prettier than anything I’ve seen in the store. I highly recommend Blue Nile, for the best product at the best cost with the best customer service. They do have a warranty on their diamonds too. I am thrilled with my ring!

  • KK87

    My husband bought both my engagement and wedding rings from Blue Nile and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of my rings. I have a 2.25 carat solitaire and 2 carat eternity band. My rings are more brilliant than anyone I know and I get compliments on my ‘bling” everywhere I go. I absolutely love the shine and sparkle that radiate from my beautiful diamond rings.

    My married friends covet my rings and ask to try them on, always bursting with envy! Also, my jewels have appraised for much more than the hubby paid which is a huge plus.

    I love Blue Nile and will come here first when it’s time for an anniversary or “push” gift.