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Blue Nile is arguably the largest online diamond retailer. Founded 12 years ago, BlueNile has since established a reputation for great customer service and support. This success was also largely built on the better prices they could offer over the typical mom and pop store.
The company understands that a great majority of jewelry shoppers do not have much knowledge about jewelry in general. With this in mind, they go to lengths to ensure that a potential customer is given sufficient information to weigh on a potential purchase.
This enables the consumer to make up his/her own mind and select a piece of jewelry of sound quality that is within their budget.
Loose diamonds are the core products at BlueNile.com and they form the bulk of the jewelry sold at their website. They happen to have the largest online inventory of diamonds with over 140,000 pieces of different shapes and sizes to cater to people with different budgets. Besides that, Blue Nile also offers a wide range of pearls and gemstone jewelry sold in platinum, sterling silver, and gold.
When it comes to ring mountings, the options available seem almost endless. Whether you’re shopping for a wedding band, engagement ring or anniversary gift, Blue Nile’s immense collection can meet almost every customer’s taste in jewelry. For example, if you’re shopping for a ring or pendant, you can use the company’s ‘Build Your Own’ tool to design your own setting. Besides various patterns to choose from, you can also select the metal type of your own preferences from 3 options of white gold, gold and platinum.
When it comes to style, the selection of jewelry doesn’t disappoint. Even though they might not have licensing deals with brand names or settings made by well known designers, their alternatives to the classic ring are particularly pleasing.
Jewelry, especially diamond jewelry, is usually a reserve for higher end shoppers. However, budget buyers are well catered for as well. Prices for gemstone jewelry start for as low as $50 while those for loose and mounted diamonds tend to go up in the higher digits. For the purpose of this review on BlueNile.com, we will limit our focus on diamond related jewelry.
You will not find complex graphics or glittery flash animations on their website. Instead, what you’ll find is a simple and functional interface with a straightforward search feature. Whether it is an engagement ring or something simpler to spoil yourself with, you can refine your search to help you locate exactly what you need. From the type of item, price, metal or stone, and style, you can quickly narrow down to designs that interest you.
There’s also an exhaustive collection of content in the form of informative articles. For a first time shopper, the FAQ section contains almost every answers and article to commonly asked questions. For instance, you could easily read up on how to shop for different types of jewelry, learn how jewelry is graded, find tips on reading grading reports, etc.
All personal and credit card information is processed through a secure server and the company will not disclose any of your information to third parties. Customers who are uneasy with giving their credit card information can opt to pay through PayPal or Google Checkout.
Do note that but this is only valid for orders inside USA. I only knew of this issue when I tried to make a purchase from an international location with my Paypal account.
Blue Nile does offer a 30-day money back guarantee which is pretty much the industry standard nowadays. In case you’re not pleased with what you had purchased, returning it isn’t too much of a hassle. Like most other jewelry stores, all purchases are shipped with FedEx to ensure that you receive your purchase. On top of that, customers also have an option to add a custom message with a gift order. I personally think this is a nice value added service and adds a personal touch which is useful for many occasions.
Customer support is offered 24/7 through phone, email, or live chat. On a personal note, the customer service standards that I experienced are definitely not something that I would give a thumb up to. Read my diamond shopping experience for my encounter with their support for more details…
And if you liked what you had read so far, don’t be. You shouldn’t be overly impressed because these are almost standard offerings that other competitive vendors offer. I’m sorry but I have to burse your bubble at this point.
So far, we had only touched on the basic features that any other online jewelry stores can offer and we had already seen issues starting to surface. For the typical diamond ring shopper, what really matters is getting the most beautiful diamond for your budget and here’s where things really start to go downhill.
On the next page, we take a critical look at BlueNile.com’s signature diamonds and we didn’t like what we saw. Continue reading to find out why and the results of our analysis…