Blue Nile vs. Brilliant Earth

Helping you decide which online giant is best for you – Blue Nile or Brilliant Earth

Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth are both solid choices for buying diamond jewelry, but they do take different approaches to diamond retailing, which is worth taking some time to understand.

But which is best?

The answer will depend on what you are looking for. This article will help you decide.

Brilliant EarthBlue Nile
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Diamond Information
Number of settings3821,169
Number of natural diamonds75,952157,678
Number of lab-grown diamonds348,37314,743
Natural Diamond Price: Round 1 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$5,370$4840-$8,520
Lab Diamond Price: Round 2 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$3,730$3,990
Diamond imageryHigh quality images on most diamonds and Interactive 360 videoInteractive 360 video on all diamonds HD images upon request
Diamond labs: naturalMostly GIA, some IGIGIA
Diamond labs: lab-grownIGIIGI
Diamond searchVisit NowVisit Now
Company Information
Year founded20051999
Number of physical locations3723
Owned byBeth Gerstein and Eric GrossbergSignet Jewelers
Service Policies (Click each to learn more)
Finance availableYesYes
ShippingFree to US, UK, Canada, and AustraliaFree and insured both ways
ResizingComplimentary within the first 60 days of purchase1 year, free
Returns period30-day returns30 days, extended over holiday periods
WarrantyLifetime warrantyLifetime, with some exclusions
UpgradeCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x priceCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x price
EngravingComplimentary within the first 60 days of purchaseFree, on selected rings
Customer service hours24/0724/07
Ringspo Ratings
Diamond selection
Value for money
Service policies
Overall rating
Ringspo overall opinionAn excellent choice for the conscious consumer.A great all-round choice - now that they are part of Signet, their diamond imagery is as good as James Allens. Continues to be one of our strongest recommendations.
Ringspo ReviewBrilliant Earth ReviewBlue Nile Review
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Since 2005, Brilliant Earth has positioned itself in the jewelry industry of diamond retailers as a company that goes beyond conflict-free diamonds. 

Brilliant Earth Homepage

This focus runs throughout the company, emphasizing transparency, ethical sourcing, and environmental responsibility for both diamonds and gemstones. If this positioning resonates with you, then Brilliant Earth may be the right choice for you.  

Established in 1999, Blue Nile was one of the first online diamond retailers. They are known for their exceptional customer service and huge selection of diamonds at competitive prices.

Their wide selection of diamonds and fine jewelry caters to a variety of tastes and budgets. The broad selection of rings styles and diamonds is likely to match what you are looking for.

This guide on Blue Nile vs Brilliant Earth covers a variety of aspects of the purchase experience at both retailers. We will go over their diamond selection, quality, pricing, value, and customer support.

Based on our experience of working with both companies for more than 7 years, our goal is to help you make a decision that aligns with your style and financial goals. 

Whether you are searching for the perfect engagement ring or to invest in a piece of diamond jewelry, this comparison will provide the knowledge needed to make a well-informed decision.

Diamond Selection and Quality

Diamond quality and origin play crucial roles in determining the value and appeal of the jewelry. 

In this section, we will explore the variety of diamonds offered by Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile, exploring the importance of certifications and ethical sourcing.

In this section we’ll look at several factors:

  • Diamond choice
  • Diamond quality
  • Diamond imagery

Winning in these categories means that the retailer is more likely to have the right diamond for you and make it as easy as possible for you to find it.

Diamond quality and origin play crucial roles in determining the value and appeal of the jewelry.

 In this section, we will explore the variety of diamonds offered by Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile, exploring the importance of certifications and ethical sourcing.

Natural vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds

Brilliant Earth was one of the first online retailers to embrace lab-grown diamonds – way back in 2012.

Lab-grown fit well with the ethos of minimising the environmental impact. In 2023, Brilliant Earth took this one step further and introduced the Carbon Capture collection featuring lab diamonds created from 100% renewable energy.

By contrast, Blue Nile was much slower to introduce lab-grown stones. In 2020, they introduced the ‘Lightbox’ collection of lab diamond jewelry from De Beers.  Only in 2022 did they finally offer lab-grown diamonds as an option for diamond engagement rings.

As might be expected from their history, while Blue Nile offers significantly more natural diamonds, Brilliant Earth offers a far greater selection of lab created diamonds.

  • Brilliant Earth provides a selection of 79,370 natural diamonds, while Blue Nile boasts a more extensive range with 157,678 natural diamonds.
  • Brilliant Earth leads with a substantial offering of 347,751 lab created diamonds, as opposed to Blue Nile’s selection of 16,154.

Please be aware these numbers may change, so we advise clicking on each retailer link to bring you to their current selection.

Certifications and Ethical Sourcing

Certifications from reputable organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI) are important in verifying the quality and authenticity of diamonds. 

These certifications provide detailed information on the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of the diamond. While Blue Nile offers only GIA certified diamonds for both natural and lab-grown stones, Brilliant Earth offers diamonds that have been graded by GIA, IGI (particularly for lab-grown stones), and HRD.

If possible, our recommendation would be to select a GIA-graded diamond, and avoid HRD-graded stones. IGI is a reputable organisation, but research in the past has shown they sometimes slightly ‘over-grade’ diamonds.

Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile adhere to ethical sourcing practices of the Kimberley Process and participate in ethical metal sourcing and recycled gold.  

Brilliant Earth has taken a step further by allowing you to choose where your diamond orginates from (either Canada or Botswana) and also offering blockchain-tracked diamonds which allows you to trace it back to the individual mine it was sourced from:

As far as I know, this is unique and far exceeds anything Blue Nile or any other large retailer offers in terms of transparency around a diamond’s origin.

If these issues are a consideration when deciding where to buy from, you can learn more about Brilliant Earth’s ethical sourcing here.

Super Ideal Cut diamonds

Many retailers offer a ‘super ideal’ cut of diamond, which is intended to signify that they are higher quality than regular ‘excellent’ or ‘ideal’ cut diamonds and should therefore, in theory, sparkle more.

Blue Nile’s super ideal cut diamonds are known as ‘Astor‘ and come with two additional pieces of documentation to demonstrate their superior sparkle over regular excellent cut diamonds:

blue nile astor gemex report

You can learn more about Astor diamonds here – they are priced significantly higher than regular ideal cut diamond, but you are provided with more documentation to demonstrate their light performance than with a regular ideal cut.

Brilliant Earth don’t currently have a named ‘super ideal’ cut of diamond like the Astor, but they do have ‘Super Ideal’ in their diamond search engine filter.

What I wanted to point out here is that Brilliant Earth appear to be putting the vast majority of ‘excellent’ cut diamonds into the ‘super ideal’ category, which feels a little dishonest.

If we look for a 1 carat, VS1, G color diamond with ‘excellent’ cut Brilliant Earth returns only 4 results:

However, if we look for a ‘Super Ideal’ cut with the same specs, there are apparently 2,581 available:

The price difference between the regular ‘ideal; and the ‘super ideal’ isn’t huge, but I just wanted to flag this as it appears that just because you are selecting ‘super ideal’ on the Brilliant Earth site, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting a diamond that is comparable with other retailers’ super ideal cut stones.

Website and User Experience

In this section, we will evaluate the website and user experience offered by Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile, focusing on the quality of diamond imagery and the interactive features available on their platforms.

User-Friendly Interface

A user-friendly interface is crucial for searching through the vast selection of diamonds and jewelry. It should provide clear, concise information and an intuitive structure that guides that allows for easy browsing.

Of the two, I find Blue Nile diamond search tools to be far easier to use than Brilliant Earth’s.

Blue Nile’s diamond search includes the main diamond search factors front and center when you load the tool, with the more advanced factors e.g. polish and symmetry in an ‘Advanced filters’ dropdown.

This allows you to easily narrow your search to exactly what you are looking for, quickly narrowing your search to a manageable number to consider.

In addition, Blue Nile has excellent imagery of every diamond available to view so you can see exactly what you’re choosing – this is essential if you are considering a diamond with VS2 clarity or below.

By comparison, Brilliant Earth’s diamond search tool is less user-friendly than Blue Nile’s.

The diamond quality factors are split out over three tabs, which requires more clicks to find what you’re looking for:

This results in much more clicking back and forth than with the Blue Nile interface, which isn’t the biggest deal, but can get a little frustrating when you’re using the website regularly during your diamond search.

The Brilliant Earth search screen also doesn’t include images of the diamonds straight away, so you can’t easily see the stones you are considering without clicking into the detailed product page. Again, this is more clicks which can get a little tiresome.

Overall though, both retailers’ search functions will allow you to find what you’re looking for, but Blue Nile’s does make it easier to narrow your search and find your diamond.

Diamond Imagery Quality

Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile are two of the best in the business when it comes to providing clear, zoomed-in imagery, which is essential when making a purchase as significant as a diamond.

Blue Nile’s imagery has the edge over Brilliant Earth’s viewing options.

Within the last two years, their imagery has improved further. After being purchased by Signet Jewelers, Blue Nile’s imagery is now very similar to James Allen’s, which means every diamond can be viewed at 40x magnification. Many of the diamonds are available in interactive 360 degree video.

This is particularly useful for diamonds with borderline clarity e.g. the SI1 clarity diamond below:

Blue Nile’s imagery allows me to rotate the diamond and zoom in on these inclusions to confirm that there is a cluster together which would like be visible when mounted in a ring.

There’s also a great tool to show how large the diamond will look on a hand which you can see when you click through the images of an individual diamond – definitely worth checking out.

Brilliant Earth also offers high-quality images and 360 degree viewing on most diamonds, but the detail on them isn’t quite as high quality as Blue Nile.

If you’re choosing a diamond above VS2 clarity, this doesn’t matter too much as inclusions won’t be visible to the naked eye. However, if you are choosing a VS2 diamond or below, then some lighter inclusions may be more difficult to see on Brilliant Earth’s images compared to Blue Nile’s.

I will say, Brilliant Earth shows their rings in many ways including HD images, 360 video, via live model wearing the ring, and can superimpose your engagement ring on a skin tone selector.

Customization and Design Options

Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile offer extensive customization options, with a wide variety of engagement ring settings and metals. These options can tailor your experience when shopping for jewelry.

  • Settings: Brilliant Earth offers 382 settings, while Blue Nile appears to provide a more extensive variety with 1,169 settings, but the fact that Blue Nile has a different listing for each of their metals means this number is artificially increased.
  • Brilliant Earth’s settings are slightly more contemporary than Blue Nile’s with more settings with thin bands, as well as newer styles like Moi et Toi. Blue Nile’s settings tend to be a little more traditional, with slightly thicker bands and a more solid feel.
  • Metals: Both retailers offer a range of metals including white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, and more. 

Overall, both retailers are comparable in terms of the number of setting styles available and the best way to see which you prefer is to click through and compare directly:

Cost and value for money

Many factors affect diamond prices, but they are significantly impacted by the 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight).

Other factors such as diamond certification, origin, and brand name can also contribute to higher prices. 

The place you buy diamonds from can have a huge effect on the diamond price. Some retailers charge up to twice-as-much for the same diamond.

To see how Blue Nile’s prices compare to Brilliant Earth’s,  I’ll take a look at a typical diamond size and quality that is often used when searching for an engagement ring:

  • 1 carat
  • Excellent cut, symmetry and polish
  • VS1 clarity
  • G color
  • GIA grading report

This diamond will cost you around $5,190 on Blue Nile

A diamond with the same specs would cost $5,370 on Brilliant Earth:

These two prices are really close enough to essentially be the same.

Both Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth have a large number of diamonds that fit these criteria and diamond prices do change over time, so there is every chance that, depending on the exact combination of the 4Cs that you are looking at, Brilliant Earth may be priced lower than Blue Nile.

If we compare lab-grown diamond prices, the prices are again similar, although Brilliant Earth comes in slightly lower for a 2 carat lab-grown, round brilliant with VS1 clarity and G color.

At the time of writing, a diamond with these specs is $3,730 on Brilliant Earth and $3,990 on Blue Nile. Again, these prices are similar enough to be identical.

It’s imperative for buyers to consider the importance of balancing quality with cost when choosing a diamond ring. A piece of jewelry with a lower price may be enticing, but you need to make sure it meets quality standards and ethical sourcing practices.

Overall, Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile both offer excellent value when it comes to both diamonds, and which is better for you will depend on what you’re looking for.

The best way to see how the price compares for your shape and combination of the 4Cs is to click through and compare directly:

Service: Both Before & After Purchase

Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase.

You want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.

This attitude can be boiled down to one term: customer experience – essentially how hard a business is trying to make sure that your interactions with them are smooth, friction-free and, ideally, delightful.

Customer Service

Both retailers offer 24/7 customer service availability, ensuring that customers can reach out with their queries at any time.

Additional services like engraving, financing, and flexible shipping, resizing, and return policies enhance the overall customer experience.

  • Engraving: Both retailers offer engraving services, with Brilliant Earth providing complimentary engraving within 60 days of purchase, and Blue Nile offers free engraving on selected rings. An eternity wedding ring could not have engraving done. 
  • Resizing: Resizing services are provided by both, with Brilliant Earth offering complimentary resizing on your diamond engagement ring within the first 60 days of purchase, and Blue Nile offering free resizing for within the first year.
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty is provided by both retailers that protects against manufacturing defects. 
  • Diamond Upgrade Program: Both retailers offer a 100% credit for upgrades, provided the new diamond is at least twice the price of the original diamond. 

Payment and Financing Options

Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile offer a variety of payment methods and financing plans to accommodate a range of budgets and circumstances. In this section, we will explore the different payment methods accepted by both retailers and delve into their financing and layaway plans.

Methods of Payment

Brilliant Earth accepts a wide range of payment methods including credit cards, bank wire transfers, financing through Affirm, and personal checks.

Financing plans provide the flexibility to manage the cost of purchases over time, which can make it easier to buy jewelry, but it’s important to always ensure you understand the terms of the deal.

Brilliant Earth offers financing through Affirm and Wells Fargo, allowing customers to spread the cost of their purchase over several months with a set interest rate. 

Financing plans through Wells Fargo allow customers a 12 month plan with no interest. Affirm offers up to a 36 month plan, depending on approval and purchase. These options are only available to US residents, with a couple exceptions, but you can find out more about Brilliant Earth’s financing options here.

Blue Nile provides financing options with their Blue Nile Credit Card, offering various promotional financing options including deferred-interest plans.

blue nile credit card webpage

The financing options through Blue Nile’s credit card allows customers 6 month, 12 month, and 24 month financing plans, and as with all

Shipping, Delivery, and Returns

Brilliant Earth offers free shipping to the US, UK, Canada, and Australia – a cost-effective delivery solution for customers in these regions.

Blue Nile provides free and insured shipping both ways, which is a reassuring factor for customers, knowing that their high-value purchases are protected during transit.

Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth both offer shipping internationally, though Blue Nile has a more extensive list of countries on their website.  Information for shipping to other countries will need further investigation by contacting customer service.

Return and Exchange Policies

Both Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth offer a 30-day return policy, allowing customers ample time to decide if their purchase meets their expectations.

This is pretty much standard to jewelers that operate primarily online, and better than more bricks and mortar retailers.

Physical Store Experience

Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile have physical stores across the USA, with none internationally, currently.

With 37 locations, Brilliant Earth has a significant physical presence – click here to see if there is a store near you . The ambiance in their stores is designed to reflect their ethos of ethical sourcing and transparency, providing a serene and educational environment for customers.

Blue Nile, with 25 locations, also offers a physical retail experience. Their stores are designed to provide a comfortable and informative environment where customers can explore and interact with the products. This can be especially useful when considering a product like their Astor diamond range, a collection specializing in excellent cut quality and sparkle.

Discounts and Seasonal Promotions

Loyalty programs and promotions are strategic tools used by retailers to enhance customer retention, encourage repeat purchases, and attract new customers. 

Both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile regularly offer promotions, these are often a ‘free gift with purchase’ or alternatively just a straight discount.

At the time of writing, Brilliant Earth is offering a pair of 0.16, G/H color, SI clarity lab-grown diamond earrings with all purchases over $1000, which are valued at $225:

These promotions do change regularly, so it’s worth viewing the Brilliant Earth promotional page to see what they offer at the time you’re looking

Compared to Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile’s current promotion appears to be more generous, with up to 50% off a huge range of jewelry at the time of writing. 

Depending on what you are looking for, this could potentially save you thousands of dollars on items like an eternity ring.

Again, these offers do change, so it’s always worth checking out Blue Nile’s current promotions to see whether it fits with what you are looking for.

Our Conclusion on which is better

Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth are both good choices and which one is right for you will depend on what is important to you.

Blue Nile provides a great online experience and wider choice of diamonds. They offer excellent imagery that makes it easier to choose a lower clarity diamond (if that’s what you are looking for), and often have more generous promotions than Brilliant Earth.

Brilliant Earth offers more modern setting styles and a complex website interface. Those drawn to ethical practices beyond sourcing alone may want to support a company whose products and services match up to them personally. 

Ultimately, your decision between Brilliant Earth vs Blue Nile may reflect your values, preferences, and budget at the time you are looking. We recommend that you visit both to see which fits best with you.

Best for trasparency
brilliant earth logo

More transparency around diamond source, including allowing you to choose Canadian or Botswanan origin

Greater selection of lab grown diamonds

Regular sales on settings

Best buying experience
blue nile logo

Smoother online experience makes choosing a diamond easier

Higher quality imagery means buying borderline clarity diamonds is easier

Offers a true ‘super ideal’ cut