Blue Nile vs Diamonds Direct

A thorough comparison of Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile, to help you decide which is best for you


In my Diamonds Direct vs Blue Nile guide, I’m going to talk you through a detailed comparison between these two well-known online diamond retailers based on my 10 years of helping people buy diamond rings.

I’ll talk you through aspects of both retailers that should matter to you when choosing your ring, from their selection and diamond quality to pricing, website user experience, and customer service.

Blue NileDiamonds Direct
Visit NowVisit Now
Diamond Information
Number of settings1,169486
Number of natural diamonds157,6787,217
Number of lab-grown diamonds14,7431,199
Natural Diamond Price: Round 1 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$4840-$8,520$6,483-$8,141
Lab Diamond Price: Round 2 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$3,990/
Diamond imageryInteractive 360 video on all diamonds HD images upon requestHigh-quality images of both natural and lab-grown diamonds
Diamond labs: naturalGIAMostly GIA
Diamond labs: lab-grownIGIGIA and IGI
Diamond searchVisit NowVisit Now
Company Information
Year founded19991995
Number of physical locations2325+
Owned bySignet JewelersSignet Jewelers
Service Policies (Click each to learn more)
Finance availableYesYes
ShippingFree and insured both waysFree shipping on all orders
Resizing1 year, freeComplimentary resizing
Returns period30 days, extended over holiday periods30-day returns
WarrantyLifetime, with some exclusionsLifetime warranty
UpgradeCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x price110% lifetime upgrade
EngravingFree, on selected ringsFree estimate
Customer service hours24/0724/7
Ringspo Ratings
Diamond selection
Value for money
Service policies
Overall rating""
Ringspo overall opinionA 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.Bricks & mortar locations makes it easier to view diamonds in person, but ultimately prices are higher than online specialists for diamonds of the same quality
Ringspo ReviewBlue Nile Reviewhttps://www.ringspo.com/reviews/diamonds-direct/
VisitVisit NowVisit Now

Founded in 1995, Diamonds Direct aims to provide customers with diamonds straight from the source. This direct approach not only offered a price advantage but also allowed for a more personalized buying experience.

Now under the umbrella of Signet Jewelers, the same business model of direct selling and customer-centric approach continues a focus for Diamonds Direct.

Their in-person viewing experience is often highlighted as a significant advantage, allowing customers to see, touch, and feel the Diamonds Direct diamonds before making a decision.

Blue Nile was established in 1999 with a vision to offer a better way to buying diamond rings by providing buyers with the widest selection of diamonds, coupled with detailed information and competitive pricing.

The ownership of Blue Nile eventually transitioned to Signet Jewelers (the same parent compant as Diamond Direct), aligning it with a well-established name in the diamond industry.

Blue Nile’s extensive online inventory, transparent pricing, and educational resources have made them a preferred choice for many buyers looking to make an informed decision from the comfort of their homes and they remain one of the retailers we recommend the most.

Diamond Selection and Quality


Finding the right diamond for you is key to getting a beautiful engagement ring. And with so many variables that affect the visual impact and beauty of a diamond, having a big enough selection to choose from can be the difference between getting a diamond you love and one that you are ambivalent about.

Obver the last few years, there has been a significant change in the diamond market, with ‘lab-grown’ diamonds becoming much more popular, which has had a huge effect on the prices of natural diamonds.

Different retailers have embraced lab-grown diamonds at different rates, but it’s clear from looking at the numbers that Blue Nile offers significantly more choice of both natural and lab-grown diamonds:

Number of Natural Diamonds Offered:

  • Blue Nile: 568,907
  • Diamonds Direct: 7,217

Number of Lab-Grown Diamonds Offered:

  • Blue Nile: 14,743
  • Diamonds Direct: 1,199

This is important because the greater the number of diamonds there are, the more likely you are to find the exact combination of shape, carat weight and quality factors that you are looking for.

Certifications and Ethical Sourcing

One of the most important things to understand when buying a diamond is the iportance of independent certification.

Buying a diamond that has been graded by an independent ‘lab means that you can be sure that there was no conflict of interest between who graded the diamond and stated its quality and the person who is selling it.

Reputable grading laboratories include the GIA, IGI and AGS, which have the best reputations for consistency.

Diamond Labs: Natural

  • Blue Nile: GIA
  • Diamonds Direct: Mostly GIA

Diamond Labs: Lab-Grown

  • Blue Nile: IGI
  • Diamonds Direct: GIA and IGI

Both retailers adhere to high standards of certification, primarily through the Gemological Institute of America. The International Gemological Institute is also a reputable organization regarding lab grown diamonds.

Both retailers ensure their diamonds come from responsible sources through the Kimberley Process.

In addition to buying a diamond engagement ring from Diamonds Direct, customers are also given the opportunity to donate to the Diamonds Direct Foundation. Donations to this fund go towards women and children’s philanthropies. Diamonds Directs claims to donate thousands of dollars to various nonprofit causes.  Check out more info here.

Pricing and Value

Diamond pricing can ary significantly, even within one retailer, with two diamonds that are seemingly similar potentially costing very different amounts.

Diamond Pricing

The price of a diamond is influenced by different factors, including its carat weight, cut quality, color grade, and clarity grade.

The certification, brand reputation, and retail platform also play a part in the final price.

The best way to compare diamond prices between retailers is to look at identically-specced diamonds across two retailers:

  • 1 carat
  • Round shape
  • VS1 clarity
  • G color
  • Natural origin

On Blue Nile, at the time of writing, a diamond with these specs is priced from $4,840.

However, on Diamonds Direct, a diamond with the exact same specs is priced at $6,483

The price differences can be attributed to the operational model of the retailers.

Blue Nile’s online model allows for lower operational costs which can be reflected in their pricing.

Diamonds Direct’s pricing isn’t as far off as other physical diamond retailers. Still, the need for store inventory drives its costs a bit higher than Blue Nile.

Website and User Experience


In today’s digital age, the website interface of a retailer is often the first point of interaction between the buyer and the seller.

Let’s compare the website and user experience offered by Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile.

A user-friendly interface provides an easy navigation and browsing experience. Both Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile have invested in creating intuitive websites that cater to both seasoned buyers and new ones.

They both have sites optimized for the mobile experience and provide 360-degree views of their diamonds. This makes it easy for customers to click and drag their diamond to see it from every angle.

Customization and Design Options

In this section, we’ll explore the customization and design options offered by Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile.

Design Your Own Ring

Both Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile offer platforms where you can design your own ring to your exact specification.

Diamonds Direct offers a couple of ways to do this, and

This feature allows you to choose the diamond, the setting, and other design elements to choose a beautiful and well cut diamond.  Design your Ring from Blue Nile here.

Blue Nile, however, leads with selecting the diamond itself:

Using the search function, you can narrow down your choice to the exact diamond you are looking for, before choosing a setting to match it.

Blue Nile does also offer a higher number of settings than Diamonds Direct – several hundred different styles across white gold, yellow gold and platinum.

Overall, Blue Nile’s selection of both diamonds and engagement ring settings is superior to Diamonds Direct, which should make it easier to find the exact ring you’re looking for.

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.

When it comes to comparing Blue Nile and Diamonds Direct, how much they focus on their customers can be seen by how much

Both retailers offer 24/7 customer service availability, ensuring that assistance is at hand whenever you need it. Contact either of them through email, phone, or chat. Diamonds Direct has many locations to visit in-person, while Blue Nile locations are limited.

Payment and Financing Options

Flexible payment and financing options can ease the financial burden and make the purchase of a diamond more manageable. Let’s examine the payment and financing options provided by Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile.

Methods of Payment

Both retailers offer a variety of payment methods to cater to different preferences and financial situations.

Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank wire transfers, and financing options. The availability of multiple payment methods provides you with the flexibility to choose the most convenient and financially prudent option for your purchase.

Financing

Financing options allow you to spread the cost of your purchase over a period, making it more manageable.

Blue Nile offers financing through their credit card, where you can enjoy benefits like special financing terms and exclusive offers. The Blue Nile credit card provides a way to finance your purchase and manage payments over time. Check out their financing here

Diamonds Direct also provides financing options through their Diamonds Direct credit card.

As with all credit agreements, it’s important to read the small print and ensure that the payment terms work for you. Diamonds Direct does have a really good calculator on their site, which Blue Nile doesn’t offer, but it doesn’t take into account things like special financing rates, which you may need to calculate manually.

Shipping, Delivery, and Returns

In this section, we’ll explore the shipping, delivery, and return policies of Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile to provide a clear picture of what to expect.

Shipping Policies

Both retailers have great shipping policies to ensure the safe and timely delivery of your purchase.

Blue Nile offers free and insured shipping both ways. This means that both the delivery to you and any returns to Blue Nile are covered at no additional cost. They also provide international shipping, extending their services to customers worldwide.

Diamonds Direct provides free shipping on all orders. While they cover the shipping costs, it’s advisable to check their return shipping policy for clarity on who bears the return shipping cost. They also cater to international customers with shipping options outside the United States.

Return and Exchange Policies

The ability to return or exchange your purchase is a safety net that provides peace of mind.

Blue Nile offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is extended over holiday periods. giving you a comfortable window to ensure your purchase meets your expectations. Learn more here.

Diamonds Direct also provide a 30-day return policy, allowing you a full month to decide if your purchase is the right fit. Learn more here.

Physical Store Experience

Some people believe it is easier to find the perfect ring by visiting a diamond retail store in-person instead of online.  For some, it can provide peace of mind when seeing the quality and value of a diamond or engagement ring up front.

Both retailers have made a significant presence in the physical retail space, allowing customers to interact with their products in-house.

Blue Nile provides a serene and well-lit ambience for their 25 locations. Their stores are designed to be inviting and informative, with knowledgeable non-commissioned staff to guide you through your purchase.

Diamonds Direct has a slightly broader physical presence with 30+ stores available.  Their stores offer a comfortable and educational environment where you can learn about diamonds and jewelry from experienced staff.

In-Store Exclusive Items and Services

The in-store experience often comes with exclusive items and services not available online.

Blue Nile’s physical stores provide a curated selection of jewelry, and you can also access their entire online inventory in-store. This blend of online and offline shopping provides a broader selection while maintaining the tangible experience of a physical store.

Diamonds Direct offers hands-on experience with a wide range of in-store exclusive items. Their services include personalized consultations with a “Diamond Doctor” and custom design services, allowing you to create a unique engagement ring from Diamonds Direct. 

So which is best for you, Blue Nile or Diamonds Direct?

Each retailer has its own set of strengths catering to different preferences and priorities. You can find a beautiful diamond at either diamond retailer.

If you value the in-person experience like being able to see and feel the diamonds, you might want to buy from Diamonds Direct. Their physical locations and in-store custom design services provide a traditional jewelry shopping experience.

If you appreciate competitive pricing and want to find exactly what you’re looking for from home,  Blue Nile is a strong contender. They provide in-depth information on diamonds and carry a large selection of engagement rings and fine jewelry.

Both retailers are reputable online retailers to consider when purchasing an engagement ring. Your choice between Diamonds Direct vs Blue Nile should ultimately depend on the overall experience and other diamond buying factors that fit your situation.

FAQs

What are the main differences between Diamonds Direct and Blue Nile?

The primary difference lies in the shopping experience; Diamonds Direct offers a wide range of in-store features, while Blue Nile primarily operates online with a vast inventory.

Which retailer offers a better in-store experience?

Diamonds Direct, with its 25+ physical locations, offers a more traditional in-store experience compared to Blue Nile’s limited physical presence.

Who has a better online platform for viewing and purchasing diamonds?

Blue Nile has a more extensive online platform with high-quality imagery and user-friendly features like 360-degree views, making online browsing and purchasing easier.

Which retailer offers a wider selection of diamonds?

Blue Nile has a significantly wider selection with over 568,907 natural diamonds and 14,743 lab-grown diamonds compared to Diamonds Direct’s selection.

You can pay for purchases using credit/debit cards, bank wire transfer, Paypal, or through SplitIt. SplitIt allows customers to purchase jewelry spread out in equal payments to avoid interest. This service is subject to approval.

Brilliant Earth’s financing plan is available to US customers through partnerships with Affirm or Wells Fargo. Affirm allows you to split the cost of your jewelry through easy payments split up to 36 months with varied APR rates. The Wells Fargo plan gives you 12 months no-interest if paid in full.