Tiffany vs. Blue Nile

Helping you decide which online giant is best for you – Blue Nile or Tiffany & Co.


Tiffany & Co. and Blue Nile are two of the largest names in diamond rings, but they take a very different approach to getting to the same destination.

Tiffany is synonymous with luxury and has a rich history and unparalleled legacy. Buying an engagement ring from Tiffany is all about a beautiful guided experience, with the resulting ring presented in the iconic tiffany blue box.

By contrast, Blue Nile is all about choice. You’ll be able to find exactly what you want from hundreds of thousands of diamonds and will pay a lower price for it than at Tiffany.

Both are great options to find your engagement ring, and in this guide we’ll aim to help you decide which is right for you.

Blue NileTiffany
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Diamond Information
Number of settings1,16948
Number of natural diamonds157,678Difficult to tell
Number of lab-grown diamonds14,743N/A
Natural Diamond Price: Round 1 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$4840-$8,520$18,700
Lab Diamond Price: Round 2 carat, Excellent Cut, VS1 round, G color$3,990N/A
Diamond imageryInteractive 360 video on all diamonds HD images upon requestNo images of individual diamonds
Diamond labs: naturalGIATiffany Diamond Certificate
Diamond labs: lab-grownIGIN/A
Diamond searchVisit NowVisit Now
Company Information
Year founded19991837
Number of physical locations23326
Owned bySignet JewelersLVMH
Service Policies (Click each to learn more)
Finance availableYesYes
ShippingFree and insured both waysComplimentary shipping and returns
Resizing1 year, freeComplimentary resizing on most items
Returns period30 days, extended over holiday periods30-days
WarrantyLifetime, with some exclusionsLifetime warranty
UpgradeCredit 100% of original price, if new diamond 2x priceCredit 100% of original purchase
EngravingFree, on selected ringsFree engraving
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.Tiffany diamonds are extremely high quality and purchasing from them is a wonderful experience, but it comes at a price -
Ringspo ReviewBlue Nile Review#
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Tiffany Co. was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B Young. Their objective was to sell diamonds with exceptional quality and luxury. In 1853, Charles Tiffany took complete control over the brand, establishing the popular Tiffany brand as Tiffany and Co.

They introduced the classic Tiffany setting, a timeless engagement ring style known for its iconic blue box. The history of Tiffany has evolved to a premium brand, known for their diamond engagement rings and luxury jewelry offerings.

Today, Every, Tiffany operates 326 physical locations worldwide, offering a personalized luxury shopping experience with every diamond being subjected to rigorous quality control.

Blue Nile is a very different prospect to Tiffany – it gives you the consumer much more control over your choice and also offers diamonds of similar quailty to Tiffany at significantly lower prices, if you know what to look for.

Blue Nile emerged in the market in 1999 with a straightforward mission – to transform the diamond industry by creating a platform that empowers consumers. Blue Nile is an online retailer offering a wide selection of loose diamonds at a lower price. Blue Nile understands that high-quality diamonds are not synonymous with high prices.

The ownership by Signet Jewelers brought a blend of online convenience and physical presence with 25 Blue Nile stores, excluding headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

Diamond Selection and Quality


In this section, we’ll dissect the offerings of Blue Nile and Tiffany in terms of diamond selection, certificates, and sourcing.

One of the biggest differences between the two is that Blue Nile has embraced lab-grown diamonds,while Tiffany & Co. still only sells ‘natural’ diamonds. This isn’t unexpected, as Tiffany is positioned as a luxury brand, and natural diamonds are currently seen as more ‘authentic’ than lab-grown.

Blue Nile’s selection of quality diamonds currently includes 157,678 natural diamonds and 16,154 lab-grown loose diamonds. They also have a large fine jewelry collection and offer colored diamonds and gemstones too.

Their Astor by Blue Nile collection emphasizes diamond quality and exceptional brilliance, and would be the closest thing to choosing a diamond of similar quality to Tiffany’s.

  • Shop Blue Nile’s natural diamonds here.
  • Shop Blue Nile’s lab grown diamonds here.

Tiffany solely deals in natural diamonds, and it’s impossibe to say how many are available to choose from due to the way their diamond selection process works.

When you select a Tiffany engagement ring, you’re able to choose from a limited selection of grades within the same Tiffany style. This does allow you to choose the carat weight and quality yourself, but you limited to what’s available at the time.

With Blue Nile, if you are looking for a 1 carat diamond, you may be able to choose from 10,000 diamonds, each with their own unique combination of cut, color, clarity etc. With Tiffany, you may only be able to choose between 8-10 diamonds.

This limited selection isn’t always a bad thing thing – many people suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’ when faced with so many options and are worried about makign the’wrong’ choice. Having a limited selection at Tiffany’s can actually make it easier to make a choice.

In addition to diamonds, they carry fancy colored diamonds and gemstones. Shop Tiffany settings and diamonds here.

One thing that you can be sure of with Tiffany is that their diamonds are extremely high quality. According to their website, Tiffany only accepts .04% of the world’s gem-grade diamonds, and each is cut exceptionally well.

But, Blue Nile also sell equally high quality diamonds. A well-chosen GIA-graded diamond with excellent cut, symmetry and polish will sparkle just as brilliantly as a Tiffany diamond. And, as we’ll see shortly, is priced significantly lower.

Certifications and Ethical Sourcing

Certifications are your assurance of the quality and authenticity of the diamond you are purchasing. They provide detailed information about the diamond’s cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, often referred to as the 4Cs.

Blue Nile provides certification from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for its natural diamonds and from the International Gemological Institute (IGI) for its lab-grown diamonds.

In general, we always recommend that diamodns are graded by an impartial third party and there’s therefore no conflict of interest between the organisation grading the diamond and the organisation selling it..

Tiffany doesn’t offer third-party grading certificates, all diamonds are graded ‘in-house’ by gemologists employed by Tiffany & Co.

While there is a potential conflict of interest here (if the graders say a diamond is higher quality than it really is, Tiffany will be able to sell it for a higher price..), Tiffany’s stellar reputation relies on their diamonds being of at least the quality they are claimed, and in our independent tests where we had a Tiffany diamond graded by GIA and AGS, we found that their grading was accurate and trustworthy.

Both companies are committed to ethical sourcing practices. Blue Nile adheres to the Kimberley Process, ensuring their diamonds are conflict-free. Tiffany also has a robust Diamond Source Initiative, ensuring their diamonds are sourced responsibly.

Website and User Experience


Both Blue Nile and Tiffany have invested in creating intuitive, easy-to-navigate websites, but their approach is different.

Blue Nile’s website is geared towards providing a vast amount of information and tools to help you make an informed decision. It offers educational resources to understand the nuances of diamonds and jewelry.

Tiffany’s website features a clean, elegant design reflecting its brand ethos. Your selections are curated, giving you as a customer a small amount of flexibility to choose specs.

High-quality imagery is incredibly important for online jewelry shopping as it compensates for the physical examination of the piece.

This is where Blue Nile is significantly better than Tiffany & Co.

Blue Nile provides high-quality images for around all of the diamonds it offers, which helps in examining the diamond closely before making a decision. They have interactive 360 degree video, allowing you to see the diamond from different angles and even compare diamonds side by side.

This is especially useful if you are choosing a diamond with VS2 clarity or below, and want to ensure that you are comfortable with the location, size and visbility of inclusions.

Tiffany’s website doesn’t offer actual images of any of the diamonds that are available. Instead, are shown an HD photo of the Tiffany ring itself, not the Tiffany diamond.

With lower quality retailers, this is unacceptable as you really do need to see the individual diamond you are considering. However, as ever diamonds that Tiffany & Co sells has excellent cut quality, this is almost allowable.

Customization and Design Options

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

Design Your Own Ring

Blue Nile makes it easy to shop their inventory of diamonds with its Design Your Own Ring feature. This feature provides a step-by-step guide to help you choose the best quality diamond, setting, and metal for an affordable price. The process is user-friendly and highly informative, providing a lot of options to choose from.

Tiffany’s Design a Ring service isn’t quite the same as shopping with Blue Nile. Since every Tiffany diamond is special, there’s not as many options for specific diamond grades. Instead, they provide you four options to choose from, but you can’t see the diamond online.

Variety of Settings, Metals, and Side Stones

As with diamonds, Blue Nile offers far more choice when it comes to the number of setting styles available. In fact, Blue Nile offers a whopping 1,169 settings, although this number is inflated as each metal type is shown as a different setting style.

Tiffany offers 48 settings, which is significantly less compared to Blue Nile. However, the settings offered are meticulously crafted and patented by the Tiffany brand. They offer solitaire and side stone settings, as well as engagement rings in different ring metals.

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.

Payment and Financing Options

Both Blue Nile and Tiffany offer a variety of payment methods to cater to different customer preferences. They accept major credit cards, bank wire transfers, and PayPal.

Blue Nile also provides the option of paying via Alipay and UnionPay, which might be beneficial for international customers.

Financing and Layaway Plans

Financing options can significantly ease the immediate financial burden, especially when purchasing high-value items like diamond jewelry.

Blue Nile offers a financing program through its Blue Nile credit card, which provides special financing options and exclusive benefits.

Tiffany also offers financing through the Tiffany & Co. credit card for purchases above $5,000, which provides exclusive financing offers and benefits.

Shipping, Delivery, and Returns

Both Blue Nile and Tiffany have excellent shipping policies to ensure the safe and timely delivery of your purchases. All jewelry from Blue Nile has  free and insured shipping, regardless of the order value. They also provide international shipping to various countries, making it a convenient choice for global customers.

Tiffany also offers complimentary shipping and ensures that each order is insured. They have a broad international shipping reach, catering to customers worldwide.

Return and Exchange Policies

Blue Nile offers a 30-day return policy, with an extended return period during the holiday season. This gives you enough time to ensure that your purchase meets your expectations. They also provide free return shipping, which is a significant advantage.

Tiffany also has a 30-day return policy, allowing you to return or exchange your purchase within this timeframe. However, they do not extend this period during the holiday season.

Physical Store Experience

Locations

Blue Nile has a limited number of physical locations, with 25 showrooms primarily located in the United States. These showrooms provide a space for you to view a curated selection of jewelry and engage with knowledgeable staff who can guide you through your purchase. You can find the nearest Blue Nile showroom through their store locator.

On the other hand, Tiffany boasts a more extensive physical presence with 326 stores worldwide. Their iconic flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is a testament to their legacy and prestige in the jewelry industry. You can explore the various Tiffany store locations to find one near you.

Ambiance

The ambiance in Tiffany stores exudes luxury and elegance, aligning with their brand’s high-end positioning. The carefully designed interiors, coupled with personalized service, create a memorable shopping experience.

Blue Nile’s showrooms have a modern, relaxed ambiance. The focus is on providing a comfortable environment where you can explore their offerings and receive expert guidance without any pressure.

In-store Exclusive Items and Services

Tiffany stores often carry exclusive items not available online, providing a unique incentive to visit their physical locations. Additionally, they offer personalized in-store services such as private consultations and custom design services.

Blue Nile’s showrooms mainly serve as a space to view and try on a selection of their online inventory. However, they also provide personalized consultations to help you make an informed decision.

Loyalty Programs and Promotions

Loyalty programs and promotions are not just about saving some dollars, but they also reflect a retailer’s commitment to rewarding customer loyalty and providing value.

Let’s delve into the loyalty programs and promotions offered by Blue Nile and Tiffany.

Discounts and Seasonal Promotions

Blue Nile’s reputation as an affordable online diamond retailer allows them to offer discounts and seasonal promotions, especially during holidays and special occasions. They have a dedicated sales page on their website where you can find the latest deals and discounts. This is a great way to find beautiful jewelry at a reduced price.

Tiffany, being a luxury brand, seldom offers discounts. Their pricing remains consistent throughout the year, aligning with their brand’s premium positioning.

Referral Programs and Benefits for Repeat Customers

Blue Nile has a referral program where you can earn credits by referring friends who make a purchase. This program is a way to reward their customers for spreading the word about their offerings.

Tiffany doesn’t have a referral program, but they do have a membership program for their credit card holders, which provides exclusive benefits and early access to sales.

Conclusion

Each diamond retailer has its strengths and weaknesses. Your choice between Blue Nile and Tiffany will depend on your personal preferences, priorities, and budget.

If cost and variety are your driving factors, a Blue Nile ring is a compelling option and they’re one of the retailers I find myself recommending the most.

If you prioritize brand prestige and a luxurious shopping experience, Tiffany is worth considering.

In the end, both retailers are reputable and offer high-quality jewelry. When comparing Tiffany and Blue Nile, it’s about aligning your choice with what matters most to you in your jewelry purchasing journey.

FAQs

What is the main difference between Blue Nile and Tiffany?

The main difference lies in their market positioning and pricing. Blue Nile is known for its competitive pricing and online presence, while Tiffany is a luxury brand with a rich history and higher pricing.

Do Blue Nile and Tiffany offer conflict-free diamonds?

Both retailers adhere to ethical sourcing practices and provide conflict-free diamonds. However, the specifics of their sourcing policies may vary.

Which retailer offers a better in-store experience?

Tiffany, with its extensive network of luxurious stores, offers a premium in-store experience. Blue Nile has fewer physical locations, but provides a relaxed, modern ambiance in their showrooms.

Which retailer is better for someone on a budget?

Blue Nile is generally more budget-friendly due to its competitive pricing and frequent promotions.