How To Win At Buying Diamonds [Blue Nile Guide]

shopping for diamonds at Blue Nile

Summary: In this article I go over a few tips and tricks to help you as you are figuring out how to buy a diamond you will absolutely love. This guide will help you when searching at Blue Nile but the principles apply no matter where you are conducting your search.

Shape: Round; Type: Natural; Weight: 1 Carat or greater

Shortcut: I’ve created a custom ‘Pre-Filled-Search‘ button for 1+ carat round diamonds with all my go-to parameters. This will save you a bit of time entering in all the parameters manually. Once you click the button you will be presented with diamonds that are not too deep, not too shallow, with tables that are not too large, not too small, and have little to no fluorescence. And the search results will only include diamonds within the “sweet-spot” area for clarity: VS2.

These are the parameters the Pre Filled Search button above will automatically enter in:

Depth: 60% to 62.5%

Table: 54% to 58%

Fluorescence: Faint to None

Clarity: VS2

Polish: Excellent

Cut: Ideal+

Symmetry: Excellent

Color: H

L/W Ratio: 1:1

The Above Parameters Explained


Based on research conducted by both the Gemological Institute of America and its sister organization The American Gem Society 60% to 62.5% are the depths which most commonly produce ideal cut round brilliant diamonds. You are much more likely to have complementary crown and pavilion angles when a diamond has a depth of 61.5% give or take half a percentage point. I would only expand the search criteria by 0.02% either way if there really is nothing available within the 60% to 62.5% range.


Research by GIA and AGS has found that diamonds that produce the most fire (colorful flashes of light) had table sizes around 55-57% give or take a percentage point. These diamonds also produce the best contrast (clear pattern dark of arrows). These table percentages are also conducive for producing complementary crown and pavilion angles. In simpler terms: you get better light performance.


The reason I recommend fluorescence to be Faint to None is because not only does fluorescence devalue the diamond, in rare cases the diamond will look milky when exposed to UV containing light, which includes sunlight and sometimes club lights. The statistics on how common this phenomenon occurs are all over the place: some say 3% some say 30%. While there are some recent marketing campaigns by Alrosa to push fluorescent diamonds, the public is still wary of them. GIA has also recently softened their criticism of fluorescent diamonds. But if you are going to reduce the chances of wanting to return your online purchase I recommend sticking to low or no fluorescence.


Ideally you don’t want to have any visible inclusions. Diamonds which have been given a VS2 clarity grade usually require magnification for their inclusions to be seen. VS1, VVS2, VVS1 are even higher clarity grades. You are definitely not going to seen any inclusions in diamonds with those clarity grades. –Provided the grade has been issued by a reputable laboratory. That’s why sticking to diamonds which have been graded by well known labs is imperative! If you don’t mind seeing a few inclusions, then by all means, look among SI1 and SI2 diamonds. In all the time I have worked with helping people choosing diamonds I have found it’s less than 1% of people that actively seek diamonds with visible inclusions.


It’s important to not underestimate the role polish plays in making a diamond shine. I always select Excellent and recommend the same for your searches.


Blue Nile places all their diamonds which have been issued an Excellent Cut grade under the category of Ideal. They also have their own signature brand called Astor which they rank higher than ideal. The definition of what is ideal in terms of diamond cut quality has been debated for decades. The FTC has had to step in at times and tell diamond jewelers they can’t call a diamond “perfect”. Even so we are all looking for that perfect diamond. In the end the best definition of “perfect” is a diamond that is perfect just for you. All I can do is point you in the right direction toward the type of diamonds which I have found people like. I’ve been able to see statistics on diamond returns and trust me, if you just pick a diamond at random you will be disappointed. But stick to the parameters I give you and you will be much more likely to find a diamond that you will absolutely love, love, love.

Symmetry: Excellent

This is also a very important parameter to pay attention to. The ideal depth and ideal table size mean a lot less if the diamond is asymmetrical. If the diamond has poor symmetry the diamond will not return light in a predictable way and you are left with picking a diamond at random.


Everyone has a slightly different level of comfort regarding how much color is present in a diamond. The difference between each color grade is so gradual that it’s extremely subtle and very hard to tell the difference between two adjacent color grades. Obviously the rarity of completely colorless diamonds results in them commanding a higher price, all else being equal. I’m suggesting H as the sweet spot where value meets function, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Some people are convinced they have to have a D color diamond, and others think there’s no reason to pay more than the price being asked for a K color diamond. H is a happy medium and I will leave it up to you to adjust the color grade according to your preferences.

Length to Width Ratio

Most people completely ignore this setting, leaving it unchecked. I have to confess that for the longest time it wasn’t something I paid attention to when it came to round brilliants. But it makes a lot of sense to make sure this is set to 1 both maximum and minimum. This returns only perfectly round diamonds. You will definitely see much better looking diamonds having this selected and entered in.

Why Choose Blue Nile

Blue Nile is one of the longest standing online diamond retailers and has proven themselves as a great place to buy a diamond ring. Since their launch in 1999 millions upon millions of people have enjoyed Blue Nile’s top notch customer service and of course most important of all, their excellent quality offerings.

If you are just hearing about Blue Nile for the first time let me give you a run down on why it’s a great place to shop for diamonds. (yeah, I know this is a wordy post, but bear with me! This isn’t just fluff. It’s important stuff and will help you WIN!)

Diamond Education and 24/7 Support

Blue Nile provides you as their customer with exceptional diamond buying tips and unbiased diamond and jewelry education guides, so that you can make an empowered decision about your purchase. Additionally, their diamond and jewelry experts are available 24/7 to answer all questions great or small. They offer to help you compare diamonds, choose the perfect setting, find a matching wedding band, select fine jewelry for a milestone gift—and so much more. All you’ve got to do is ask.

Blue Nile Offers a Lifetime Manufacturer Warranty

Blue Nile stands behind their products and warrant that all items will be free from manufacturing defects for the life of the products. If you believe your item has a manufacturing defect, you may return it to Blue Nile for inspection. If they determine your merchandise is damaged due to a manufacturing defect, they will repair the merchandise or, if they deem appropriate, replace the item. If the item is no longer available, Blue Nile may, in its discretion, replace with like-kind or allow a refund equal to the selling price of the original item or component.

If they determine that the damage is not caused by a manufacturing defect, then Blue Nile will notify you and let you know if repair services are available at cost or otherwise.

Note: Slight irregularities and variations in craftsmanship or natural characteristics, or internal inclusions, visible or otherwise, in colored gemstones are unique and individual to each item. These characteristics are considered as part of the character of the item, and will not be considered a defect.

Some examples of common jewelry issues that would not be considered manufacturing defects include:

  1. Discoloration due to exposure to chemicals, make-up, swimming pools, hot tubs or bathing.
  2. Prongs and precious metals, in general, wear over time and may require “building up” or restoration work as normal wear.
  3. Bent, caught or worn out prongs(s) allowing a stone to fall out or be lost due to normal wear or other damage.
  4. Lost stone or a stone has fallen out due to chipping or breaking caused by normal wear or other damage.

But you do have a very strong quality guarantee on the product you buy.

Blue Nile Has Complimentary Cleaning and Inspection Services on Diamond Rings

Blue Nile recommends having your diamond ring cleaned and inspected every six months. You should of course do it sooner if the ring undergoes any potential trauma. Inspections may help prevent the loss of a stone and extend the life of your jewelry. This cleaning and inspection service is free of charge to Blue Nile customers on their Blue Nile diamond rings. The customer only pays for shipping, and Blue Nile pays for return shipping. Repairs to your ring mounting can also be done at this time at cost.

Responsible Policies and Practices

Blue Nile provides diamonds which comply with the Kimberley process. This is an International process to track and certify diamonds. Beginning in April 2003 the United States passed a law adopting the Kimberley Process. This means that all US diamond retailers are required to buy diamonds from manufacturers who have documentation warranting that the merchandise was obtained through legitimate channels. Today, the US Customs Service actively enforces the Kimberley Process requirements as diamonds enter US ports.

In addition to that:

  • Blue Nile works to ensure that their gold and metals come from suppliers that meet the highest human rights, social, and environmental criteria.
  • Engages suppliers to influence the sourcing of gold products.
  • Researches mining, refinement, and manufacturing practices of gold that moves through the supply chain.
  • Gives preference to suppliers that source gold from mines that observe high standards of environmental stewardship.
  • In concert with suppliers Blue Nile commits to increased gold sourcing from recycled and secondary sources.
  • Blue Nile measures and establishes benchmarks with a goal of continuous improvement.

Blue Nile views its policy on responsible mining as an evolving standard. It commits to continuously review their position with the goal of expanding it over time to have the broadest possible impact.

Free Returns

Whenever a big ticket item is in my sights one of the first concerns is what happens if I need to return the item. And I am sure you are the same way. Of course after reading this guide you will gt it right the first time. Hopefully you will avoid needing to return your item, since you will know how to win at buying diamonds after reading this post. But there it’s still good to know that you have the option of returning your diamond ring should the need arise. Free returns apply to Australia, US and Canada customers. Two complimentary returns are allowed per customer, per year.

Blue Nile Diamond Upgrade Program

Blue Nile offers a lifetime diamond upgrade program on all GIA and AGSL graded diamonds.

Blue Nile Upgrade Program Details

  1. All GIA or AGSL graded natural and colorless diamonds purchased from Blue Nile are eligible – lab-grown and colored diamonds do not qualify.
  2. You will receive credit equal to 100% of the original price toward the purchase of a new diamond which must be at least twice the price of your original diamond.
  3. You may upgrade one diamond for multiple diamonds, or vice versa, so long as the price of your new selection is double that of your originally purchased diamond(s).
  4. Your diamond must be in its original condition with the original diamond grading report.
  5. Any damage to the original diamond will disqualify the diamond from their upgrade program.
  6. The Blue Nile Diamond Upgrade Program is available for purchases shipped to the US. (Upgrades for other countries may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.)
  7. The original diamond grading report must be returned in reusable condition. Fees may apply for any damaged or missing reports.
  8. The credit value will be based solely on the value of the diamond.
  9. For rings: If your setting fits your new diamond and is in reusable condition, Blue Nile will set your new diamond in your original setting. If your original setting cannot be reused, you have the option of keeping the setting or accepting a credit as determined by Blue Nile.
  10. For earrings and pendants: Blue Nile cannot reuse your original settings and are not able to offer credit for them. They will be returned to you at the same time as your new order.
  11. Any diamond not originally set by Blue Nile must be returned without the setting.
  12. Upgrade orders are not eligible for discounts, coupons, or price match requests.
  13. Your original diamond must be returned to Blue Nile and accepted by their Quality Assurance department before your new selection is shipped.

For up-to-date information on this go to Blue Nile Diamond Upgrade Program

Free Shipping

Shipping Service

  • FedEx Ground® FREE for orders under $500
  • FedEx 2Day® FREE for orders $500 – $1,500
  • FedEx Priority Overnight® FREE for orders $1,500 and over
  • FedEx Priority Overnight® with Saturday Delivery Where available, option will appear at checkout for an additional charge

For up-to-date information on this go to Blue Nile Shipping Information

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