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[Engagement Ring!]Blue Nile vs. Local Jeweller

saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello all,

I've recently been researching an Engagement Ring for my girlfriend, and was drawn to BlueNile.ca to do some research on what cuts, clarity and all that fun stuff mean, and what I can get for the price range I've got set aside.

So I built a ring on there and set out to determine what local jewellers and if they could offer me something similar.

Well, I found a ring at a reputable "local" place called "Spence Diamonds" (in the Toronto area) that was very similar, but more pricey and the diamond is of "lesser quality" based on the grading of Colour and Clarity than the one I had built at BlueNile.ca.

So I've got a deposit down at Spence seeing as how they seem to be the experts in the area, and I've received many good reviews of them, but I want to see what people thought of BlueNile.ca, as it seems like they are cheaper.

My major concern is that they're online and dealing with adjustments or horrible situations like the diamond coming loose/falling off will be more difficult to deal with.

Anyone out there used BlueNile.ca/.com before and what is your take on them?

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Posts

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I bought my wife's engagement ring from Blue Nile, and we got our wedding bands from them. Very easy to work with and the quality of their stuff is very nice.

    They resized my wife's engagement ring free of charge, but we had to mail it back in. I can't remember if they paid for shipping or not when it was resized. As far as getting the prongs tightened or whatever, it's easiest to just go to a local jeweler. I'm not sure what their warranty is as far as things coming loose, but their stuff is top quality and all my experiences with customer service have been great so I don't see how they could be any different than a regular jeweler in that respect.

    Edit: pretty sure they have a 30-day return policy, so you can always buy it and get it independently appraised or whatever and see it for yourself without any risk.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • HlubockyHlubocky Registered User
    edited June 2009
    The thought of sending an engagement ring back through the mail is reason enough for me not to order online. I got my fiancees ring at a local jeweler here in Chicago with the help of Yelp.com reviews and had a great experience.

    Hlubocky on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hlubocky wrote: »
    The thought of sending an engagement ring back through the mail is reason enough for me not to order online. I got my fiancees ring at a local jeweler here in Chicago with the help of Yelp.com reviews and had a great experience.

    There's insurance and delivery confirmation for a reason. Maybe Blue Nile isn't for the irrationally neurotic, but I had no problems receiving, returning, and recieving again my wife's $5,500 engagement ring. If Blue Nile didn't handle it well, they wouldn't have stayed in business very long.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • mugginnsmugginns Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    http://brandstory.typepad.com/writer/2007/05/disruption_and_.html

    I read this and looked at the prices and stopped looking in local stores. They treat you like crap, try to upsell you and the whole thing is a scam. I got the ring for my fiancee for about 50% of what I'd have paid in a local store. The ring didn't fit totally (I had the right size but it was a little loose) so she took it into a local jeweler and he fixed it up.

    She loves it... and I wasn't even able to find any of that style in a store locally. So much less hassle.

    mugginns on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    A local jeweller will handle minor resizes, if you need it in the future. A local will also happily reset a stone that comes loose.

    Some local stores are great, and many that appear to be chains are really just local stores that give the impression of being big & fancy because they're competing with mall chain stores. They're good for some things, such as custom work, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with shopping online for a better price.

    There's also nothing wrong with using the far better price from the online store to try to haggle with the local store.

    EggyToast on
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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    If you are concerned about the rock falling out, consider a bezel setting which is more secure and does a better job of protecting the stone. For resize, a local jeweler can do that pretty easily and it shouldn't be too expensive and unless you have stones running around the ring, shouldn't require any re-setting.

    If you're concerned about loss, get it insured; it's not too expensive.

    I'd be surprised if you couldn't negotiate a local B&M jewelry store down to near BlueNile price levels. Jewelry stores are hurting particularly badly (at least they are where I live, and locally our economy and housing market is doing better than the nation as a whole). I'm talking about boutique stores or estate jewelers, not chains.

    Djeet on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    One of the advantages of Blue Nile, from my experience, is that their stock of diamonds is ridiculously large. They have many more to offer than even the biggest chain jewelers and that means you get exactly what you want for the price you want, rather than having to compromise based on what a B&M store has in stock. I was able to search for exactly the size and quality I wanted, and the sorting feature on the website made it easy to play around with the different factors to really get the best looking stone for my money.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    [Ring advice]

    :lol: RUNN1NGMAN and I really need to get a cut from BN, as we're always in these ring threads.

    We bought both wedding rings and her engagement ring from bluenile. Very happy with the quality, so far no resizing needed, so can't comment there.

    I'd say BN would be the best choice for buying on-line, and it's really up to you if you want to buy through a local shop or not. Like Hlubocky said, they'd be too worried, but I'd be fine with it since we've got the certificate & everything.

    General ring advice:
    If you have to pick one, go for quality over size. I can guarantee you and your finance will appreciate and get more compliments from a high quality stone than a big dull one.

    In order of importance; Cut, Clairity (VVS1-VVS2), Color (stick with Colouress), Caret. There's more to look at too like the table dimensions, but going high on the C's is a good bet. Regardless of the stone or where you buy it, be sure you get a certificate. GIA is the prefered, at least down south here.

    MichaelLC on
    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Haha, yeah, they keep taking my money too. I just bought the wife an anniversary present from BN.

    Just to echo MichaelLC about quality over size, cut is what makes the diamond sparkle. Getting a higher quality cut will have the effect of making the diamond look bigger than it really is. Also, a big diamond with a low color/clarity rating will just make the imperfections more noticable.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Yeah sounds like BN is the option to go. As I mentioned before I've got a deposit in at the shop in Toronto, so I'm gonna call up and get my deposit back. If they ask me why, I'll mention I've found a better deal and see if they can whittle the price down, and see what they can do for me.

    Push come to shove though, sounds like I'll be using BN. Now I need to pick between two Rings I've narrowed it down to on BN. The hard part commences. ;)

    saint2e on
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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Get both and return one if you can't decide :)

    My brother-in-law had them send him 3 loose diamonds around 2ct total when he was shopping for a ring!

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Get both and return one if you can't decide :)

    My brother-in-law had them send him 3 loose diamonds around 2ct total when he was shopping for a ring!

    Now there's a thought, as well. Propose with two rings, have her choose one, return the other.

    Not exactly the most romantic approach, but definitely gets her the ring she wants. ;)

    saint2e on
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Most sites and some stores will let you return diamonds or rings. Just keep them away from the dog...

    If you want to send the specs via PM, I'd be glad to offer my unprofessional opinion. I spent a lot of time on BN and a ring board looking at the different cuts, table depth, culet measurements, etc.

    edit: they will return rings, thought they wouldn't.

    MichaelLC on
    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    What ever you do make sure the stone comes somewhere safe!

    The words Blood Diamond is not just the title of a movie. You do not want to find out someday you helped finance a war and that you're loved one is carrying the proof.

    BlindZenDriver on
    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Here comes the contrarian POV!

    I vote for local store. A (good) local jeweler will sit down and actually work with you on a quality design. That's what we did. By "local jeweler" I do NOT mean Tiffany's or Kay's or Zales or whatever. I mean a truly local place. The quality, customer service (like annual ring maintenance), uniqueness of the design, and the fact that a local ring means you spent time and effort into making it are all worth it.

    If you're unhappy with the stones at Spence, I believe you can buy loose diamonds on BN or elsewhere online. Not sure though. Any jeweler who doesn't suck will use any stone you bring in to make a ring. If they won't do that, go somewhere else.


    PS. The added moral benefit of a local Canadian store is that they might sell Canadian diamonds (Polar brand is I think one of them) that are, of course, not "blood diamonds." Blue Nile buys diamonds in bulk from places, so the claim that they are morally clean is somewhat specious, at best. That's if you care, not everyone does.

    Alternatively, you can go with a lab-grown diamond. They're identical to diamonds except that they aren't mined from the ground. If you go to a local jeweler, ask about "Chatham" brand gems. That's one that comes to mind. They're also somewhat cheaper, since they aren't artificially priced like diamonds.

    grungebox on
    Quail is just hipster chicken
  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Congrats saint2e!

    I'm just going to recommend that you keep your options open until you actually decide on a ring. When my wife (of less than a month now, yay!) and I were ring shopping, we looked at BN, local chain and independent shops, and other places online. We even put in a few bids on eBay for rings that would obviously go for more than double our budget. As it turns out, we won an auction and have an engagement ring far nicer than what would would have gotten from BN or a local store. Yes, we did have our own appraisal done which was even more positive than the GIA certificate that came with the ring.

    an_alt on
    Pony wrote:
    I think that the internet has been for years on the path to creating what is essentially an electronic Necronomicon: A collection of blasphemous unrealities so perverse that to even glimpse at its contents, if but for a moment, is to irrevocably forfeit a portion of your sanity.
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    grungebox wrote: »
    PS. The added moral benefit of a local Canadian store is that they might sell Canadian diamonds (Polar brand is I think one of them) that are, of course, not "blood diamonds."

    That's because Canadians only bleed maple syrup and ice!

    Really though, you're right in that a good store can provide a much more custom piece, either with their rocks or bought from BN. just depends on what you're looking for. I got lucky since she just wanted a simpler ring, but one of my co-workers had some very cool custom rings made with Jewish/religious symbols woven in.

    MichaelLC on
    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    What ever you do make sure the stone comes somewhere safe!

    The words Blood Diamond is not just the title of a movie. You do not want to find out someday you helped finance a war and that you're loved one is carrying the proof.

    This is a little silly considering the false demand is what keeps all diamonds profitable. Whether it costs some babies their hands directly or indirectly.


    I would say try getting something reasonably simple and set yourself a budget. That whole five months salary thing is just a silly line meant to convince people if they don't go massively in debt they obviously aren't in love, set your budget now and stick with it. If you win the lotto you can always buy her another ring, there is no two ring per wife rule.

    If you do go local, you may be able to negotiate down if get the actual wedding bands there as well, your mileage may vary.

    dispatch.o on
  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    grungebox wrote: »
    Here comes the contrarian POV!

    I vote for local store. A (good) local jeweler will sit down and actually work with you on a quality design. That's what we did. By "local jeweler" I do NOT mean Tiffany's or Kay's or Zales or whatever. I mean a truly local place. The quality, customer service (like annual ring maintenance), uniqueness of the design, and the fact that a local ring means you spent time and effort into making it are all worth it.

    If you're unhappy with the stones at Spence, I believe you can buy loose diamonds on BN or elsewhere online. Not sure though. Any jeweler who doesn't suck will use any stone you bring in to make a ring. If they won't do that, go somewhere else.


    PS. The added moral benefit of a local Canadian store is that they might sell Canadian diamonds (Polar brand is I think one of them) that are, of course, not "blood diamonds." Blue Nile buys diamonds in bulk from places, so the claim that they are morally clean is somewhat specious, at best. That's if you care, not everyone does.

    Alternatively, you can go with a lab-grown diamond. They're identical to diamonds except that they aren't mined from the ground. If you go to a local jeweler, ask about "Chatham" brand gems. That's one that comes to mind. They're also somewhat cheaper, since they aren't artificially priced like diamonds.

    You piqued my curiosity so I looked into Chatham diamonds and I can't find what I'm looking for, which makes me suspicious they are not the same as diamonds mined from the ground. Why don't they rate them like other diamonds in terms of clarity? I can only assume Chatham diamonds are significantly inferior.

    Dman on
  • grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Dman wrote: »
    grungebox wrote: »
    Here comes the contrarian POV!

    I vote for local store. A (good) local jeweler will sit down and actually work with you on a quality design. That's what we did. By "local jeweler" I do NOT mean Tiffany's or Kay's or Zales or whatever. I mean a truly local place. The quality, customer service (like annual ring maintenance), uniqueness of the design, and the fact that a local ring means you spent time and effort into making it are all worth it.

    If you're unhappy with the stones at Spence, I believe you can buy loose diamonds on BN or elsewhere online. Not sure though. Any jeweler who doesn't suck will use any stone you bring in to make a ring. If they won't do that, go somewhere else.


    PS. The added moral benefit of a local Canadian store is that they might sell Canadian diamonds (Polar brand is I think one of them) that are, of course, not "blood diamonds." Blue Nile buys diamonds in bulk from places, so the claim that they are morally clean is somewhat specious, at best. That's if you care, not everyone does.

    Alternatively, you can go with a lab-grown diamond. They're identical to diamonds except that they aren't mined from the ground. If you go to a local jeweler, ask about "Chatham" brand gems. That's one that comes to mind. They're also somewhat cheaper, since they aren't artificially priced like diamonds.

    You piqued my curiosity so I looked into Chatham diamonds and I can't find what I'm looking for, which makes me suspicious they are not the same as diamonds mined from the ground. Why don't they rate them like other diamonds in terms of clarity? I can only assume Chatham diamonds are significantly inferior.

    What are you looking for? Chatham I think produces colored diamonds (which are extremely rare in reality). There are others that do both colored and colorless, Chatham was the first that came to mind since I've seen their sapphires in person before. Apollo is the most famous, I think there was a huge Wired article about them. Genesis or Gemisis, something like that, is another. I'd assume they work with local jewelers who could then provide you with the rating.

    EDIT: Just to clarify, a lab-grown diamond is the same as a diamond from the ground, chemically and physically. Diamond is just carbon smashed a certain way under high pressure, and it's been grown in labs for decades (primarily for scientific equipment).

    grungebox on
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  • MuddBuddMuddBudd Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Because I think it's a great article.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond.html

    MuddBudd on
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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    So, just to necropost, I went with a local Wholesaler whom a friend referred. I got the ring for less than what it would've cost me at BlueNile, and I was able to get some custom modifications to the ring on top of that!

    Oh and I paid cash, so no taxes as well! Score! I highly endorse anyone else in the same situation to see if you can find a local wholesaler.

    Now comes the hard parts:

    1) Paranoia of carrying around a $x,000 small item
    2) Making the proposal perfect

    Fun times ahead!

    saint2e on
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  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Nevermind. I fell victim to the necropost ;p

    Noquar on
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  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Let us know how it turns out, saint2e. Good luck!

    an_alt on
    Pony wrote:
    I think that the internet has been for years on the path to creating what is essentially an electronic Necronomicon: A collection of blasphemous unrealities so perverse that to even glimpse at its contents, if but for a moment, is to irrevocably forfeit a portion of your sanity.
    Xbox - PearlBlueS0ul, Steam
    If you ever need to talk to someone, feel free to message me. Yes, that includes you.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Good luck, dude.
    saint2e wrote: »
    1) Paranoia of carrying around a $x,000 small item

    They usually give you a small box to put it in, if that helps. :lol:

    MichaelLC on
    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • PhistiPhisti Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Hint: No matter what you do, if she loves you the proposal will be perfect.

    Hope all goes well - indeed, keep us updated :winky:

    Phisti on
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Where did you end up shopping? I recently went to Spence as well, so I'd be interested if you found something much better.

    Figgy on
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  • Namel3ssNamel3ss Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    I would say try getting something reasonably simple and set yourself a budget. That whole five months salary thing is just a silly line meant to convince people if they don't go massively in debt they obviously aren't in love, set your budget now and stick with it. If you win the lotto you can always buy her another ring, there is no two ring per wife rule.

    If you do go local, you may be able to negotiate down if get the actual wedding bands there as well, your mileage may vary.


    Five months? Are we talking pretax? Because, that is a crapton of money to spend on a ring. Where did you hear that?

    Namel3ss on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I've heard three months as the standard "budget".

    Improvolone on
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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I've heard three months as the standard "budget".

    I've heard this as well, and it's still crap in my opinion.

    If the whole "diamond ring engagement" fad is a commercialized scam perpetrated by DeBeer's, then the "3 months salary" myth is just another load of crap to instill the pressure to SPEND SPEND SPEND.

    Spend what you're comfortable spending. No more. Any woman who is worth marrying doesn't give a shit about how much you spend on her ring.

    Figgy on
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  • relygyous relygyous Registered User
    I proposed last year and was overwhelmed with ring buying just like anyone else. I wanted something nice, but not cheap. I didn't want to get ripped off and was nervous about my fiancee not liking what I picked out.

    I ended up buying online at James Allen and it worked out better than I could have hoped for. The ring is beautiful. Sarah loves it. I got a great deal and all the perks of online shopping like free shipping and it it was shipped in this amazing gift box that is worth a lot too. the whole thing was almost too easy. James Allen is similar to Blue Nile. There are a few big online stores. They all have a slightly different style.

    If you buy online, look at at least 2 places to compare prices and styles. You might as well buy from a place that has free shipping and free returns like James Allen does.

This discussion has been closed.