Wondering who's better, Blue Nile or Ritani?
Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this expert Learning Jewelry guide, you'll learn:
- What makes Blue Nile and Ritani stand out?
- Which store has the most diamonds?
- Which store has the better warranty?
The overall shopping experience between Blue Nile and Ritani are similar, as they both sell loose diamonds and ring settings. Both of these retailers sell conflict-free diamonds. There are some distinct differences though.
If you're new to the world of shopping for diamonds online, you've more than likely heard about Blue Nile. They were actually the first online retailer to post loose diamonds on the web in 1999. Shortly after, many other brands followed suit, but they remain to be one of the top dogs in the industry.
I think it's because of their reputation and how long they've been around that brings people in. Many new diamond buyers can be nervous about making such a big and important purchase online without seeing it in person. Knowing that there are pages and pages all over the internet about a company makes you feel at ease.
Blue Nile has one of the largest loose diamond inventories online.
They carry over 380,000 loose diamonds of varying carat weights, color and clarity grades, and diamond shapes. Additionally, the sell a large collection of fine jewelry, lab grown diamond jewelry, and also carry fancy colored diamonds.
The selection is similar to a mega jewelry store like Zales, but with better quality jewelry and better diamond prices.
Like most online retailers, Blue Nile allows you to see diamonds via a 360˚ viewer. It's a pretty decent viewer that allows you to see inclusions or blemishes while searching for an eye clean diamond in a lower clarity grade. I wish it had better zoom, but I've seen much worse. I think everyone should have the same viewer as James Allen, personally.
They don't have 360˚ viewing on every diamond though. You can filter those ones out, and then we're left with around 120,000. Pretty hefty drop, but that's still a lot of diamonds to choose from. Of course, they do narrow as you get more specific.
I love that every loose diamond at Blue Nile is GIA certified.
When I first started learning about diamonds when I worked at Kay, they told me nothing really about the GIA. They rarely ever sold the 5 GIA certified engagement rings, and pushed other diamonds with less reliable certificates. I didn't even learn that GIA certs were necessary in picking out a high quality diamond.
So, having all of their diamonds certified by the world's leading authority in diamond quality makes it much easier and trustworthy for people who didn't know like me.
If you purchase a wedding ring or engagement ring online at Blue Nile, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee that is hassle-free.
Ritani has also been around since 1999, but not as an online diamond retailer. Originally, they were known for their designer ring settings. Even though they're headquartered in New York, they have partnered up with numerous local jewelers and even online retailers. You can actually find some of Ritani's ring settings offered at Whiteflash, another one of our recommended retailers.
They didn't start selling loose diamonds online until around 2012, right about the time Blue Nile's ex CEO Brian Watkins entered the company. Now, they sell both natural and lab grown diamonds and fancy yellow diamonds, even after Watkins left. Their fine jewelry section is pretty lacking, and they also don't have colored gemstones.
They carry over 80,000 loose diamonds of varying diamond grades. One of the things I find pretty disappointing about Ritani is their diamond viewing. Considering Blue Nile has one of the best 360˚ viewers, I'm surprised they didn't follow suit.
They don't have 360˚ viewing on every diamond. Some have HD photos, some have both HD and video, and others just have a stock photo. There's no particular order and no way to sort them. You'll have to look at the side of the picture and the emblem will tell you which of these it has.
The video isn't great either. It's a video clip where the diamond spins, kind of fast I might add. It also has a black background and isn't properly centered. After further research, I found that some of the 360 video is like that and others are blown up. Sometimes I can't get it to load. I find it really poor for an online diamond viewer.
All of Ritani's loose diamonds are either GIA or AGS certified.
Diamonds with a grading report from the American Gem Society (AGS) are just as comparable to GIA grading reports. As I said with Blue Nile, super helpful for those who don't know about diamond certification.
If you purchase an engagement ring with Ritani, they also offer 30 day free return policy. However, it's only free shipping to US customers.
Read also: Our Full Ritani Review
You can contact customer service 24/7 at Blue Nile through a variety of different ways. They have phone, email, live chat, text messaging, and even WhatsApp. They really consider customers of every technological communication, which shows that they care.
Most of the customers that buy from Blue Nile have never set foot in a Blue Nile store. Most of those customers would be surprised they have 13 showrooms across 10 states in the US. This is more locations that many of our recommended diamond retailers.
Whether you're visiting online or in-store, you can book an appointment with a gemologist. You can have the option of booking at a location or virtually.
One of the biggest thing people think about when looking for great customer service is the extra benefits and features, like a lifetime-trade up. You can trade up your Blue Nile engagement ring at any time, but your new one has to be double the price. This is pretty standard for most companies.
Other benefits you get with Blue Nile is an appraisal as well, which helps with insurance purposes. It takes the extra step out of getting your engagement ring or wedding band insured, though you can always get your own private appraisal if you desire.
Blue Nile will also price match if you find a comparable diamond at another online retailer. I really like that they've partnered up with Circa for people to be able to sell their own ring from another jewelry store.
Blue Nile also offers free shipping on every order, not just US orders. They are more internationally friendly as well.
They'll give you a quote, have you mail it in, and then you have the option of getting a check, bank transfer, or 110% in a Blue Nile gift card. This could be very useful for someone looking to upgrade from a different store. This is unique to Blue Nile.
The customer service team at Ritani isn't open 24/7, but they do have a wide range of hours. They are open Mon-Thurs 9am to 10pm EST. The weekend is a little strange because they close at 9pm on Friday and are fully closed Saturday. Sundays they're available from 11 to 6pm.
I find it strange they're closed on Saturdays, since that's when a lot of people have the day off. But if Ritani's service hours don't line up with your schedule, you can make a private appointment outside these hours for your convenience, which is nice.
The ways you can contact Ritani are through email, live chat, and phone number. Even though they don't have 360˚ viewing on all their diamonds, you can request HD photos of any diamond through customer service and they'll send it within 48 hours.
One of the biggest things Ritani is known for is their partnerships with jewelers around the US.
They offer at in-store preview, which allows you to see your custom ring in person, with no obligation to buy. If you decide you don't like it, it's melted down. This service was discontinued during COVID 19, but is being reinstated. You can also buy online, pick up in store.
Another feature that Ritani offers that's unique to them is their Diamond Market Analysis. The DMA can be seen in the details of any diamond. They use it to show customers how they break down the price of each diamond.
They'll show you how much a vendor is selling the diamond for, how much Ritani has to pay in customs and fees to get it, and how much markup they as company take.
You already know they have 30 day return policy, but they will even schedule a pick up for you so you don't have to leave your house. They offer a diamond buyback and upgrade program to all their customers.
Lastly, if you find a comparable diamond on a different site to one at Ritani, they offer price matching as well.
Lots of people don't think they need a warranty with their engagement and wedding rings, but I'm telling you that you should. Engagement rings are made of natural metals and they aren't impervious. Most rings are made out of gold and it's a soft metal, vulnerable to nicks, scratching, and even fading.
This has nothing to do with the actual craftsmanship of ring, but the daily wear and tear of natural materials.
If I could pick one thing to change about Blue Nile, it would most definitely be their warranty, or lack thereof, I should say.
That's because Blue Nile has what I like to call the "cop-out warranty". The formal name is a manufacturer's warranty. And if they're trying to get really creative with fancy words, a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
The problem with a manufacturer's warranty is that they're basically telling you that if there's a design defect or flaw in your ring, they'll take care of it. Every company should do this if their product is faulty. This is basic retailer-consumer relations.
If they'd offer a real warranty, I bet it would increase their sales much more. Blue Nile is constantly neck and neck with James Allen in diamond comparisons. One of the biggest reasons why they tend to come in second most of the time is because James Allen offers a free lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance your ring will need down the line.
Even though I find this to be a problem, they still seem to be going through. My main thought is that they must have high quality engagement rings settings because I don't find too many complaints about needing work done.
They offer one free resizing within the first year and free cleaning inspections, but you have to pay for FedEx shipping.
Ritani definitely comes out ahead of Blue Nile in the warranty department. They offer a lifetime warranty like James Allen. While on their site, they say the warranty doesn't cover wear and tear, but it does cover the services that most of us relate to wear and tear.
This includes rhodium plating white gold rings settings, and tightening prongs and stones. It doesn't cover things like worn down prongs, rebuilding them, reshaping a ring shank, etc. This can be done for a cost.
There's a $35 shipping fee, but they'll pay the return shipping and insurance for your ring. You also have the option of taking it to a partner retailer, but you'll be liable for the costs through the retailer, not Ritani.
Instead of your warranty automatically being put into action after you purchase your ring, you'll have to activate it online. They want you to do within 45 days, but it's okay if you're out of that range. You'll just have to sign up for it before you can use it.
They have free engraving and 1 free resizing within the first year. Keep in mind the warranty only applies to engagement rings and wedding bands, not fine jewelry.
Price vs Value
For most people, how much a ring is going to cost them is at the forefront of their mind. Often before features and added benefits. But sometimes you can get an excellent priced diamond with no benefits, or you could find yourself paying a little more on your debit or credit card, but saving money in the long run.
Sometimes it's not about the price tag, but the overall value of said price tag years down the road.
Since Blue Nile and Ritani are basically cut from the same cloth, it'll be interesting to watch them price match against each other. Today, I've chosen a 1 carat ideal cut diamond with VS2 clarity and G color grade from Blue Nile. It has Excellent polish and symmetry, and no fluorescence. It's $6,234.
Blue Nile offers their own special line in branded ideal cut diamonds called Astor Ideal, but I'm not really a fan of them.
They are comparable to James Allen's True Hearts line. They aren't specially cut or even super ideal. The only thing extra they come with is a GemEx report. GemEx reports show you the amount of brilliance, sparkle, and scintillation. It shows a scale of each.
While neat, it's not a necessity and really doesn't make much of a difference other than price. I'd stick to Blue Nile's regular ideal cut diamonds.
Ritani doesn't sell any gimmicky diamonds or any special tier. The highest quality diamonds on their site are going to be their ideal cut diamonds. I've chosen a similar one to Blue Nile with the same diamond grades. This diamond is $6,287.
As you can see, the diamond prices between the two retailers are mere hundred from each other. For some people, that's a lot of money.
And for others, that's way out of their price range. While in this case, Ritani might have the cheaper diamond, but they also have more expensive engagement ring settings. The loose diamonds they sell don't come with a premium, but the ring settings do.
Blue Nile also offers designer ring settings, but only if you want them. They have plenty of unique unbranded ring settings that will save you more money. Majority of Ritani's ring settings are over $800 dollars.
There are very few ring settings with pave diamonds below that. Alternatively, online shopping with Ritani can save you money over the years because of that lifetime warranty helping keep up with maintenance.
They say you should get white gold ring settings rhodium plated once a year. On average it costs between $40-$120 for rhodium plating from a jeweler. Tack on the next 50 years of your life wearing that ring, it can become costly. You should always consider warranties when determining the value of a company.
If you have yellow gold or rose gold jewelry, you won't need rhodium, so you save money there.
While there's a lot of customer reviews on the internet at places like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, and Yelp, most people only file complaints about the retailer. This can be helpful, but we always take reviews with a grain of salt.
Instead, we check out Reddit and many subreddits that speak of diamonds and engagement rings. Here you can read both positive and negative experiences.
In the main subreddits of diamond engagement rings, you'll find the space mainly dominated by Blue Nile and James Allen customers and postings.
You won't find a ton of recent Blue Nile review discussions, probably because there's so many different posts you could search for and get most of your questions answered. I do notice that they still frequently come up in comparisons to other online retailers.
The biggest complaints or negative posts about Blue Nile have to be about their diamond pricing. It can be very fickle, as one noted in this recent Reddit post:
You really have to take your time and compare to other places. I'd recommend you do it site by site, not using something like Rare Carat. Rare Carat mostly carries diamonds from retailers most people have never heard of.
Vendors have to pay to be a part of Rare Carat, so you won't find any major contenders on there. We go over this in detail in our Rare Carat vs James Allen guide.
Ritani reviews on Reddit is very miniscule. I can only find a handful of posts, but most of the people that purchase at Ritani seem to be on a mission.
They're considered more of a specialty retailer, since they're a designer first, with designer prices. Their designer ring settings are usually cheaper than other designers. Other people have purchased their lab diamonds.
Very few have received engagement rings from them on Reddit, but there are a few. I've also learned that you should buy Ritani diamonds only from Ritani online, not at a partner store first, according to this Redditor below:
It seems he was at a jewelry store that brought in a diamond for him to look at. When he typed in the GIA number, it came up as a diamond from Ritani and was almost 2K cheaper, according to the diamond analysis report.
This is a prime example of why shopping online for diamonds in better than a brick and mortar store. They're the same brand of diamond, but the jewelry store's markup is the cost a ring setting you could get at Ritani instead.
Our Verdict: Blue Nile
In the battle of Blue Nile vs Ritani, we're going to have to go with Blue Nile.
Even though Ritani has a lot of great features, Blue Nile is the better option to buy from. Ritani's medium sized selection decreased quickly, especially when you're looking for specific diamond grades. Blue Nile's selection is much larger and allows you to be more specific.
I definitely prefer Blue Nile's 360˚ viewer over Ritani's weird viewing inconsistencies. Even though they don't have it on all the diamonds, it's nice you can sort the ones that do. At Ritani, you just have to browse and wait for the video to load.
Blue Nile doesn't carry I clarity diamonds because of their many inclusions. I clarity diamonds are the lowest clarity tier, but buying one can save you a lot more money.
Most of the diamonds at Kay's are I clarity and are priced thousands more than they're worth. If you hunt hard enough, you might can find an eye clean SI clarity diamond, saving you more and with better quality.
The ring settings are much more affordable at Blue Nile than Ritani.
I've chosen Blue Nile as the better online retailer mainly because it has a range of diamonds to support every price range. More people are drawn to a place that has more to offer and cheaper prices. Just stay away from the Astor Ideals.
Super ideal diamonds are pretty, but not necessary. They don't increase value or make any major differences from ideal cut diamonds. Most people can't tell the difference in the sparkle when asked.
No matter what the recommendation is, you should now have a better idea of who might be the better option for a wide range of customer budgets. The simple solitaire settings at Ritani are cheaper, but the more intricate, the prices skyrocket.
As you can see, even though Ritani is a superb retailer with one of the best lifetime warranties and great diamond prices, they don't quite fit the bill for every diamond buyer, especially the ones with smaller budgets.
Blue Nile is the diamond retailer for everyone, of all different budgets.