Wondering who's better, Blue Nile or Whiteflash?
Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this expert Learning Jewelry guide, you'll learn:
- Who Has The Best Shopping Experience?
- Which Company Has The Better Warranty?
- Where Can You Get The Best Value For The Price?
- What Are Customer Reviews Saying?
The overall shopping experience between Blue Nile and Whiteflash 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.
Blue Nile is one of the most popular online diamond retailers on the web. They have a glowing reputation as the first online diamond seller as well, back in 1999.
They carry a wide range of fine jewelry to include loose natural diamonds, fancy colored diamonds, select colored gemstones, and lab diamond jewelry. They dabble a bit in everything.
The diamond inventory at Blue Nile is one of the largest of our recommended retailers. They'll show you how many diamonds they have that day. Today, they have 307,599 round diamonds of varying diamond grades and carat weights.
For a 1 carat minimum, they have around 35,000. However, this number does greatly decrease the more specific you get with your color and clarity grades.
One of the biggest advantages of buying a diamond online is using a 360˚ viewer to observe diamonds with clarity grades that aren't considered eye-clean, or free of blemishes. These clarity grades include I and SI diamond clarity. On a side note, if you're on the market for eye-clean clarity grades you might want to read our take on the best VVS diamond retailers.
But not all of Blue Nile's diamonds have 360˚ view. Fortunately, you can filter out the ones that do. The 360˚ view takes a couple seconds to run smooth when first trying to drag the diamond, but it smooths out easily.
A controllable diamond that I can drag back and forth to see the light hit the facets is the best way I can identify obvious inclusions. I just wish it had better zoom because it seems far away.
All of Blue Nile's diamonds at GIA certified, which makes it easy for people who aren't familiar with the importance of diamond grading reports.
If you aren't satisfied with Blue Nile's diamond engagement rings, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
While Blue Nile is a more general online diamond retailer, Whiteflash is a specialty online retailer. This means that they are experts in a niche, and that niche is diamond cut quality.
If you're somebody whose obsession with diamonds is about the sparkle and brilliance, Whiteflash might be the one for you. They carry premium super ideal cut diamonds as well as diamonds of lower cut grades. All of the diamonds are GIA or AGS certified.
Whiteflash's diamond inventory is split between in-house and virtual selection. The Virtual Selection doesn't have any images or diagnostics telling you where inclusions are or being able to see them.
They are stock photos and have to be inquired upon, which I find a bit annoying. I often get stuck in the virtual selection the more specific I am about my diamond grades.
They have around 28,000 round cut diamonds in total, but 18,000 1 carat minimums. They don't carry fancy colored diamonds, lab diamonds, or colored gemstones. It is strictly about the brilliance. Thankfully you can sort between the in-house and virtual selections, so you get only see the diamonds with 360˚ viewing.
In past reviews, I've complained about their diamond viewer. It's set against a black background and it shines so bright, it's near impossible to spot inclusions. It's also not close enough either.
Now, they offer both this view (they call it the Sparkle view) and one with a regular background like other diamond retailers. They call it the brilliance view. This view will allows you to see any visible inclusions if you chosen a clarity grade that's not usually eye clean.
I wish it automatically showed the Brilliance view instead of the sparkle while you're quick browsing the diamond inventory, but it doesn't. You'll have to click in to each one to see.
The Virtual inventory diamonds have 10 day return policy, but the in-house selection of diamonds have a 30 day money back guarantee.
One of the biggest reasons companies lose customers is because of the service. Both Blue Nile and Whiteflash have bias-free advice for their guests as they are not making commission or needing a sales goal like a mega jewelry retailer.
Blue Nile's customer service is open 24/7 through a number of channels. You can chat with experts through live chat, phone, email, SMS messaging, and WhatsApp. Very convenient and more options of communications than most online diamond retailers.
Even though Blue Nile mainly operates online, they don't underestimate the need of some to see a high quality diamond in person. They have 13 showrooms across 10 states located in the US. This is also more showrooms than most online retailers.
You can book an appointment in-store with a gemologist for specific diamond questions, or you can do a virtual appointment with GIA certified gemologists. Both types of appointments can be booked online for customer convenience.
As explained in our full Blue Nile review, they have some extra benefits that many other diamond retailers have and don't have for their guests. Like most online retailers, they offer a lifetime-trade up. The price of your new diamond will have to be double the price of your original. They do price matching with comparable diamonds as well, and only some retailers do that.
With every Build Your Own ring, you are given a Blue Nile appraisal as well.
Unlike most online retailers, they also have a program where you can actually sell your diamond jewelry. They've partnered with Circa to allow you to either receive credit to your bank account for the diamond or a Blue Nile Gift card. If you choose gift card, they'll throw it an additional 10%.
Blue Nile has a leg up in the industry because of their long standing reputation. They are naturally trusted by prospecting customers because they are the first online diamond retailer. Most people are likely to choose a retailer they can find all over rather than one they haven't heard of.
That's why most people buy from mega retailers like Kay or Zales, despite them being more expensive and worst quality than any of our recommended retailers.
The problem with being as popular as Blue Nile is that they don't always tend to each customer. Smaller online retailers strive for customer satisfaction, but when you're a big person on top, you can afford to lose some customers.
Some customers have expressed frustration, but overall the general consensus through sites like Pricescope, Consumer Affairs, Trustpilot, and Yelp, is that Blue Nile has great customer service.
Whiteflash's customer service is available 24/7 via chat now, email, or phone number. They have both a US number and international number for customers. You can also go to their Houston, Texas showroom, which is available from Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. You can book appointments for the Houston store online too.
You can request to speak to a gemologist at any time. All of the gemologists at Whiteflash are certified by either the GIA or AGS. Most of the operations staff also have credentials like these, which is pretty rare. A lot of online jewelers' chat associates don't actually know about diamonds.
Because Whiteflash specializes in superior cut quality diamonds, they give customers some choices that a place like Ritani doesn't offer. They have a "Cut to Order" which allows you to get a custom cut diamond.
The service is only limited to Hearts and Arrows round diamonds though. But a jeweler will take a rough diamond and custom cut it into an ideal cut for your engagement ring.
Like James Allen, Whiteflash has also partnered up with the best online jewelry insurance provider, Jewelers Mutual.
Whiteflash offers diamond upgrade services for trade-in. I really like that they have a comprehensive education and FAQ section for customers detailing all the information need to know about Whiteflash diamonds.
One of these services is their ASET and Idealscope images, which are unique to Whiteflash diamonds only. These images show a customer exactly how much light goes into the diamond and how much is being reflected back and how much isn't.
I think it's cool that Whiteflash separates i-house diamonds from their virtual selection. In-house diamonds are diamonds that only Whiteflash owns. These diamonds aren't being looked at on other website like most online diamond inventories today.
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 real 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.
My biggest complaint about Blue Nile is that they don't offer a warranty for wear and tear. They offer a manufacturer's warranty, but it only covers design flaws and defects. Keeping up with rhodium plating white gold and retipping prongs aren't included.
I'm not sure why they don't or why they haven't, but that doesn't seem to deter them from being a frontrunner in the online diamond game. Still, they usually come in right behind James Allen, who offers a free lifetime service warranty.
My only real thought is that overall they must have excellent craftsmanship, so a lot of rings may not need work on the prongs. However, rhodium plating could still be a problem you'd have to pay out of pocket for.
They offer free cleaning and inspections, but you have to pay for FedEx shipping. Yes, you can have a ring cleaned and inspected for free at Kay, Zales, or Jared, but I'm sure we all remember the repair horror stories there.
A lot of people might not be too keen to send their Blue Nile engagement ring off somewhere that's not Blue Nile to be repaired.
With all engagement and wedding rings, Blue Nile offers their customers 1 free resizing within the first year. You just have to contact them to set it up. You will have to pay shipping there.
Whiteflash's warranty is slightly better than Blue Nile's but not much. They give their customers a 1 year service warranty and one free resizing. In my opinion, this isn't really long enough to take care of wear and tear, unless you're really hard on your jewelry.
The warranty covers rhodium, prongs, and tightening stones, but these are problems you're less likely to have within the first year anyway. My advice to you if you've not used the warranty yet is to do it close to the time in expires. Get your white gold rhodium plated and your stones checked before you can't anymore.
Whiteflash does sell many designer engagement rings like Tiffany, Ritani, Danhov, Verragio and others. Their warranty will be in addition to any brand warranties that come with the setting. Ritani offers a lifetime warranty for some wear and tear for their ring settings.
You do have to pay shipping when sending your ring out for service, and it's $35 + 0.3% of the price of the item.
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.
Like Whiteflash, Blue Nile offers their own premium selection of branded diamonds called the Astor Ideal Collection. These are diamonds that come with both a GIA report and a GemEx report. GemEx reports measure the brilliance of your diamond.
Like Whiteflash's ASET and Idealscope imaging, GemEx reports are added features, not necessities for high quality diamonds.
Blue Nile's Astor collection also includes princess cut and cushion cut diamonds to choose from as well.
I've chosen a diamond from the Astor Ideal collection. My round diamond has a clarity grade of VVS2 and color grade of E. It is a 1.10 carat diamond. The price of it is $23,046.
I've also chosen a similar round diamond from Whiteflash's A Cut Above Collection. Instead of being 1.10 carats, it's 1.07. It also has an AGS grading report, which is just as good as a GIA one. The price of Whiteflash diamond is $12,037.
The price difference between the two is substantial. Blue Nile's diamond even has medium fluorescence and Whiteflash's has faint. The problem with Blue Nile's Astor Ideal collection is with the collection alone, not all of Blue Nile's diamonds altogether. If I were you, I'd most definitely choose a ACA diamond over an Astor Ideal.
Blue Nile's standard Excellent cut diamonds will be less expensive than Whiteflash's regular and ACA diamond inventories.
The other thing you want to think about aside from the exact numerical price tag is all the added features. You have to decide what's valuable to you. If you're wanting to upgrade down the road, Whiteflash's $1 more diamond upgrade policy might be ideal for you than Blue Nile's double the original price.
But maybe you are actually trying to upgrade a ring you purchased at Kay Jewelers, because you've found out that you can better diamonds for better prices online. Say you have your eye on a gorgeous ring at Blue Nile.
Since your Very Good solitaire diamond engagement ring from Kay Jewelers only has a GSI certificate, it's not really worth anything.
Blue Nile's Sell Your Diamond partnership with Circa can turn that into cash toward your ring if you find the amount acceptable.
Neither of these retailers offer a lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance, but these are also examples of valuable features that could save you money over time, but not necessarily immediately.
While there's a lot of customer reviews on the internet at places like the Better Business Bureau, 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.
If you search Blue Nile, you're going to find a LOT of Reddit posts. Blue Nile and James Allen both dominate the engagement rings and diamonds subreddits. However, if you're looking for recent reviews, you might have a hard time finding any.
Most recent posts on Reddit regarding Blue Nile are mainly asking about comparisons between the Astor Ideal and James Allen's True Hearts collection. My thinking in this is because there's already so many posts about Blue Nile, it's easy to search old ones and get all your information.
Blue Nile is often bought from and always comes up as a suggestion when Redditors are asking for best places to buy diamonds from.
The biggest problems from customer posts with Blue Nile is prices. This is most often when compared to James Allen. The other complaints are about the Astor Ideal collection, which we've already said you should stay away from. Keep to their regular ideal collection and you will find much better prices.
Read also: Does Blue Nile have good customer service?
You won't see as many posts on Reddit about Whiteflash reviews as you will Blue Nile, but there's enough to get an idea. Remember that Whiteflash is a specialty retailer that also sells majority of designer engagement rings brands, which all come with a premium.
However, customers who have said they've purchased from Whiteflash have been very happy with their product. I've read many customer's post talking about how attentive and dedicated their customer service is.
It's probably in large part due to the fact that Whiteflash has a smaller consumer pool than Blue Nile. They serve the masses, while Whiteflash serves the elite. Or those looking for an elite diamond.
The biggest complaints about Whiteflash are of course, their pricing. Many people already hate the industry for how expensive diamonds are, so they're not too keen on high prices. There are countless people looking for Whiteflash quality without the premium price.
Our Recommended Pick: Blue Nile
In the battle of Blue Nile vs Whiteflash, we're going to have to go with Blue Nile.
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.
They've got a ton of benefits and features to suit lots of different kinds of people for buying an engagement rings with them. You can easily browse their catalog and check for inclusions while scrolling. With Whiteflash, you've got to click into each individual diamonds.
Whiteflash might have the better diamond upgrade policy, but they don't let you resell your old diamonds toward another purchase. This is unique to Blue Nile.
You can't be too specific when looking at Whiteflash diamonds. So if you had specific color and clarity combos, you might have to rethink them. Blue Nile's has thousands more diamond options than Whiteflash, so it makes it a little easier when trying to find eye clean clarity in a SI diamond.
But even though I think Blue Nile is a better option for the average consumer, it doesn't mean that Whiteflash doesn't have gorgeous diamonds that aren't worth buying.
In fact, if you have the cash and diamond brilliance is important to you, I recommend going to them.
No matter what the recommendation is, you should now have a better idea of who might be the better option for your budget and situation.