Blue Nile vs. Zales: Which Is Better

If you’re looking for diamonds then you must have come across the two big names; Blue Nile and Zales. They have been in the market for quite a long time now. Both of them are based in America but Zales being the veteran enjoys more fame. 

Anyway, buying diamonds is an investment and your investment should be done at the right place. Therefore, I’ll be doing a comprehensive comparison between Blue Nile and Zales so that you can get your hands on the best of diamonds!

About

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is based in Washington and was founded in 1999 as an online jewelry retailer. Blue Nile curates high quality diamonds and all of them are certified by GIA. And so the authenticity of their diamonds isn’t in question.

Blue Nile is popular for its handcrafted engagement rings and has a significant number of satisfied clientele in major countries of the world.

Zales

Zales was founded over 95 years ago as a jewelry, cameras, and appliances retailer. Later on, it was established as a major jewelry retailer and today Zales proudly boasts around 700 retail stores across America.

Zales is very popular for bridal jewelry and diamonds. And they claim to deliver excellent quality at exceptional value. Since 2014, Zales has been functioning under its parent corporation, Signet Jewelers. 

Website Navigation 

Blue Nile

The website of Blue Nile is designed on a contemporary theme. The home page allows you to discover several categories. You can browse through several options in the exclusive collection of your favourite diamond cuts. 

Other categories such as engagement rings, wedding rings, diamonds, diamond jewelry, lab grown diamonds, necklaces, and earrings feature impeccable pieces of jewelry. Blue Nile also offers an option to design your own ring from scratch which is quite exciting for most of us. 

The filters are limited but very helpful. You can filter your search according to price, metal, material, ring style, gemstone, stone shape, band width/fit/finish and more. So overall shopping from Blue Nile’s online store is pretty easy and user friendly. 

Zales 

Well I equally like the website of Zales as well. It is quite easy to browse through all their collections. On the home page, you’ll see some of their major categories such as rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, engagement rings, and watches. 

The filters make shopping easier and less time consuming. You can filter your search according to stone shape/color, metal type/color, price, discounted range, gender, and personalized rings. Moreover, you can also shop for the top rated rings by customers.

Like Blue Nile, Zales also provides an option to design your own ring from scratch. The inventory of Zales, however, is not as versatile as that of Blue Nile. Also, they don’t sell loose diamonds which is a major downside.

All in all, shopping experience from the online store of Blue Nile and Zales is smooth and hassle free. 

Store Location 

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is an online jewelry retailer that is based in Washington. It is an online jewelry store so it has no retail locations anywhere in the US. 

However, I was glad when I found out about their showrooms. It’s a good news for anyone who wants a one on one diamond inspection just to clear out all the doubts. Blue Nile owns many showrooms across 10 different states in the US.

Blue Nile showrooms can be found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Find the exact locations here. 

Zales

Zales, on the other hand, not only has an online store but also physical retail locations. Headquartered in Texas, Zales has a huge network of stores all across the US. 

The retail stores of Zales are spread across 700+ locations which is a huge plus point for them. As a customer of Zales, you don’t have to fret over online orders since you can easily pay a visit to their store and get your hands on the best piece of jewelry. 

Find your nearest Zales store here.

Pricing

To compare the prices of Blue Nile and Zales I customized three engagement rings at both the stores. So let’s see which one provides more value for money.

1 ct. Diamond Ring Blue Nile vs Zales

A 1.01 ct. Diamond ring with Sl1 clarity and I color in a solitaire setting in 14 white gold retails for $5400 at Blue Nile. 

A similar ring at Zales 1 ct. Diamond in a 4 prong solitaire setting, l color and l1 clarity will cost you around $6400. 

And one thing that felt odd was the fact that I didn’t get an option to choose the cut of diamond at Zales while customizing the ring. The diamond cut plays a primary role in its price and the lack of information about it at Zales makes me skeptical about their rings. 

1.5 ct. Diamond Ring Blue Nile vs Zales

A 1.5 ct. Diamond ring, ideal cut, I color, Sl2 clarity, in a 14k white gold solitaire setting retails for $9000 at Blue Nile.

On the other hand, a similar ring at Zales, the cut grade of which I do not know, retails for $12000. Now that’s an extremely significant amount of difference which looks quite unjustified. 

2 ct. Diamond Ring Blue Nile vs Zales

An ideal cut 2 ct. ring, I color, Sl2 clarity, 4 prong solitaire setting in 14k white gold at Blue Niles will cost you around $17500. 

While, if you create a similar ring at Zales with 2ct diamond, I color, and Sl2 clarity, solitaire setting in 14k white gold, it will cost $21900. 

So conclusively, I don’t think I need to mention anything. The price difference between the two is very clear. Zales is crazy expensive and I don’t really understand why because being veteran in the market is not a reason good enough to be expensive. 

Quality 

Blue Nile

The quality of loose diamonds at Blue Nile is impeccable. All their diamonds are certified by GIA which is the most solid proof of their authenticity. 

The jewelry at Blue Nile is also crafted with perfection and attention to detail. Blue Nile is particularly famous for its handcrafted engagement rings. 

However, some complaints have been filed by their customers as well. Majority of these complaints reported some issue with the setting of the diamond or stones. The good thing is I haven’t seen any complaints regarding the quality of diamonds. 

So, your best bet can be buying loose diamonds from Blue Nile and having it set by your local jeweler to avoid any hassle. But overall the reputation is not even that bad. 

Zales

Zales, on the other hand, is not exactly what I expected it to be. First of all, I need to mention the lack of certification with most of their diamonds. Secondly, the diamonds that are certified hold that certification from IGI labs.

Now you must know that the standard of GIA grading is way above that of IGI and what bothers me is the fact that IGI certified rings at Zales are more expensive than GIA certified rings at Blue Nile. 

And apart from that, I haven’t come across a lot of pleasant reviews regarding Zales online. If you really do wanna give them a try, make sure to visit their outlets or retail locations and get a first-hand review of the diamonds and jewelry.

In terms of quality, Blue Nile is clearly a winner. It does give more value for money as well as better quality. 

Shipping 

Location

Since Blue Nile is based in the US, it offers shipping and delivery services all across America. Apart from that, Blue Nile also provides shipping to many countries in the world, but not worldwide shipping though. 

All Blue Nile packages are shipped via FedEx in the US as well as outside of it. You can get your order shipped from Blue Nile if you’re located in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, Virgin Islands, and APO/FPO/DPO addresses. 

Zales, unfortunately, doesn’t offer international shipping. They deliver only to the 48 contiguous US states and nowhere else which is quite a turn off, honestly. 

However, they do offer a lot of convenience for their US based customers. Not only do they offer the usual doorstep delivery, but also they allow you to get your order shipped to your nearest Zales outlet where you wouldn’t have to pay the shipping fee. 

All the Zales orders are shipped via UPS or USPS. 

Charges 

Blue Niles offers free shipping. At least they say so. But there are certain terms and conditions that customers don’t usually know. If your order is below 500 bucks then, then you can only get a free FedEx Ground delivery service. 

The 2 day delivery service is free only for orders above $500. And the overnight delivery is free only if your order is above $1000. And for international orders, customers have to pay additional tax, duty, and custom charges. 

On the contrary, Zales offers free shipping only if the orders are delivered at a Zales retail store. If you want your order delivered at your doorstep within 2 days, the shipping will cost you around $7. The next day delivery service charges are $22.

And if you want your orders delivered on Saturdays only, then a service fee of $32 will be charged. Check out the details about their shipping services here. 

Return Policy 

Blue Nile

Blue Nile delivers excellent quality and yet they offer a 30 day return policy to fully satisfy their customers. So you don’t have to worry if your purchase is not up to your expectations. Just contact Blue Nile or proceed to online returns on their website if your order is below $2000 and you can easily return or exchange your item.

The return policy doesn’t apply to personalized, engraved or damaged/used items. Customers from Australia, Canada, and US can enjoy free returns.

Zales

Zales offer a very convenient and customer friendly return policy, I must say. Besides the usual 30 day return policy, Zales offer a 60 day exchange period. 

In addition to that, orders without the receipt are still eligible for exchanges or conversion to gift cards. While online orders without receipt can be returned by showing confirmation email of your purchase. And I am actually really impressed by this amazing return policy. 

You can return your order at any Zales outlet or by mail, whatever you find convenient. 

The edge unquestionably goes to Zales because of their customer friendly return policy. Blue Nile’s return policy is the usual one so there’s nothing exceptional that I need to mention! 

Customer Support 

Blue Nile has a tremendous customer service. While I do agree that quite a few people have received jewelry that didn’t meet their expectations but what helped them was the customer support of Blue Nile. 

They’re very considerate towards the problems of their customers in most cases. Also, you can contact non-commissioned diamond experts at Blue. You can contact them via email, call, or live chat. Get in touch with Blue Nile here.

As opposed to that, I was really put off by the below average customer service at Zales. Well at least that’s what I’ve learnt from all the research. I hope your experience goes well though. 

But as far as I know, Zales really needs to work on their customer support. They also do offer one on one chats with diamond experts. Contact Zales

Blue Nile vs Zales Customer Reviews

Blue Nile has a significantly better reputation than Zales online. Blue Nile has a considerably huge amount of satisfied customers from around the world and the reviews are a proof of that. There are mixed reviews about Blue Nile, like every other online store has. However, unfortunately the negative reviews about Zales outnumber the positive reviews. 

Anyhow, let’s check out some of the reviews about both of them

A customer satisfied with their purchase from Blue Nile:

While someone not really happy with their quality

While this person fortunately had a good experience at Zales

As opposed to that, an utterly disappointed customer of Zales sharing her experience:



Final Verdict:

Well, in my opinion Blue Nile gives more value for money. It offers a better inventory than Zales and has exceptional quality diamonds. Their diamonds are certified by GIA while the diamonds at Zales are certified by IGI. 

In addition, Blue Nile offers shipping to many countries in the world unlike Zales, and has maintained a better reputation overall. However, the availability of 700 retail locations across the US is a major plus point for Zales as well. 

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