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Bottom Line Recommendation:
Blue Nile is one of our top recommendations for buying diamonds online thanks to their massive inventory, competitive prices and excellent customer service. While their Astor collection isn’t for everyone, it’s worth considering if you’re looking for an exceptionally well-cut diamond.
Blue Nile’s Astor collection, often marketed as Astor by Blue Nile™, consists of diamonds cut to maximize brilliance. The collection includes some beautiful, very well-cut diamonds and is worth considering if you’re looking for the very best.
You can view the Astor collection online here by selecting “Astor ideal” when searching for loose diamonds with Blue Nile.
Other options worth considering for exceptionally well-cut diamonds include James Allen’s True Hearts collection and Brian Gavin Diamonds. For personalized help, you can also contact us to talk directly to our diamond experts.
If you’ve read our content on the four Cs of diamonds, you’ll likely know that we’re big believers in choosing a diamond based on its cut quality.
Cut is exceptionally important for a beautiful diamond. A well-cut diamond is vastly more visually impressive than a poorly cut one, with the cut quality masking imperfections in the diamond and giving it greater brilliance and fire.
Diamonds that are extremely well cut can also look larger, thanks to the effects of the stone’s cut on its proportions and brightness.
To make finding an extremely well-cut diamond easier, online diamond vendors have introduced their own ranges of premium diamonds that are cut for optimal brilliance. Blue Nile’s collection is called Astor by Blue Nile and includes only the highest quality diamonds in their collection.
Below, we’ve explained what Astor by Blue Nile is, the criteria that are used to select diamonds in the collection, and how Astor diamonds differ in quality from the other diamonds available from Blue Nile.
We’ve also given our opinion on when a premium collection such as Astor by Blue Nile is worth it when purchasing a diamond.
Astor by Blue Nile is, as mentioned above, Blue Nile’s exclusive collection of diamonds cut for optimal brilliance.
Previously, Blue Nile sold its premium diamonds as “Blue Nile Signature diamonds.” The Astor collection essentially replaces Blue Nile’s Signature collection and uses the same strict criteria regarding cut quality.
Currently, the Astor collection includes diamonds in three shapes: the round brilliant cut, cushion cut and princess cut.
If you’re using Blue Nile to search for diamonds, you can narrow your selection to display Astor diamonds by choosing the “Astor Ideal” option in Blue Nile’s sliding cut quality selector.
Blue Nile introduced the Astor range to make it easier for their customers to find exceptionally well-cut diamonds. About one out of every 1,000 diamonds in Blue Nile’s inventory is classified as Astor Ideal, meaning only a tiny percent of diamonds are picked for the collection.
From a quality perspective, Astor Ideal diamonds differ from the other diamonds in Blue Nile’s collection in several ways:
Finally, Astor diamonds are registered with Gemprint — a fingerprint-like system for diamonds that can often help with insurance costs.
If you’ve read our review of Hearts on Fire diamonds you’ll be aware that, in general, we’re not fans of branded diamonds. Most of the time, branded diamonds exist to support a higher profit margin and offer poor value for money.
Astor by Blue Nile is a little different. Instead of creating a gimmicky special cut to market their diamonds, Blue Nile are simply selecting the highest quality diamonds in their huge inventory and differentiating them from the rest of their selection.
The idea behind this is excellent — make it faster and easier for customers searching for a very well-cut diamond to find it without having to spend hours searching and reading GIA reports.
We like it for several reasons:
First, Blue Nile is an excellent diamond vendor, and a huge part of their appeal is their absolutely massive inventory. As we’ve covered in our Blue Nile review, Blue Nile’s business model allows them to maintain a huge inventory on very low margins.
By searching for Astor by Blue Nile diamonds, you’re essentially skipping the process of having to screen diamonds for quality on your own. Every diamond in the collection has an exceptional level of cut quality, meaning you can shop with total confidence that you’re getting the best.
Second, Blue Nile’s criteria for selecting diamonds for its Astor collection is very strict, meaning the diamonds that are available definitely live up to the standards you’d expect for a high quality, premium collection.
For example, this 1.08 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, Astor ideal round brilliant cut diamond has an absolutely stunning appearance.
This 1.01 carat, H color, VS1 clarity diamond also has a stunning cut that provides unmatched brilliance.
To put into perspective how selective Blue Nile are for Astor diamonds, consider the following — at the time of publishing this guide, Blue Nile’s inventory includes more than 99,000 ideal round diamonds and just under 200 Astor ideal round diamonds.
Third, the certification provided with Astor diamonds is excellent. As we’ve covered in our guide to diamond certification, the GIA and AGS are the diamond industry’s two most well-respected grading entities, and their reports are highly accurate and reliable.
|Astor by Blue Nile||Regular Blue Nile Inventory|
|Exceptionally well-cut diamonds consisting of the top 0.1% of Blue Nile’s inventory.||Full inventory of Blue Nile diamonds, ranging from “Good” to “Ideal” in cut quality.|
|Limited to round, princess and cushion cut diamonds only.||Available in 10 different diamond shapes, including all of the most popular options.|
|Slight price premium compared to ideal cut diamonds. Generally, about 25 to 30% more expensive than similar ideal cut stones.||Generally more affordable than diamonds in the Astor collection, although price can vary based on cut quality, shape and other factors.|
|All diamonds come with a GIA or AGS certificate, as well as a light performance certificate from GemEx.||All diamonds come with a GIA or AGS certificate only.|
|A good option if you’re looking for a diamond with exceptional cut quality and don’t mind paying a premium.||A better option if you’re looking for a diamond that looks attractive but offers optimal value for money.|
Although Blue Nile’s Astor collection isn’t our top recommendation for most people looking to buy a diamond, it’s an option that’s worth considering if you’re searching for an extremely well-cut diamond and can find it at the right price.
The key advantage of the Astor collection is that it lets you look straight at the very best of the best — the highest quality diamonds in Blue Nile’s extremely large inventory.
As with other collections of diamonds with extremely high cut quality, you’ll pay a premium for an Astor collection diamond compared to an ideal or excellent cut diamond from the standard Blue Nile inventory. However, if you’re looking for the best from Blue Nile’s massive range, this small premium is often worth it.
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