Blue Nile (Est. 1999) began as an online jewelry retailer when it was formally established in 1999. Its original incarnation began in 1995 when Doug Williams of Williams & Son Inc. of Seattle started a website to sell diamonds online. Mark C. Vadon, then a management consultant at Bain & Company, purchased a diamond engagement ring from the site in 1998. In 1999, Vadon raised $6 million to purchase 85% of the company and improve the website. The company name was changed to Blue Nile in November 1999
When Blue Nile was founded, it was with the idea that the diamond and engagement ring business was ready for innovation. Blue Nile did, in fact, revolutionize the industry with its online business model making it possible to shop for extraordinary, high-quality diamonds at great value online.
The firm built a team of passionate, non-commissioned diamond and jewelry experts who concentrated on customer needs and wants. It revolutionized what it meant to buy engagement rings and exquisite jewelry by cutting out the middleman and passing on the savings to the customer. Simultaneously it offered exceptional customer service and the highest quality diamonds and gemstones.
Customers can create their own customized engagement ring with the Build Your Own Ring® feature. It lets buyers choose the style of ring setting and precious metal, select diamonds, and finish the design with personal details like engraving.
In addition to the large engagement ring selection, there is also a large assortment of jewelry styles to celebrate any occasion. The company’s pieces offer hundreds of designs for every taste and style featuring diamonds, pearls or gemstones in the buyer’s choice of platinum, gold or silver. Some bestsellers include brilliant diamond stud earrings, wear-forever tennis bracelets, and diamond pavé-set eternity rings.
The company’s selection of diamonds includes Round, Cushion, Princess, Oval, Emerald, Pear, Asscher, Heart, Radiant, and Marquise all of which can be incorporated into engagement rings, wedding rings, and jewelry
Women’s rings include a selection of wedding rings featuring fine diamonds, gemstones, platinum, and gold. From classic women's bands to show-stopping diamond eternity rings, each style epitomizes exceptional craftsmanship and timeless design. Women’s eternity rings feature endless rows of breathtaking, perfectly-matched diamonds and colored gemstones showcased in fine platinum, 18k or 14k gold.
The Platinum collection of women's platinum wedding bands represent strength, unity, and purity and can be fashioned in Rose, Yellow, or White Gold.
Men’s rings can be created in Platinum, Titanium, Tungsten, Rose, Yellow, or White Gold. The men's jewelry collection includes classic cuff links, money clips, and more. Many styles are ungradable for a personalized touch.
The company also creates designer rings: The Blue Nile Studio line of fine jewelry is an exceptional collection crafted by industry-leading designers and inspired by their years of experience and personal reflection. These pieces are defined by Blue Nile's classic style, with the highest regard to quality that results in everyday elegance.
Blue Nile’s designers include Monique Lhuillier whose wedding rings and jewelry are inspired by the intricate details of her bridal creations. Hints of lace, florals and delicate craftsmanship are found throughout her collection. Other designers are ZAC Posen Wedding Rings and Bella Vaughan,
In an article that appeared in Geek Wire in November 2018, it was reported that while Blue Nile is primarily focused on e-commerce, it had six brick-and-mortar locations in malls in Bellevue, Wash.; Portland, Oregon, Tyson’s Corner, Virginia; Salem New Hampshire, plus White Plains and Garden City, in New York. The article further stated that these are not typical stores since potential customers cannot actually buy jewelry there. They are showrooms for products Blue Nile sells online, giving customers a chance to try them out before purchasing digitally.
In August 2019, Blue Nile announced the appointment of Sean Kell as CEO. He had most recently served as CEO at A Place for Mom, America’s largest senior living referral service. Kell succeeded Eric Anderson, who served as the company’s interim CEO since January 2019.
In December 2019, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Blue Nile was implementing a plan to open between 50 and 100 brick-and-mortar “web rooms” over the next five years. At present, the company has only five showrooms. This expansion could double the retailer’s employee base to about 1,000 people.
Blue Nile CEO Sean Kell told the Business Journal that customers like the showrooms. “A lot of people love to see, feel and touch the product,” Kell said.
Blue Nile officially became a private company in February 2018 and offers thousands of GIA and AGSL certified diamonds. It also provides guidance and education to help customers choose the perfect one. Blue Nile engagement rings have been a part of over 500,000 proposals and has been named a Forbes Favorite Online Jeweler every year since 2000.