Despite that diamonds are a very expensive and luxurious commodity a lot of people buy or desire to buy them, and this is because they are magnificently beautiful and unique. And because of the high price tag of this precious gem, you should want to know if the diamond you are considering buying is worth the price that they are going for.
So, this overview is going to give you some information about the Blue Nile Astor collection, if they are worth the hype and if you should be pulling out your credit card or cheque-book to buy one.
Before we cover Astor collection in details, let’s see:
What Is Blue Nile?
Blue Nile is one of the biggest brand names in the jewelry business, they own and sell some of the most beautiful gems in the world and this is why they are an A-list jewelry maker. They have a wide range of diamond collection (actually they compete with JamesAllen on having the largest loose diamonds collection, somewhere around 200000 diamonds) and these diamonds are certified to be of quality Cut and Clarity standards.
They have been in business for around 20 years and in this time they have built a great reputation for offering the most unique and rare pieces of jewelry and diamonds. Blue Nile’s new Astor signature promises to live up to their reputation and then some so we will be placing it under the magnifying glass to see for ourselves if this is true.
Astor by Blue Nile™ Diamonds
Before September 2017, Blue Nile had a collection named Blue Nile Signature™, the collection claimed to have Perfect Proportions & Exceptional Symmetry which maximize brilliance, but that collection didn’t sell well as it seems for them, so:
In September of 2017, Blue Nile announced that the introduction of a new diamond collection that would be known as Astor by Blue Nile™. Sparkle and a unique cut seem to be the main characteristics that make this new diamond collection stand out.
If you go on the Blue Nile website to check out this collection, the Blue Nile Astor is advertised to be “exceptionally rare and extraordinary” and that are “cut for optimal brilliance”.
Cut quality is a very important factor to consider when curating diamonds because it is responsible for the sparkle of the diamond as we covered in many articles on our website, this images shows you why a very good & excellent cuts will give you the most sparkle of any diamond.
Similar to True Hearts™ by JamesAllen, the Astor diamonds are available in 3 different shapes; Round shape (which the most common shape of jewelry diamonds), Princess shape, and a new Cushion cut shape.
For more information about diamonds shape, please refer to our Diamond Shape article where we’ve covered +10 of the most famous diamonds shapes, with illustrating images.
BlueNile doesn’t provide much information about their Astor collection, and on which base they’ve considered them to be selected, but generally speaking, they claim that out of 1000 diamonds, only 1 posses the potential to be Astor, they also guarantees that any Astor diamond will have a great sparkle & brilliance.
Interesting fact: While writing this article, there is currently 3593 Astor diamonds on BlueNile, out of 134514 diamonds, which means that 2% (20 in 1000) of their collection is Astor-graded, yes we know they didn’t claim that 1 of 1000 of “their” diamonds is Astor, but the percentage is really interesting :).
One of the tricks that Blue Nile uses to add more credibility to their Astor collection is that they are all certified by two labs: GIA & Gemex, let’s take a deeper look here.
When Blue Nile mentions the biggest certification lab (GIA) in the Astor context, they are very cautious & tricky, they want to convince you that these diamonds are officially recognized by big certification labs, but if you look on the official Astor page on the site, you will see that they mention the terms certified / assessed / curated / analyzed.
This is true, these diamonds are inspected & certified by GIA, like any diamond on earth that goes to GIA labs for certification, but does the GIA certificate shows the word “Astor” on it?
JamesAllen is not far away either from this, as we’ve seen the very same case when we thoroughly reviewed TrueHearts (Hearts & Arrows) Diamonds of JA , they want to convince you that your diamond is certified as an exceptional diamond by GIA or AGS (TrueHearts) or by GIA (Astor), but the most you can get is “Excellent” on the Cut section on the GIA certificate.
Two main things to mention here:
1- Gemex certificate DOES include & confirm an Astor diamond, but Gemex is not as reputable as GIA or AGS, it’s not even an industry standard, so you can’t count much on this.
2- JamesAllen is more transparent, the terms they use are more straight-forward that Blue Nile, JamesAllen claims “A certificate from one of the world’s top grading laboratories – the GIA or AGS – accompanies each Hearts and Arrows diamond, verifying its superior quality” and that’s it, while Blue Nile played it well.
So rest-assure that your diamond GIA certificate will not have any indication about this, period.
Most Important Characteristics of Diamonds
Before we go any further let us take a look at some of the characteristics of diamonds and how they affect the value and price of the diamond, so this way, when we put these characteristics against any Astor diamond, we can estimate the value it adds to the diamond:
1. Inclusions: The process of diamond formation involves it going through very high amounts of heat and pressure underneath the earth’s surface. This extreme heat and pressure cause the diamonds to have some imperfection in its structure that isn’t noticeable by the naked eye.
This flaws are beneath the diamond’s surface and affects the diamond’s clarity (when they are on the surface they are known as blemishes). Almost all diamonds have inclusions in varying numbers (but in some very rare cases some diamonds are flawless which means they have zero inclusions) and so this characteristic is important in determining its value.
2. Cut: Most diamond experts and curators consider a diamonds cut to be the most important characteristic to consider when grading diamonds because it determines the sparkle of the diamond. A diamond’s cut is simply referring to how a diamond is cut from its rough form to its finished form which determines the sparkle and beauty of the diamond.
The proportion, symmetry of the diamond’s facets and how they are polished determines how light will bounce off it and as previously mentioned would ultimately determine its brilliance.
3. Clarity: As previously highlighted, the formative stage of a diamond causes it to have some internal flaws in its structure and may also have some impurities. The intensity or size of the flaws or impurities is useful in the determination of its clarity grading.
The clarity grading scale goes from; FL/IF which denotes Flawless/internally flawless, VVS1 and VVS2 showing very very slightly included, VS1/VS2 showing very slightly included,SI1/SI2 indicating slightly included, to I1 which indicates included. FL/IF being, of course, the highest clarity grade and I1 being the lowest. It goes without saying that the higher the grade the higher the value of the diamond, but not necessarily the best investment as we explained in our article: What is the Best Diamond Clarity?
4. Color: Color is one the 4Cs and another very important characteristic that determines the value of the diamond because the more colorless a diamond is the more valuable it is. The diamond color scale starts from D-Z and D being the most colorless and Z having the most color.
How Expensive is an Astor Diamond?
Before judging any Astor diamond, it’s essential to have an idea about the difference in price between a very good cut diamond, and an Astor one.
For this, we will compare between diamonds with the following characteristics, but the first filter is within Astor collection, and the next one is with Very Good cut:
Carat: 1 to 1.1 Carat
We selected color, clarity & shape because they have the widest collection available. Based on the above selection, we’ve found 10 Astor diamonds ranging from $8600 to $9800 as you see here:
Now let’s do the same exact search on Very Good cut diamonds, we can get 75 diamonds ranging from $5450 to $7250:
So, we are talking about 30%-50% increase in price when we compare a Very Cut to an Astor diamond.
Does an Astor worth the price? Let’s see.
Does Blue Nile Astor Diamond Worth it?
Are the Astor by Blue Nile diamonds truly excellent and of a unique cut as advertised on their website?
Based on what we’ve seen above, an Astor diamond is as basic as a “Diamond with an super excellent cut”, our personal opinion is that if you get a Very Good cut, you will have an amazing sparkle, and if you have an extra budget over an averaged-price V.Good cut diamond, you better spend that amount on other important factors, as Cut is not on the only thing that determines a diamond quality, yes it’s the most important, but not the only one!
We highly recommend spending your money (after getting V.Good cut) on Carat, Clarity, and Color.
Reviews From the Web for Astor Collection
As the collection is relatively new (it became popular in 2018), there is not enough reviews on the web from professionals or real customers who bought them.
Honestly, we didn’t try them ourselves, but we’ve seen many people who claimed to have an excellent diamond when they purchased an Astor, but getting an excellent diamond can be achieved by getting an excellent cut diamond (or even v.good) without the need to pay more for Astor diamond.
Final Word on Astor
Spend your money on other important characteristics, period.
Note: Buying a diamond can be a nerve-racking experience. If you want my expert advice on buying the best diamond just drop me a note and tell me what you are looking for and how much you want to spend and I will get back to you with my personal recommendations for a beautiful stone that fits in your budget. This is a FREE service, doesn’t cost you a dime extra, (in fact I am sure that it almost every case I can save you lots of money) and there is absolutely no commitment.