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Brilliant Earth is the go-to place for ethically sourced fine jewelry and diamond sourcing, with an inventory covering a range of responsible niche products and unique settings and designs. But is this all a marketing ploy or are they really that committed to providing ethical jewelry?
In this comprehensive review, we cover everything you need to know about purchasing diamonds and fine jewelry from Brilliant Earth. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of shopping with them, what they offer, and whether they’re worth the money.
Quick Overview – Brilliant Earth Pros and Cons
What we like about Brilliant Earth:
- Great inventory with large selection of natural and lab-created gemstones
- One of the largest online stores for high-quality lab-grown diamonds
- Certificate of origin provided for diamonds through blockchain tracking
- Wide range of unique designs and settings
- 30 showrooms throughout the US
- Clear and easy-to-navigate website with specific search filters
- High-quality, classy, and unique packaging
- Free shipping both ways and free resizing within 60 days
- Lifetime warranty and upgrade policies
- Friendly and supportive customer service
Some things that could be improved:
- Not all diamonds have images/videos
- Consistently changing stock, nothing stays listed for too long
How Are They Different to Other Retailers?
Founded in 2005, Brilliant Earth aims to create a more conscientious, transparent, and sustainable jewelry industry. In fact, the company has been credited for creating a market for ethically-sourced jewelry and shining a spotlight on such issues.
In line with their values, Brilliant Earth only offers products that have been ethically sourced, including recycled metals, lab-created diamonds, refurbishing jewelry, and sustainable packaging.
The company guarantees that their diamonds are:
- Beyond Conflict-FreeTM
- Free of Human Rights Abuses
- Harmful Environmental Impacts Reduction
- Humane Labor Practices
Brilliant Earth makes an effort to make positive contributions to community development, through the Brilliant Earth foundation which started in 2021 and has given over $518,000 in 2022. They support fair trade in artisanal mining, community development, human rights protection, and child labor prevention, education and training, and environmental restoration such as rehabilitating land that has been destroyed by unregulated mining.
In addition, the company has allied with various organizations focused on principled practices. These include the Diamond Development Initiative, which works to improve conditions for small-scale miners worldwide. Brilliant Earth is also a certified and audited member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, an organization that prides itself on top-notch standards for jewelry.
They are also pushing for changes in certification in the diamond industry and leading by example. With rigorous standards of sourcing, verification and certification. With all this, the company has established a reputation for being transparent and dedicated to addressing common issues in the jewelry industry.
Are Brilliant Earth’s Diamonds More Expensive Than Other Retailers?
The short answer to this question is: Not really. Here’s why.
There has been some criticism that Brilliant Earth’s diamonds are more expensive than other retailers, and that their ethical stance is a marketing gimmick just to jack up prices. The argument goes that while they may have an edge when it comes to offering ethically-sourced natural diamonds, they lose that edge when it comes to lab-created diamonds. Because all lab-created diamonds are ethical, so why should you pay a higher price at Brilliant Earth, when you can buy an equally ethical lab-created diamond elsewhere at a lower price?
However, when we compared their lab-created diamonds to other popular retailers, we found that Brilliant Earth’s pricing was actually really quite competitive. For example, take a look at this 1 carat lab-created diamond by Brilliant Earth and compare it with this diamond of similar specs by James Allen. The prices are almost the same, but Brilliant Earth’s diamond comes in a little cheaper.
Ok, but what about natural diamonds? Let’s compare a 1 carat round natural diamond from Brilliant Earth with this similar natural diamond. This time, Brilliant Earth’s diamond is around $100 more, but the diamond description tells us its a Canadian diamond, which are known to be more expensive. The other diamond doesn’t have any origin information.
So what do we think of all this? Brilliant Earth has very competitive pricing and a wide range of products that are ethically sourced. They know where their diamonds come from and they can trace them back to the source. Based on this comparison and search, we can’t say that their diamonds are over-priced.
Where Do Brilliant Earth Source Their Diamonds?
Brilliant Earth offers Beyond Conflict-Free diamonds and stones, sourcing their diamonds from countries such as Canada, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia. They audit, track and verify their diamonds’ origins and provide customers with this certification. Their suppliers can track and segregate diamonds by origin. What’s more, they only work with suppliers who follow internationally recognized labor, trade, and environmental standards.
You can find information about the diamond’s origins in the Diamond Details section. You can also filter the diamonds based on country of origin in the advanced search filter. In comparison, most other diamond retailers don’t know the origins of their diamonds, unless it’s from a country like Canada.
But what we like about Brilliant Earth is that they are committed to ensuring their diamonds are ethically sourced. They’re not just talking the talk, but their actions show that they’re also walking the walk. One example is that they were one of the first jewelers to offer block-chain tracing of their diamonds throughout the mining, cutting, and polishing process. There are thousands of block chain enabled diamonds searchable on the website.
What About Brilliant Earth’s Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Brilliant Earth is currently one of the largest online vendors of lab-grown diamonds, and they were also one of the first who recognized the value of these synthetic stones. Lab-grown diamonds cost 15-20% less than natural diamonds because it’s not nearly as expensive to make them as it is to mine them. This makes these diamonds not only humanely sourced, but also a far better and more sustainable practice.
Are Their Metals Sustainable?
When we talk about ethical jewelry, we tend to focus just on diamonds. Movies like Blood Diamond have highlighted the issues that diamond mining is mired in. But what about the metals we use?
Brilliant Earth acquires 100% of their gold, platinum, and silver, from recycled precious metals. They make use of recycled jewelry, industrial products, and components from electronics.
Precious metals maintain their integrity through endless recycling cycles, ensuring that creating sustainable jewelry doesn’t compromise quality or beauty.
So, not only will people not notice the earth-friendly make up, but it will last for a lifetime.
Brilliant Earth’s Sustainable Packaging
Brilliant Earth scores high with their unique, creative, and classy ring box! It is not the typical kind we have come to expect from most retailers. Why is it different?
Well, the gorgeous ring box is made from wood sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests. These are responsibly managed to protect the forests for future generations. The packaging is also 100% recycled and sustainable to reduce carbon emissions.
We also really like that all ring orders over $1000 with diamonds or gemstones include a biodegradable and non-toxic jewelry cleaner.
How User-Friendly Is the Brilliant Earth Website?
The Brilliant Earth website is easy to use and dynamic. The search interface is convenient and provides many filters to narrow results. There are sections devoted to engagement rings, wedding rings, jewelry collections and jewelry education. You can sort by skin tone, recycling, setting, carat size, price, and many other features.
When using the advance search function, you can choose the country of origin for whichever gemstone you’re after. There is also the option of choosing between recycled, used or lab-grown diamonds obtained from secondary sources. The focus of the education section is broader than most other vendors. It gives detailed and easy-to-digest information on a range of jewelry-related topics.
However, while all this is great, we found the images and videos of some of the competition to be on a higher level than Brilliant Earth’s. On the flip side, Brilliant Earth offers more information about their diamond.
What Products Do Brilliant Earth Offer?
Brilliant Earth offers their wide range of niche products at any one of the 30 showrooms across the United States or direct from their website.
- Natural Diamonds: Brilliant Earth is very particular about the mined diamonds they sell and only .01% of the world’s diamonds can pass their criteria on quality and ethics. There are about 115,000 mined gemstones in their inventory at the time of this writing.
- Lab-grown (Cultured) Diamonds: Brilliant Earth has one of the largest inventories for lab-grown diamonds and is a go-to place for anyone interested in mined diamond alternatives. They have about 235,000 lab diamonds currently listed on their website.
- Colored Diamonds: You can also find natural and lab-created colored diamonds in blues, yellows, greens, and pinks.
- Settings: Brilliant Earth has a range of settings, gemstones, and metals for engagement and wedding rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and even men’s jewelry. You can mix-and-match designs or try out your jewelry in a temporary setting for 30 days. They also carry an unusual selection of vintage and antique style settings to give engagement rings classic appeal.
- Gemstones: Brilliant Earth is not just a diamond dealer, they also offer sapphires, emeralds, aquamarines, morganites, and moissanites. These are gorgeous alternatives to the traditional diamond engagement ring.
- Diamond and Gemstone Jewelry: While some people prefer to design their own jewelry, there are large arrays of pre-made fine jewelry available. You can find rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Many of these are ready to ship, so you can have a beautiful piece in no time.
How Good is Brilliant Earth’s Images and Videos?
At the time of writing, 90% of Brilliant Earth’s natural diamonds and 80% of their lab-created stones have images and videos to accompany their stock. For diamonds that don’t have photos and videos, they list all the details clearly but only show a diagram and sample photo for most gemstones. If you want to see the actual diamond when searching, ensure that you select the ‘Real View Available’ tab to filter the diamonds with real images.
If you like the features of a diamond but require more support for the sale, you can ask customer support for any assistance or guidance. They also provide comprehensive diamond verification, certification, light details/ASET maps upon request, and offer blockchain enabled diamonds for transparency.
What About Brilliant Earth’s Customer Service and Care?
Brilliant Earth provides a personalized customer service experience. When we got in touch with them, we found the sales representatives to be friendly and not pushy. They assist customers with every aspect of the purchase and they’re also quite knowledgeable. Because they have 24/7 customer chat service, you can contact them regardless of where in the world you’re located.
Brilliant Earth’s online customer service experience is as close to walking into a brick-and-mortar store and having a chat with the friendly salesperson there. Their showrooms are equally as customer-friendly and accessible.
The sales reps also take extra pains to accommodate your requirements to ensure that your engagement ring remains a surprise.
What Services Do Brilliant Earth Offer?
- Shipping and Returns: For customers in the US, Canada and Australia, Brilliant Earth offers free shipping both ways through FedEx. So if, by any chance, you find that you have to return you ring, they will cover the cost as long as you send it back within 30 days. However, there is a 10% goods and services tax for Canadian and Australian shoppers. Also, they will not accept returns on personalized or engraved items.
- Payment Options: Brilliant Earth gives customers flexible payment options. There is the Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage credit card, which gives you 12-month interest free if paid in full within that period (only for US customers). Bank wiring is available for any order over $500. If you choose this option, you are eligible to receive a 1.5% discount on the total price of your purchase (US and Canada). There are also lay-away options to give you a chance to make monthly installments (US and international customers). You can also go with their Affirm Financing program too. Of course, you can always use your standard credit card, PayPal or Apple Pay.
- Lifetime Upgrade Policy: For any loose stone purchased, you can get an upgrade at anytime. But, this applies only to mined colorless diamonds and it must be at least 50% more in value. Also, you have to ensure that you have all the original documents and the stone must be saleable.
- Lifetime Warranty: Their lifetime warranty covers all manufacturing faults, which should give you peace of mind. So, when you receive your piece, you can have it repaired free of charge if the fault is due to manufacturing defects. Plus, they offer an extended warranty service plan for added protection. This includes regular inspections and cleanings along with repairs.
- Complimentary Resizing: Within 60 days of purchase, you can get one free ring resizing with free shipping. This is very convenient and takes worry about the ring’s size and fit. Remember, you can also order a free ring sizer from their website. They send this to you directly.
Does Brilliant Earth Have Showrooms?
Currently, Brilliant Earth has 30 showrooms throughout the United States. You can make an appointment to browse their collections of rings and to chat with their jewelry experts about any questions you may have. So, if you tend to prefer an in-store experience, this will tick that box for you.
Should You Shop at Brilliant Earth?
So, is Brilliant Earth the right retailer for you? All things considered, we believe they’re an excellent place to take your diamond and jewelry search.
For one thing, Brilliant Earth’s prices are competitive and comparable with other diamond giants in the same space. They also have a range of stylish and high-quality settings and jewelry, so you will have lots of options to choose the right jewelry piece for you.
What’s more, most customers today care about the impact of their purchases on the environment, so knowing where their diamonds come from and how their jewelry is made offers them greater transparency and peace of mind. No one wants an engagement ring with a diamond that was mined through human exploitation or to fund conflicts that kill and displace people, right? Brilliant Earth offers this information, which is excellent.
The company is constantly evolving and moving with the times in terms of trends and technology, but their core values have remained the same from the start – providing ethical jewelry at reasonable prices.
With all that said, would we recommend Brilliant Earth? Yes. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out their site, and browse through their products to see if it’s the right fit for you.
Brilliant Earth offers beautiful and unique jewelry that you can trust. They go through rigorous standards to ensure they derive every aspect of their jewelry from ethical and sustainable sources. You will have to be patient and work with the sales reps to find what you need, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Click here to browse diamonds at Brilliant Earth.