There are many Brilliant Earth reviews out there but this gives you an in-depth analysis.
In this review, we shall look at:
- Who is Brilliant Earth?
- What makes Brilliant Earth unique?
- What to like and not like
- Are their diamonds worth the price?
- And a lot more!
Let’s start, shall we?
Brilliant Earth Review
What is Brilliant Earth?
Brilliant Earth is one of the most popular online diamond retailers that carry both loose diamonds and ring settings. The have a collection of lab-grown diamonds and colorless natural diamonds. Natural fancy-colored diamonds and lab created colored diamonds are available too.
They also have fashion rings, wedding rings, loose gemstones, and fine jewelry.
Every customer is sure to find something in this store. Let’s start with the review.
Brilliant Earth was started in 2005 and boast of the title of the leading store when it comes to ethical diamonds. The idea to start the retailer was coined by Eric Grossberg and Beth Gerstein who were not pleased with the fact that there was little to no transparency in the diamond and jewelry market and industry.
Although most of Brilliant Earth’s sales are done online, they also have show rooms that you can visit to view any ring settings or diamonds that you want to buy in person. There are 14 showrooms spread around major cities in the USA including Denver and San Francisco.
You can book an appointment virtually or in-store.
What Makes Brilliant Earth Unique?
Brilliant Earth uses a targeted marketing campaign business strategy. They target the upcoming generations that is more considerate about the environment and ethics. They do this by offering blockchain diamonds, lab grown diamonds, and recycled diamonds.
It is almost common knowledge that the new generation is snubbing natural diamonds, they have become more concerned about mined diamonds. Conflict diamonds refers to diamonds that have been mined and the proceeds used to fund civil wars in some countries.
But some millennials get it wrong, you can have a natural diamond that is conflict-free. There are ethical diamonds available.
The Kimberley Process was developed to ensure that diamond retailers sell natural diamonds that pass through this channel. Diamond deposits are found in a few areas but people still want proof that the diamonds do not contribute to civil wars.
All the online diamond retailer recommended by Twirl Weddings guides sell conflict-free diamonds or synthetic diamonds.
Brilliant Earth is unique because they sell conflict-free diamonds and are committed to a “Beyond Conflict -Free” approach.
The slogan enables Brilliant Earth to source diamonds that are in no way associated with environment problems, human rights infringement and other ethical practices. This store goes into the details of how the diamond’s history.
The Kimberley process ensures that all the diamonds come from conflict-free areas but does not state anything about the history of the diamond.
Brilliant Earth focuses on conflict free gemstones, giving back to society and offering transparency to customers concerned about ethical practices.
Block chain stores have a system where they track the diamond through every phase of manufacturing for purposes of transparency.
Recycled diamonds refer to diamonds that have already been used, re-cut and renovated into a new Brilliant Earth diamond to be used for engagement rings.
They also stock lab grown colorless and fancy colored diamonds that are conflict-free. However, lab grown diamonds are not as safe for the environment as people may think.
Brilliant Earth’s diamonds are supplied from Botswana, Canada, and Russia. Most stores look for diamond supplies from Russia and Canada.
Shopping Experience at Brilliant Earth
So, how do you think the shopping experience will be like when you buy diamonds from Brilliant Earth. The shopping experience is easy but varies depending on the jewelry item you are buying.
1. Picking loose diamonds
Brilliant Earth has a huge collection of loose diamonds you can pick from to create a ring. You can create your engagement ring or diamond ring.
The colored gemstones include lab and real sapphires (treated and untreated), aquamarine, emeralds, morganite, lab rubies and moissanite.
The diamond selection includes natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds, natural fancy-colored diamonds, and lab-colored diamonds.
The largest collection is the largest of all with about 100,000 stones of different grades and shapes. There is a collection of 20,000+ 1-carat diamonds.
There is no 3600 viewing technique for the diamonds, but you have enough diamonds to choose from.
Similar to the shopping experience in other online stores, you can filter the selection. In the filters, you get information about the origin of the diamond, block chain diamonds, and recycled diamonds.
If you want a round diamond, you are better of keeping away from Good cut or Fair cut diamonds. I am still trying to figure out why Brilliant Earth has these diamonds in the first place.
On top of the excellent and ideal cut diamonds, they also have super ideal cut diamonds.
There are no I clarity diamonds on Brilliant Earth’s website, their diamonds have high quality clarity. This is a contrast from mega retailers like Jared and Kay that have many I clarity diamonds sold at twice the price.
The diamond engagement rings at Brilliant Earth have GIA, IGI, or HRD certificates. Our recommendation is a GIA certified natural diamond.
The video below shows a 1.5 carat oval cut diamond with E color grade and SI2 clarity grade. Brilliant Earth advertises the diamond as ideal cut. Keep in mind that round diamonds are the only ideal cut grades officially recognized. GIA does not grade any fancy shaped diamonds.
Brilliant Earth sorts their quality diamonds depending on fancy diamond shapes. When selecting a diamond, look at factors such as depth and table percentage, especially for fancy shaped diamonds.
The 3600 viewer is so clear that you can see any obvious inclusions. This is what I like most about great viewers.
If you buy a blockchain diamond like the one in the video above, you get an overview of the diamond’s journey from the time it was mined in Botswana to its manufacturing in India.
Unlike James Allen, Brilliant Earth allows you to see the GIA certificate online.
Their customer representative is available all round the clock in case you would like to talk to one of them about the diamond. There are diamond and jewelry experts with extensive knowledge to help you with anything you would like to know. Brilliant Earth employs GIA graduates as part of their team.
After picking out a conflict-free diamond, its time to pick a ring setting.
RECOMMENDED: Which is the Best Engagement Ring Setting?
2. Picking a ring setting
Brilliant Earth does not only offer settings for engagement rings, but diamond pendant necklace and diamond earrings too. Today, we shall talk about a ring setting only.
There are about 250 ring settings that pop up when I search for a setting for my oval diamond. Each of these settings come in varieties of yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum.
Each engagement ring setting has about 4 options. Stores like Blue Nile have engagement ring settings in specific precious metals.
There are many styles to choose from, unique and trendy, including those meant for wedding rings.
When it comes to viewing, you have the option of a controllable 360-degree viewer and a chance to see how the ring will look like in different skin tones. This is a great feature for anyone who is not good at matching skin tone with color metals.
The other available viewing feature is only available for mobile devices. There is a virtual try-on that allows you to take a picture of your hand and super-impose the ring of your choice on the hand image. You can pinch, scrimp, angle angle it differently to fit your finger. This helps the customer get a glimpse of how the ring will look like when you buy.
There are approximately 45 ring settings that cost less than $1000, most of them being solitaire settings and a few side stone ring settings.
I have chosen a loose diamond and a ring setting totaling up to $9,030 before tax. Now Brilliant Earth is giving a free diamond necklace with any purchase more than $1,000.
RECOMMENDED: Best Place to Buy Diamond Necklaces
By now everything seems good, let’s go ahead and check out their checkout and return process.
3. Buying process
After settling for a diamond and setting, you can pay with PayPal on your shopping Bag page or simply checkout. If you choose to hit the checkout button, you will be prompted to fill in your information. You can also create an account and put a password. If you are not interested in creating an account, you can skip this step, although I highly recommend you create one.
After filling all the information, you can choose any method of payment including PayPal, Credit/Debit card, Affirm, via phone, or through a bank transfer with 1.5% discount. Brilliant Earth also offers their own financing.
Their financing comes from Wells Fargo bank is only US customers are eligible to apply for it. If you wish to use this payment method, you have to apply separately and put your card number. If you pay off in 1 year, there will be no interest for the 12 months. With Brilliant Earth, you can manage your financing account online.
The payment options at Brilliant Earth include a 1.5% discount for any bank wire for jewelry costing $500+, the Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage® credit card, or financing via Affirm. You will not be charged any interest if you pay off your jewelry purchase within 12 months.
4. Return policy
Like what most other diamond sellers do, Brilliant Earth offers 30 days for the customers to return the jewelry, whether bought in store or online. The return policy is free. The store sends a FedEx return label to the customer. Additionally, you get a 60-day free resizing that starts to count immediately the shipment is prepared. Although most stores offer resizing option, Brilliant Earth pays for both to and fro shipping expenses, something that other stores don’t.
However, they do not take back any engraved or personalized jewelry. It would be good if you hold on a little bit before you engrave the ring until you are sure that you love it, just in case you need to return it after a few days.
To start off the return procedure, you have to call Brilliant earth on 800.691.0952 to get a Return Shipping Authorization Code. This is the code you will write on the FedEx packaging. Failure to write this code on the outside of the packaging, the ring will not be accepted and you will be charged a %50 restocking fee.
Ensure that all that came with your diamond when it was delivered is packed back for return. This includes certificates, jewelry box, or any complimentary items. If you do not pack all these, the return will not be accepted. A missing certificate attracts a %250 fee. Also, do not write anything on the package about what is contained therein.
Brilliant requires all return items to be double boxed: to put the certificates and jewelry box in the medium box and then the medium box in the large box.
The process of refund takes about 7 days to get the money back to your original payment method. Cash payments and bank wires get the refund in form of a check.
Why We Love Brilliant Earth
Recycled Diamonds, Blockchain Diamonds, and Moyo Gemstones
Brilliant Earth has diamond and gemstones offers not found in any other stores. Their strength lies in the blockchain diamonds. Brilliant Earth is the first diamond retailer to offer these kinds of diamonds. On their website, head to the filter under Natural Diamonds and select Blockchain to view the blockchain diamonds available.
Brilliant Earth has a strong partnership with Everledger, a company that specializes in blockchain technology. The blockchain technology allows the customer to look at the manufacturing and distribution ledger of the diamond through a computer system that cannot be hacked in or tampered with.
Before a diamond reaches the customer, it goes through 7 different phases of production. The first stage ensures that the diamond is conflict-free through the Kimberley process. However, the customer cannot track further.
Blockchain technology allows you to get more information. When the diamond moves to the next phase every head of department signs off in the online network. There is no two ways about this. When you buy a diamond from Brilliant Earth, you get a special access code to the network where you can see an overview of a blockchain diamond.
Presently, there are more than 10,000 blockchain diamonds of different shapes and grades. You can filter these by checking the box in diamond filters landing to about 2,000 1-carat diamonds.
Stores like Blue Nile and James Allen sell GIA certified diamonds. Brilliant Earth takes it a notch higher by having GIA diamond Origin Reports that confirm the diamond was sourced from approved mines.
They have a collection of recycled diamonds, meaning diamonds that were once owned but have been recut and repurposed to look new.
Moyo gemstones is a special kind of colored gemstone collection handled by Brilliant Earth. It is not a huge collection, only 20 gemstone options. The options include tourmaline, garnets, zircon, and spinel.
Moyo is a Swahili word that means “heart.” This kind of gemstones come from female jewelry artisans and are designed to improve the living standards of the women who work in the mines. The gemstones are gotten from women miners in Tanzania.
Brilliant Earth is not different from other online jewelry sellers, they offer a manufacturer’s warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty covers only design flaws or manufacturer’s defects. For any routine maintenance tasks like retipping worn out prongs, tightening the center stone or rhodium plating white gold, there is an alternative warranty.
All is not lost; the Brilliant Benefits Extended Service Plan is designed to help cover the routine works. This plan covers a 3-year period and takes care of wear and tear, prong retipping, and rhodium plating.
If you wear your ring every day, there is a higher chance that the metal will wear off with time. The wearing off does not mean that the ring is poor quality or that the metal’s integrity is questionable.
So, to keep it looking new, you will need maintenance, you can use the service plan and renew every after three years if you so wish.
However, the lifetime warranty is not free, it is payable. Not exactly what I would like but it is better than nothing. The cost of the warranty depends on the type and cost of jewelry you buy.
If you opt to buy from a brick-and-mortar store, a Brilliant Earth representative will explain to you in detail all you need to know about ESP. however, online option does not reveal so much about it. Online shopping does not also let you know that you can renew the plan after three years. I wouldn’t have known this was possible if it were not for the virtual appointment I made.
Brilliant Earth does not only source ethical diamonds for customers but also show how much they care about the areas affected by conflict diamonds.
The retailer channels part of their sales proceeds to the affected areas and through other programs.
Sometimes, Brilliant Earth selects particular jewelry pieces whose sales are directed to a particular cause. A slice of sales from their Simone I. Smith is directed to NAACP mission to lobby for structural changes geared towards expanding democracy, achieving racial justice, eliminating disparities, advocacy and civic education.
Their special Diamonds That Care collection comprises brown diamond jewelry aka chocolate diamonds. These diamonds are much cheaper than similar ones sold at Kay. Portions of funds from the sales of these diamonds go to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
You already know about the Moyo diamonds which supports women in the mining industry. Brilliant Earth also takes steps to reduce carbon footprint using recycled metals, environmentally safe packaging and providing recycled diamonds.
What We Don’t Like about Brilliant Earth?
There are a few things which I think the retailer would have done better. Here are some of the things.
The Brilliant Earth website is not so detailed when it comes to the information available. For a customer who has zero knowledge about diamonds, the website is not educative enough since the customer may just leave the site without an idea about warranty options.
The footer has information about the Brilliant Benefits plans but too scanty, not even a thing about the plan being renewable. You are just told to call. It would be better if there were details about the price scales on different items like other companies do.
They also need to say something more about blockchain diamonds. You may have to stop and do a little research about what blockchain is in general and know how to do it with diamonds.
There is a paragraph that says something in the blockchain page but no explanation about how it works. I concentrated more on the section about loose diamonds and paid no attention to blockchain diamonds.
My opinion is Brilliant Earth should dedicate an entire page to explain blockchain diamonds in detail and a few clicks to direct to sections about loose blockchain diamonds. The website has no information on how the process works.
You can only get all information you want if you chat with a diamond expert online or in-store. The website is too shallow to cater to anyone who is trying to avoid the pushy salespeople found in brick-and-mortar stores. Most people turn to online stores in a n attempt to escape annoying salespeople.
Another drawback is that you cannot add the ESP option until you buy the diamond, and also, you have to call the store first. This seems a long and unnecessary statements. BE could just have a button that calculates the cost of the diamond, something similar to what Helzberg Diamonds does when you buy a ring.
Brilliant Earth needs to improve the information on their website, I think that can be fixed easily.
Brilliant Earth’s Pricing
Going through different Brilliant Earth reviews from customers, you notice that most people have something to say about their prices. Most customers have found that diamonds of similar or almost same grades are sold at cheaper prices in other online stores than in Brilliant Earth.
I decided to pick a 1-carat blockchain diamond that is ideal round cut, VS2 clarity and G color grade with a GIA Origin Report from Brilliant Earth. It bears a $7,580 price tag.
A similar GIA certified diamond from James Allen costs $6,380.
The two diamonds may not be identical but the difference of thousands of dollars is a lot for most jewelry lovers.
So, why do diamonds in Brilliant Earth cost a lot?
Let’s think for a bit:
Brilliant Earth shows on their website the wedding bands and engagement rings that come from vendors directly. The same diamonds can be found in other wedding ring sites as well. Some sellers also offer their exclusive collection of diamonds.
All diamonds in BE go through the Kimberley process that ensures ethical sourcing. The prices go high because the blockchain technology is expensive. partnerships with other companies contribute to the high prices too.
The price will significantly increase for a blockchain diamond that has a GIA Origin certificate compared to a GIA diamond sold at James Allen. Both stores are top in the diamond industry.
Keep in mind that even if the prices are different, several other factors make a diamond valuable and not the highest price.
Even if they have ridiculously high prices, Brilliant Earth still enjoys positive reviews from customers. If your budget cannot squeeze in a natural diamond from BE, there are various other options to look at.
Buying a lab grown diamond at BE will have you saving up to 20-50%. Lab diamonds are cheaper than natural diamonds.
RECOMMENDED: James Allen vs Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth Review: Best Ethical Diamonds
Generally, the best place to buy conflict-free diamonds is Brilliant Earth.
Brilliant Earth is committed to selling ethical diamonds and being a driver of social change. The Kimberley process ensures that all other diamond retailers do not sell diamonds gotten from areas facing conflicts. Brilliant Earth goes beyond the Kimberley process and lets customers know the diamond’s history using the blockchain technology.
Apart from the blockchain tech, they also concentrate on recycled diamonds, most of their engagement rings are made with recycled metals.
Using recycled metals makes sure that the company is environmentally conscious and also bypasses the tremendous metal mining process.
There is no diamond company that is 100% green, even if they sell lab diamonds. Lab created diamonds are not entirely safe for the environment. Brilliant Earth tries to reduce strain on the environmental by using environmentally safe packaging materials, including wooden jewelry boxes.
Wearing an engagement ring from Brilliant Earth makes you feel loved and good.
The small piece of jewelry in your collection has given back to society in various ways including helping people of color, women miners, education, hunger and other areas that the millennials hold close to their hearts.
Check out how big their collection of ethical jewelry is from the link below.