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In a marketplace flooded with options, Brilliance.com distinguishes itself by offering a more personalized touch in the vast world of online diamond shopping. Their approach, featuring engaging introduction videos and a straightforward website, aims to simplify the buying process. While they promise competitive pricing and a focus on quality, it's clear that Brilliance.com faces stiff competition from giants like Blue Nile, Whiteflash, and James Allen. This review will delve into whether Brilliance.com truly stands out in this crowded space without leaving us feeling overwhelmed by their offerings.
I have used my sources and asked around about Brilliance.com but currently very little is known about them on the jewelry circuit. They have a vague introduction video that gives the impression of an ‘on-site’, family operation, but it would not be the first time that a company has used this clever marketing tactic to give the impression of a personable, small run company. In my experience, Brilliance.com do not seem to operate this way and there are various issues in their communication and customer service (more on this later).
Getting straight into it, the diamonds are the first place where Brilliance.com falls down in quite a spectacular way. Brilliance.com offer diamonds with inferior certificates such as EGL and HRD. This is always a red flag for me; these labs (particularly EGL) are favourites of ‘rack them and stack them’ stores (such as Zales) due to their inflated grades. This allows companies an even bigger mark up, whilst the customer is left out of pocket with a sub-par diamond. Brilliance.com do sell GIA certified diamonds and this lab represents the gold standard of diamond reports, however to sell them alongside diamonds with shady reports is not in keeping with the Brilliance.com claims of ‘attention to quality’. Similarly, they also sell diamonds with clarity grades that go right down to SI3 and I1 – these diamonds are simply not suitable for fine jewelry.
There is also an issue with diamond imaging. Many of the diamonds listed are posted with a sample image, removing the opportunity for the buyer to really see the diamond before buying – it is impossible to buy a diamond online without imaging. The diamonds that are listed with images are lacking the level of technology and detail offered by other brands.
Although we can see from this image that the diamond isn’t a great cut, it’s not possible to truly analyse the color or clarity aspects. Sadly, this is actually one of the better images on Brilliance.com which range from non-existent to fuzzy and poor, to the image above – passable, but not great.
Brilliance.com have also been pulled up on their filter tools and search system. It is incredibly difficult for customers to search for an Excellent or Ideal-Cut diamond; despite the filter tools, the various labs listed have different standards for cut which means you will find GIA Good or Very Good cuts when searching for a top tier cut. This is confusing and time consuming.
Brilliance.com Lab Diamonds: A Closer Look
Brilliance.com offers a selection of lab-created diamonds, which come with the assurance of International Gemological Institute (IGI) certification. This certification is a positive aspect, as it provides a level of trust and transparency regarding the quality and authenticity of their lab diamonds. However, a closer examination reveals certain limitations in how these diamonds are presented to potential buyers.
One of the main drawbacks is the lack of comprehensive visual aids. While Brilliance.com does provide a basic 360-degree view for many of their lab diamonds, this often falls short of the detailed imagery or video content that can help buyers make a more informed decision. The ability to closely examine a diamond's characteristics, such as its cut, color, clarity, and sparkle, is crucial, especially when shopping online. Unfortunately, the generic 360-degree views offered by Brilliance.com may not suffice for customers seeking to understand the nuanced beauty of their potential purchase.
Moreover, a significant portion of the lab diamonds available on Brilliance.com are on the lower end of the quality spectrum, both in terms of physical characteristics and aesthetic appeal. While the affordability of these diamonds might be attractive to some shoppers, it's important to consider the long-term value and satisfaction that comes from investing in a higher-quality gem.
Brilliance.com Settings Overview
When it comes to selecting the perfect setting for your diamond, the choices available at Brilliance.com present a mixed bag. One notable limitation is the range of designer options. Unlike some of their competitors, Brilliance.com does not boast a wide selection of renowned designers, which might leave those seeking high-profile brand names a bit wanting.
Further compounding this issue are the reports from users on platforms like Reddit, where there have been mentions of quality concerns regarding the settings purchased from Brilliance.com. These accounts highlight instances where the craftsmanship did not meet expectations, a factor that is crucial when choosing a setting that's meant to last a lifetime.
The affordability of Brilliance.com's offerings could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, their more accessible price points make diamond settings more attainable for a broader audience, potentially opening up the world of fine jewelry to more buyers. On the other hand, this cost-saving advantage might be a contributing factor to the compromises in designer variety and reported quality issues.
For shoppers prioritizing budget, Brilliance.com could offer a viable option, but it's important to weigh the cost benefits against the potential for quality variances and the limited selection of designer settings. As always, thorough research and consideration of personal priorities will guide you to the best choice for your unique needs and expectations.
So, we know that Brilliance.com struggle to follow through on their quality claims – how about those rock bottom prices? When you first open a search for a round brilliant diamond on Brilliance.com, the eye is somewhat tricked by what look like very low prices. A diamond for $300? Surely not. But when you consider the poor certification options and the low clarity and color levels on offer, this quickly dismisses any notion of quality/budget balance.
To use the diamond pictured above, it is a round brilliant 1.00ct I-VS2 with a GIA ‘Good’ cut grade, or at least that’s what the title says.
The cut itself is extremely poor and lacking symmetry. Scrolling down to the specifications, we see the cut grade is actually ‘Fair’.
This comes back to the issues mentioned about filtering. It is extremely misleading. Let’s consider the price. Brilliance.com use one of my most despised tactics of showing an ‘in-store’ price VS their price. You won’t find the leading vendors doing this. It’s a cheap tactic that is the same as showing an ‘original’ price and a ‘sales’ price. The diamond is $3,046. I found this round brilliant diamond on James Allen – it is a 0.90ct I-VS2 GIA Very Good cut with excellent symmetry. The diamond is priced at $2,850.
This isn’t a direct comparison as the diamond is 0.10ct smaller than the Brilliance.com diamond, but I sacrificed this negligible weight to go for a better cut and a much better-looking diamond – and I still saved money in the process.
The Brilliance.com prices directly reflect the quality, or lack thereof. I find their claims of being cheaper than their competitors to be wholly unsubstantiated. You can save money buying a diamond online, but that does not negate the need for quality.
The Final Word
In wrapping up this review, it's clear that Brilliance.com has areas that fall short of expectations, particularly in providing a transparent and reliable shopping experience. The lack of real images for many of their diamonds, coupled with the reliance on inferior diamond certification, significantly undermines the confidence that buyers should have when making such an important purchase. These critical gaps, alongside reported delays in response and delivery, as well as a returns policy that does not favor the customer, lead us to conclude that we cannot recommend Brilliance.com as a preferred choice for your diamond needs. It's essential for a company in the diamond industry to offer not just competitive pricing but also transparency, quality, and customer service that matches the high stakes of buying fine jewelry.