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From their teal-green leaf logo, to their responsibly-sourced, rustic wooden ring boxes, Brilliant Earth have tried to capture an essence of elegant, social consciousness that fits comfortably with the emerging, millennial buyer. Their founders believe that their approach is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the world of diamond jewelry, casting an ethical illumination over an industry with a dark history. But are their claims substantiated, and are their diamonds worth the money? Find out with this Brilliant Earth Review.
After trying and failing to find their own ethically produced engagement ring, Stanford alumni Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg identified an apparent gap in the market for engagement and bridal jewelry with social conscience. They founded Brilliant Earth in 2005 and the website launched in 2006.
Brilliant Earth began by using Canadian Mines as their primary source for their ethical diamonds. After intense assessment, the company has since extended this to Namibia and Botswana after concluding that their diamonds met the company’s ethical standards. Brilliant Earth also offer ‘vintage rings’ and ‘lab-grown diamonds’, however in the interest of comparison to other vendors, for this article I will only be looking at the company’s natural, sourced diamonds.
You cannot argue with Brilliant Earth’s ethical, top-down design. Their wooden ring boxes are responsibly sourced, as is their shipping packaging, and their jewelry cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable.
- Their packaging is now 100% recycled sustainable packaging (launched in 2021) to reduce carbon emissions
- They have established the Brilliant Earth foundation which promotes growth and supports organizations around the world, including mobile schools and environmental projects. Their contributions have doubled since 2020.
- Brilliant Earth diamonds are all certified and verified across the industry from: IGI, GIA, HRD, GCAL, HRD, Sustainably Rated. Brilliant Earth doesn’t sell low quality diamonds and none of their diamonds are considered low quality.
- Their unique selling points include that they go beyond the Kimberly Process including how they source their diamonds, supplier diligence, and strict criteria for suppliers when it comes to who they work with. Less than 1% of natural diamond suppliers meet the criteria and standards to ensure the highest level of diamond traceability in the industry. They go beyond the Kimberley Process, and created the Beyond Conflict FreeTM standard– so customers do not have to compromise between beauty, quality, and conscience.
- Brilliant Earth is one of the first jewelers to offer blockchain-enabled diamonds at scale, which provides customers traceability of a diamond’s origin and ownership. Choosing a Brilliant Earth diamond offers unparalleled transparency of your diamond’s provenance. There are over 20,000 blockchain-enabled diamonds that can be viewed and filtered on the site.
- The industry norm for diamond sourcing is the Kimberley Process, which narrowly defines conflict diamonds as those used to finance wars against governments. The limited Kimberley Process allows diamonds to enter the supply chain that are tarnished by forced labor, child labor, worker exploitation and low wages, unsafe working conditions, and irresponsible mining leading to soil erosion, deforestation, and even ecosystem collapse.
If you're looking for lab created diamonds or colored diamonds then that is one of their strengths. the diamonds are independently Sustainably Rated based on climate neutrality and investments in clean technology.
Brilliant Earth Diamonds and Pricing
Brilliant Earth have a wide range of diamonds covering a spectrum of styles, carats, color and cuts. In keeping with the theme, their diamonds are subdivided into five options of ‘Beyond Conflict Free’ stones:
- DeBeers sourced diamonds purchased in Botswana
- Canadian Diamonds
- Recycled Diamonds
- Synthetic, or Lab-Created, Diamonds
Brilliant Earth have shown a marked improvement in the past year when it comes to their imaging technology. ASET Maps and Ideal Scopes are available upon request on any diamond via customer service chat, email, or phone in addition to further requests outside of these. All of these are available prior to purchasing a diamond, this is a request fielded regularly to provide reassurance on a diamond purchase and to help customers make an informed choice.
Where previously Brilliant Earth relied on a stock sample image for their diamonds, you can now see a 360 ‘Interactive Real Diamond Video’ for many of their stones.
Other leading vendors such as Whiteflash offer ASET Maps, Hearts and Arrows viewers and Idealscope imaging all diamonds and James Allen will also provide on some diamonds; these diagnostic reports indicate the light performance properties of a diamond, making it easier for buyers to make an informed choice.
- Brilliant Earth offers competitive pricing on their diamond ring selections when compared against other companies. It is a luxury product, so pricing fluctuates across certain categories and depending on the type of diamond selected.
- Pricing is variable with certain rings that may end up being more expensive when combined with the diamond selected. Brilliant Earth’s diamond filtering options allow for customers to easily find and adjust search criteria to find a diamond that will satisfy any budget without compromising quality. When comparing diamond pricing overall, they are relatively similar to other brands.
Man-Made Synthetic Diamonds
On their website, Brilliant Earth note three main benefits of lab-grown synthetic diamonds:
"Lab created diamonds are sustainable diamonds; they are ethically grown with minimal environmental impact."
Beauty and Quality
"Lab diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds."
"Lab diamonds offer excellent value, and are slightly more affordable than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality”
Synthetic diamonds certainly have their place within the diamond industry, and this is where Brilliant Earth stand out for me. If you're on a smaller budget but still want to enjoy the benefits of a real diamond then this is a great option. The diamonds are free from mining, have the same physical properties to that of a real diamond and have a lower cost. Learn more about my opinions on these synthetic diamonds here. I would also read my review on James Allen who stock synthetic diamonds, however if you're looking for the best of the best 'natural' diamonds then I'd suggest reading my review on Whiteflash as well before purchasing.
For their lab diamonds Brilliant Earth present us with an HD Video, diamond details and the diamond certificate.
Under diamond details we're provided with a plethora of information:
I have a minor concern with the IGI grading: read my thoughts on IGI diamonds clear here, however this is inevitable when purchasing lab diamonds, so what's the solution to this challenge?
Get in touch directly with myself. At Diamond Expert, I pride myself on being able to offer bespoke diamond buying insights to you - for absolutely nothing at all. For more information read my Concierge Service page or contact me directly.
The Brilliant Earth website is sleek and easy to use with their ‘Beyond Conflict Free’ and eco-friendly goals seamlessly weaved throughout the pages. The functionality is good, and it does provide a wealth of information regarding both their diamonds and the Brilliant Earth mission. Beginning with a setting, Brilliant Earth’s site allows the same extensive filter options for choosing a diamond
The shopping experience is also positive, with secure payment and international shipping offered free to the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. – free shipping on all USA, UK, Canada, and Australia purchases.
- If you are an international customer outside of the UK, Canada, and Australia, Brilliant Earth ships to all countries globally with their international policies applying to these orders. More information can be found here for international customers.
Brilliant Earth offer great services which they cover in detail in the Customer Care section of their website. This includes:
- Free shipping both ways
- Free returns for 30 days and resizes within 60 days
- Special orders and custom jewelry
- Specialised care for overseas customers
- Financing and flexible payment options
The Final Word
Everything about their company ethos is appealing and well executed.
They have a great selection of other gemstones (Moissanite, Aquamarine, Morganite etc) but as their main focus is diamonds, to give ‘extra points’ for diamond alternatives would be unfair.
If you are looking for an alternative to a diamond, consider Brilliant Earth - their lab and lab colored diamonds offer fantastic value for money for those on smaller budgets. But what if you're looking for something else? If you are looking for excellent quality diamond (super ideal cut) from a company with just as much commitment to social initiative programs, choose Whiteflash, I'd also consider James Allen as an alternative for lab diamonds if Brilliant Earth don't have anything you'd consider, and have a look at Blue Nile as well if you're on a tight budget, but always get in touch directly with me for additional support and help.