|Price and Value|
|Services and Warranty|
Brilliant Earth: Worth the hype?
Brilliant Earth has made a name for itself among consumers seeking ethically-conscious diamonds. But, is Brilliant Earth really a good place to start your engagement journey? And what steps has the company taken to ensure their business is ethical?🕵🏻♂️
This Brilliant Earth review includes:
So where did Brilliant Earth get its start in the diamond industry? Let’s talk about the company itself and where they stand in the greater community of diamond retailers.
Founded in 2005, Brilliant Earth is the brain child of Stanford alumni Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg. They started the company out of San Francisco after seeing a growing need for socially conscious jewelers. After a year of building, the duo opened the Brilliant Earth website in 2006 and began their journey as purveyors of eco-friendly diamond products.
Nowadays, Brilliant Earth is a household name just like James Allen and Blue Nile. Despite these two juggernauts having many more years of experience, Brilliant Earth has managed to appeal to a younger generation that wishes to undo the wrongs of previous diamond buyers.
With a solid stance on social issues and policies in place to prevent unethical diamonds joining their stock, Brilliant Earth is thriving in a post-traditional diamond market.📈 The company is able to maintain these promises by utilizing blockchain technology throughout their diamond chain of custody.
Their blockchain software enables Brilliant Earth to track diamonds from source to sale, preventing the introduction of “blood diamonds” into their supply. Through rigorous ethical sourcing and with a little help from technology, Brilliant Earth has grown to have over 100,000 diamonds in their inventory and a host of other products that are sure to catch your eye.
If you don’t have time to read our longer review, here’s a roundup of all the reasons to choose Brilliant Earth for you next diamond purchase:📋
The most important feature of any online diamond retailer is the quality of their selection. What does Brilliant Earth offer customers when it comes to products?
With over 103,000 diamonds and a selection of colored diamonds to choose from, the options seem limitless! Most of Brilliant Earth’s diamonds are GIA graded, meaning they’re backed by a reputable lab that provides meticulous grading reports for each stone.
HRD diamonds are graded by the Hoge Raad voor Diamant or “High Diamond Council” of Antwerp. While this group is the premier diamond lab of Europe, you should be careful when shopping diamonds with HRD grades as the lab is known to be more lax with grading criteria like the IGI.
Luckily, you can easily filter for the type of diamond grade you want on Brilliant Earth’s website to avoid confusion. Simply open the “More Filters” tab to reveal the grading report filters:👇🏻
Brilliant Earth offers a healthy selection of Hearts and Arrows gems for discerning buyers.
Gemstone cutters craft Hearts and Arrows diamonds with extreme precision. The distinct cut produces optimal lightplay and creates “hearts and arrows” patterning within the diamond itself, which many see as romantic symbolism for an engagement stone.❤️🏹
Brilliant Earth makes it easy to narrow your search for these diamonds with a special filter. If you open the Color, Clarity, and Cut portion of the Brilliant Earth diamond page, you’ll find a handy button you can click to filter for Hearts and Arrows diamonds:
Brilliant Earth focuses their entire brand around their ethically-sourced loose diamonds that come from three major locations: Canada, Russia, and Botswana. By utilizing blockchain technology and rigorously vetting responsible diamond mining operations, Brilliant Earth hopes to do as little harm to people and the environment as possible.
The company’s promise of “Beyond Conflict Free” stones ensure they:
Canadian, Russian, and Botswana diamond mines adhere to responsible labor practices and safety standards, and they’re about as ethically sourced as you can get. Workers are paid fair wages, environmental degradation is kept to a minimum, and funds are put back into the communities to support those most directly affected by the mining industry.
While ethical sourcing is a great way to get a mined diamond without the heavy guilt, some buyers prefer lab-created or recycled diamonds that produce little to no footprint or conflict at all. Luckily, Brilliant Earth has a healthy supply of both!
Brilliant Earth lab diamonds are made in highly controlled environments that duplicate the natural formation of diamonds. As such, they’re identical to natural stones, but they’re a fraction of the price. Brilliant Earth has over 1,500 in their inventory to choose from, and they even have lab-created colored diamonds in shades of blue, pink, yellow, and more.
Recycled diamonds are just as they sound: they’re diamonds that have already been used in jewelry before. When you purchase a recycled diamond, no new mining activity takes place to source that stone, and they’re independently graded to ensure high quality. Brilliant Earth offers over 100,000 recycled diamonds on their website, and buying these previously loved stones helps to minimize new diamond demand.
When it comes to bridal settings, Brilliant Earth has an impressive collection of unique styles that you won’t find anywhere else. Many settings contain vintage elements or are inspired by nature, which means they’re ideal for those wearers who love a little extra detail.🌿
There are 300+ Brilliant Earth engagement settings that come in platinum as well as 18K white, yellow, and rose gold, and popular styles include solitaire, three stone, halo, sidestone, and more. And we love that Brilliant Earth uses 100% recycled metals to leave a smaller environmental footprint and promote a decrease in problematic metal mining!
Brilliant Earth wedding bands come in the same metals for a seamless pair, and it’s easy to find matching options by looking at the “Recommended bridal sets” on each product page or by going to the “find my matching wedding ring” page.✅ Popular wedding ring settings include plain metal bands as well as pavé and curved styles and some really unique pieces made to fit less traditional engagement rings.
There are also some talented designers that craft rings for Brilliant Earth, and you can even find engagement pieces and bridal sets by Tacori and Jade Trau. Or, you can peruse Brilliant Earth’s Exclusive Design Collections which include some of the site’s most daring styles for those looking for something a little different.
Finally, Brilliant Earth also sells gemstone engagement rings and moissanite settings. Sapphire, aquamarine, morganite, and emerald are just a few of the colorful options you can choose from when choosing a Brilliant Earth gemstone ring.
The best part? If you can’t find anything that you like, you can create a custom ring with Brilliant Earth’s custom services! That’s right, Brilliant Earth will help you craft a one-of-a-kind bridal set to bring your fianceé’s dream ring to life.😚
Brilliant Earth has a large collection of non-bridal pieces for every wearer. There are over 1,700 products in their general inventory, from stunning necklaces to tennis bracelets to Brilliant Earth earrings. They also have more casual items in addition to high-quality diamond pieces, and you can find both daily wear items and special occasion jewelry among their stock.
Similar to engagement and wedding rings, these pieces are typically available in platinum and 18K white, yellow, and rose gold. There are also Akoya pearl pieces and engravable items for a more personal touch.👧🏻 For a pop of color or a birthstone piece, Brilliant Earth also has a host of beautiful gemstones that include:
And, most of these items are offered in various metal colors and gemstone varieties. So, you can actually mix and match metals and gemstones on most product pages to find the right combination for you!
Brilliant Earth’s platform is a major selling point as it’s intuitive and fast. Here are some features that stand out as top reasons to choose Brilliant Earth:
Over 80% of the diamonds on Brilliant Earth’s website have real photos or 360° videos for an up-close and personal look at your chosen diamond. These magnified images give you an in-depth look at each diamond so you can see every inclusion and flash of light.
A staple in online diamond retail is the ability to mix and match diamonds and settings in an easy-to-use setting. Brilliant Earth’s “Create Your Own Ring” platform fits this description, and the page allows you to start with a specific setting, natural diamond, or lab-grown stone.🙌🏻
For non-bridal shoppers, Brilliant Earth also has a “Create Your Own” jewelry page where you can make an item of your choosing. You can decide between a diamond or gemstone ring or necklace, diamond earrings, and ring stacks customized to your needs. We love that you can create something entirely unique to you if you’re not entirely satisfied with their base inventory.
It’s hard to imagine how a ring looks on your finger without actually trying it on. 😻Luckily, you can try on any ring in Brilliant Earth’s inventory with just a smartphone! If you’re looking at rings on your phone via brilliantearth.com, you can select the “Virtual Try On” option and take a picture of your hand to see how the ring would look on your finger.
Brilliant Earth offers complimentary 1-on-1 virtual appointments with their jewelry specialists to answer your questions and help you choose the right item for your needs. Whether your question is about wedding bands, the 4Cs, or just jewelry basics, these employees are standing by to assist.
The appointments are a generous 50 minutes in length, and reviews state that the jewelry specialists are very helpful and informative.
Brilliant Earth’s website has impressive filter and search functionality both on every page you visit as well as at the top of their main page. They break things down into several categories to help you narrow your search before you even reach their inventory, making the process a lot smoother and less stressful. If you’re still overwhelmed by the long list of items that appear on a page, you can filter by metal, shape, style, etc. to make things a little more manageable.
There are 18 Brilliant Earth showrooms around the globe, and you can make an appointment to speak with a jewelry specialist in person and shop their displays. Despite being a brick-and-mortar location, the showrooms have large inventories of different designs, so you won’t feel like you’re having to settle for what’s available.
In addition to shopping their stock, you can also create your own ring with a chosen diamond and setting, have your own jewelry melted down to craft a new piece, or shop their collection of vintage rings.
For those shoppers who need a little inspiration, Brilliant Earth has put together a “Recently Purchased Engagement Rings” gallery to help out!🥳 The gallery features beautiful photos of recently purchased rings, and you can see the specs of each one below the images. If you love a particular design, you can click the “Create Ring” button to reproduce the setting and diamond specs and make your own.
On the off chance that nothing in Brilliant Earth’s inventory piques your interest, you can work with their design professionals to create a custom ring instead. Brilliant Earth’s experienced team members will work with you to produce a mock 3D image of your design, and once you approve they will craft the ring of your dreams. There’s also an inspiration gallery to help you get started!
In addition to exceptional products, Brilliant Earth really holds their own in the customer service department. Let’s look at how Brilliant Earth handles customer care beyond the initial purchase:
Brilliant Earth jewelry specialists are available to answer your questions 24/7. You can contact a jewelry specialist via phone, email, or chat. Or, make an appointment to visit any of their 18 showrooms to speak with a professional in person.
Brilliant Earth has a standard 30-day return window during which you can send back your recent purchase at no cost to you. At which time, you can either receive an exchange or a full refund to satisfy your needs. They’ll also provide the FedEx shipping label so you don’t have to do any of the legwork!
For ring purchases, you can receive a complimentary resizing within 60 days of purchase. Shipping is free both ways, and you can still resize your ring outside this window for a fee. While it’s best to buy the right size the first time, it’s nice to know you can resize your ring should you make an error.
Each item on Brilliant Earth’s website comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. This warranty protects against any defects caused during the manufacturing process, and Brilliant Earth will repair the item free of charge if the issue is deemed such.
However, if you’re purchasing a vintage item from Brilliant Earth, it will not be covered under this warranty. Because they did not manufacture these pieces, Brilliant Earth cannot guarantee the stability of their settings.
For natural diamonds, Brilliant Earth offers a lifetime diamond upgrade program. Should you decide you’d like a larger or higher quality diamond, you can exchange your old stone for a new one!🎃
Brilliant Earth will credit you the original price of your diamond, and you can use this to purchase a new one with at least 50% greater value. If this new diamond doesn’t fit in your old setting, you can also exchange that setting for a precious metal credit toward one that will work.
Brilliant Earth offers couples an 18K white gold comfort fit 2mm band as a stand-in for a permanent setting if necessary!👏🏻 Although it’s an uncommon offering, temporary loose settings are great for individuals who know what kind of diamond their partner wants but would like them to participate in choosing a final setting.
The diamond sits safely inside the temporary setting and still looks great for proposal photos, but it can be easily removed by Brilliant Earth’s team to be placed in a more permanent setting when the time comes.
Brilliant Earth does their best not only to take care of clients but also to provide assistance and outreach to the communities most affected by diamond mining. In fact, 5% of Brilliant Earth’s profits supplement programs to improve human rights, environmental, and economic development in diamond mining communities in Africa.💯
Brilliant Earth collaborates with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) to build schools for local children, fund scholarships, establish safe working conditions and promote fair wages, and restore land affected by natural diamond mining. In addition, Brilliant Earth partners with Carbonfund to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve both forests and endangered species in Brazil as well as improve local water supply.
Something unique to Brilliant Earth is their sustainable packaging. The classy yet creative design of their ring boxes sets them apart from competitors, and it’ll be something your partner will want to cherish forever!
Brilliant Earth rings arrive in a wooden box that is handmade in New Zealand, so it’s sustainable and recyclable. The boxes are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which serves the global community by protecting forests for future generations. Plus, it looks so refined and is perfect for both men and women!
🤳🏻In addition, if you purchase a ring over $1,000, you’ll receive a complimentary cleaning kit. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable, but it’s only available for products that can be cleaned with an at-home kit (pearls are excluded).
Looking to surprise your partner? No worries: Brilliant Earth’s packaging is plain and discreet, featuring no identifiable information that could trace it back to the brand. Brilliant Earth is also happy to ship your package to your office, another home, or a specific FedEx delivery location upon request.
When it comes to shipping, domestic clients (U.S. and Canada), as well as those in the U.K. and Australia, can expect free FedEx shipping with free return shipping if necessary. Saturday shipping will cost you an extra $30, but that’s a small price to pay for having your item delivered on time if you’re in a pinch. Shipping times vary based on item and availability, but the item is guaranteed to arrive on or before the date specified in your confirmation email.
International clients will have to pay a $50 shipping fee, which can be a bummer if you’re on a budget. However, all items are insured and registered for your safety, and they require a signature upon delivery to keep your package safe. You can read more about any applicable customs, duties, or taxes here.
Honestly, all three retailers we’ve highlighted below are superstars, but it can be helpful to compare their policies and products to ensure you pick the one that’s right for you. Here’s a thorough roundup of their major points of interest:🎺
|Brilliant Earth||Blue Nile||James Allen|
|Selection||100,000+ loose diamonds plus colored gemstones, lab-created diamonds, recycled stones, vintage pieces, and various rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings||150,000+ loose diamonds plus colored gemstones, lab-created diamonds, bridal settings, and various rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings||500,000+ loose diamonds plus colored gemstones, lab-created diamonds, bridal settings, and various rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings|
|Photos/Videos||360° images and videos for MOST diamonds||360° images and videos for SOME diamonds; others have a stock photo||360° images and videos for ALL diamonds|
|ASET Images||For SOME diamonds||For SOME diamonds||For MOST diamonds|
|Lab Certification||GIA, IGI, HRD||GIA||GIA, AGS, IGS|
|Customer Service||24/7 customer service via email, chat, and phone; 1-on-1 virtual sessions by appointment only||24/7 customer service via email, chat, and phone; free chats with non-commissioned diamond professionals available||24/7 customer service via email, chat, and phone; Real-Time Diamond Inspections by professionals available|
|Return Policy||30-day money back guarantee with prepaid shipping label; all original packaging and documentation must be included and item must return in original condition||30-day money back guarantee with prepaid shipping label; all documentation must be included and item must return in original condition||30-day money back guarantee with free shipping in U.S. ONLY; U.S. residents can enjoy this service only three times, and item must return in original condition|
|Resizing||Complimentary within 60 days of purchase||Complimentary within 1 year of purchase||Complimentary within 1 year of purchase|
|Warranty||Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty||Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty||Lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance and cleaning|
|Servicing||Extend protection plans available for additional fee||Complimentary yearly maintenance and cleaning||Maintenance and cleaning covered by lifetime warranty|
|Packaging||Plain, discreet packaging with FSC-certified wooden box that is recyclable; non-toxic cleaning kit with orders over $1,000; all documentation included||Silver-gray box containing soft, light gray ring box and all documentation included||Silver “presentation” box with drawers that open to store documentation; red lacquer ring box|
|Buyback Program||None||Diamond Buyback Program via CIRCA||None|
|Upgrade Program||Will credit 100% of diamond’s original price (assuming no damage) for the purchase of a diamond valued at least 50% more than the original stone||Will credit 100% of diamond’s original price (assuming no damage) for the purchase of a diamond at least 2x the stone’s value||Will credit 100% of diamond’s original price (assuming no damage) for the purchase of a diamond at least 2x the stone’s value|
|Price Match||None||Diamond Price Match Guarantee||Will match price under certain situations and new price will be honored for 48 hours|
|Social Responsibility||Beyond Conflict-Free: Blockchain protected diamonds from ethical mines, lab-created diamonds, recycled metals, community giveback programs, and more||Conflict-free diamond supply, diamonds from ethical mines, working on increasing recycled gold supply||Conflict-free diamond supply from ethical mines|
|Custom Orders||Special orders and custom modifications available upon request||Special orders and custom modifications available upon request||Custom orders available with option to use James Allen Ring Studio to create your own ring|
Although Brilliant Earth is one of the pricier retailers when it comes to diamond buying, there are still some ways to get a good deal! In addition to Brilliant Earth promo codes sent via email when you sign up, here are ways you can save money while shopping:
Using the 360° videos and enhanced images on Brilliant Earth’s website can help you save money in the long run. By utilizing these tools, you can easily see whether a diamond is eye clean and examine its overall sparkle. Plus, if a diamond doesn’t have a comprehensive set of images and videos, you can feel empowered to steer clear of these gems for ones with more data.
One of the absolute best things you can do on your diamond journey is familiarize yourself with the 4Cs. Cut, color, clarity, and carat are at the heart of a diamond’s value, and understanding how these factors can impact price is helpful for understanding when you’re getting a good deal and when you’re getting taken for a ride.
If you know what to look for in a diamond, you can safely compare gems of equal quality across multiple websites to know what the average price is. You can also read our diamond buying guide and our comprehensive guide to the 4Cs to arm yourself with knowledge as you start shopping.
At Brilliant Earth, you can expect to pay roughly 60% of the price of a natural diamond when shopping for a lab-created stone of equal quality. Because lab-created diamonds are made in a controlled environment, there’s no false scarcity and the stones are priced as such. Lab-grown stones also create less waste and leave very little environmental footprint, so they’re an ethically-conscious choice for individuals who still want the sparkle of a real diamond.
⚠️And the best part: they ARE real diamonds!
Brilliant Earth offers flexible payment options for clients who can’t budget for the full price of an engagement ring all at once.
The first option is the Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage credit card, which gives users an interest-free experience if the ring is paid off in 12 months. You can also try bank wiring for any order over $500, and you’re eligible for a 1.5% discount if you use this method. Affirm also allows customers to pay for their ring over 36 months with low-interest rates, and the layaway program means you can hold a particular ring and make payments until the piece is fully paid off.
Finally, Brilliant Earth provides several ways to pay to make things easier for clients. Popular options include credit card, Apple Pay, and PayPal!
Brilliant Earth goes out of their way to make sure they give back to the communities impacted by natural diamond and metal mining, and it’s also nice to see a company take an active stance outside of the Kimberley Process. While Brilliant Earth may have higher prices in some instances, you should be able to utilize your diamond knowledge to ensure a fair price on your ideal ring. Overall, Brilliant Earth offers transparency and a positive shopping experience for most buyers.💑🏻