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Brilliant Earth is an online jewelry retailer that promotes its products as “Beyond Conflict Free”, appealing to socially conscious consumers who want their piece to avoid the negative associations that have plagued the diamond industry.
In deciding which vendor is the right choice, you should know what to expect across the complete buying experience, from their selection and prices to warranties and customer service.
My bottom line recommendation is Brilliant Earth offers quality jewelry and an easy online buying process. Although their eco-friendly commitments can result in a price premium, you’ll find stunning designs for engagement rings and fine jewelry.
My wife and I bought her wedding ring from Brilliant Earth, and we couldn’t be happier with the purchase. From start to finish, it was an exceptional experience.
In my Brilliant Earth review, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the company.
Brilliant Earth Overview and History
Brilliant Earth was founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg in San Francisco, California.
The two couldn’t find a diamond vendor who met their standards for ethical sourcing, so they filled the gap themselves by starting the company.
They now hope to raise the bar for others in the industry.
Primarily an online vendor, they’ve also opened 32 showrooms across the United States.
Their “Beyond Conflict Free” tagline is one way they distinguish themselves from competitors.
Nearly every major jewelry company in the United States abides by the Kimberley Process, which ensures diamonds aren’t used to finance civil wars against legitimate governments.
But Brilliant Earth feels this criteria isn’t enough, and instead promotes how their mining practices also:
- Protect against human rights abuses
- Minimize degradation of the environment
- Maintain responsible labor practices
- Support community development
Some in the industry have questioned how consistently the jeweler verifies those ethical standards, suggesting that unless Brilliant Earth has representatives inspecting each mining location, it’s difficult to validate.
For example, Brilliant Earth says they aren’t able to verify the origin of all their diamond accents because their small size makes them tough to track.
But it’s important to know the company has continued taking practical steps to uphold their commitment.
This includes hiring an independent auditor to assess their tracking protocols, and submitting to the policies of the Responsible Jewelry Council.
It should be noted that many other online diamond stores like James Allen and Blue Nile follow similar practices related to sourcing and mining, but Brilliant Earth often goes a step above in their transparency regarding their social and environmental impact.
They partner with a select group of diamond suppliers who demonstrate a robust chain of custody protocol for their diamonds and have the ability to track and segregate diamonds by origin.
They’re required to source diamonds that originate from specific mines operations and countries that have shown a commitment to internationally recognized labor, trade, and environmental standards.
Beyond their mining protocols, Brilliant Earth also uses recycled precious metals, offsets their carbon emissions by contributing to rainforest conservation, and uses wood sourced from responsibly managed forests for their jewelry boxes.
Overall, Brilliant Earth has effectively branded themselves as the right choice for socially conscious shoppers and has demonstrated their commitment to that standard.
Brilliant Earth’s selection of jewelry is massive. It boasts of range of pieces in categories such as:
- Natural and lab-grown diamonds
- Engagement and wedding rings
- Gemstones like moissanite, sapphire, and aquamarine
- Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings
Within each line, there is plenty to browse.
For example, if you’re searching for a natural round-cut diamond, there are more than 50,000 options across all carat weights and color, cut, and clarity grades.
Brilliant Earth is one of the first jewelers to offer blockchain-enabled diamonds at scale to provide customers traceability of a diamond’s origin and ownership. There are more than 20,000 block-chain enabled diamonds that can be viewed and filtered on the site.
You can also explore multiple cuts like oval, cushion, princess, and Asscher diamonds.
These cuts are also available as lab-created diamonds and are close to half the price as natural ones.
Brilliant Earth has six main types of settings to hold your diamond.
My favorite design is their halo settings.
They feature a ring of small diamonds around the main one to increase its apparent size and sparkle without the price increase that results from a center diamond with a higher carat weight.
But no matter which style you choose, they’re available in white, yellow, or rose gold or platinum.
The company also boasts its partnership with luxury designer Tacori. Brilliant Earth has a selection of six engagement rings and four wedding bands from the brand, which you can view here.
If you’re also considering wedding rings, you’ll find more than 350 styles for women and 150 for men. There are 10 designs for women’s wedding rings, including:
I recommend exploring their selection of eternity bands to add sparkle that complements your engagement ring. My wife’s half-eternity wedding ring from Brilliant Earth is a perfect match for her solitaire engagement ring.
They don’t only sell traditional bridal jewelry. You can also create your own gemstone ring or choose one of their preset options, like this moissanite ring with pave diamonds on the shank.
In regard to their fine jewelry, Brilliant Earth offers many of the same categories as competitors like James Allen and Blue Nile, such as pearl necklaces and earrings.
In sum, Brilliant Earth and their alternatives offer a wide selection of jewelry.
Brilliant Earth sells high-quality jewelry, but you shouldn’t judge the diamond based on the vendor. Instead, it should be assessed by an independent third-party who can validate its traits.
Their diamonds are graded by three of the most popular organizations: the International Gemological Institute (IGI), the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD).
The GIA is considered by many in the industry to be the premier certifying institution, but IGI’s reports for lab-created diamonds hold high esteem.
Always view the report to learn about a diamond’s characteristics instead of relying on the naked eye. Even if you can’t view inclusions without magnification, you should know whether it contains those flaws that could affect its brilliance or durability.
Or if you want the center diamond for your engagement ring to have strong light performance, note it’s cut quality and choose one with a very good or excellent grade.
One advantage of Brilliant Earth compared to James Allen is you don’t have to request the GIA certificate. It’s available to view quickly on the site.
But when it comes to their settings and other jewelry, you should take into account the brand behind it.
Brilliant Earth passes on all fronts in this area. Many of their settings are handcrafted and feature unique designs that enhance the overall aesthetic of your ring.
I recommend their durable, sleek platinum settings.
Their tennis bracelets also stand out. There are more than 10 designs with varying carat weights.
Whether you want a luxury piece with more than three carats of diamonds or a simple version with a total carat weight of one, you can find them with natural or lab-created diamonds.
To assess the quality of their jewelry, I recommend always reading the “Product Details” section, which will display that key information, such as the average color and clarity of the diamonds and if it’s been treated.
You’ll know what to expect from the piece, even though you can’t view it in-person before you buy.
Brilliant Earth often charges a premium for their jewelry because of their eco-friendly standards. Their strict criteria increases costs to source diamonds, which results in a higher price for the buyer.
One of the best ways to understand Brilliant Earth’s pricing is to compare it to online competitors like Clean Origin and Blue Nile.
For example, I compiled prices for lab-created diamonds from Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin with the following grades:
- Carat: 1.00
- Clarity: VVS2
- Color: G
- Cut: Ideal
- Lab: IGI
The average price for one of these diamonds at Clean Origin was $2,007, and prices were between $1,774-$2,129.
Brilliant Earth’s averaged $2,010, and the range was $1,920-$2,250.
This demonstrates how Clean Origin often has options that are less expensive compared to Brilliant Earth, but overall prices are comparable.
I found a similar result comparing Blue Nile versus Brilliant Earth.
For the selection of natural, round-cut diamonds I examined, Blue Nile’s average price was within one percent of Brilliant Earth, but Blue Nile had lower starting prices.
Brilliant Earth’s prices for wedding rings are also comparable to competitors. For example, this 2mm comfort fit wedding ring in 18K yellow gold costs $390.
At James Allen, this similar design costs $410.
Overall, you can expect to pay a premium for Brilliant Earth jewelry, but there are plenty of exceptions.
The company also continually monitors and updates their pricing to remain in line with competitors.
If the company’s eco-friendly criteria are an important consideration, you can still find similar pricing as other vendors.
Ease of Buying Online
Buying jewelry without visiting a traditional retail store has become more popular, and many of the top online diamond stores have mastered the experience.
Like I covered in my review of Blue Nile, the company was one of the pioneers in the late 1990s in selling online. The model has since welcomed competitors like James Allen and Adiamor, in addition to legacy brands like Zales and Kay expanding their website offerings.
Brilliant Earth’s ease of buying online matches the best of them.
In the main navigation of their website, you’ll find their product lines.
My favorite feature is the ability to create your own engagement ring by starting with a diamond or setting. Choose any of their diamonds and settings and view how the combination pairs together.
For example, you might’ve narrowed your choice between princess and emerald cuts and halo, solitaire, and pave settings.
You can select a princess cut and browse halo settings, like this one.
Then choose the same setting but instead with an emerald cut, and place them next to each other.
This leads to the next reason Brilliant Earth provides a seamless online buying experience.
The site provides quality images of both the diamonds and settings, so you’ll know what the piece looks like before you buy it.
You can rotate the jewelry 360 degrees.
Brilliant Earth also allows you to easily create a matching set of an engagement and wedding ring. Under “Wedding” in the navigation, select “Find my Matching Wedding Ring”.
Choose the style of your engagement ring, and Brilliant Earth will show you wedding ring designs that complement it. I chose a petite shared prong diamond ring, and here are their suggestions.
These features create an easy online buying experience. The site is intuitive to navigate from start to finish, so you never have to set foot in a store to buy your jewelry.
It’s part of what makes them one of the best online diamond stores.
The online buying process is completed with exceptional packaging. It’s a responsibly sourced wooden box with the Brilliant Earth name etched on top.
Compared to their competitor’s packaging, theirs ranks as my favorite because of the classic design. It’s also 100 percent recycled sustainable packaging that reduces carbon emissions.
Shipping and Returns
Brilliant Earth provides free shipping on all US, UK, Canadian, and Australian orders.
They don’t provide details on the shipping timeline but instead state it depends on when the item is ordered. This contrasts with Blue Nile, who categorizes shipping times by the order cost.
Brilliant Earth offers free returns for 30 days, and they’ll pay for the return shipping as well.
That 30-day timeline begins when the order is shipped or available for pickup, not when you receive the jewelry. Their return policy is in line with most vendors in the industry, but one exception is Clean Origin offers returns within 100 days.
You should understand the exclusions that apply to the return policy. For example, the piece must be unworn and in its original condition.
Rings that have been modified, resized, or engraved cannot be returned.
Brilliant Earth’s jewelry comes with a free life manufacturing warranty. It doesn’t apply to estate and vintage jewelry because those pieces are manufactured by a different company.
If you believe there’s a defect, contact the team and let them know you’ll be sending the piece for an evaluation. They’ll take a $50 deposit that is refunded for all warrantied repairs.
If the repair isn’t covered, they’ll provide a quote.
You should know the exclusions of the warranty as well. These include:
- Prongs wearing down or bending over time, which results in the gemstone falling out
- Precious metals becoming discolored through everyday wear because of chemicals, makeup, and water
- Losing the gemstone through everyday wear or other damage
Brilliant Earth does provide an extended protection plan that ranges from two years to a lifetime. It comes with benefits such as:
- Free repair or replacement if your jewelry breaks
- Protection from accidental damage
- Free ring sizing and rhodium plating
You can read all the details of their warranty here.
The quality of a jewelry company’s customer service team is an important consideration because there are many aspects of your purchase that could require assistance.
This includes understanding how to read a diamond grading report, choosing which setting best fits your diamond, and coordinating any returns or repairs.
We’ve had an exceptional experience communicating with the Brilliant Earth team and are confident you’ll have the same. Their team is quick to respond and provides helpful information.
They’re also available 24/7 to chat online or by phone. Book a virtual appointment with their team to connect with a jewelry expert.
Or you can visit one of their showrooms in places like:
- Washington, DC
- San Francisco, California
- Dallas, Texas
- Seattle, Washington
You should also reach out if you’re interested in custom jewelry. Brilliant Earth can customize any of their standard items or create a brand new piece.
You can learn more about their customer service here.
What Customers Say
Reading feedback from real customers is also an effective way to learn if a jewelry company lives up to their promises.
The overall sentiment from customers online about Brilliant Earth is positive.
On WeddingWire, the company has earned 4.5 stars from almost 500 reviews, with 90 percent of couples recommending the brand. They commend Brilliant Earth’s service, value, average response time, and professionalism.
Many describe the jewelry as “beautiful” and note how they bought both their wedding and engagement ring from the company.
Customers also have high remarks on The Knot, with Brilliant Earth receiving 4.3 out of five stars from more than 400 reviews. Customers say they appreciated the service quality and how the site was easy to use.
But like every jewelry retailer, there are some customers who didn’t have the same experience. Common threads involve confusion around resizing policies and what qualifies as a repair under the warranty.
But Brilliant Earth has also earned an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, which means they have a history of resolving customer complaints in a timely manner.
If you do experience an issue with your jewelry, we’re confident the company will address it in a fair way.
There are many areas where Brilliant Earth excels over its competition, but they aren’t without some drawbacks. The main concern you’ll see from customers is the premium you pay for their jewelry compared to other online retailers.
It’s true Brilliant Earth’s prices are often higher, but as I demonstrated in the examples above, there are exceptions at the individual diamond and setting level.
You’ll need to decide whether their eco-friendly standards are worth it to you.
And although they provide quality images of almost every diamond on their site, I find the images from James Allen and Blue Nile even more helpful.
On Brilliant Earth’s site, you can rotate the diamond on one axis, but on the competitors’ sites, you have a more complete view.
But the images of a completed engagement ring are all comparable. You can rotate the rings in every direction and see how it looks from every angle, so Brilliant Earth doesn’t fall behind in this area.
The vendor also doesn’t have a price match guarantee like James Allen, Blue Nile, and Ritani. With those companies, you can present a competitor’s diamond that is the same quality as one on their site, and they’ll assess whether it qualifies.
This increases the chances you aren’t overpaying for the diamond.
None of these drawbacks should be deal breakers, but they’re worth considering.
My Bottom Line Recommendation on Brilliant Earth
In my Brilliant Earth review, we’ve found the company provides high-quality jewelry and an exceptional online buying experience from beginning to end. They’re especially fit for those who are eco-conscious and want to buy from a brand that matches their values.
I’ve personally bought jewelry from Brilliant Earth and was satisfied with the process and the piece my wife and I received.
Whether you’re searching for a diamond ring, wedding bands, gemstones, or necklaces, you can find it all at Brilliant Earth and never step into a store.
My recommendation is to use their feature that allows you to create your own ring by starting with the diamond or gemstone and then selecting the right setting.
It gives you complete control over the aesthetic of your ring.
Explore a variety of pieces from Brilliant Earth, and you’ll land on the right one for you.