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If you’re looking to buy jewelry, your choice of vendor is one of the most important starting places. Brands with physical locations dominated the industry for decades, but recently, buying jewelry online has grown in popularity.
Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth are two online diamond stores that emphasize their eco-friendly and conflict-free selection.
The main difference between Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth is that Clean Origin only sells lab-grown diamond jewelry, while Brilliant Earth sells both natural and lab-grown pieces. Both companies are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of their jewelry.
We’ll compare Clean Origin versus Brilliant Earth across each phase of the buying process, from their selection of jewelry and its quality to prices and customer service.
Clean Origin Overview
Clean Origin sells lab-grown jewelry.
They opened their online store in 2017, led by several veterans of the diamond industry such as Terry Burman, Alexander Weindling, and Ryan Bonifacno. The trio committed to the idea Millennials and Generation Z would opt against natural diamonds and instead choose synthetic ones.
Vendors who sell natural diamonds often abide by the Kimberley Process, which means the diamonds aren’t used to finance civil wars against legitimate governments.
But Clean Origin dodges this topic altogether by producing their diamonds in a lab.
They made a name for themselves selling bridal jewelry but now offer earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
But Clean Origin distinguishes themselves through their mission of minimizing the environmental impact of diamonds and avoiding the negative reputation that’s plagued many diamond retailers.
Brilliant Earth Overview
Brilliant Earth was founded in 2005 in San Francisco, California. The company boasts their jewelry is “Beyond Conflict-Free”, which means they exceed the standards set by the Kimberley Process.
While those criteria focus on conflict-free diamonds, Brilliant Earth also aims to protect against human rights abuses.
The mine operations they support must also have responsible labor practices that treat workers and the environment with respect.
In fact, the company offsets their carbon emissions by donating to the Tropical Rainforest Conservation in Brazil.
Brilliant Earth is so committed to sourcing transparency that more than 10,000 of their diamonds can be tracked through the blockchain to verify its ownership from the mine to your door.
Check out our complete review of Brilliant Earth.
How are Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth Different?
If you’re comparing Clean Origin versus Brilliant Earth, you should understand their key differences. On the surface, the two vendors appear similar, but we’ll dive into the details so you know what to expect.
Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin are most associated with diamond engagement rings. Both offer a huge selection of colorless and colored diamonds across the most popular cuts.
For example, Clean Origin has more than 18,000 diamonds in its inventory, including round, oval, emerald, and princess cuts.
They’re available in a variety of carat weights and color, cut, and clarity grades.
Brilliant Earth sells close to 150,000 natural diamonds and 90,000 lab-grown gems. The same cuts are offered at both retailers.
This allows you to perform a direct comparison between two similar diamonds to learn which is the right pick for you.
You could filter the selection for round cuts between 0.90 and 0.95 carats, with the following grades:
- Cut: Very good
- Color: H
- Clarity: VS2
Both companies have diamonds available in that range, so you can view high-resolution photos and compare certificates and prices.
Their selections also include many types of settings for your engagement ring.
Clean Origin’s options include:
We recommend exploring their three-stone settings, such as this tapered baguette ring.
Two baguette diamonds surround the main stone, giving it additional brilliance without the price increase that results from increasing the size of the center diamond.
At Brilliant Earth, you’ll find many of the same styles of settings. Most designs are available in white, rose, or yellow gold or platinum, like this scalloped pave setting.
But Brilliant Earth’s and Clean Origin’s selection of jewelry extends beyond diamond rings and into other jewelry like wedding rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.
You’ll find dozens or hundreds of variations within each category.
One area where Brilliant Earth stands out from Clean Origin is its gemstones. You can create your own piece with stones such as:
They’re a more affordable alternative to diamond jewelry that can either mimic or contrast the appearance of a diamond.
Jewelry and Diamond Quality
Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth sell high-quality jewelry, but you shouldn’t base your judgment solely on the brand behind it.
Instead, the quality of a diamond should be assessed by an independent third-party like the Gemological Institute of America, the International Gemological Institute, or Gem Science International.
Both vendors sell diamonds graded by these labs and display the certificates on their websites.
When filtering diamonds for traits like color and clarity, you can also filter by the organization who graded it.
For lab-created diamonds, we recommend choosing any of the three diamond laboratories. For natural ones, opt for the GIA or the Gem Certification and Assurance Lab.
You can be confident in their examination of the diamond, so you’ll know what to expect. For example, if you’ve chosen a one-carat diamond with a VS1 clarity grade and H color, it’ll appear flawless and colorless to the naked eye.
Always view the certification before buying it, in addition to the high-resolution photos on Brilliant Earth’s and Clean Origin’s websites.
Beyond their diamonds, the two companies have stunning jewelry designs. Their settings are sleek and elegant, whether you choose a solitaire style or one with small diamonds placed along the shank.
There are several types of pave settings, like this Natasha Ring from Clean Origin.
It has 16 gemstones cascading from the center diamond for extra sparkle.
You can also find quality fine jewelry, especially their tennis bracelets.
Brilliant Earth’s tennis bracelets are handcrafted and made with white, rose, or yellow gold or platinum in a variety of carat weights.
The diamonds are eye-clean, so you’ll have a set that appears flawless.
Price and Value
Always consider the price of diamond jewelry in relation to value. Some buyers think they should choose a diamond that has the highest grades across color, cut, and clarity.
The end result is a more expensive diamond that looks the same as other diamonds with lower grades when viewed with the naked eye. That’s why we recommend choosing one where the inclusions and yellow tints are only visible under magnification.
The best way to compare prices from Brilliant Earth versus Clean Origin is to find diamonds with the same grades across the four Cs.
For examples, we analyzed prices for diamonds from the two vendors with the following qualities:
- Carat weight: 1.00
- Color: G
- Clarity: VVS2
- Cut: Ideal
- Grading Lab: IGI
At Clean Origin, the average price is $2,007.
At Brilliant Earth, prices average $2,010, with a range of $1,920-$2,250.
This demonstrates prices for lab-created diamonds at Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin are comparable.
Prices for their engagement ring settings are also similar.
For a solitaire setting, you can expect to pay between $450-$1,000 for most designs.
Prices for halo settings, where a ring of small diamonds circles the center stone, generally start at $1,000 at both vendors but can reach more than $5,000 for specialized designs from Tacori.
Clean Origin’s wedding rings begin at a lower price compared to Brilliant Earth. There are options for $265, while their competitor’s bands start at $290.
Online Buying Experience
The two vendors have mastered the online buying experience. Companies like Blue Nile and Adiamor began selling online in the late 1990s, and since then, most major jewelry brands have shifted their focus to online stores.
Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin offer exceptional online buying experiences for two main reasons: high-resolution images and the ability to create your own engagement ring.
One of the initial downsides of shopping for jewelry online was the inability to view exactly what the piece looked like before committing to it. Vendors would use low-quality or stock images that didn’t represent its appearance.
But now, many stores that sell diamonds online have quality images of the actual diamond.
A pioneer of this technology was James Allen, but now Clean Origin and others have similar tools.
As an example, you can select this 1.09-carat round cut diamond from Clean Origin.
By viewing the 360-degree photo, you can tell it’s eye-clean and colorless.
Brilliant Earth does the same for diamonds and settings. You can select a setting and rotate it with a diamond on top instead of having to view it at the store.
The two vendors also have a helpful feature on their websites to create your own engagement ring.
Start with a diamond or setting, and choose from thousands of combinations.
For example, you might narrow your choice between a round or princess cut and a prong or bezel setting.
In the main navigation of their sites, go to “Engagement” and select “Start with a Setting” or “Start with a Diamond”.
Create several versions of round and princess cut engagement rings with a variety of prong and bezel settings. They’ll even show you an image of the final product, so you’ll know what to expect.
It’s a helpful feature for those who are unsure of their preferred style. You can create dozens of rings quickly to learn which is right for you.
This results in an easy buying experience at both Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth, where you can skip the in-store experience and view a huge selection of jewelry.
Clean Origin has free overnight shipping in the United States and Canada for engagement rings and loose diamonds. Other pieces are sent via FedEx 2 Business Day delivery, but you can speed up the shipping for an added cost.
For special delivery options, you can contact the company to make arrangements.
Brilliant Earth offers free shipping on every order to the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia, regardless of cost.
They don’t provide the details on shipping time because each order takes a different amount of time to prepare.
We recommend contacting the company directly for your particular order’s shipping time.
Overall, their shipping policies are comparable to other online diamond stores.
The average order value is so high that jewelry companies often include free, fast shipping, but don’t wait until the last minute to order in case you decide on a different piece.
Return Policies, Financing, and Warranties
You should also understand return policies, financing, and warranties before buying a piece of jewelry.
It’s often an expensive purchase, and these policies provide a safety net if you need to return the item or want to avoid paying the full cost up front.
Clean Origin has a superior return policy compared to Brilliant Earth because they allow you to return the piece within 100 days. Brilliant Earth limits it to 30 days.
The jewelry must be unworn and in its original condition, and there are exclusions. For example, custom or engraved jewelry often can’t be returned for a full refund.
Both retailers have financing options.
Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth partnered with Affirm Financing to allow customers to pay over the course of up to 36 months.
Brilliant Earth has financing available through a credit card, where you’ll pay no interest if the balance is paid off within 12 months.
Overall, the competitors have similar warranties. They cover manufacturing defects. This excludes the diamond’s natural flaws like inclusions that form during its development.
So it’s important to understand its clarity grade and how it affects the diamond’s appearance, because most of those blemishes aren’t considered a manufacturing defect.
It also excludes the normal wear and tear that may cause prongs to loosen.
If you believe your jewelry has a defect covered under the warranty, you can ship it to the company for an inspection.
If it falls under the warranty, they’ll cover the cost of repair. If not, you’ll receive a quote for its cost.
Their warranties are in line with the rest of the industry, but you should read the details to understand when they do and don’t apply.
The high cost of jewelry is another reason you should choose a trusted vendor with responsive customer service teams.
If there are any issues with your piece or payment, you need certainty someone from the company can address and solve your problem.
Clean Origin’s customer service team is available to connect Monday – Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. EST. On Sundays, those hours are 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
You can also email, call, or text the company.
Brilliant Earth’s team is available 24/7 to call or chat online. You can book a virtual appointment to speak with a diamond expert or visit one of their showrooms in places such as:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Austin, Texas
- Chicago, Illinois
We’ve connected with the Brilliant Earth team and have found the representatives helpful, quick to respond, and detailed in their replies. They’ve gone above and beyond to address our questions.
We’re confident you’ll have the same experience.
Reviews from Customers
Reading reviews from Brilliant Earth’s and Clean Origin’s customers is an important step in trusting the quality of their products and services.
Jewelry companies may promote their wide selection, low prices, and stunning designs, but you’ll know whether they live up to those promises by learning about the experiences of those who have bought from them.
Both vendors have positive sentiment online.
Clean Origin has earned 4.2 out of five stars from 174 reviews on Trustpilot.
Reviewers note how the customer service team was fast in addressing their problem and describe their ring as “beyond gorgeous.”
Brilliant Earth has received 4.5 out of five stars from WeddingWire, where customers give them high marks in quality of service, average response time, and value.
Specifically, customers recommend them for their designs, the ability to find matching engagement and wedding rings, and the simple online buying experience.
But like every jewelry company, some customers have had negative experiences.
For Clean Origin, some have expressed how the settings appeared to have scratches and the piece needing to have repairs soon after the 100 day return window.
Some Brilliant Earth customers have had poor experiences resizing the ring, understanding which pieces are in stock, and the diamond falling out of the setting.
These perspectives represent a small number of their overall customers, and both companies have an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.
That means they’ve consistently responded and resolved complaints in a timely manner.
Our experiences with both companies, and the experiences of many of their customers, demonstrate you can have confidence in your purchase from either vendor.
Is Clean Origin or Brilliant Earth Right For You?
If you’re deciding on Clean Origin versus Brilliant Earth, you should consider more than the final piece of jewelry.
Buying a diamond ring online involves a number of aspects to consider, from the selection of products and their prices to the return policies and warranties.
Both companies earn high marks in these areas, but here are some guidelines to help you decide.
If you should consider Clean Origin if:
- You’re searching for a lab-created diamond at a low price
- You’re willing to pay a higher price for some settings compared to competitors
- You find the designs of their settings and fine jewelry more appealing
You should opt for Brilliant Earth if:
- You want a natural diamond that exceeds most eco-friendly standards
- You’re willing to pay a premium compared to some competitors
- You’re interested in gemstone jewelry instead of pieces featuring diamonds
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