Updated November 6, 2022

Brilliant Earth Review: Pros and Cons

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Brilliant Earth is known for their ethically-sourced diamonds. But is the price worth it? Read our full review.

Brilliant Earth Coupon
Search for Beyond Conflict-Free Diamonds

Overall Score

4.6

Price

4.0

Selection

4.0

Customer Service

5.0

Photos

4.5

Social Responsibility

5.0

Unique

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Beyond conflict-free philosophy
  • Lab-created diamonds
  • Unique setting styles
  • Can be higher priced than competitors

Bottom Line

Good online retailer for socially-responsible diamonds and rings

Is Brilliant Earth Good?

Since 2005, Brilliant Earth has been the clear-cut leading jeweler for ethical diamonds and jewelry. Everything Brilliant Earth offers, down to the packaging, is responsibly sourced.

But because of their claim for high ethical standards, many of the diamonds are sold at a premium. But some question whether that premium is justified.

We're here to give you the low-down on Brilliant Earth.

Will this store match your ethical beliefs and offer a diamond at a good value?

In this review, you'll learn:

Who Brilliant Earth Is Best For

  • If you're socially conscious. Brilliant Earth's diamonds come from ethical mines without human rights abuses. It has a strong social mission to give back to diamond mining communities.

  • If you're looking for lab-created diamonds. Brilliant Earth has a large selection of lab diamonds that cost up to 60% less than natural diamonds.

  • If you love vintage settings. Brilliant Earth has a huge collection of beautiful vintage rings. It has both one-of-a-kind antiques and vintage-inspired settings.

Is Brilliant Earth a real company?
Brilliant Earth is a reputable wedding and engagement ring designer and supplier. They are based in San Francisco, CA. The designers use only diamonds that have been sourced ethically and metals that have been recycled to make their pieces. They create responsibly sourced jewelry.

Pros & Cons

© CreditDonkey

PROS:

  • Ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones
  • Selection of lab-created diamonds
  • Socially responsible metal and ring boxes
  • Beautiful and unique settings
  • Free 1-on-1 virtual appointments
  • Social mission to give back to mining communities
  • 30-day free returns
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS:

  • Pricing may be higher than other online retailers
  • No price match guarantee

Tip: If you're looking for a more affordable alternative, check out James Allen. They offer conflict-free natural and lab diamonds at a great price.

We'll get into more detail below. But first, let's highlight the current Brilliant Earth promotions and perks.

Brilliant Earth Promotions

Brilliant Earth Philosophy

In 2003, the Kimberley Process was established to stop the trade of conflict diamonds. But Brilliant Earth's philosophy goes even beyond those standards.

Conflict-free merely means diamonds that have not been used to fund civil wars. But there are still other ethical concerns. Diamond mines often have unsafe working conditions and unfair wages.

Brilliant Earth's mission is to only source diamonds that:

  • Were not used to fund civil wars
  • Are clean of human rights abuses
  • Come from mines that pay fair wages
  • Come from mines with safe labor practices
  • Are mined with the least environmental impact

Brilliant Earth appeals to the socially conscious shopper. Compared to other online retailers, it may not offer the absolute lowest prices on diamonds. But you can feel good about your purchase, and that may be worth the few extra hundred bucks for you.

All diamonds come with a certificate of origin, showing that they have been ethically sourced.

Did you know: Brilliant Earth also sells ethically sourced gemstones, including emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and moissanite.

Brilliant Earth Criticism

There have been some questions regarding Brilliant Earth's practices, mostly centering on whether the company's claims of countries of origin can be trusted.

Brilliant Earth has taken major steps to address these issues and provide better transparency. It's one of the first jewelers to use cutting edge blockchain technology to track the diamond's journey from the mine to a final polished diamond.

There are now over 10,000 blockchain-enabled diamonds. You can browse through Brilliant Earth's blockchain diamonds and click on a diamond to see its unique journey.

In 2016, Brilliant Earth also employed a neutral independent auditor - SCS Global Services - to conduct an audit of their tracking protocol. This company performs third-party evaluation of environmental, social, and quality claims.

SCS has reported that Brilliant Earth's suppliers are in conformance to the custody protocol, and that the diamonds can be verified to their origin. This should give buyers more confidence in their purchase.

Did you know: A diamond passes through several, if not a couple of dozen, hands on its way from a mine to a showroom.

Brilliant Earth Products

Now let's go over what you'll find at Brilliant Earth.

Ethically Mined Loose Diamonds

Brilliant Earth offers 3 main types of mined diamonds:

  • Canadian Diamonds: Canada is the leading country of responsible mining. These diamonds are about as close to ethically sourced as you can get. The mines have high safety standards and workers are given fair wages and benefits. In addition, the Canadian government imposes very strict regulations to protect the environment and wildlife.

  • Botswana Sort: These mines follow international labor and environmental standards. Diamond mining has made Botswana one of the wealthiest African countries, and revenue is reinvested into education, infrastructure, and healthcare for the people.

  • Recycled Diamonds: Recycled diamonds are those that were previously purchased. Repurposing diamonds means less new mining and perpetuating ongoing abuses in the industry.

Get the best diamond for the money. Read this diamond price chart.

Lab-Created Diamonds

© CreditDonkey

Brilliant Earth also has a large selection of lab-created diamonds. These are real diamonds identical in every way to naturally mined diamonds. They're just made in a lab.

Lab diamonds are environmentally friendly. They're also made in safe working environments with fair wages. And another huge plus - they cost a lot less. Brilliant Earth's lab diamonds cost as much as 75% less than a similar mined diamond.

Always wanted a pink or blue diamond? Brilliant Earth also has lab-created colored diamonds. Naturally colored diamonds are super expensive and rare. Lab-grown colored diamonds have the same beauty at much lower prices.

Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?
Yes. Lab diamonds contain the same chemical properties as naturally mined diamonds. Even expert gemologists can't differentiate between the two. Brilliant Earth's lab-created diamonds are conflict-free and environmentally sustainable, and cost about 60% less than natural ones.

Recycled Diamonds

The company also sells recycled diamonds. These are stones that have been taken from vintage rings or purchased from customers looking for an upgrade.

This is a great option if you're truly looking to reduce your footprint. By reusing a stone, the company ensures that's one less diamond that needs to be mined.

However, these recycled diamonds are not exactly cheaper (and they should be, since they're essentially used stones). In many of our searches, even new diamonds (with the same specs) on James Allen turned up cheaper than BE's recycled diamonds.

See recycled diamonds

Socially Responsible Metal

Brilliant Earth doesn't stop with ethical stones. All their gold and platinum jewelry have been recycled from old jewelry or industrial and electrical products.

The process of mining metals can be very environmentally harmful. Brilliant Earth makes use of metals that already exist in the market. This reduces the need to mine new metals.

All the metals Brilliant Earth uses are pure. You don't have to worry about receiving a lower quality of metal by going in this direction.

Unique and Beautiful Settings

Brilliant Earth has beautiful rings that stand out from other jewelers. They specialize in vintage-inspired and nature-inspired designs.

Just about all the rings can be made in:

  • 18k white gold
  • 18k yellow gold
  • 14k rose gold
  • Platinum

They also have a selection of one-of-a-kind antique jewelry if you want something truly unique.

If you can't find a ring you like, you can work with the company's designers to create your own.

Tip: If you want the proposal to be a surprise, but want her to choose a setting she loves, you can propose with a temporary setting. Brilliant Earth can temporarily set the stone in their classic 18k white gold solitaire ring. Within 60 days of purchase, you can return the temp setting and choose another one. A $75 refurbishment fee will be deducted.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

via Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth aims to be as sustainable as possible - even down to the ring box and shipping packaging,

The elegant ring boxes are made from responsibly sourced natural wood. The shipping packaging has been redesigned to decrease paper packaging use.

All the packaging are FSC Certified, which ensures that the materials come from responsibly managed forests.

Customer Service

Brilliant Earth offer excellent customer service. You can reach reps 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat.

The really outstanding thing is that Brilliant Earth offers complimentary 1-on-1 virtual appointments. You get a private 50-min Zoom appointment with a jewelry specialist.

The session is completely personalized, so you can ask anything about jewelry, the 4Cs, and gemstone education. There is no pressure to buy.

Light Performance Upon Request

For any diamond, you can for their Idealscope and ASET images. These images show the light performance of a diamond by mapping out areas of light return and light leakage.

Having this gives you greater confidence in your purchase. It's scary to buy a diamond blind. But with this data, you'll get a good idea of how sparkly it will be.

Just contact Brilliant Earth by live chat, email, phone to ask for a diamond's light performance images. They can also help you read these images so you understand what you're looking at.

Buying Process Online

If you prefer to shop online, Brilliant Earth delivers a pleasing experience. The website is easy to navigate. It's well organized by category and has a good search function. It's easy to find the exact specs you want using the filters.

The advanced filter settings let you search for the factors important to you, such as blockchain diamonds, country of origin, and diamond report.

To find diamonds with actual photos/videos, click on the "Real View Available" filter on the diamond search page. Diamonds without the real view filter will only show a stock photo.

As you go through the list of results, you can see a preview of the diamonds before clicking through to the individual pages.

Brilliant Earth has recently stepped up their photo game too. Now, over 80% of the diamonds on their sites have a real photo and/or 360-degree video. This allows you to see a magnified photo of the actual stone. You'll be able to see any flaws on the diamond. So you can look for cheaper eye-clean diamonds.

Here's what Brilliant Earth's videos look like:

via Brilliant Earth

Being able to "see" the diamond is important on such a huge item. You can have more confidence in your purchase.

Another pretty cool feature is the skin tone slider. This is especially helpful if you're not sure which color metal looks best for your skin tone.

Virtual Ring Try On

If you don't live near a Brilliant Earth showroom, you can virtually try on rings from your smartphone.

To access this feature, just go to brilliantearth.com on your phone's web browser. Find rings you like and click on the "Virtual Try On" button under the image. Then just upload or take a photo of your hand to try on the ring.

You can select different diamond shapes, sizes, and metal color to see what looks best on your finger.

Buying Process in Person

Brilliant Earth does have 14 showrooms in America. If you want to visit one, you'll want to make an appointment. A sales associate will take you through the inventory of rings.

Did you know: Brilliant Earth has showrooms in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Denver, Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Atlanta .

You can create a ring with their stones and settings. Or you can bring in your own rings to melt down and be remade into a newly designed ring. The stores also sell vintage rings.

You won't feel short on options when you shop at a Brilliant Earth store. The company may have a smaller selection than other jewelers, but they have a lot of unique rings. You'll have plenty of options to see.

Returns, Warranty, and Other Policies

  • Free shipping. Your purchase will be shipped to you for free. Returns within 30 days can be sent back for free too. This is for all U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia orders.

  • 30-day free return. If you're not happy with your purchase for whatever reason, you can get a full refund within 30 days.

  • 60-day free resizing. Brilliant Earth offers one free resizing. But some styles cannot be resized. Custom or engraved rings have a resizing fee.

  • Free lifetime warranty. You get free lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. This does not include wear and tear, loss of gemstones, loss or theft.

  • Lifetime diamond upgrade. At any time, you can trade in your Brilliant Earth loose diamond for 100% credit towards a new diamond. The new diamond needs to be of at least 50% greater value. This does not apply for their gemstones or lab-created diamonds.

  • Financing. If you're unable to pay in full, Brilliant Earth offers a 12-month interest free option. You can also use a layaway plan and make monthly payments after an initial deposit.

Disadvantages of Brilliant Earth

  • More expensive. Some diamonds cost more at Brilliant Earth. Generally, we've found that smaller diamonds (less than 1 carat) tend to be pricier than a diamond with the same specs at James Allen (read review). However, if you're looking for a bigger diamond (over 1 carat), then the prices are very comparable.

    If you're interested in going a bit bigger, be sure to check our guides for 2 carat and 3 carat diamond rings.

  • No price match guarantee. Some other online jewelers (like James Allen and Blue Nile) offer diamond price match guarantee. Brilliant Earth does not offer this, since they differentiate themselves by sourcing only ethical diamonds. So it makes sense for prices to be slightly higher.

Charitable Giving

If you're not sold on Brilliant Earth's value, perhaps you'll support its social mission.

Brilliant Earth has always supported mining communities and environmental causes. In 2022, the Brilliant Earth Foundation was launched to promote growth and support organizations around the world. Their contributions have doubled since 2020.

Some of the projects the foundation supports include:

  • Partners with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) to fund schools in a rural diamond mining community. They provide education for children so they don't have to go work in the mines.

  • Partners with PureEarth to provide training for mercury-free mining to artisanal gold miners in Peru's rainforest. Also works to restore rainforests degraded by gold mining.

  • Partners with Carbonfund to offset emissions. They contribute to Tropical Rainforest Conservation in Brazil to conserve habitat for endangered plants and animals and improve the local water quality.

  • Donates to Feeding America to fight hunger in the US.

You can read Brilliant Earth's sustainability report to learn more about their commitment to transparency, sustainability, compassion, and inclusion.

How it Compares

Brilliant Earth vs Blue Nile:

Brilliant Earth vs James Allen:

Bottom Line

Brilliant Earth has a great philosophy of going beyond just conflict-free. We really appreciate their mission. We also love their commitment to help mining communities and the environment.

Generally, the value is good for socially-responsible diamonds. Larger diamonds have very comparable prices with other online jewelers. However, smaller diamonds tend to be more expensive.

Brilliant Earth does have a large selection of lab-grown diamonds. If you want an ethical diamond at a lower price point, we highly recommend looking into that.

One thing for sure though, is that Brilliant Earth does offer gorgeous, unique settings. That too, may sway your decision.

Brilliant Earth

Search for Beyond Conflict-Free Diamonds

Shop for diamonds at Brilliant Earth, a CreditDonkey recommended partner for socially-responsible diamonds.

Blue Nile Coupon Codes

Search for Diamonds

Shop for diamonds at Blue Nile, a CreditDonkey recommended partner for the large selection of diamonds.

James Allen

25% Off* NEW

Expires in 3 days
Ritani Coupon Codes

Save 25% on Diamond Essentials

Expires 12/31/2022

Save 25% on select diamond jewelry. Use code CYBER25 at checkout. Excludes two-stone engagement rings.

Write to Kyle Schurman at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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