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Brilliant Earth Review: Ethical Diamonds and Much More

by David Weliver

Brilliant Earth is an online fine jeweler that emphasizes ethical sourcing while delivering a great value on exquisite engagement rings, diamonds and other fine jewelry.

Brilliant Earth logo

In our Brilliant Earth review, we’ll look at how Brilliant Earth’s commitment to responsible sourcing sets them apart from competitors. We’ll also give you a look at Brilliant Earth’s diamond selection and their buying process.

The ethical jeweler

Brilliant Earth was founded as an ethically sourced jewelry company. While many jewelers sell “conflict-free” diamonds, Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond the industry standard with its offering of Beyond Conflict Free DiamondsTM.

Brilliant Earth sources diamonds from mines that have demonstrated their commitment to the following practices and standards:

  • Does not finance rebel movements
  • Protects against human rights abuses
  • Minimizes environmental degradation
  • Maintains safe and responsible labor practices
  • Supports community development

Why are ethics important in the diamond business?

For decades, warlords in some African countries have used diamonds to bankroll war. Hence, the terms “blood diamond” and “conflict diamond”.

Even though many brutal civil wars have now ended, violence in diamond mines remains a serious problem. Many diamonds are still stained by severe human rights abuses, unsafe working conditions, and environmental devastation.

Ethical diamond sourcing is about only buying from suppliers who certify their diamonds’ sources, treat workers well, and reinvest in the communities that supply their product and labor.

How does Brilliant Earth source responsibly?

Most diamond companies follow the Kimberly Process, a trade pact designed to stop companies from buying conflict diamonds. Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond the Kimberly Process by holding its suppliers to rigid labor and environmental standards.

In Brilliant Earth’s own words:

“Jewelers that offer “conflict free” diamonds are limiting themselves to the Kimberley Process’s definition, which narrowly defines conflict diamonds as diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized governments. What this definition leaves out is large numbers of diamonds that are tainted by violence, human rights abuses, poverty, environmental degradation, and other issues.”

In its effort to source only ethical diamonds and materials, Brilliant Earth makes use of: 

  • Blockchain technology to trace diamond origin
  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA) origin documentation
  • Lab-created diamonds
  • Recycled diamonds
  • Recycled precious metals

Shopping for diamonds at Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth makes shopping for your diamond online as easy and intuitive as possible. Filter diamonds by quality and price, view interactive 360° real diamond videos, get diamond origin details, customize your ring, and enjoy a 30-day return policy with free FedEx shipping both ways.

Whether you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring, loose diamond, gemstone ring or other jewelry, Brilliant Earth’s website will guide you.

Brilliant Earth’s diamond selection

Brilliant Earth has more than 121,000 diamonds available for purchase at the time of writing. 

That’s a lot of diamonds! Brilliant Earth knows how daunting this can be, so they have recently launched a diamond quiz feature to help provide you with a short list of recommended diamonds for you.

Brilliant Earth's diamond quiz will help you find the perfect diamond.
Brilliant Earth’s diamond quiz will help you find the perfect diamond.

For example, after answering some basic quiz questions about my preference for diamond shape, price, and qualities I’m most interested in, Brilliant Earth returned this list of the top 3 recommended diamonds for me:

Example results of Brilliant Earth's diamond quiz.
Example results of Brilliant Earth’s diamond quiz.

Brilliant Earth has a large selection of fancy shaped, colored, and lab diamonds, which are growing in popularity with consumers.

Fancy-shaped diamonds

Brilliant Earth carries the following diamond shapes.

Diamond shapes for sale at Brilliant Earth: Round, oval, pear, princess, asscher, cushion, emerald, marquise, radiant and heart.
Diamond shapes for sale at Brilliant Earth: Round, oval, pear, princess, asscher, cushion, emerald, marquise, radiant and heart.

With so many options, I recommend using their virtual try-on feature to narrow down what diamond shape you want! This fun feature allows you to take a picture of your hand and try on different settings, metal colors, and of course diamond shape and size.

Colored diamonds

For those looking to make a bolder statement, colored diamonds offer a distinctive twist on classic engagement rings. Brilliant Earth offers a selection of ethically-sourced colored diamonds in a range of stunning hues, from yellow, pink, blue, to black.

Lab-grown diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are an increasingly popular choice for couples today as they are beautiful, responsible and affordable.

Lab-grown Diamonds are created in a laboratory, but are physically identical to earth-created diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are composed of the same chemical crystal as natural diamonds and exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle. Lab diamonds are a responsible choice as they do not require any diamond mining. Best of all, lab-grown diamonds are often less expensive.

Viewing diamonds at Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth’s inventory includes over 91,000 “Real View” diamonds. This means you can see high-definition, 360° images and videos of these diamonds on demand.

When buying a diamond online, one of the biggest concerns people have is not being able to view the diamond in-person before buying.

Brilliant Earth’s Real View feature gives you a 360-degree view of your diamond and lets you see your diamond in far better detail than you could see in person!

A freeze-frame from Brilliant Earth's Real View 360 feature showing a round diamond from the side.
A freeze-frame from Brilliant Earth’s Real View 360 feature showing a round diamond from the side.

Brilliant Earth’s Real View rotates from right to left in front of you. You can pause the image at any point as well as zoom in and out.

You can see the facets, the angles, the color, the inclusions (flaws). 

Brilliant Earth’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship

In addition to promoting a more ethical and transparent jewelry industry, Brilliant Earth is dedicated to creating exquisite fine jewelry. Brilliant Earth’s exclusive designs are hand-drawn in their San Francisco design studio before being brought to life by their master jewelers. The resulting rings, earrings, and pendants are eye-catching heirlooms to be cherished for a lifetime. Browse Brilliant Earth’s exclusive design collections.

Here are some of Brilliant Earth’s most popular designs loved by customers:   

Brilliant Earth policies: Shipping and returns

Brilliant Earth offers a 30-day return policy (exchange or refund) with free FedEx shipping both ways.

During the holiday season, Brilliant Earth extends its 30-day return policy until the end of the holiday season. This way, if you’re hoping to pop the question on Christmas Eve, you can still exchange your ring after the holiday even if you purchased it more than a month prior. (Items ordered between November 15th and December 16th can be returned or exchanged up until January 15th.)

Brilliant Earth also provides the following:

  • Complimentary ring resizing within 60 days or purchase for customers in the U.S., Canada, U.K, and Australia.
  • Lifetime diamond upgrade
  • Free lifetime warranty
  • Flexible payment options

Brilliant Earth showrooms

In addition to selling jewelry online, Brilliant Earth also operates nine showrooms in cities across the United States.

These showrooms further set Brilliant Earth apart from some competitors. Schedule an appointment in advance so you can request specific diamonds and settings to see during your private, in-person consultation. Book now.

Showrooms are currently located in:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Philadelphia
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Washington, D.C.

Brilliant Earth also offers virtual appointments. If you are not located close to one of these 9 showroom locations, Brilliant Earth offers virtual appointments where you can enjoy a personalized appointment video consultation with one of their jewelry specialists from the comfort of your own home.

Brilliant Earth prices

Based on my experience cross-shopping dozens of diamonds, I can vouch that diamonds at Brilliant Earth are virtually always significantly less than the same quality diamond at Tiffany, Zales or nearly any of the respectable brick-and-mortar diamond retailers.

Brilliant Earth’s diamond prices are also competitive with other online jewelers, like James Allen and Blue Nile.

Conclusion

Brilliant Earth is a trustworthy online diamond retailer that goes above-and-beyond the competition to ensure responsible sourcing.

While most diamond sellers take some basic steps to avoid sourcing conflict diamonds, Brilliant Earth employs advanced processes to ensure their diamonds are conflict free, as well as mined using fair labor and sound environmental practices.

Brilliant Earth’s prices are lower than brick-and-mortar jewelers and competitive with other online jewelers, especially when you look at their lab-created diamonds. 

The buying experience at Brilliant Earth is good, with a 30-day return policy (and up to 60 days during the holiday season) and free FedEx shipping both ways (in the event of return).

Brilliant Earth has a large fan base, with thousands of reviews from happy customers, and over half a million Instagram followers that share their Brilliant Earth love stories.

Bottom line? You can’t go wrong buying diamond jewelry from Brilliant Earth. And if you want to be sure the diamond you buy has come from an ethical source free of conflict and abusive labor practices, Brilliant Earth should be your first stop.

Learn more about Brilliant Earth or shop for diamonds now.

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