In general, buying jewelry is an investment. People buy it with the belief that they will hold onto it for a long time. Consequently, they want quality pieces. Moreover, ethical consumers want quality jewelry that is humanely and sustainably sourced.
However, quality, ethical jewelry is not always easy to find. The problem lies in the verifiability of ethical claims. Quality can be easily assessed by reading customer reviews, but determining whether jewelry is really responsibly sourced is a bit more complicated.
In this review, we’re going to examine the jewelry company Brilliant Earth. Brilliant Earth claims to offer both quality and ethically sourced jewelry. Read on to learn whether these claims are legitimate.
Where do Brilliant Earth’s Diamonds Come From?
Naturally Mined Diamonds
Diamonds are a central feature of many jewelry pieces. They are also the center of a lot of controversies. Conventional diamond mining often involves the trade of diamonds to fund rebel movements, the employment of child labor, the abuse of workers, and harm to the environment. In light of these issues, Brilliant Earth has established a “beyond conflict-free” policy.
In 2003, the Kimberly Process was established to stop the trade of conflict diamonds. These are diamonds that were used to fund civil wars and rebel movements. Therefore, in an effort not to support these movements, they established conflict-free diamonds. However, Brilliant Earth takes this concept one step further. Their “beyond conflict-free” diamonds are not only conflict-free. They also originate from sources that are free of human rights abuses, pay workers fair wages, use safe labor practices, and mine in an environmentally sustainable way.
The mines that meet Brilliant Earth’s strict criteria are located in Canada, Russia, Botswana, South Africa, and Nambia.
Canadian diamonds mainly originate from the Diavik and Ekatic mines. These mines have shown a high commitment to environmental and human rights standards. They also pride themselves on hiring local Indigenous people and sponsoring scholarship funds.
Russian diamonds come from the Yakutia region of northeast Siberia and the Arkhangelsk region. These mines offer jobs to thousands of local residents. Furthermore, these mines offer their employees housing benefits, health care, and pensions.
Diamonds from Botswana, South Africa, and Nambia originate from mines that are known to follow internationally recognized labor and environmental standards. Additionally, these mines invest funds into education, health care, and infrastructure for local people.
Brilliant Earth employs blockchain technology to track their diamonds from when they’re mined to the time they arrive at their warehouse. Consequently, they can guarantee that their diamonds came from reputable sources and were not corrupted during transit.
Recycled diamonds are great for the environment because they don’t require any new mining. Instead, these diamonds come from previously purchased jewelry that Brilliant Earth has repurposed. As a result, the demand for new mining is lessened, avoiding the perpetuation of ongoing harm.
An independent gemological lab has graded brilliant Earth’s recycled diamonds, so the quality is guaranteed. Furthermore, they assess the cut quality and make this information available to customers to make an informed choice.
If you read any Brilliant Earth reviews, they will no doubt mention their lab-created diamonds. These diamonds are identical to naturally mined diamonds in every way, with the exception of their origin. As their name implies, lab diamonds are grown in laboratories as opposed to originating from the mine. They are a responsible choice as there is no possibility that they could be associated with conflict or environmental abuse.
Where do Brilliant Earth’s Precious Metals Come From?
Metal mining is extremely destructive to the environment. Gold mining, in particular, is especially harsh. In fact, 20 tons of ore are required to produce enough gold for one ring. Additionally, metal and gold mining pollutes water and has a history of unsafe and inhumane labor practices. For this reason, Brilliant Earth chooses to use recycled metals in its jewelry.
Brilliant Earth gets its precious metals from a variety of sources, but mainly post-consumer materials. These include jewelry, electronic components, and industrial use-metals. Furthermore, they source their precious metals from certified responsible refiners. They only deal with refiners with audits performed according to the standards set out by the Responsible Minerals Initiative and the London Bullion Market Association.
What Makes Brilliant Earth Jewelry a Quality Product?
Quality is a difficult component to assess, but based on customer reviews, Brilliant Earth offers a product that consumers value for their caliber.
The Brilliant Earth website features 8971 reviews, with an average review of five stars. In one review, a customer called her ring “stunning,” while another said her ring was “beautiful, brilliant, and fiery.” On the independent review site, ConsumerAffairs, Brilliant Earth has also received good reviews. However, this site lists their overall score as 4 out of 5. From this information, it’s possible to assume that they offer a quality product.
Furthermore, Brilliant Earth stands behind their jewelry. They offer a free lifetime warranty and free 30-day returns. The lifetime warranty guarantees that should someone discover a manufacturing defect on a product, Brilliant Earth will repair or replace it, free of charge. The 30-day return policy ensures that if a customer changes their mind about a piece of jewelry, they can exchange it or get a full refund.
How Affordable is Brilliant Earth?
Jewelry from Brilliant Earth varies in price because you can customize your setting and diamond. However, settings start at $500, gemstones start at $230, lab-created diamonds start at $320, and natural diamonds start at $385.
If you compare Brilliant Earth to similar retailers and consider the responsible and precise nature of their sourcing, their pricing is reasonable. Furthermore, the quality of their jewelry and the guarantee offered by the company mean that you can rest assured that you’re making a good investment.
What Sets Brilliant Earth Apart?
We’ve already examined how thorough Brilliant Earth is with regards to the sourcing of their diamonds and precious metals; however, what really sets them apart is their commitment to giving back to local and global communities. For example, brilliant Earth supports hunger relief in the United States. They also help enrich the lives of people in mining communities by offering educational opportunities.