According to their advertising, Brilliant Earth sells diamonds that are beyond conflict-free. At the same time, they point out that their diamonds are from Canada, Botswana, Namibia, and Russia.
Although this may be true, I don’t actually see how this is a unique selling proposition. After all, I can find the same diamonds listed on other sites for a lower price sometimes. Take this 1.09 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Brilliant Earth for example.
The GIA diamond grading report number is GIA #6331788135. On February 25, 2020 it was listed on Brilliant Earth for $7,815.00 cash/wire price. As a matter of fact, Blue Nile and James Allen are offering the same diamond as shown below.
As stated previously, I found the 1.09 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Brilliant Earth on multiple sites. According to Brilliant Earth, the diamond is Botswana Sort (more on that further down the page).
As you can see, the price of the same diamond from Brilliant Earth is considerably more than it is from Blue Nile and James Allen. Consequently, I'm personally not willing to pay $555.00 more simply because the vendor claims that it's beyond conflict free. However, I'll leave that up for you to decide because people will assign different values to the "beyond conflict free" proposition.
In the first place, Brilliant Earth claims that the diamonds they sell are beyond conflict free. Although this may be true, I have to question whether that statement adds value. After all, I was able to find the same "beyond conflict free" diamond on Blue Nile and James Allen for less. Be that as it may, the listing for the diamond on Brilliant Earth indicates that the diamond is from Botswana:
As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how Brilliant Earth is able to verify the origin of the diamond. After all, the supplier does not provide that information on the multiple listing service. Here is a screenshot of the listing from the MLS on February 25, 2020:
Consequently, I'm not accusing Brilliant Earth of any kind of fraud or wrongdoing. I'm simply saying that I don't know where they are getting the information that this diamond is Botswana sort. At the same time, I really don't see how the origin of the diamond makes any difference in terms of value.
In other words, I don't think that knowing whether a diamond is from Botswana warrants paying a higher price. Especially when the same "beyond conflict free diamond" is available for less from other vendors.
In the first place, I suppose that you need to decide whether the alleged origin of the diamond is important. Secondly, you need to decide whether that is something that you are willing to pay more for. Of course, the third option is to search Brilliant Earth and then see whether the same diamond is available anywhere else for a better price.
In the same way that I'm not accusing Brilliant Earth of any fraud or wrongdoing, I didn't make up that headline. As a matter of fact, it's a quote found around the 30 second mark of this video by Philip DeFranco. In that case, this video focuses on litigation between Brilliant Earth and Jacob Avital, who bought a Canadian diamond. After which, Jacob returned the diamond and tracked it back to the supplier who denied that it was Canadian.
Spoiler Alert: According to a notice filed in New York Supreme Court on October 27, 2017: The Brilliant Earth Class Action Lawsuit was discontinued with prejudice and without any costs or disbursements. Consequently, the original videos created by Jacob Avital are no longer available:
Not too long ago, I spoke with representatives from Brilliant Earth on the telephone. In the first place, I had a lot of questions about what makes their diamonds beyond conflict free.
Given that we had a lot of ground to cover, we agreed to follow up via email. Based on the new insight covered in our correspondence, I decided that it was time to revisit Brilliant Earth.
How come that last sentence sonds like the title for a cool science fiction movie? As in it's "Time to Revisit Brilliant Earth: the quest for diamonds that are beyond conflict-free." As a matter of fact, it seems like the perfect tagline for a movie. After all, more and more people are making an effort to be more socially responsible. Of course, the question is whether or not you will buy into the story?
As shown above, Brilliant Earth claims to go beyond the conflict-free standards of the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003. Under those circumstances, Brilliant Earth markets their diamonds as being beyond conflict-free. According to the email sent to me on May 23rd:
"We go beyond the Kimberley Process's conflict-free standard, which states only that the diamond didn't fund a rebel movement against a recognized government."
In other words, the Kimberly Process does nothing to protect human rights beyond the scope of government. In the first place, I understand what they're implying. However, isn't a government representative of the people?
... in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Rumors that I popped out of my mother's womb, sporting a bright red, shiny set of horns are greatly exaggerated. However, my younger brother files down his horns on a bi-weekly basis. With that in mind, I'm quite positive that he's the devil. As a matter of fact, he's also a lobbyist. I'm not kidding, my brother is Nick Naylor in the flesh.
Although that may be true, the population of many countries lack the ability to influence their government via free and fair elections. As a matter of fact, this is something that we tend to take for granted in the United States.
In fact, there have been many heinous atrocities committed against humanity throughout the course of time. Unfortunately, the allure of diamonds has been the focal point of some of those tragic events.
As unfortunate as that may be, the reality is that this is true of every other kind of monetary instrument. Please understand that I'm not trying to downplay the tragedy of blood diamonds or other atrocities.
At the same time, I'm not trying to market on the backbone of such tragedies either. As a matter of fact, I'm simply acknowledging the fact that bad shit seems to happen whenever money is involved. As an illustration of that fact, the daily news is filled with stories pertaining to criminal acts involving drugs, gold, oil, and anything else worth money. With that in mind, it's reasonable to assume that diamonds are no exception to the rule.
Under those circumstances, you might consider buying a lab-grown diamond. However, I strongly recommend that you read our in-depth review of lab-grown diamonds before doing so. After all, there are some distinct differences in the physical structure and optical properties of natural and lab-grown diamonds. With that in mind, I personally prefer natural diamonds that are conflict-free in compliance with the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003.
On the condition that you're buying a diamond from a legitimate source, the odds are that it is conflict free. After all, the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003 makes it virtually impossible for you to buy a conflict diamond. That is assuming that you are buying an engagement ring from a legitimate dealer. In which case, bragging that your diamonds are beyond conflict free in 2020 is like saying that organic apples come from a tree.
"The Kimberly Process (KP) is a joint initiative designed to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds are any rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments. The KP has 54 participants, representing 81 countries. The European Union and its member states count as a single participant. KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds."
In the first place, diamond dealers need a Kimberley Process (KP) certificate when exporting rough diamonds from a participating country. In other words, if the diamonds fall under the Customs Tariff subheadings:
Then customs authorities in both the country of export and the destination require a Kimberley Certificate for transport. As a matter of fact, the Kimberley Process only applies to rough uncut diamonds. However, shipments of polished diamonds also fall under intense scrutiny because of the potential for money laundering. Obviously, diamonds are an extremely valuable monetary instrument whether cut or uncut. As such, you can bet that a plethora of government agencies keep a watchful eye on the movement of diamonds across borders.
As a matter of fact, diamond shipments are subject to the same type of scrutiny as other monetary instruments. On that note, every member of the diamond industry is well acquainted with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN). In the event that you want to know more about it, here's a bit of light reading for you:
In an effort to support the provisions of the Kimberley Process, the WDC proposed this system of warranties:
“The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.”
Buyers and sellers of both rough and polished diamonds must make this statement on their invoices. Notice that this statement goes beyond the effects upon the government:
As a matter of fact, this system meets with the approval of every country that participates in the Kimberley Process. With that in mind, every legitimate member of the diamond industry participates in this program. In this case, legitimate members of the trade prominently display that statement on their invoices. Under those circumstances, the only people who profit from the sale of conflict diamonds are:
And guess what people? They’re not selling diamonds online via the legitimate channels where you’re going to buy an engagement ring. As a matter of fact, they’re not issuing invoices, nor transporting diamonds across borders using legitimate means that pass through customs. More than likely, they’re smuggling diamonds that are hidden in the rectum of an alpaca or some other type of mule. After all, that’s apparently the same way that other illegal monetary instruments like drugs move across borders.
The basic premise behind the Brilliant Earth movement is that they sell diamonds that are beyond conflict-free. Kudos to that, because I don’t know anybody who wants their diamond engagement ring to fund conflict.
Brilliant Earth informed me that they exclude many countries that participate in the Kimberley Process. For example, Brilliant Earth pointed out that they don’t sell diamonds from Zimbabwe. According to this excerpt from their email correspondence that is “because they do not meet our standards for ethical sourcing.”
As a matter of fact, the trade journals used to be full of news articles about Zimbabwe. The country’s violence led to an official ban of rough diamonds in 2013 under the provisions of the Kimberley Process. However, three years later, the embargo is no longer in force. That’s because the government kicked out all the diamond mining companies out and went into business for themselves.
Obviously, this move is supposed to better serve the interests of the Zimbabwe people. Be that as it may, it’s probably just another clandestine move to put more money into the corrupt hands of the government. If I were a betting man, I’d hedge on the side of the people getting ripped off while the fat cats in government get rich.
As stated previously, you really don’t need to be concerned about conflict diamonds when buying online from legitimate sources. Although that may be true, I’ve got friends who like to debate such things to the ends of the earth. With that in mind, the answer largely depends on how you personally define the nature of conflict-free.
Arguably, that is because every natural resource is subject to the influence of a handful of corrupt individuals. As a matter of fact, even conflict-free Canadian diamonds might not actually be conflict-free. As an illustration of that fact, just look at the monetary driven disputes between aboriginal tribes, diamond companies, and government.
Be that as it may, the Kimberley Process & the World Diamond Council System of Warranties seems like a step in the right direction:
“The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.”
Clearly I’m not convinced that Brilliant Earth offers diamonds that are any more conflict-free than other vendors. However, I do like the underlying concept which Brilliant Earth promotes. After all, I agree that all diamonds should be originate from conflict-free sources. On the same note, I agree that there should be free trade certification for diamonds. At the current time, such a system is not available. However, blockchain technology might provide the industry with that option in the near future.
As a matter of fact, I like the ability to search for diamonds using the origin of rough as a deciding factor. At the present time, Brilliant Earth is currently offering conflict-free diamonds mined in the following countries:
Interestingly enough, the Sierra Leone Civil War in West Africa is actually what brought global attention to conflict/blood diamonds in the first place. It’s been over since 2002 and legitimate diamond mining operations are a key factor of the local economy.
If you want to be able to search Brilliant Earth by country of origin, simply click on the Advanced Search option. Note that when I did that, the option to search diamonds from Canada, Botswana sort, and Russia became available.
However, it’s unclear to me how to find the diamonds from Namibia, Sierra Leone or South Africa. Perhaps that option will be available on the Brilliant Earth diamond search page soon? Or do those diamonds appear as part of Brilliant Earth’s normal inventory?
Brilliant Earth offers conflict-free diamonds in every popular diamond shape, but I’m going to focus on rounds since that is the most popular. The proportions of a round brilliant cut diamond are going to dictate the volume of light return and balance of brilliance and dispersion. The degree of optical precision is also going to factor into light performance. The article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success indicates the following best proportions for round diamonds:
Then adjust the sliders to accommodate your preferred range of carat weight, color, clarity, and price. Move the slider for Cut Quality all the way to the right to eliminate any options which are not Ideal to Super Ideal. None of the other cut classifications have a chance of meeting my selection criteria. Then click on Advanced Search to expand the next set of selection criteria. Adjust those options as follows:
For the sake of this example, let’s search Brilliant Earth for a conflict-free diamond with these characteristics:
As you can see, this range of diamond characteristics and price produced 73 options for us to consider. What we’re going to do next is:
Right-click your mouse over “View” and select “Open Link in New Tab” to open each diamond details page in a new browser tab. Repeat this process for all of the Brilliant Earth diamonds presented as options. The screenshot on the left shows how this is going to look on a Macbook Pro. The wording might be different on a PC, but the concept is the same.
Scroll down the list of diamonds and repeat the process until each page is open. Once you have all the diamond details pages opened up in separate tabs, we’ll review the lab reports. This will also be a time-consuming process since you have to click on the GIA icon to open each diamond grading report. The process of opening up every lab report is time-consuming, but the investment will pay off in terms of sparkle. You’ll see why this is important in just a minute.
The first super ideal cut diamond on the list is Brilliant Earth SKU #1854574A. This diamond is graded by the GIA weighing 0.95 carats, G-color / no fluorescence, VVS-2 in clarity. The overall cut grade of the diamond is GIA Excellent, the lab report number is 2228172105.
Note that I don’t link Brilliant Earth diamonds because the URL goes 404 Page Not Found when they sell. But you can look up the diamond grading report in the future using GIA Report Check.
I actually do this for every Brilliant Earth diamond, because the lab reports provided are blurry and illegible. This might be due to how their script creates the viewing window or a setting on my computer. For best resolution always pull the original report from the gemological laboratory.
Suffice to say that every diamond dealer has the right to decide upon their own definition of what constitutes a Super Ideal Cut Diamond. The article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success suggests the following range, which many diamond cutters also consider to be the criteria for super ideal:
A diamond must have these proportions before we can even consider it worthy of the super ideal classification. The diamond must also exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows which I will explain in detail below. The creation of hearts and arrows patterns in round diamonds requires the highest degree of optical precision. All of the facets in every section of the diamond must be uniform in size and shape and align precisely from the perspective of 360 degrees.
In terms of rarity, a true super ideal cut diamond represents the Top 0.001% of the annual production for round diamonds. They cost more than standard ideal cut diamonds because they about four times longer to cut and polish. It also takes a much greater degree of skill to cut diamonds to the higher degree of optical precision that produces the hearts pattern.
Obviously the proportions of GIA #2228172105 do not meet my super ideal cut diamond selection criteria. Actually the proportions of this diamond do not meet my selection standards for ideal or super ideal cut. The proportions which are crossed out are well beyond my preferred range as outlined in 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success.
33 degree crown angle is likely to produce a higher degree of brilliance, as opposed to a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. For the purpose of this discussion, brilliance is white sparkle, dispersion is colored sparkle or fire. The shallower 14% crown height will contribute to the higher volume of brilliance reflected by this diamond.
41.2 degree pavilion angle is too steep, this is likely to significantly reduce the volume of light return. The 43.5% pavilion depth happens to be the critical tipping point where light begins not to strike fully off the pavilion facets. Notice all the black obstruction that appears in the triangles between the arrows? And how the tips of the arrows are bending away from the arrow shafts in several locations? This is not what I consider to be a super ideal cut diamond.
Note that my selection criteria is significantly tighter than what is allowed by the gemological laboratories. My reputation as a Diamond Cut Snob is well established, which is why you should have me pick your diamond!
The Origin Certification for this Brilliant Earth diamond, SKU #1854574A indicates that it the diamond rough is from Canada. Now do you remember earlier in the article where we talked about the Kimberley Process being built upon a system of mutual trust? This diamond is listed as Lot #71508909 in the MLS used to trade diamonds globally. The cutter is located in Mumbai, India and the diamond currently in their Hong Kong office.
What proof do we have that this diamond is actually produced from diamond rough mined in Canada? I’m glad you asked…
The diamond cutter indicates the Brand as Canada Mark within the details provided on the Multiple Listing Service. A screenshot of the Canada Mark brand reference by the cutter from the MLS is provided to the right. It’s been redacted to eliminate the company name. The cutter should ship the Canada Mark certificate along with the diamond.
Now how do we really know that this particular Beyond Conflict Free Diamond was actually produced from that piece of Canadian diamond rough? It is based upon an honor system, none of which works if the diamond cutters lack integrity.
All it takes is one disreputable diamond cutter to throw a monkey wrench into the works… These are the type of arguments you’ll hear if you sit down with diamond cutters to discuss this topic. They’ll argue that Canadian diamond rough is not worth any more than other diamond rough… But Canadian Diamonds cost about 10% more than non-Canadian diamonds that pass through the Kimberley Process. Is the expense worth the piece of mind? That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? We’ll address that concept momentarily…
Remember that my search of Brilliant Earth for “super ideal cut diamonds” produced a list of 73 results. Seven of those diamonds meet my criteria for proportions and overall cut grade. None of the diamonds are “super ideal cut” by my standards:
Brilliant Earth does not provide Hearts & Arrows or reflector scope images for the “super ideal cut” diamonds listed below. The cutters who produced these diamonds did not provide those images within the MLS either. Thus the only information we have to go by is the proportions and overall cut grade of GIA Excellent. This is not enough to establish the claim that these diamonds are “super ideal” and thus I consider them to be standard ideal cut diamonds. With that understanding in mind, these diamonds still represent the Top 1% of the annual production for rounds:
I’ve had clarity photographs on file for most of these diamonds if you’re interested. I’m not providing links to these diamonds on Brilliant Earth, because the pages become “404 not found” once the diamond is sold. I find it completely unacceptable that the diamond details pages are unavailable once a diamond is sold. What if you want to access the diamond details page at some point in the future? I suppose that you can screen capture the diamond details page for future reference. This is what I’ve done to back up the details of this blog post by the way, but it’s so lame to have to do so…
* Indicates that this Brilliant Earth diamond details page features a clarity photograph. All the other diamond details pages do not feature a diamond clarity photograph or any reflector scope images.
The certificate of origin provided on Brilliant Earth for SKU #1935720A indicates that the diamond rough is from Canada. This is a 0.99 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Brilliant Earth. This photograph is provided by the cutter for GIA #7226683802 which is priced at $7,900.00 from Brilliant Earth.
This diamond is produced by the same cutter who produced the 0.95 carats, Canada Mark diamond reviewed above. The diamond cutter is located in Mumbai, India. The MLS details page indicates that the diamond is currently also located in Mumbai.
The brand field for the diamond in the MLS listing for this diamond is blank. There is no indication that the diamond is Canada Mark.
This is a screenshot of the brand reference section for this diamond on the MLS. A screenshot of the listing details for this diamond is also on file. We have to assume that Brilliant Earth has access to details beyond what is provided on the MLS details page. Many dealers rely upon direct data fees for such information.
It has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. The 35.0 degree crown angle should produce a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle). The 75% lower girdle facet length should produce sparkle which is larger in size, than what would be produced by 80%.
We would need reflector scope images like ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows images to judge the degree of optical precision. But there is actually a lot we can tell about the diamond cut quality from the clarity photograph. Notice how there is a slight variance in the width of the arrow shafts?
Did you also notice how the arrow shafts in the 12 o’clock to 1 o’clock positions are translucent? It’s not just the position of the diamond in the static clarity photograph. They are also translucent as the diamond rotates in the video provided by the cutter on the MLS. This type of variation in contrast brilliance is usually due to slight differences in the angle of the facets polished on to the diamond.
The dark spots that you see between the arrow shafts in the same quadrant are likely due to slight variances in the size of the lower girdle facets. This diamond actually represents the Top 1% of the annual production for rounds. However, this is the type of thing that helps us distinguish whether a diamond is a standard ideal cut diamond, or a super ideal cut diamond.
This 0.965 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows cut diamond is priced at $7,275.00 and will be discounted to $7,057.00 for payment via wire transfer. The diamond rough was not mined in Canada but did pass through the Kimberley Process. Brian Gavin also adheres to the WDC System of Warranties.
The presence of the hearts and arrows pattern indicates that it is cut to the highest degree of optical precision. The overall cut grade is AGS Ideal-0 which is the highest cut grade available throughout the industry. Only the AGS Laboratory uses Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) as a standard for Light Performance. This diamond represents the Top 0.001% of round brilliant cut diamonds produced in the average year. The sparkle factor is quite literally off the charts!
This 0.906 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity round hearts and arrows cut diamond is priced at $7,036.00 and will be discounted to $6,684.00 for payment via wire transfer. This diamond rough was not mined in Canada either but did pass through the Kimberley Process. Crafted by Infinity also adheres to the WDC System of Warranties.
This diamond also exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows due to the higher degree of optical precision. Every CBI diamond is sent to the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) for grading and has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. This is a real super ideal cut diamond by my standards. Do you notice how there isn’t any of the obstruction located at the base of the arrows pattern?
Now that you know what to look for, you see the importance of those silly heart patterns… The ones that most dealers don’t want to take pictures of because they know their diamonds aren’t really super ideal. But you’re going to insist upon those photographs now, aren’t you? Because now you know that the higher degree of optical precision that creates the heart pattern, improves the volume of light return. It also reduces the volume of light leakage and creates sparkle that is larger in size, and bolder, brighter, and more vivid. Why would you accept anything less?
If it were within my power to improve your diamond buying experience with Brilliant Earth, I would ensure that diamond clarity and reflector scope images were available for every diamond. It’s not enough to simply know the proportions and overall cut grade of a diamond. You must have access to ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and H&A Scope images to judge the degree of optical precision. This is why dealers like Brian Gavin and High Performance Diamonds make these images readily available to their clients.
These are screenshots of diamond details pages from Brilliant Earth, Brian Gavin, and High Performance Diamonds. I’ve got some rather simple question to ask you:
Brilliant Earth didn’t provide a clarity photograph of this diamond, even though it was available on the MLS. Here is the photograph that the cutter provides within the MLS listing for the 0.99 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Brilliant Earth.
The cutter didn’t provide any reflector scope images, so we can’t determine the degree of optical precision or lack thereof. Don’t be misled into believing that GIA Excellent is the pinnacle of diamond cutting, I can show you tons of reflector scope images for GIA Excellent cut diamonds that are leaking a lot of light!
Oh heck, since this is a diamond grading tutorial of sorts, I might as well show you a GIA Excellent / Canada Mark diamond that is leaking light despite the ideal proportions. I’ll add in a little Canada Mark Diamond review a bit further down this page.
The diamond details page for the 0.99 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round from Brilliant Earth provides little more than is on the diamond grading report. In fact, that’s actually the only information provided, besides an indication that the diamond rough is from Canada. The clarity photograph provided above is from the multiple listing service, it’s not provided on the diamond details page:
The difference in size between these three diamonds is not something that you’re likely to see from across the dinner table. All three diamonds are compliant with the Kimberley Process and the WDC System of Warranties.
The proportions of all three diamonds are right in the middle of the spectrum designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating. To that regard the diamonds are equal and the overall cut grades of the diamonds are GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal. However, the Brian Gavin Signature and Crafted by Infinity diamonds are clearly cut to a higher standard of optical precision. Both BGD & CBI provide us with the reflector scope images necessary to verify the higher degree of optical precision.
To determine the Price Per Carat (PPC) of a diamond, simply divide the selling price by the carat weight. For example, take the credit card price of the 0.99 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from Brilliant Earth: 7900.00 / 0.99 = $7,979.79
Remember that all three of the diamonds are H-color, and VS-1 in clarity. The diamond from Brilliant Earth has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, the other two diamonds have an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0.
Understand that I’m not trying to suggest that you buy one diamond over the other. I’m simply asking which diamond you would choose based upon the information that each dealer provides. This is the type of thing that every person must decide for themselves when buying a diamond.
Some people are willing to pay a higher price for a Canadian diamond because they are from Canada, or simply like the concept of a Canadian Diamond. I’m willing to pay more to pour pure maple syrup from Canada on my pancakes, because I prefer the higher quality. But it’s doubtful that I would pay a higher price for that maple syrup if the quality wasn’t actually better than what I could buy elsewhere.
Diamond clarity photographs were available on the MLS for six out of the seven Brilliant Earth diamonds referenced above. I have those images on file if you decide to purchase one of those diamonds. Unfortunately only one of the Brilliant Earth diamond details pages featured a photograph [SKU:1947344AN]. I’m happy to look Brilliant Earth diamonds up on the MLS and provide you with whatever images are available. Just send me the link via my Diamond Concierge Service:
This is the ASET Scope and Hearts image for a 1.09 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round from Enchanted Diamonds. The diamond details provided by the cutter on the MLS indicate that the diamond brand is Canada Mark. The diamond has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent. The proportions are well within the scope of my preferred range, as outlined above.
The pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees should produce a high volume of light return. The 34.5 degree crown angle should produce a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle). However the ASET Scope image indicates a high amount of light leakage under the table facet, as indicated by the red arrow in the eight o’clock region:
So what’s going on? This is probably the result of a combination of azimuth shift and differences in the length of the lower girdle facets. The little bit of extra dark space that is visible around the heart in the six o’clock position, is creating the light leakage visible in the ASET image. The red arrows in the hearts photograph point towards the extra space that is creating the problem.
The red circles indicate where the tips of the hearts appear to be bending in different directions. In reality, the tips of the hearts are not bending at all… Each heart consists of two reflections of light reflecting off the lower girdle facets from the other side of the diamond. When the lower girdle facets are different in length, the reflection of light is uneven, which creates the illusion that the tips of the hearts are bending.
I’m sorry to report that the majority of diamond details pages found on Brilliant Earth provide only basic diamond details. Most of the diamond details pages feature a copy of the grading report and an indication of the origin of the diamond rough. I think it’s time for Brilliant Earth to up their game and provide their customers with more in-depth details.
Enchanted Diamonds didn’t take these photographs themselves, they got them up from the MLS listing. That’s also where I got these images from… If we can pull these images from the MLS, then so can Brilliant Earth. They simply need to add a few lines of code to their web site. Then they can transform their diamond details pages into something useful like the example you see here. This type of detail provides extensive peace of mind.
Interestingly enough, even though you can Search Enchanted Diamonds for Canadian Diamonds, they’re not marketing this diamond as Canada Mark. The only reason I know that this diamond is Canada Mark is because the diamond cutter indicates it as such within the brand field on the MLS.
After I found this 1.09 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond on Enchanted Diamonds, I ran a search for it on Brilliant Earth. This same 1.09 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round Canada Mark diamond appears on Brilliant Earth as SKU #1956733A.
The same 1.09 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond is available from Blue Nile. Although Blue Nile offers Canadian Diamonds, there is no indication that the diamond rough is of Canadian origin. Here are screenshots of the diamond details pages from Brilliant Earth (left) and Blue Nile (right):
The diamond details pages offered by Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile are pretty much the same. Neither vendor is providing the clarity photograph and reflector scope images that are available on the MLS for this diamond. Brilliant Earth is promoting the fact that the diamond rough originated from Canada.
Interestingly enough, I did not find the same diamond when I searched James Allen for Canada Mark diamonds. Nor did the same diamond appear as an option when I searched Blue Nile for Canadian diamonds. Which does seem kind of strange to me, since the diamond is virtual inventory currently available on the MLS and Canada Mark appears in the brand field.
In order to make a truly informed decision when buying a diamond, you really need a diamond details page that provides you with the following details:
I don’t feel that you should have to stop and ask whether clarity photographs and reflector scope images are available. The photographs and images are being provided on the MLS by more diamond cutters every day, this is where Enchanted Diamonds is sourcing them. I’d like to see both Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile step up to the plate and modernize their web sites to reflect this kind of necessary detail.
According to Brilliant Earth, all of their engagement rings are made to order in the United States. The engagement rings are handcrafted and cast as a single piece. This tends to create an engagement ring which is more durable than rings cast as multiple pieces. Brilliant Earth ensures me that every ring they produce exhibits exceptional craftsmanship, with meticulous attention to detail.
Each ring is individually cast to the customer’s exact finger size and the dimensions of the diamond chosen for the ring. This is a significantly better approach than simply offering the same mass produced semi-mounts that many companies offer online. Mass-produced engagement rings need to be sized, and are designed to fit a range of center stone sizes.
Brilliant Earth offers an extensive selection of unique engagement rings… They also offer custom design services if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind engagement ring.
Another thing that sets Brilliant Earth apart from its competitors is its commitment to only using recycled precious metals. Since recycled gold and platinum are re-refined into their purest elements, they are identical in quality to newly mined metals. The objective of Brilliant Earth is to diminish the negative impacts of dirty gold and other precious metals by reducing the demand for newly mined materials.
Brilliant Earth is one of the few online vendors that offer lab-grown diamonds. I have to state clearly for the record that I am not a fan of lab-grown diamonds. I feel that lab-grown diamonds are one of the biggest acts of consumer fraud that diamond buyers are subject to.
The majority of lab-grown diamonds are for use by the medical and technological industries, where resale value is not a primary consideration. As the technology to produce lab-grown diamonds improves, the cost of producing them becomes less and less. This might seem like a good thing at first glance until you realize that the value of a lab-grown diamond depreciates faster than a new car.
None of my friends in the diamond industry are investing in lab-grown diamonds. Most diamond dealers view lab-grown diamonds as a bad investment. It’s a cold, hard fact that diamond dealers aren’t in the business of losing money… Notice that Brilliant Earth offers a “free lifetime diamond upgrade” for natural diamonds, but even they don’t want your lab-grown diamond back:
Suffice to say that I’ll help you select a lab-grown diamond from Brilliant Earth if that’s what you really want. However, I strongly suggest that you stick with natural diamonds. Of course, these are just my personal opinions about lab-grown diamonds. It’s your engagement ring and you should buy whatever type of diamond you want. Just go into the situation with your eyes wide open. Be aware that Brilliant Earth does not take lab-grown diamonds back in for an upgrade. Full disclosure. Problem solved.
Believe it or not, I actually like the concept behind Brilliant Earth. I realize that it might not seem that way since this review highlights the things that I’d like to see Brilliant Earth improve. There is something kind of cool about knowing the origin of your diamond rough. Hopefully, more diamond cutters will provide this type of information for their customers in the near future.
I think that the combined efforts of the Kimberley Process and the WDC System of Warranties are a step in the right direction. However no system is perfect, there will always be people who abuse the system. Every system contains room for improvement. Brilliant Earth is providing the diamond industry with an example of how they can improve things by being more transparent.
I urge the management of Brilliant Earth to adapt tighter parameters for their super ideal cut classification. The range of proportions that I provide in this Brilliant Earth review is a great place to start! Those are the same guidelines that super ideal specialists like Brian Gavin, Crafted by Infinity, and Hearts on Fire adhere to.
More and more diamond cutters are providing clarity and reflector scope images for the diamonds uploaded to the MLS. It would be relatively easy for Brilliant Earth to incorporate those images into their diamond details pages. This is how diamond companies like Enchanted Diamonds and James Allen provide images for their virtual inventory. The reality is that Brilliant Earth is probably already in the process of incorporating these images. However, I have to write reviews which reflect the current state of things, not what may be up and coming in the near future…
Feel free to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service if you’ve got a diamond from Brilliant Earth that interests you. I’ll be happy to look over the details and provide you with any images that may be available on the MLS. Be sure to tell me exactly what you’re looking for:
Note that I will not run searches on Brilliant Earth for diamonds. Although vastly improved since my last review, the format of their search engine still makes me want to bang my head on the keyboard. It’s much faster and more efficient for me to run diamond searches via the MLS and then determine who is selling the diamond online. I’m able to search the global inventory of diamonds, using full proportions parameters including crown and pavilion angle in seconds. I’m even able to limit the results to specific types of inclusions, like I said… It’s time for online diamond dealers to up their game.