Brilliant Earth (Est. 2005) distinguishes itself in the jewelry industry by making a commitment to offer Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds that have been selected for their ethical and environmentally responsible origins. Brilliant Earth has been on a mission to cultivate a more transparent, sustainable and compassionate jewelry industry with a strong emphasis on social impact. The company donates five percent of its net profits to help build a brighter future in mining communities.
According to the firm’s official website, “As part of our commitment to environmental responsibility, our fine jewelry is crafted from recycled precious metals and arrives in our distinctive, FSC certified packaging. We are a certified member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, the leading ethical standard within the jewelry industry. Jewelers that offer “conflict free” diamonds are limiting themselves to the Kimberley Process’ definition, which narrowly defines conflict diamonds as diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized governments.”
The idea for Brilliant Earth was conceived in 2004 by two Stanford University alumni, Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg. After having difficulty finding her own ethically-produced engagement ring in 2003, Gerstein learned that Grossberg had done a feasibility study at Stanford that indicated that there was enough consumer demand to validate the business model. The two founded Brilliant Earth in August 2005 and the company's website was launched in July 2006.
Canadian mines are the industry's primary source of ethically mined diamonds because the working conditions are regulated by the government. The company initially sourced its diamonds exclusively from the Diavik and Ekati mines in Canada, but has since also started sourcing diamonds from Namibia and Botswana where it determined that the diamonds were sourced to the company's ethical standards.
Brilliant Earth uses recycled gold, silver and platinum materials or obtains them from co-ops that meet standards set by the Alliance for Responsible Mining. The company's sapphires are from either Australia or Malawi. It also sells "vintage rings" that have had previous owners in addition to lab-grown diamonds.
Brilliant Earth is also the first jeweler to offer blockchain enabled diamonds at scale in partnership with Everledger, an industry-leading Blockchain technology enterprise. Blockchain-based technology has been integrated into the firm’s supply chain to seamlessly and securely track gemstone origin and provide greater consumer assurance for responsible practices for a collection of blockchain enabled diamonds.
Brilliant Earth offers a unique buying experience. In a recent article published by Forbes, Gerstein explains, “our model is Omnichannel: e-commerce driven as well as building out a number of showrooms. Our showroom experience is a premium experience; it is very personalized to the customer.”
Before starting her company, Gerstein worked as an electrical engineer for a small startup that focused on satellite communications. As an engineer, her main focus was on problem-solving. That foundation proved valuable when she pivoted to becoming an entrepreneur trying to solve problems within the diamond industry.
Gerstein and her team continue to expand Brilliant Earth by adding more brick-and-mortar shops to their portfolio and funding various schools and programs in mining communities.
For its collection of diamonds, Brilliant Earth includes the GIA Diamond Origin Report to help trace the diamond from its source to its final polished state. GIA collects and analyzes physical measurements, spectroscopic data, and imaging of the diamond as a rough crystal before it is cut and polished. A unique identification number is assigned to the rough diamond. GIA later uses this data to scientifically match the polished diamond to the original rough crystal from which it came.
Lab created diamonds are grown in highly controlled environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop. Lab created diamonds display the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as natural diamonds, and exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle. It is recognized that lab created diamonds offer excellent value and are a responsible choice as they do not require any diamond mining.
Recycled diamonds are another responsible choice. These diamonds have been mined, cut, and polished and were previously purchased so that can again be made available. Because they are repurposed after a prior purchase, these diamonds require no new mining. This reduces the demand for new diamond mining and avoids perpetuating abuses. The company’s recycled diamonds have been graded by an independent gemological lab and can be compared to newly mined diamonds for their quality characteristics.
The firm’s best-selling pieces include engagement rings, wedding bands, diamonds, gemstones, and other jewelry designed as rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
The settings in their Nature collection boast carefully designed motifs and curved outlines. In the Petite Twisted Vine setting, there are many unique ring designs. The Reverie ring is part of Brilliant Earth’s Classic collection and features a solitaire design which projects feminine elegance. The center stone is held securely in place with split claw prongs.
Ring settings at Brilliant Earth typically take between 2-3 weeks to create. Compared to other online jewelers, the fabrication process is relatively longer. While they may not offer the lowest prices compared to other online vendors, Brilliant Earth offers niche products which aren’t readily available elsewhere.
Most notably, Brilliant Earth is one of the largest online providers of lab grown diamonds in the US. They are a place for one-of-a-kind vintage jewelry collections that stand out.
A September 2019 article in the publication, Philly Voice, reported that Brilliant Earth opened its first showroom in Philadelphia. The 2,000 square-foot showroom opened in November in the Rittenhouse Square area. The ultra-sleek, modern space features an array of engagement rings, wedding rings, and other fine jewelry including bracelets, necklaces, and vintage pieces.
Philadelphia is the eighth showroom for Brilliant Earth. The company had previously opened showrooms in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Denver, and Washington D.C.
Brilliant Earth remains one of the fastest growing e-commerce jewelers in the world and a leader in ethical origin fine jewelry. The firm has been featured in Newsweek, Glamour, on the Today Show, and with Martha Stewart among many other media outlets.
The firm is recognized as a team of dedicated individuals with a common goal of creating a more sustainable, transparent, and compassionate jewelry industry.