Wondering who's better, Clean Origin or Brilliant Earth?
Perfect, you're in the right place! In this expert Learning Jewelry guide, you'll learn:
- Who has the best shopping experience?
- Which company has the better warranty?
- Where can you get the best value for the price?
- What are customer reviews saying?
When we talk about shopping experience, we're talking about what a jewelry store- online or physical-offers their customers. From selection, to grading reports, to showroom options, the shopping experience is what a store brings to the table.
You've probably head Clean Origin's name a whole lot less than Brilliant Earth. That's because Clean Origin is fairly new to the diamond game. They opened up in 2017 as a specialty diamond retailer that sell lab grown diamonds exclusively.
Lab diamonds are real diamonds and have the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds from the ground. But many people are skeptical of natural diamonds and their conflict-free titles so much that they are looking for lab diamonds instead.
And that's what you'll find at Clean Origin!
Lab diamonds and only lab diamond jewelry, which is neat. Many retailers carry loose lab created diamonds but not usually lab fine diamond jewelry or wedding bands.
When selecting a diamond from the inventory, you'll notice that you'll have to be more general on your diamond grades. You might have a tougher time looking for exact grades. You'll also notice they have a lot of larger carat weights instead of smaller ones.
There's two 360˚ viewers you might get when you're viewing a diamond on their website. One is a pretty good viewer, called the V30 diamond viewer. It's got a bunch of little features that aren't necessary, but I'm not mad it.
The other viewer, is more annoying. It's controllable still which is positive, but that's about it. If you casually watch it, it spins really quickly. When you try to rotate it, it gets all glitchy.
Furthermore, you can't really see any inclusions (if there were any) because the light rolls off of it creating blind spots. They just really need the one viewer, in my opinion.
Brilliant Earth is a very popular name among the jewelry industry. They're famous for their "Beyond Conflict-Free™" slogan.
So what does it mean?
Every retailer we recommend at Learning Jewelry is a conflict-free retailer. About 2% of diamonds mined come from areas where the diamond industry is used fund war.
This mainly happens in a small amount of countries.
The Kimberley Process was put into place to ensure diamonds were not mined from these areas. However, it only ensures they were not used in war. Brilliant Earth argues that it's not enough.
Someone should know the exact origin of their diamond and make sure they don't support other unethical practices aside from diamond mining and sourcing.
To do this, Brilliant Earth offers natural diamonds with blockchain technology, recycled diamonds, diamonds with known origin, and lab diamonds as well. They also carry natural and lab created fancy colored diamonds and loose colored gemstones.
Overall, every Brilliant Earth review will tell you about their large selection of loose diamonds. They have around 105,000 natural diamonds of various diamond shapes and grades. For 1 carat diamonds, they have around 24,000. For lab diamonds, they carry about 2000, with about 90% over 1 carat.
One of the things Brilliant Earth prides themselves is providing GIA Origin Reports with their diamonds. Most retailers have GIA reports, but Origin Reports will confirm the country your diamond came from. Their lab diamonds may be IGI, GIA, or HRD certified.
When filtering through the catalog, I notice that about 23,000 1 carat diamonds have GIA reports. But when I filter the GIA Origin reports, only 800 actually have them. And only 1100 of them are blockchain enabled. That means the other 21,000 or so have regular GIA reports.
So what exactly makes these different than a place like James Allen or Blue Nile?
They do give you an overview for all the diamonds that show the country of origin, but the ones with regular GIA reports don't offer any concrete proof. The remaining 2,000 will show you proof outside of Brilliant Earth.
They don't have 360˚ video on all their diamonds, but the ones that do are clear and controllable. I prefer this viewer to Clean Origin's, but I like that Clean Origin has viewing on all their diamonds.
If you don't like your diamond engagement ring from Brilliant Earth, you have 30 days to return, no questions asked.
One of the biggest reasons companies lose customers is because of the service.
Both Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth have bias-free advice for their guests as they are not making commission or needing to meet a sales goal like a mega jewelry retailer.
Clean Origin's customer service is reachable via email, phone, or live chat on their website. Their customer service hours are Mon-Fri from 8am EST to midnight. On the weekends, Saturday from 10am-7pm and Sunday from 10am-midnight.
Even though it's not 24/7 convenience like other online retailers, they do give you the opportunity to book an appointment with their diamond experts if you need it.
The hours are decent enough, but 7pm seems a little early to close on a Saturday in my opinion. It feels like Sunday and Monday's hours should be switched given the average jewelry customer's availability.
Finding a general consensus from Clean Origin reviews about their service level proves to be a bit difficult. They're not a widely known brand and not everyone has been looking to buy engagement rings during the pandemic.
Trustpilot is probably your best bet for learning what people think about them. Most of the reviews are positive. There are some negative reviews as well.
I do notice a couple people have noticed flaws in their ring settings and had diamonds come loose. That seems to be the most common complaint of the small amount of complaints. Overall, most customers are very happy with their experience.
They have one showroom customers can visit in Dallas, TX, so most of their customers shop online. They have free FedEx overnight shipping available or free 2 day shipping. All loose diamond returns (lab or otherwise) have free returns as well.
Brilliant Earth's customer service is open 24/7 via online chat, email, or phone. You can also visit them at one of their 33 showrooms in the United States.
Lots of people don't think they need a warranty with their engagement and wedding rings, but I'm telling you that you should. Engagement rings are made of natural metals and they aren't impervious.
Most rings are made out of gold and it's a soft metal, vulnerable to nicks, scratching, and even fading. This has nothing to do with the actual craftsmanship of ring, but the daily wear and tear of natural materials.
Clean Origin offers all a lifetime manufacturer's warranty on all of their lab diamond jewelry.
So what's that mean?
Basically, if you buy a ring from Clean Origin and there's a design flaw or something wrong with the production of a ring, they should cover it. But maintenance like rhodium, retipping prongs, and tightening center stones and melee stones, you'll be out of pocket.
This is one of the biggest faults within the company in my opinion.
You do get 1 free resizing if you buy the wrong ring size within 100 days.
Brilliant Earth has a lifetime manufacturer's warranty that covers defects and design flaws. But they also give customers the option to purchase their Extended Service Plan.
The price of the plan is based on the item you purchase, similar to Kay and Jared's ESPs.
The ESP covers all the routine maintenance you need, but it only lasts 3 years. You get the option to purchase it again if you'd like, but they don't tell you that on the site.
They actually don't give a lot of information about the ESP on the site, and you can't add it online. You'll have to call the company after the purchase and be charged separately.
If you don't want it, you still get a 60 day free resizing.
Price vs Value
For most people, how much a ring is going to cost them is at the forefront of their mind. Often before features and added benefits. But sometimes you can get an excellent priced diamond with no benefits, or you could find yourself paying a little more on your debit or credit card, but saving money in the long run.
Sometimes it's not about the price tag, but the overall value of said price tag years down the road.
Lab diamonds are between 20-70% cheaper than their mined counterparts. They're still expensive when compared to other diamond alternatives like moissanite or cubic zirconia.
So, between Clean Origin and Brilliant Earth's lab grown diamonds, let's see who might have the better pricing. Today I've chosen a 1.06 carat radiant cut diamond with VS1 clarity and G color grade. For some reason, the picture shown looks like a very short radiant, but the 360˚ video show differently. The cost of this GIA certified lab diamond is $2,198.
Obviously Brilliant Earth's natural diamond options are going to be much more expensive than Clean Origin's, so I've chosen a lab diamond from them with similar diamond grades. It's also GIA certified and costs $2,270.
As you can see, the prices aren't too different, with Brilliant Earth's lab diamond coming out just a bit more expensive.
Brilliant Earth's ring settings in general are less expensive than Clean Origin's. Personally. I think that Clean Origin has a better selection of unique ring styles than Brilliant Earth.
While there's a lot of customer reviews on the internet at places like the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, and Yelp, most people only file complaints about the retailer. This can be helpful, but we always take reviews with a grain of salt.
Instead, we check out Reddit and many subreddits that speak of diamonds and engagement rings. Here you can read both positive and negative experiences.
Clean Origin is becoming increasingly popular from where they were 6 months ago on Reddit. In past matchups, I've mentioned their dismal presence on Reddit. But over the last three months, posts have been popping up.
Since they're still not too popular or widely known, there's not a whole lot of response. You'll find customers that have bought and been happy and no negative reviews.
There's even a couple asking about Clean Origin compared to Brilliant Earth. While you'll find most of the commenters have purchased from Brilliant Earth, there are a couple that have purchased and were very happy.
Piggybacking off of the previous Clean Origin vs Brilliant Earth Reddit post above, let's talk a bit about Brilliant Earth's rep on Reddit.
You'll find a split audience. Half of the people are customers that have already purchased and love their rings. Some say that Brilliant Earth's pricing is more expensive than other places like James Allen or Blue Nile.
But there's the other half of Redditors that bring up a certain article that's been tainting Brilliant Earth's reputation.
Someone has mentioned it here (below). We've talked a bit more in-depth about this in our Brilliant Earth full review. Regardless whether there is any truth to this (we don't believe there is) , Brilliant Earth's rep has taken a major hit.
Bottom Line: Brilliant Earth
In the battle of Clean Origin vs Brilliant Earth, we'll have to go with Brilliant Earth as the winner.
Brilliant Earth offers both lab diamonds and natural diamonds with responsible sourcing. They give customers the option to have a full diamond trail via their blockchain diamonds. Clean Origin only offers lab diamonds.
Brilliant Earth offers customers a paid warranty to cover maintenance for 3 years and the option to renew it. Clean Origin doesn't offer anything for maintenance.
Brilliant Earth's 360˚ viewer is much smoother than Clean Origin's, and they have one standard viewer.
Brilliant Earth has a larger selection of lab grown diamonds, which let's you be more specific about your diamond grades.
Clean Origin has a few advantages over Brilliant Earth like their more positive reputation and their 100 day return policy.
Both of these jewelers are excellent places to buy diamonds from. You just have to decide which is best for you!