This is a super in-depth review of Clean Origin.
In this up-to-date review I’ll break down:
- Who Clean Origin is
- What makes Clean Origin unique
- Key features
- Things I like
- Thing I don’t like
- Whether or not their diamonds are worth the price tag
- And lots more
Let's get started!
Who Is Clean Origin?
There are some online retailers that sell affordable fine jewelry as a whole and some jewelry stores that specialize in certain areas of diamond retail. Clean Origin is one of those specialties, and theirs is lab-created diamonds.
Clean Origin is a very new company, having entered the online diamond industry in 2017. But even though the company itself may be new, it's backed by a crew of industry experts with over 100 years combined experience.
The idea of Clean Origin came from Alexander Weindling, a 3rd generation diamond merchant and former global marketer for Georg Jensen. Ryan Bonifacino who was the head marketing officer and VP of mega famous jewelry brand Alex and Ani. The last founder, Terry Burman is the ex CEO of industry giant, Signet Jewelers, Sterling Jewelers, and chairman for Zale Corporation.
These three industry experts put their heads together and thought about the future of the jewelry industry, now that it is laying in the hands of millennials and Gen Z. One thing we can't ignore, is the tendency to go towards cheaper gemstones.
They wanted to cater to this market. And what these target customers wanted was an affordable way to purchase diamonds online, without pay the costs to big corporations. Thus, CleanOrigin.com was born.
What Makes Clean Origin Stand Out?
Clean Origin's business model is a simple targeted marketing campaign. What do millenials and Gen Z want from the bridal market?
One of the biggest factors they found was environmental issues. Mined diamonds are often associated with conflict diamonds, commonly referred to as "blood diamonds". Diamonds mined in certain areas of the world (mainly some countries in Africa) are used to facilitate wars. So, in order to make sure that the jewelry industry wasn't helping those areas, they created the Kimberley Process.
The Kimberley Process was meant to ensure that diamonds bought at jewelry stores were conflict-free. However, the Kimberley Process wasn't flawless. Clean Origin understands that, so they decided to take the conflict out of diamonds completely: by selling lab-grown diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are real diamonds. There's a lot of confusion between mined diamonds and lab created ones, but make no mistake, they are 100% real diamond. The main notable difference between lab created diamonds and mined diamonds is origin.
Lab-created diamonds do have lower value, so they cost less. With the combination of being ethical and cheap, it makes an ideal company for fiances today.
Clean Origin Dedication To Customer Service
Speaking of customer needs, let's talk a little about Clean Origin's customer service. They've got great prices, great ethical standards, but what about the people?
You can contact Clean Origin's customer service via telephone, email, or live chat through their site. They don't have 24 hour customer service, but can be contacted from 8am-12am. Saturdays from 10am-7pm and Sundays from 10am-12pm.
According to this reviewer off of Clean Origin's reviews on Trust Pilot, there was no better choice for him. He gushes about the easy-to-use website, 100 day return policy, and even gives a personal shout-out to "Andrew", who seemed to be very helpful during the whole process.
But as we know, reviews are subjective, so we can't always take those to heart. But you can get a general idea of a company based on various reviews, even the complaints. Complaints can show you negative trends, but also how a company handles themselves when a complaint is given.
The most recent customer complaint on Clean Origin's Trust Pilot page comes from a customer who bought a wedding band.
Right away, we know her ring broke, but we don't know how. She sent it in to get fixed, didn't like it, returned it to buy a different one. She was told that she couldn't return the new ring, even if it had issues. With a 100 day return policy, they probably don't let you return twice in the same sitting. But given as this was an issue, you'd think they'd make an exception.
But, like I said, who knows. We don't know how it broke or what part was broken, and the poster also doesn't say if she was ever able to return that second ring. Always take reviews at face value because you never know the whole story.
Clean Origin Shopping Experience?
So, what can you expect when shopping with Clean Origin? Here's the general rundown on how the average process should go. It CAN be as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4. Note that different items may take longer than others.
1. Picking Your Loose Diamond
Clean Origin only offers colorless lab diamonds as loose stones, so if you're wanting colored gemstones or lab created fancy colored diamonds, you'll have to look somewhere like James Allen or Brilliant Earth.
They have a much smaller selection than many of the online retailers we've reviewed. Even some of the retailers that don't specialize in lab grown diamonds have more diamonds than Clean Origin.
Of course, this could be due to the newness of the company. They probably haven't amassed as many vendors as some of the other veteran companies in the online diamond business. And, keep in mind that there aren't too many synthetic diamond manufacturers.
Clean Origin has just over 2600 different lab diamonds of varying diamond quality for me to choose from. The sliders make it easy to pick and choose my diamond shape, color and clarity grades. They even have a little box that you can check if you're looking for hearts and arrow diamonds.
While 2600 may still seem like a lot, it still keeps a limited selection. For instance, if I wanted a marquise lab diamond, I'd be brought to only 8 different diamond choices. There aren't even any 1 carats either. Hopefully in the future, we'll come to see more variety on Clean Origin as well.
I've chosen a 1 carat ideal cut diamond with a color grade of I and a clarity grade of SI1. This diamond is also from the Hearts and Arrows collection. Clean Origin has a very elaborate 360 view set up, with lots of little features. I don't know if they're all necessarily needed, but it definitely makes sure you can see the diamond from almost every angle imaginable.
You can toggle the diamond, select sides of it that play back and forth in a loop, and you can even see the diamond in greyscale. This little feature is handy when looking for any visible inclusions that might be hidden from the sparkle in normal view.
The downside to this 360 viewer is that it's not on all diamonds. Some of the diamonds only show a looped angle when you click on the 360 viewer. Check it out below:
I'm not sure why some have the extended features and some don't, but it should be uniform throughout. With a much smaller catalog, you'd think they'd have no problem making sure there's full 360 viewing features on each diamond, like James Allen has.
Beyond the pictures, you have the in-depth details of our diamond, like the length to width ratio, and the specs for various parts of the diamond.
So now that we've picked out our diamond, let's pick out the setting!
2. Choosing Your Setting
You can either purchase your diamond as a loose diamond, or you can add it to a ring setting. Clean Origin has a pretty good sized collection of ring settings, around 190. The categories of ring styles offered include Solitaire, Vintage, Halo, Classic, Three-Stone, and Pave.
Their ring settings are fairly expensive for online retailers, with the most inexpensive ring setting sitting at $525 for a simple solitaire setting. Leading online retailers like James Allen and Blue Nile's prices go as low as $190 for a setting.
Their ring settings are offered in 14K yellow, white, and rose gold. Their 18K settings are only white and yellow gold, and they also offer platinum settings as well. While I don't love the price of the settings, they do have some really pretty and unique ring settings, even for a small collection. The setting I've chosen for my diamond is this 14K yellow gold gorgeous flower setting with little accent diamonds as leaves. Check this setting out:
The detailing on the setting is just gorgeous. I love how it swipes up the side of the center stone, giving the effect of a blooming rose. This "Bloom Solitaire" ring setting retails for $790 on the website.
Once I've selected my ring setting, I'm taken to one final page before I'm officially adding the solitaire engagement ring I've created with my lab diamond and the Bloom Solitaire setting. It allows me to see the specs of both the diamond and ring setting. I can give them both the final once-over. Everything looks great, so let's find a setting!
3. Purchase Process
After you've chosen your diamond and its setting, you're ready to buy. Blue Nile offers you multiple ways to purchase including their very own Blue Nile Credit Card.
On the checkout screen, you have the opportunity to see both the diamond and the setting in the cart. If you qualify for any of the discounts in the green box, you can apply directly from the page to verify.
Clean Origin allows you to pay a few different ways. They don't have their own credit card or financing plan like most other online retailer, but they do have installment plans with Affirm, like many retailers online.
Through Affirm, you can either pay off your purchase within 3 months with no interest, or do the 12, 18, or 24 month plan with 20% APR. Most people pay off within the three months.
4. Return Policy
Clean Origin offers a really unique return policy, which makes them stand out from most retailers. You might be familiar with 30 day returns like James Allen and Blue Nile. You could also be familiar with Kay and Zales 60 day return policy.
Clean Origin offers all of their customers a 100 days to return the ring. That's right, 100 day return policy. That is by far, the longest return policy I've ever seen anywhere. What I can say though, if a company is offering this long of a return policy, they must have confidence in their product. That's definitely worth looking into.
So, if I decide I don't love my "Bloom Solitaire" once I received it, I just have to initiate the return by sending an email to email@example.com.
From there, they will give you a free Fedex shipping label for you to send your return in. You'll want to make sure to keep everything that came with your ring, including packing slip. The packing slip is required to be part of your return, and many people throw that away when they get a package in general.
You'll also need to make sure you include any grading certificate your diamond had with it. If you don't return it, Clean Origin has to get the diamond re-certified by the lab. They'll charge you $150 for returning a diamond without a certificate.
What Did I Like About Clean Origin?
Lab-Created Bridal Jewelry
Most online retailers that sell lab created diamonds may have a selection of loose lab diamonds, but the ring settings with accent stones contain mined diamonds. Often time this is due to the fact that many of the online retailers sell the same ring settings for their synthetic diamonds as they do their mined diamonds.
Because Clean Origin has its own lab created niche, any ring settings that you put your diamond center stone in is lab-created as well. Even more than that, you can also get wedding bands that are lab created as well. If you're looking for bridal jewelry, they also have lab created diamond bracelets, earrings, and pendants. I'm a little bummed they don't carry any colored gemstones, natural or lab created, but I do like that you can get an entire bridal ensemble at a discounted cost because every bit of it is lab created diamonds. You don't get that opportunity at other online retailers.
During the purchase process, there is a spot before checkout for you to put any promo cards, like most online retailers. Most retailers will give military discounts, but Clean Origin actually takes discounts a bit further. In addition to a discount for active military and veterans, teachers, nurses, government workers, students, and responders are able to get a discount on their purchases.
You will have to register with verification through ID.Me, and you can do so right there from your cart. It's a bit of an extra step, but it's nice that you have the opportunity to save more if you fit the criteria.
Perfect Fit Collection
Clean Origin has this nifty little collection that I haven't seen in other online diamond retailers, let alone even brick and mortar stores. The Perfect Fit collection is a selection of ring styles that implement a technique in which the sides are sculpted to fit comfortably against your pinky and middle fingers.
This design claims to not only be comfortable, but to be the best ring style for those who lead an active lifestyle or a little harder on their hands than the average person. Additionally it helps to keep your ring from spinning. Some people wear their engagement rings a tight, while others a little loose. Problem with wearing it a little loose is that your center stone doesn't seem to stay centered. The ergonomic design will hold it in place, making sure it doesn't move at all while still enjoying the loose fit.
What Didn't I Like About Clean Origin?
Nobody's perfect, and Clean Origin isn't the exception to this reality. Here are the things I wasn't too keen on about Clean Origin.
Clean Origin Warranty
Clean Origin's lifetime warranty is what I like to call a copout. Call it harsh, but I feel this way about any company that claims to offer a lifetime manufacturing warranty, including Blue Nile. Manufacturer's warranties are not what most people think when they hear the term.
Basically, if there's a flaw or issue in the design or craftsmanship on the ring, Clean Origin will either fix or replace it. Basically, if they screw up a ring, and your the recipient of that ring, they'll fix their mistake. That's what a manufacturer's warranty is.
But what most people don't understand is that no matter how much you've paid, what brand, or where you got your ring, it will need maintenance and repair over time, especially if you're wearing it all day every day for years and years. These materials that make up a ring are natural, so they're not going to last forever. So, you'll need repairs.
If you're a white gold wearer, you'll need rhodium plating. And since you have to take your ring to a jewelers because Clean Origin doesn't cover rhodium, it can cost you between $40 to $120. White gold wearers are recommended to get them re-dipped once a year.
Fifteen years later, you realize you've paid and additional $600 into your ring, and that's not even counting the prong retipping it'll need once they start to snag, or potentially tightening any loose stones. Clean Origin doesn't cover any of that, just if they created the ring wrong. See my point? The upkeep could get expensive quick.
Because Clean Origin only offers lab created diamonds, their jewelry has no investment worth. For many, they start out with a less expensive diamond ring with a smaller center stone. Then, for a 10 year anniversary or something, they upgrade their ring for a more expensive ring. Most online diamond jewelers like James Allen, Blue Nile, and Whiteflash offer a trade in policy.
These trade-in policies usually allow the customer to trade their current ring and apply the value of that ring toward a another ring at least 2x its value. Customers have the potential to get up to 50% off a brand new ring.
But lab diamonds, they have no resale value. They come at a cheaper price, but they do not resell for more (and often less) than what you purchased before. Clean Origin doesn't let your upgrade or trade-in any of their stuff. Now, that's not important to everyone, but most places offer it because their customers think it's a big selling point.
How's Clean Origin's Pricing?
Clean Origin only sells lab-created diamonds, which mean they will cost less than mined diamonds of the same quality. So, I'm going to pit Clean Origin up against our pick for Best Value, James Allen. We'll compare the cost of my diamond from my Bloom Solitaire ring to a similar mined and lab created diamond at James Allen.
It's important to note that a small part of cost may differ based on grading reports. Many of James Allen's mined diamonds have GIA grading reports and most lab-created diamonds have IGI. GIA is a more expensive grading lab, so diamond jewelry certified by them is usually a little more expensive.
The mined diamond I've picked from James Allen actually has an IGI certificate, so we don't have to worry about that being a factor in price. Here is a mined diamond from James Allen that is 1.02 cts, I color grade, SI1 clarity grade, and has an Excellent Cut. It has the same stats as the diamond I chose from Clean Origin.
So, it's not hard to see that the price difference is huge between the two. It's just over $2000 more expensive to buy a mined diamond. This is why many people are choosing lab created diamonds over mined diamonds. But as you've come to realize, there are different reasons why one might choose a mined diamond over a synthetic one, and it doesn't always have to do with the numbers.
Let's go ahead and compare Clean Origin's diamond to James Allen lab diamond, which will be a much fairer comparison. I wasn't able to find a lab diamond on James Allen with the clarity of SI1, so I had to pick one with a lower clarity of SI2. Here is James Allen's diamond.
Even with it being a lower clarity grade, Clean Origin's diamond is still cheaper than James Allen's lab diamond by just over $500. So, it's safe to say that when it comes to the price tag, Clean Origin does have cheaper lab created diamonds.
But always remember that even though the price tag may be different, there are other contributing factors the make a diamond the best value, not the best price.
Clean Origin Review Bottom Line: It's A Really Good Value
If you're looking for lab created diamonds, Clean Origin is a great choice. Their lab created diamonds are cheaper than mined diamonds, and even cheaper than James Allen's lab diamonds.
They are one of the few retailers that only sell lab created diamonds, whether it's in their engagement rings, wedding bands, solitaire pendant, or solitaire earrings. Every piece of jewelry that Clean Origin sells is lab-created diamond.
A lot of online diamond companies sell lab-created diamonds because it's the fad, so they offer them in addition to their mined diamonds. Clean Origin specializes in them, giving lab diamonds every bit of their attention. If you're looking for the best in lab created diamond jewelry, look no further than Clean Origin.