The socially conscious and ecologically responsible consumer has a conundrum when it comes to buying jewellery - how do you find beautiful jewellery that is eco-friendly and socially responsible? The answer, according to Brilliant Earth, is to shop with them.
Brilliant Earth is said to be the leading provider of ethically sourced jewellery. Everything they offer, including their packaging, they say, is responsibly sourced. They accomplish this by using recycled precious metals, lab-created diamonds, and a product called Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds. Traditional conflict-free diamonds are only obliged to meet one standard; they cannot be used to finance rebel movements. Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds, by contrast, have to meet five, strict criteria:
● They cannot be used to finance rebel movements.
● The diamond company cannot be participating in any human rights abuses.
● They must be mined in such a way as to minimize environmental degradation.
● The diamond company must have safe and responsible labour practices.
● The diamond company should participate in community development.
However, the question is, how can we trust that Brilliant Diamonds is really ethically and responsibly sourced? According to Brilliant Diamonds, they have a strict chain of custody protocols that track their diamonds all the way from the mine until it reaches their store. In 2016 they employed SCS Global Services, a neutral, independent auditor, to audit their chain of custody protocols.SCS's report found that Brilliant Earth's suppliers conform to the custody protocol and the origins of their diamonds can be verified. This seems like valid assurance as to the validity of Brilliant Earth's ethical claims.
Shoppers can choose from Brilliant Earth's selection of stones and settings or they can create their own. The "create your own diamond ring" feature allows for the creation of a unique piece of jewellery. However, the price of these rings is not cheap. When you compare the cost of Brilliant Earth to other online retailers, the price is significantly higher. They also have a smaller inventory than other online retailers.
Brilliant Earth does not just retail online. They also have seven showrooms in the United States. These locations allow clients the opportunity to consult with a salesperson and try out their selection of rings. Customers can also bring in their own ring and have it remade into a new ring.
Brilliant Earth does offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects but it is up to the consumer to prove that they didn't cause the damage themselves. This can be an issue for shoppers since rings can tarnish over time through normal wear and tear. However, Brilliant Earth's policies relating to client damage do align with their competitors. Brilliant Earth also offers free resizing within 60 days but there is no guarantee when you will get your ring back. Some consumers have reported waiting for more than three weeks for their ring to be resized and returned to them.
The online store inventory is not always up to date and this means that some customers may put out money for an item and then have it not be available. When this happens customers are given the option of choosing a different item or receiving a refund. Unfortunately, refunds can take up to 7 business days to complete, making those funds unavailable during that time. This can be extremely frustrating for clients.
Overall, Brilliant Earth offers a product that is verifiably ethical and responsible. They allow you to create your own ring or choose from their selection of diamond styles and ring settings. They also have a physical location for people who want to shop in person. Although their customer service leaves something to be desired, in general, Brilliant Earth provides a decent, eco-friendly and socially responsible alternative to traditional ring retailers.
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