These days, it’s not that hard to find a conflict-free engagement ring. However, back when Beth Gerstein, co-founder of Brilliant Earth, got engaged, things were much different. When Gerstein got engaged, she couldn’t find an ethically made engagement ring, so she partnered with Eric Grossberg to fill this gap in the market. And so, Brilliant Earth was born in 2005, with its website launching in 2006.
In the beginning, Brilliant Earth used Canadian Mines as the primary supplier of their ethical diamonds. They have since begun using other mines that conform to their ethical principles, including mines in Botswana and Russia. Additionally, they primarily use recycled and re-refined gold in their jewelry as part of their environmental commitment.
This all sounds good in theory, but this Brilliant Earth Review seeks to know whether this company is as good as their word. Therefore, what follows is an examination of Brilliant Earth’s statement that they provide only ethical diamonds and gold to their customers.
What sets Brilliant Earth apart from other ethical jewelry companies is that they require their suppliers to go above and beyond the ethical standards set out by the Kimberly Process. The Kimberly Process defines conflict-free diamonds as ones that have not been used to finance rebel movements. Beyond Conflict-Free diamonds, however, must go further than this.
In addition to not financing rebel movements, these diamonds must also come from mines that protect against human rights abuses. These mines also have to minimize environmental degradation, maintain safe and responsible labor practices, and support community development.
Gold mining has a sordid history. Gold mining has played a role in civil wars, labor abuses, and environmental destruction. For this reason, Brilliant Earth only uses recycled gold in their jewelry so as to reduce the demand for newly mined gold.
Brilliant Earth sources their recycled gold from certified responsible refiners that have been inspected to verify that they adhere to the standards set out by organizations such as the Responsible Minerals Initiative and the London Bullion Market Association. Additionally, they source gold from post-consumer materials like industrial-use metals, electronic components, and of course, jewelry.
Furthermore, Brilliant Earth donates 5% of its net profits to programs working to reduce the environmental impact of gold mining.
Now that we’ve established why Brilliant Earth calls itself a supplier of ethical diamonds and gold, let’s verify these claims:
Ethical Diamond Suppliers: Are They Really Beyond Conflict-Free?
Brilliant Earth can trace and segregate their diamonds by origin. They require their suppliers to maintain a strong chain of custody protocol that ensures the diamonds come from where they say they do. In this way, they can guarantee that their diamonds come from one of their approved mines.
The mines that Brilliant Earth works with have demonstrated their commitment to following the Beyond Conflict-Free mandate’s labor, trade, and environmental standards. These mines are located in Canada, Botswana Sort, and Russia.
Additionally, a collection of Brilliant Earth’s diamond has a GIA Diamond Origin Report. GIA collects and analyzes physical measurements, imaging, and spectroscopic data of a rough diamond. They then assign this rough diamond a unique identification number. Using this number, GIA can scientifically match a polished diamond to the original rough crystal it originated from.
In this way, they can trace the diamond from its source to its final state.
Recycled Gold that Meets Specific Standards
According to Brilliant Earth, the recycled gold that they use meets the standards set forth by the Responsible Minerals Initiative and the London Bullion Market. The Responsible Minerals Initiative offers companies and suppliers a third-party, independent audit that demonstrates which smelters and refiners have systems in place to provide responsibly sourced minerals in line with current global standards.
The London Bullion Market is responsible for the Global Precious Metals Code. This code sets out the standards and best practices expected from market participants in the wholesale precious metals market. All members of the London Bullion Market have to adhere to the principles of the code.
Therefore, what this tells us is that Brilliant Earth takes the sourcing of their recycled metal seriously as they comply with the standards of not one but two organizations.
Brilliant Earth is a provider of ethical diamonds and gold. We know this because they have a mandate only to source their diamonds and gold from responsible suppliers. We’ve verified that they take all the necessary steps to ensure that their suppliers are ethical and adhere to specific guidelines.