Classic local jewelry stores are still quite competitive, offering a lot of options for customization, quality, different price ranges, and more. But with the recent shifts in the world are there any other alternative shopping options on the market?
Yes. Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin are all high-end online jewelry stores. There are many who discard these straight out of the gate, mainly because, for something as delicate as jewelry, and for the hefty price tag, you want something that you see in person before making the commitment.
Should that be the case? Well, not at all, and we will get into why shopping for jewelry from these three just makes sense.
We’ll review them individually and see what’s positive and negative with every jewelry retailer. Plus, they’ll be placed in a side-by-side comparison to see just how different they’re.
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Online Jewelry Shopping – Does It Make Sense?
I don’t blame those that steer clear of online jewelry retailers, especially for high-end jewelry with heftier price tags. But there is a reason why all three- Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin are so well-spoken-of in the jewelry industry.
It mainly has to do with convenience above all. Another thing, I have mentioned this many times before, and I’ll mention it again: Online shopping isn’t as shady as it used to be.
There are much more restrictions and regulations that companies must oblige to, and therefore, there is more clarity and transparency on what you’re getting, and from who you’re getting it.
A wider selection of jewelry is also presented to customers with a much more user-friendly experience, making shopping a lot easier. Pair that up with getting your jewelry delivered to your door, it sounds like a dream come true.
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Which Is The Best Jewelry Online Retailer? – Blue Nile VS Brilliant Earth VS Clean Origin
Before we actually compare them, we wanted to do a TL;DR-style part, which can help those that already know much about these companies. In addition, the picks for which are best or ‘worst’ will be backed up by everything that we reviewed, following after this TL;DR.
Brilliant Earth got first spot for us, mainly due to the fact of the wide selection of different design-styles, and the competitive pricing for high-end jewelry. There is something for everyone with Brilliant Earth, and there are a large portion of rings which are unbelievably unique.
Clean Origin takes the second spot, and there are a couple of reasons for this. The first one is that Clean Origin has a huge selection of engagement or wedding rings, albeit, all ones which are definitely in the higher-end. There are both bulky and minimalistic designs, and for engagements or weddings, Clean Origin makes a lot of sense.
While we placed Blue Nile third, that isn’t to say that it is dead last. It has some things which they do better compared to the other two, and there are rings which give you that ‘special’ feeling. We loved the contrast between more affordable rings and higher-end rings that Blue Nile offers.
Like I said before, we will get into the juicy details and the reasoning of these positions below.
In-Depth Comparison – What Are The Differences?
There are some things which we can mention which are different with all three online jewelry retailers. Some things do appear to be similar or the same across the three companies, but still, we wanted to get a clearer picture of each brand.
Here is an in-depth comparison of Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin:
|Jewelry Comparison |
Blue Nile VS Brilliant Earth VS Clean Origin
|Pricing||Budget & High-End Rings||Middle & High-End Rings||High-End|
|Style||Minimalistic & Regular||Elegant & Minimalistic||Minimalistic & Unique|
|Return Policy||Returns available within 30 days of purchase.||Returns available within 30 days of purchase.||Returns available within 100 days of purchase.|
|Metals||Platinum, 14K & 18K- Rose Gold, White Gold, Yellow Gold.||Platinum, 14K & 18K- Rose Gold, White Gold, Yellow Gold.||Platinum, 14K & 18K- Rose Gold, White Gold, Yellow Gold.|
|Material||Diamond, Gemstones, or Plain Metal.||Diamonds, Lab Diamonds, Plain Metal, & Gemstones.||Lab Diamonds.|
|Customer Service||Must Be Improved 3/5||Good 4/5||Great 5/5|
|Size Correctness||Adequate 4/5||Great 5/5||Good 4/5|
|Quality||Good 4/5||Great 5/5||Good 4/5|
Blue Nile Rings Review
Blue Nile has more than 200 ring designs to choose from actively listed on their website. Most of them are made with things like: amethysts, aquamarine, diamonds, blue topaz, citrine, garnet, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and other gemstones.
The metal can be platinum, rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, or cobalt. The gold metals come in at 14K or 18K. Even though we put Blue Nile in the third spot, we genuinely feel as though they have great rings, especially, rings that will last quite a long time.
The engagement rings really did it for me, but I was left quite unimpressed with some of the wedding ring designs. Still, this is a subjective deduction and not an objective one.
What is objective though, is the reviews we went through with verified buyers, most of which, left unsatisfied after their interaction with Blue Nile. Most of the customers did point out that the rings were very high-end and had exceptional quality, but practical aspects like customer service, sizing, and other things, were not quite what they were hoping for.
That’s the biggest issue I have with Blue Nile. I was really disappointed that for what some customers might be paying, they get a poor experience. Delayed shipping dates, unavailable diamonds or rings, and the non-forgiving return policy is disappointing.
So, let’s review what we have so far with Blue Nile in terms of their pros and cons:
- Exceptional quality
- Very high-end engagement rings
- A lot of gemstones available
- Hundreds of ring designs
- Regularly delaying shipping times
- Some rings listed or created on their site might be unavailable at the time of selection
- Poor return policy
Brilliant Earth Rings Review
With Brilliant Earth we saw a much smaller contrast between positive and negative experiences from customers. There were much more positive reviews with lesser negative ones, and some ‘in-the-middle’ reviews.
So, things really look good with Brilliant Earth, which is a relief, considering the competitive pricing and some of the unique designs which are only available with Brilliant Earth.
Thankfully, with the big price tag, you get a more responsive customer service, albeit, all until your return window has expired. That was, at least, the general gist we got from most of the reviews. Most customers acknowledged Brilliant Earth’s customer service efforts, but were disappointed with the lesser flexible return policy, which is the same as Blue Nile.
To be clear, Brilliant Earth still impressed us the most, and these things that we mentioned like customer service and return policies, etc. were only icing on the cake. Otherwise, we made a decision by looking at the quality and longevity of their rings, which is top-notch.
There was one count of damage with Brilliant Earth’s rings, where a customer’s ring had snapped. Since then, we tried to find the exact ring model on their site, but we failed to do so. However, we didn’t see the same problem mentioned by any other customer. Plus, this is a tangible thing really.
You can find the pros and cons for Brilliant Earth below:
- Impeccable quality
- Quite impressive and unique designs
- Excellent customer service
- Great fit
- Premium-looking rings
- Competitive pricing
- Disappointing return policy
Clean Origin Rings Review
By far the cleanest record of reviews can be found with Clean Origin. The things that were mostly praised were the customer service, the longer return policy, the overall shopping experience, and the quality of the rings.
There aren’t as many options at the other two, but you’ll most likely find the most famous ring styles already available. What is missing is some interesting and new unique designs, but hey, all in all, quite an adequate repertoire of rings.
The only thing we’ve found as a flaw with the rings is sometimes that the setting may be off. It is not like this happens quite often, although some decent percentage of the customers have reported it.
With the exceptional customer service, customers do have an easy time of returning the ring and getting it all sorted out, but it would have been great if these issues didn’t exist in the first place. It adds a bit of inconvenience to the whole experience, and it may be the reason why so many prefer Brilliant Earth over Clean Origin.
Other than that, there is not much else to say, except that Clean Origin has the most impressive return policy, coming in with a 100-day return window.
NOTE: The reason why I keep mentioning the return policy is because for some things as tangible as wedding or engagement rings, you can’t really know right-away if the sizing is correct. So, customers will get more leeway if the return policies allow for a longer period of returns.
The last thing to do is to review the positive and negatives with Clean Origin which are:
- Best return policy
- Highly dependable customer service
- Most of the best ring styles available
- A lot of options
- Affordable pricing
- Customers reported setting to be wrongly positioned
Now that we know most of the things that we need to know about each individual jewelry retailer, it is time to put them in a head-to-head. This way, we can extend further upon the already known information, and we can see which is the best one for yourself.
Each matchup will be covered below.
Blue Nile VS Brilliant Earth & Clean Origin
Because we think Blue Nile is not on the same level as Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin, and because we ranked it the lowest, we thought we should expand further upon why the other two are better, in our opinion.
First off, things looked good for Blue Nile, the website is well-developed, and all the rings look great and can be browsed through easily. Then, the first red flag was the reviewer rating for each individual ring, which for almost all of them, was five out of five.
We aren’t making assumptions here, but 5 out of 5 on that many rings? Interesting. Then, we went to a third-party buyers’ reviews place, and we saw an abysmal number of negative reviews. Compared to the other two, on every variable or aspect, on average, Blue Nile had much worse reviews.
Pair that up with the unbelievable delays in shipping and the quote on quote “unhelpful” customer service, in our opinion, Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin have a much better system.
The overall craftmanship of Blue Nile is great, and the quality as well, and nobody is disputing that. But the whole lot of inconvenience you might run into makes the other two much more sensible options. We hope that Blue Nile improves, and we would love to see more effort being put into customer satisfaction.
Brilliant Earth VS Clean Origin – The Best One?
For me, the biggest reason why I prefer Brilliant Earth over Clean Origin is the wider selection of materials. As you might’ve gathered by now, Clean Origin only does lab-created diamonds, and nothing else.
Sure, lab diamonds, won’t look that much different than regular diamonds on first glance, but we would’ve loved to have the option for other gemstones as well.
Ultimately, I think that is what makes Clean Origin the best one for engagement rings. They have a flexible return policy as well, meaning you have the option to swap out or change the ring size for longer.
Plus, usually, engagement rings are made with a big blob on the top, a diamond one for that matter, or multiple ones, but you get the idea. This makes lab diamonds a great pair up with the return policy, and it makes Clean Origin the best one for engagement rings.
However, if you’re not looking for that, then we believe that Brilliant Earth has a wider selection of materials, and ring design styles, some of which are very unique. With that said, if you’re not looking for an engagement ring, Brilliant Earth is the way to go.
The Verdict: Which Retailer Offers The Most High-End Rings?
Overall, I must say, I’m surprised by the service these three offer. You’ll get somewhat a premium experience across the board, and most of these offer very premium rings.
It was great to see that the price reflected on the quality and the craftmanship of these rings, since that’s the biggest concern for those that are shopping for rings or any kind of jewelry from online retailer.
Like I said before, Clean Origin might be the better alternative option to Brilliant Earth, in the case of engagement rings. However, if you want the real deal, and non-lab-created diamonds, then Brilliant Earth does still have some impressive ring designs in their lineup.
Lastly, another thing which I mentioned is the fact that I want to see much more effort from Blue Nile into the deficits we mentioned, but I think in general, all three can improve on minor deficiencies.