Brilliance.com Review: A Disappointing Experience

By Michael Fried

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Brilliance
Overall Score:2
Price:4Selection:1Customer Service:1
Pros
  • Low prices

Cons
  • Bad service
  • Unreliable certificates
  • Inaccurate/misleading diamond info
Other Recommended Retailers

Bottom Line Recommendation

Brilliance.com seems to be a far inferior website to the major websites we recommend (primarily James Allen and Blue Nile). Their service is problematic and their website seems to have major issues. When comparing the prices, they don’t seem to be much cheaper. I just can’t imagine dealing with the headaches of working with a company like this in order to save a hundred bucks on a $5,000 order.

About Brilliance

There is very little known about Brilliance. Because I don’t know much about the history or people, I will dive right into the their products and service. Unlike James Allen and Blue Nile, it seems that Brilliance does not have the same exclusivity contracts and direct feeds for the diamonds. What this means is that the diamonds listed on their site are not necessarily available.

How does it work? It seems that they have diamonds listed from generic industry feeds. This lets them work on cheaper margins, but means that they can’t guarantee a ship date or even immediately confirm if the diamond is available.

Problematic Searches

Brilliance loves to make it seem like they are so much cheaper than everyone else. But are they really? Their inaccuracies on their feeds make it very difficult to tell. Just to simplify things, I was trying to filter for excellent cuts. Brilliance was hiding the copy of the certificate for many of the diamonds, so it’s hard to say exactly how many of them are incorrect.

It appeared that a very large percentage of the excellent cuts on their site are not actually excellent cuts. There were some obvious ones there. Take a look at this search bellow.  Of the 29 diamonds listed, 17 are definitely not excellent cut (circled). You can see that they have depth percentages way outside the acceptable range or they have polish/symmetry grades that GIA automatically disqualifies them from receiving an excellent cut grade.
They would probably claim that they have no choice because they are forced to standardize cut grades across the 5 different labs they use. So they decided to include some GIA graded Very Good cuts in their search tools “Excellent” cut grade level. Considering that GIA is the gold standard in diamond grading, we feel it’s disingenuous to include Very Good cuts when filtering for Excellent cuts.

This bring us to another problem with Brilliance. They sell diamonds certified by EGL, HRD, and IGI which we do not recommend. We can overlook a vendor selling IGI and HRD certified stones (like James Allen), but we have a hard time endorsing a vendor that sells EGL certified diamonds. IGI’s business was developed to service the major jewelry chains and HRD attempts to be the GIA of Antwerp. But we believe EGL’s reason for existence in the industry has always been to help diamond dealers make more money by tricking customers into thinking they’re getting something better than they are.

Underwhelming Service

We tried secret shopping Brilliance a few years ago and were unsuccessful because of their service. I currently live overseas so when I was coming back to NYC for a visit, I took the opportunity to shop them.

Despite ordering just a loose diamond (which means there is no work necessary), they weren’t able to get the diamond to me in time. It took them several days to even confirm that the diamond was available (they told us the vendor had lent the diamond out to someone else).

In the end, the diamond came the last day I was in the US. It was too late for me to have it photographed or even open it (it got to my sister’s house after I already left for the airport).

Are they really cheaper?

So the reputation is that at least they are cheap. But is that the case? Sure, if you filter for H VS2 excellent cuts, the prices are much cheaper than what you’d find on Blue Nile or James Allen. But how many of those diamonds are actually excellent cuts?

I used my usual depth/table parameters for round diamonds and found this diamond as the cheapest option on brilliance. To be sure, that diamond looks like a nice option. But is it really available? Will I be able to get the diamond in time? And how does it stack up against the competition.

Blue Nile is the top online retailer. As we mention in our review, their service and fulfillment are second to none. Here is a comparable diamond from them.

The “savings” you get by going with brilliance is a whopping 2%. That is a pretty nominal amount for having to navigate their site and deal with their inferior service.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Exclusive to us for the 2018 Christmas shopping season - Pick Up a single-use Blue Nile Coupon Here for $100 off!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. Take advantage of their ongoing 25% Off Holiday Sale.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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