Lightbox JewelryUSD 800
- Very low prices
- Decent quality diamonds (ungraded)
- No-frills shopping experience
- 30 day free returns (if unworn)
- Not possible to select diamonds
- Not possible to inspect diamonds
- No information about environmental impact
- No-features shopping experience
- No-response service
Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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Summary of Lightbox Jewelry Review
Lightbox Jewelry is a well-known lab-grown diamond jewelry brand created by De Beers Jewellers, who once controlled almost the entire global diamond trade and today sells nearly 30 percent of all mined diamonds!
De Beers argues that mined diamonds are better than lab-created diamonds for no reason other than a proclaimed and wildly exaggerated scarcity. In fact, mined diamonds are actually not very rare or special.
At the same time, De Beers wants to exploit the growing societal consciousness and environmental awareness that is driving sales of the more sustainable diamond choice of lab-grown diamonds.
In order to protect their lucrative sales of mined diamonds, De Beers created the Lightbox Jewelry brand to distance themselves from lab-grown diamonds while also profiting from the sustainable choice of lab-created diamonds.
Lightbox Jewelry offers lab-grown diamonds at a low price by taking several shortcuts to keep costs down. Continue reading our updated 2023 Lightbox Jewelry review to learn how and why (and why we have slightly increased their rating this year).
3 lab-grown diamond jewelers we like better than Lightbox Jewelry
- Summary of Lightbox Jewelry Review
- The story behind Lightbox Jewelry
- Lightbox Jewelry is lab-grown diamonds only
- Lightbox Jewelry is low-cost (and millennials) only
- Lightbox Jewelry diamond quality
- Lightbox Jewelry buying experience
- Lightbox Jewelry customer service
- Verdict of Lightbox Jewelry Review
The story behind Lightbox Jewelry
Before we start our Lightbox Jewelry review, it’s important to understand why the brand was launched and who owns it.
The diamonds are grown in the laboratories of Element Six. OK, so no big deal. Well, interestingly, both companies are owned by probably the most widely-known diamond mining company in the world – De Beers.
Why are the ownership and supplier links a big deal? Because De Beers themselves have fiercely been fighting the advent of gem-quality lab-grown diamonds – perhaps to protect their legacy business. So instead of missing out on the opportunity, they launch their own brand.
Now, De Beers is quite the marketing genius (next to building diamond cartels). They coined the now-ubiquitous phrase touting that “diamonds are forever”. And, not least, through clever marketing, De Beers created both the myths that engagement rings need to be diamond-ornate and the rule of thumb of spending two months’ salary on the same (please don’t).
So what do they do when a new entrant (lab-grown affordable gem-quality diamonds) enters the markets and threatens to disrupt their market dominance? They cunningly decide to market lab-created diamonds as discount jewelry that is only suitable for cash-strapped millennials. At the same time, continuing to market mined diamonds as the real deal is only attainable for the well-off.
Luckily, you know better. Lab-grown diamonds are exactly the same as mined diamonds. You just save money and spare the planet in the process. With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at their new lab-grown brand and ignore its ownership structure and raison d’être.
Lightbox Jewelry is lab-grown diamonds only
Lightbox exclusively sells jewelry adorned by lab-created diamonds, and they market themselves very strongly on the origin of their diamonds. They also emphasize the diamond creation process (learn more in our article on what lab-grown diamonds are) and the difference between mined and lab-grown diamonds.
But – while Lightbox repeatedly highlights the rareness of mined diamonds, they conveniently neglect to mention the differences in environmental and societal impact. Does someone have an agenda?
Lightbox Jewelry is low-cost (and millennials) only
Lightbox is a low-cost, no-frills seller of lab-grown diamond jewelry. The Frontier or RyanAir of Diamond jewelers, perhaps.
The target audience is not the affluent or the typical De Beers customer. That’s exactly the point. The brand has been positioned cleverly to be at a very safe distance from this core customer base. Instead, they have an entirely different demographic in mind: the younger generations, used to fast fashion and who have an increasing concern for the environment (yes, that’s a contradiction). It’s marketed at people who would not otherwise have bought diamonds, but probably a cheaper alternative but who will be sure to tell Instagram of their new best buy.
When the brand was announced, it was greatly hyped. For two reasons. One, it was launched by a staunch opponent of lab-created gem diamonds. And two, they promised to sell diamonds at $800 per carat (without the setting). That got the attention of both industry outlets and mainstream media. With one stroke of genius marketing, people started to view lab-grown diamonds as inferior to mined diamonds.
De Beers vs. the lab-created diamond industry: 1-0.
Why are Lightbox Jewelry diamonds so cheap?
Lab-grown diamonds are at least 30-40% cheaper than mined diamonds of the exact same quality. Lightbox Jewelry exclusively sells lab-grown diamonds, and that’s one of the reasons why they are cheaper than many other diamond sellers. However, they are not cheaper than many other lab-grown diamond sellers. In addition, Lightbox Jewelry does not provide independent third-party diamond inspection and certificates, so you can’t be sure of the diamond’s quality. For that reason, it’s hard to compare the quality and prices of Lightbox Jewelry diamonds. But there are certainly better places to buy lab-grown diamonds. Read why we think so in our Lightbox Jewelry review.
Next up in our Lightbox Jewelry Review, let’s take a look at how good their lab-grown diamonds are.
Lightbox Jewelry diamond quality
For this 2023 Lightbox Jewelry review update, Lightbox has introduced a “premium” tier called Lightbox Finest™ (yes, they’ve trademarked the term!). Lightbox Finest is in contrast to their usual collection, now referred to as “Basic”.
And that’s actually something of an improvement in transparency. Because, as you’ll learn soon, the cheap diamonds at Lightbox Jewelry are indeed basic.
Selling 1-carat diamonds for $800 requires you to either cut all costs to a very bare minimum or to lose money. Or perhaps both. So how do the diamond quality and the grading of the other 3Cs stack up?
Well, first of all, Lightbox Jewelry does not let you select individual stones or even decide on what range of 4C diamond grades you want. This is a bit similar to what you would expect at a discount jeweler or when buying so-called fashion jewelry.
However, they do inform you that all of their diamonds fall within the below ranges. And, for 2023, they also include the diamond grades of their “Finest” collection.
As you can see above, the grades they offer do look good. Especially for the “Finest” collection.
Or rather, the lab diamond color and lab diamond clarity grades are good. We would even argue that their “Finest” grades are too high for the average jewelry setting. Too high? Yes, as you can read in our guide to lab-grown diamond colors, we typically recommend opting for a lower grade!
Similarly, if the diamond is eye-clean, and particularly if you are shopping for a lab-grown fancy-colored diamond, you can also skimp a little on clarity grade.
However, as you will have learned from reading our lab-grown diamond guides, the lab diamond cut grade is below our recommended level. Colorless diamonds are all about the quality of the cut, and you should never compromise. That means you should aim for excellent or ideal cut grades.
Granted, Lightbox Finest™ does offer the “highest” cut grade. But, as you’ll learn soon, that grade doesn’t really mean anything since Lightbox Jewelry does not have its diamonds independently graded. So the Excellent cut grade that Lightbox boats about may not be the same as what GIA would label as Excellent, nor what IGI would call Ideal (confusingly, GIA and IGI do not use the same highest grade).
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say we offer Lightbox Jewelry the benefit of the substantial doubt. Then their Finest™ collection is actually of decent quality. But, as you’ll soon learn, they are also expensive!
Lightbox Jewelry Basic™ (also, weirdly, trademarked) diamonds, while seemingly cheaper, are low quality. The cut grade (recall that it’s the most important grade) is only “very good”. Most people in their target demographic might not know better and think that very good is indeed very good.
So, in our updated review in 2023, the quality of Lightbox Jewelry diamonds is still poor. Interestingly, the diamond cut quality is now featured even more prominently, but we suspect that they have confirmed that the very good diamond cut grade confuses buyers into thinking that the quality is very good. And, if some of their shoppers happen to be informed, they’ll perhaps opt for the overpriced Finest™ diamonds.
Yes, it gets worse, as we shall learn next in our Lightbox Jewelry review.
Lightbox Jewelry diamond certification
Recall that independent laboratories grade diamonds and that their certificates hold the key to their value. Well, Lightbox Jewelry does not get its diamonds graded at independent laboratories.
Instead, they pinky-swear that when they say a diamond is a certain grade, then it is. And that you can, of course, trust them. Just like you can trust them to be honest about the differences between lab-grown and mined diamonds or how much to spend on an engagement ring (you can’t).
This is a big red flag.
If we give them the benefit of the doubt and decide to trust them, why not have their diamonds certified? Well, that adds cost. Just like a proper cutting of diamonds is very expensive. To reduce the price to the (in)famous $800 for a 1-carat diamond, they need to trim all costs.
Even their Finest™ diamonds, which supposedly sport the highest cut grade, may not be comparable to the highest grades at GIA, IGI, GCAL, or other independent grading institutes. Yes, Lightbox grades their own homework.
And, as you will have learned in our article about the future of lab-grown diamonds and their future value, the cutting process is a high cost that you cannot take out of the equation and which will ensure that lab-grown diamonds will always be expensive (albeit not as expensive as mined diamonds). But Lightbox Jewelry just did that.
This could also be another part of their marketing ploy to avoid putting lab-grown diamonds on the market that are just as sparkly as mined diamonds so that everyone can see that lab-grown and mined diamonds are no different. And make lab-grown diamonds seem less like mined diamonds by not grading them properly. Who knows. We think we do.
Lightbox Jewelry buying experience
In this section of our Lightbox Jewelry review, we’ll take a closer look at the buying experience at Lightbox. And it’s clear that the buying experience is tailored to their target audience.
Younger people probably care more about having a diamond piece and probably the carat weight than the actual quality of the diamonds. They want a no-frills shopping experience where they do not need to question their own choices or even have to make any.
Again, compare the audience to that of a mall jeweler or a brand like Pandora. If you do, then the buying experience is actually pretty good. If you are looking for an easy way to upgrade your fashion jewelry with diamonds, then Lightbox Jewelry helps you get there as quickly as possible. No questions asked.
And to be fair, if the alternative is a “fake” diamond, then we think that a Lightbox diamond is a clear upgrade. In that case, you may be fine with the limited brilliance from the inferior cut grade and that you do not get a certificate to back up the diamond grade claims.
Online purchase process and features
Unlike jewelers such as Clean Origin and James Allen, as well as Ritani and Brilliant Earth, Lightbox does not have a section where you can browse their lab-grown diamond inventory. Instead, you shop for jewelry and pick what kind you want, carat weight, and diamond color.
As we pointed out above, you are not able to choose the diamond grades you prefer.
When it comes to jewelry pieces, their selection is limited to a few classic pieces and, otherwise, mostly fashion-type designs (such as their “statement” category). If you are looking for a 1-carat diamond ring, your choices are limited to fashion solitaire rings – not any classic designs suitable for (for example) an engagement ring. One reason may be that they caution not to compete with premier diamond brands (such as their parent brand De Beers who dreamed up the diamond-adorned engagement ring).
If you search for 1-carat white diamonds, you’ll also be hard-pressed to find one. We failed, but we have heard that they are sometimes available (like getting concert tickets to Drake at Madison Square Garden at face value). Rumor has it that they want to avoid people swapping the 1-carat white diamond stones into an engagement ring setting – you know, the kind that De Beers tells you are supposed to cost you 2 months’ salary (not $800).
Once you have narrowed down the jewelry type, you’ll be presented with an overview of the shapes and forms of that particular type (e.g., earrings). You are then able to filter based on price, carat weight, and diamond color.
In 0.5 carat (total weight), their selection of earrings is pretty decent, with a few classic designs. However, if you whittle your selection down to 1 carat (either 1 ct per earring or even total weight), you are limited to three designs, none of them with white diamonds available.
And that is basically it. Lightbox greatly limits your choices and thus also simplifies the buying process to the absolute minimum. Great if you don’t care too much, not so great if you do. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick (albeit not cheap) gift or want to show off diamond pieces to your friends but don’t otherwise really care about diamonds.
Lightbox Jewelry customer service
The customer interaction is limited to chatting through Facebook Messenger. Very on point, considering their target demographic. But perhaps not everyone wants to connect their Facebook profile with a jeweler. We find it a little limiting and annoying.
Response times vary from several hours to days—and even deafening silence. The experience could not be further from the instant replies you get when shopping at James Allen or Clean Origin. So you will need to be patient.
You should also keep your technical diamond knowledge to yourself as their support only handles standard inquiries, most of which you can find answers to on the website anyway. Remember what we said about cost-cutting? We doubt you’ll run into gemologists on their chat (unlike what you can and should expect from your diamond jeweler).
Delivery and Returns
In 2023, Lightbox Jewelry finally slashed shipping costs. But only for “standard” shipping, which takes 3 to 5 business days. The best places to buy lab-grown diamonds offer free overnight or next-day shipping.
And Lightbox Jewelry still charges $25 for overnight shipping. Also, not that shipping is by FedEx Secure, and it’s only secured up to the default $100 amount!
Lightbox Jewelry offers free returns 30 days after receipt of unworn jewelry. Unworn? We asked, and you are OK to try the jewelry on but don’t prance around your home wearing it if you plan on returning and getting your full refund (maybe they’ll check your Instagram profile).
Return shipping is free, but the shipping to you is non-refundable. Also, not what you should expect.
They do not offer exchanges. Instead, they advise you to purchase whatever you originally wanted. In the meantime, you will be waiting for your original order to be refunded (hopefully swiftly). Apart from the added inconvenience and any cash-flow implications, that should be fine.
Verdict of Lightbox Jewelry Review
Throughout our Lightbox Jewelry review, we’ve struggled to make sense of Lightbox. On the one hand, they are a real business catering to millennials with their no-frills, low-cost lab-created diamond jewelry. On the other hand, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they are a marketing vehicle purposely trying to undermine and (wrongfully) portray lab-created diamonds as inferior to mined stones.
Judging them solely as jewelers, they excel in making the buying process easy and allowing more people to purchase diamond jewelry. While the experience at Ada Diamonds is similar to shopping at high-end jewelers (perhaps, De Beers), Lightbox is the budget-friendly equivalent, where shopping is more like buying jewelry at your local mall.
So if you are looking for an upgrade to Pandora Jewelry (which has just launched its Brilliance collection in the US) and want beautiful, high-quality, but also budget-friendly diamonds instead of Moissanite or Zirconia, then Lightbox is a great option, and our rating of Lightbox Jewelry would be higher.
On the other hand, if you are serious about your diamond purchase and want to buy the perfect diamond for the best price, then Lightbox Jewelry is probably not for you. This is why our final verdict and rating in our Lightbox Jewelry review in 2023 ends at a woeful 2.9 out of 5 stars
Note that we have added 0.1 to their rating in 2023 due to Lightbox Jewelry becoming slightly more transparent with the addition of their Finest™ collection and for their free shipping.
Still, we highly recommend you check out Clean Origin (review) or Ritani (review), which offer similarly low prices but for high-quality diamonds. And they offer a huge inventory of certified lab diamonds that you can inspect in detail.
And for engagement rings, check out our best-rated places to buy lab-grown diamond engagement rings:
You can read more about all the lab-grown diamond jewelers in our lab-grown diamond jeweler reviews section.
Read our lab-grown diamond buying guide if you are keen on learning more about how to shop for the perfect diamond (with a certificate). And if you want to dive deeper into the world of diamonds to understand why a “very good” cut does not cut it or why you need an independent laboratory to grade your diamond, then take the plunge into our collection of easily digestible lab-grown diamond knowledge articles.
3 diamond jewelers we like better than Lightbox Jewelry
Is Lightbox Jewelry Legit
Lightbox Jewelry is owned by one of the world’s largest mined diamond producers and jewelers, De Beers. So Lightbox Jewelry is a legit business. However, as we have found in our review of Light Jewelry, their customer service is lacking, and they don’t offer independent diamond inspection and certificates, so you can’t be sure what you are buying (unless you trust Lightbox Jewelry to grade its own homework).
Why are Lightbox Jewelry diamonds so cheap?
Lightbox Jewelry diamonds are very cheap, but you may be wondering why they are so cheap. There are a few reasons. First, they use lab-grown diamonds, which they produce themselves. That’s great because lab-grown diamonds are actually better for the environment and society. However, Lightbox Jewelry also cuts a few corners and skips on sharing key information about the diamonds, such as diamond cut quality. They are not independently graded either, so you can’t be sure of the quality. Learn more in our expert Lightbox Jewelry review.