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Recycled Diamonds: an Environmentally-friendly Gem Choice?

Recycled Diamonds: an Environmentally-friendly Gem Choice?

If you’re environmentally and socially conscious, but you just can’t bring yourself to resist the diamond allure, you can opt for recycled diamonds instead of newly mined ones. These gems are eco-friendly and have almost no impact on the environment.

Going for a recycled diamond does not mean you have to settle for an antique cut or a vintage look. There are a plethora of recycled diamonds that are recut and repolished and look as modern as any newly cut diamond on display.

Even though recycled diamonds are sort of second-hand goods, they do not show any trace of wear, and their price more or less matches the price of a newly cut stone. So, don’t hope that you’ll save a lot of money here. 

You’ll be socially and environmentally responsible and help our planet become a better place – and that should suffice, don’t you agree?

So, let’s learn more about recycled diamonds!

What Are Recycled Diamonds?

Recycled diamonds, or reclaimed diamonds, are precious stones that have been mined, used in a piece of jewelry, and then repurposed. Such stones have usually been bought and worn by someone – and then found their way back into the diamond supply chain. 

Being the hardest natural substance, diamonds are the perfect candidates for recycling. So, it’s a very common practice – and you can find recycled diamonds in most jewelry stores. 

As we have already mentioned, those need not be antique diamonds. Both Old European cuts and modern cuts are recut and repolished as part of this practice. You cannot really tell if a diamond you are buying has been recycled or not, especially when it is not labeled as such. 

Therefore, you might think you are purchasing a newly cut diamond when, in fact, it is a stone that has been originally cut decades ago and then recut to meet modern-day specifications.

Recycled diamonds can be found in almost every carat weight. They need to weigh more than 0.3 carats in order to be granted a new certificate, though. Reclaimed diamonds require GIA and AGS certification like any newly cut diamond. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 

Buy only diamonds that have GIA or AGS certificates – whether they’re traditionally mined or recycled.

How Are Diamonds Recycled?

Most of the time, jewelers buy used diamond jewelry from previous owners. Often, the jewelry they purchase is broken or damaged and needs to be refurbished.

When it comes to diamonds, the first step is to take the stone out from its original setting and get it cleaned. The jeweler then takes a close look at it and decides if it needs to be recut and given a new life. Finally, the diamond is polished to perfection and set in a new piece of jewelry.

And no, there’s no visible difference between reclaimed diamonds and newly cut ones. 

If the recycled stone is not kept in its original antique cut state – and it rarely is – you won’t be able to tell if it is recycled or not. That’s the main reason why recycled diamonds and newly mined diamonds usually cost the same, too.

How To Choose A Recycled Diamond?

As we’ve established in the previous section, other than the fact that they have been already in use, recycled diamonds are no different than any newly cut diamond. They have the same characteristics and qualities and are similarly priced, as well.

If you have ever been successful at choosing a newly cut diamond, you will be able to apply the same principles and choose a recycled diamond, too. The first and most important step is to find a reputable seller. 

The price differences on the market can be considerable. So, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, shop around – and try to find the best deal. Some vendors will offer a competitive price for reclaimed diamonds, meaning you can purchase a beautiful stone at the best possible price. 

But that’s the thing: Many are willing to pay extra for reclaimed diamonds due to their sustainable and eco-friendly benefits. And certain retailers take advantage of this fact, too. 

How Are Recycled Diamonds Valued? 

Every recycled diamond, just like any newly cut stone, is valued in accordance with its individual characteristics. So, numerous factors will influence the price of a reclaimed diamond.

First, you have to consider the 4 C’s – the color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Size and shape play a significant role, as well. X-factors, like unique inclusions or fluorescence, can influence the final price, too. 

Popular shapes are typically priced higher. So, if you want a round stone, like more than 60% of couples looking for a diamond ring do, you will have to pay extra. Likewise, colorless or fancy colored diamonds are a current trend and can be valued more as a result of that. 

There are regularly published lists used to determine the price of a diamond per carat. And yes, these lists apply to all-natural diamonds – whether they’re newly cut or not. 

While there is always some room for different opinions, these standards cannot be overlooked.

It is always best to check the diamond’s certificate before buying it. It confirms that the diamond was examined by a reputable laboratory and adds value to it. In the best-case scenario, the recycled gem you choose to purchase should have certification issued by either the GIA or AGS. 

You can sometimes purchase recycled diamonds at estate sales or pawn shops at a bargain price – but they’re often not certified. In such cases, you can’t know what you’re actually buying. 

So, be careful!

Where To Buy A Recycled Diamond?

As we’ve just warned you, avoid pawn shops and estate sales. Instead, opt for reputable sellers that provide certification. Oh, and arm yourself with patience. 

There are fewer recycled diamonds than there are newly cut ones – and finding the perfect one might be a bit challenging. You can’t hope for as large of a selection when you’re set on buying an eco-friendly, reclaimed stone.

Our advice is to contact a couple of respectable jewelers and express your wish to purchase a sustainable stone. Provide your specifications, and, most of the time, you’ll be offered at least a few options. 

You don’t have to be physically present, either: 

Most sellers will agree to send you videos and photographs of available recycled diamonds in their inventory. That way, you can narrow your selection of reclaimed stones down and try out only the ones that tick all your boxes.

Can You Know Where A Recycled Diamond Is Originally From?

Most of the time, the answer is no. Unfortunately, tracing where reclaimed diamonds originally came from is usually not an option. 

If you think about it, it doesn’t really matter at all. They’re all made from pre-existing materials, require no mining, and have zero environmental impact – that’s all an environmentally and socially conscious buyer needs to know!

Are Recycled Diamonds More Affordable Than Newly Mined Diamonds?

No, as we have already established, there is no visible difference between reclaimed diamonds and their newly mined counterparts. Recycled diamonds are essentially mined diamonds of equal quality and value that simply have a longer “history.” 

Plus, they are finite and precious, so why would they be worth any less? Some even value these recycled gemstones higher than the traditionally mined ones due to the positive impact they have on the environment.

Why Should You Buy A Recycled Diamond?

As already implied, recycled diamonds are both eco-friendly and socially responsible. In a world struggling to minimize the environmental impact, every little bit counts. 

For this reason, the diamond industry has recently started making efforts to reduce its social and environmental impact, as well. A growing number of jewelry stores offer recycled stones to meet the increasing demand for socially responsible and eco-friendly stones.

Why should you follow this trend, too? How does the process of extracting diamonds influence the Earth?

Well, in order to extract the diamonds, people have to remove a colossal amount of soil from the Earth. The mining process generally harms the environment we live in, contaminating the air we breathe, the water we drink – and the soil that feeds us.  

The potential contamination resulting from the leakage of chemicals during the mining process can have a devastating social impact on the local communities. 

On the other hand, recycled diamonds cause no harm. They are made from finished products – and there is nearly zero environmental or social impact. That said, you have other possibilities to explore here. Namely, some companies offer alternative stones that are “more ethical” than traditionally mined diamonds. 

For example, some newly cut diamonds come with a “Beyond Conflict Free” guarantee. It is a valid attempt to provide diamond buyers with an additional ethical option, but it is still a long way away from making any significant impact on society and our surroundings. 

Therefore, recycled diamonds remain the best choice for the time being.

Lab-Created Diamonds Vs. Recycled Diamonds

Many people believe that lab-created diamonds can be a great alternative to recycled diamonds since they are also eco-friendly. But is that so?

While we get the idea, unfortunately, we don’t quite agree with this claim. 

Even though lab stones are environmentally friendly, their value does not come close to the value of reclaimed diamonds. Moreover, they do not have any resale potential whatsoever. 

No jeweler will ever buy back a lab-created diamond – and you can’t even sell it online for any reasonable amount of money. Even if you succeed, you’ll get only a fraction of what you paid. It’s simply not worth your effort!

The industry of synthetic diamonds has plummeted in recent years, and that made these stones even less desirable than before. On the other hand, recycled diamonds keep their value – and they are always in demand, as well.  

See Also: Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond

Recycled Diamonds: Final Thoughts

We all want to find the most beautiful diamond within our budget. And for most people, it doesn’t really matter where the stone they fell in love with came from: They do not care whether their diamond ring or necklace has made any negative impact on our environment and society. All they want is a nice-looking gem. 

But luckily enough, more and more people are starting to ask essential questions and make wiser choices that can help our planet become a better place. Choosing a recycled diamond doesn’t mean you’ll have to compromise on the quality – or the beauty – of your diamond jewelry. So, why not do it?

It’s a small step, sure – but it’s a step in the right direction. Make an environmentally friendly choice and inspire others to do the same! Every little bit counts!