Recycled diamonds are pre-owned diamonds that were sold by a former owner to a jeweler, diamond wholesaler, or dealer and have since reentered the diamond supply. Recycled diamonds (also known as reclaimed diamonds) are a trendy and ethical choice for diamond buyers who are searching for a natural diamond but are concerned about the potential ethical implications of such a purchase.
Some shoppers facing this conundrum decide to search out a lab grown diamond or purchase conflict free diamonds from an ethically focused jeweler like Brilliant Earth or Do Amore. Another great option is to purchase a recycled loose or a fully packaged recycled diamond engagement ring since diamonds don’t lose their luster over time and such a diamond will have no new environmental or ethical impact. Often these diamonds are sold as new diamonds after receiving a new diamond grading certificate from the GIA or similar grading agency since they are typically indistinguishable from newly cut diamonds.
Recycled diamonds look identical to new diamonds. Since diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring element on earth, a reclaimed diamond (another name for a recycled diamond) should look the same today as when the diamond was first cut. However, in the rare case that a diamond has been chipped or fractured, the diamond may have deteriorated significantly in value and appearance. For this reason, it is highly recommended that all recycled diamonds are submitted to a diamond grading agency (such as the GIA, AGS, IGI, EGL, etc.) to receive a new grading certificate based on the present state of the diamond.
Recycled diamonds should not command a discount relative to newly cut diamonds since the two are indistinguishable (even to diamond experts). In fact, recycled diamonds are now sometimes sold at a premium as socially and environmentally conscious consumers are seeking natural options that satisfying their ethical ideals. But finding recycled diamonds that looks like modern cut diamonds can be tricky.
Some recycled diamonds are the result of older diamond cutting techniques (such as old European cut or antique cut diamonds) and these are often available through estate sales or auctions. These diamonds can be recut using the latest cutting techniques to convert them into the type of diamond that is more appealing to a modern consumer, but this cutting process removes valuable carat weight. The decision is typically made to recut a diamond only if the diamond will be more valuable after the cutting process and the increase in price will exceed the cost of having the diamond recut.
As we’ve already established, recycled diamonds are indistinguishable from newly cut diamonds (aside from situations where the diamond has experienced chipping, fracturing, etc.). For this reason, recycled diamonds receive the same grades from grading agencies as if they were a newly cut diamond first entering the diamond supply chain. Any diamond, including a diamond you’ve owned for years, can be sent to the GIA for grading and this can help in establishing a fair value for the diamond should you choose to sell the stone (especially if the diamond hasn’t been graded by a top agency in the recent past).
The largest purveyor of recycled diamonds is Brilliant Earth, an ethically-focused website dedicated to beyond-conflict free diamonds, but you can also call your local jeweler to see if they have any diamonds that are available as re-sale purchases. Many times when a diamond owner is seeking the highest resale value for their diamond or diamond engagement ring, the jeweler will offer them the opportunity to leave the diamond on consignment until the jeweler can find a buyer for the stone.