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Recycled Diamonds: Nearly Zero Impact Environmentally and Socially

By Mike Fried,

Recycled diamonds, also known as reclaimed or repurposed diamonds, are gemstones that have been previously set in jewelry but are being resold for a new purpose. Unlike newly mined diamonds, these stones offer an eco-friendly alternative, as they don’t contribute to ongoing environmental degradation or ethical issues often associated with diamond mining. Recycled diamonds can be found in various settings, from vintage pieces to newly designed jewelry, and are usually less expensive than newly mined diamonds of similar quality, offering a cost-effective choice for conscious consumers.

When shopping for recycled diamonds, keep the following points in mind:

  • Certification: Ensure the diamond comes with a grading report from a reputable gemological lab, verifying its quality and characteristics.
  • Provenance: It may be hard to trace the exact origins of a recycled diamond, but try to buy from a source that guarantees the stone is conflict-free.
  • Quality: Assess the 4 Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight—just as you would when buying a new diamond.
  • Compare Prices: Recycled diamonds are generally less expensive, but it’s essential to compare prices to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
  • Inspection: Given that recycled diamonds have been used before, look for any signs of wear or minor damages that might not be immediately apparent.

By keeping these issues in mind, you can make an informed and ethical choice when purchasing a recycled diamond.

Bottom Line Recommendation:

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly and socially conscious choice, we recommend a recycled diamond. Because they’re repurposed instead of newly mined, there’s nearly zero impact on the environment and surrounding communities. In other words, recycled diamonds are eco-friendly diamonds.

Some recycled diamonds are antique cuts—offering a unique and vintage appearance. Many other recycled diamonds are stunning modern cut diamonds and diamonds that have been recut and repolished as modern cuts.

Above all, we recommend purchasing your recycled diamond from a highly reputable vendor. Abe Mor has provided many of our readers with beautiful recycled diamonds at excellent prices. They can be trusted to provide you with the best value and the most beautiful diamond for your budget.

What Are Recycled Diamonds?

Recycled diamonds are diamonds that were previously owned and put back into the diamond supply chain. Also called reclaimed diamonds, recycled diamonds can be Old European cuts, modern cuts or antique diamonds that have been recut and repolished.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

For example, a recycled diamond may have been originally cut in the 1970s but has been recut to meet modern day specifications. In other words, there is no way to tell if a diamond is recycled unless it is specifically labeled as such.

You can find recycled diamonds in almost every carat weight, although they must usually weigh over 0.30 Carat to receive a new certificate. Recycled diamonds receive GIA and AGS certificationsjust like diamonds that are fresh to the market. We recommend only purchasing diamonds that come with a GIA certificate.

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Why Buy Recycled Diamonds?

While the diamond industry has recently made strides to reduce its social and environmental impact, many people are looking for more. The process of mining diamonds can have an impact on the natural environment that, for many people, makes buying a diamond a less appealing idea.

Recycled diamonds are socially responsible and eco-friendly diamonds. They’ve already been mined, and as such, there’s no negative impact on the world when they’re recut to modern standards.

To extract diamonds from the Earth, massive amounts of soil need to be removed. Harm to the air, soil and water quality can occur during the mining process. Possible contamination can impact the local communities due to leakage of chemicals during mining. Recycled diamonds don’t cause any of these impacts. In fact, there is nearly zero environmental or social impact when it comes to these sustainable diamonds.

    Recycled Diamonds on Abe MorAbe Mor

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What About Lab-Created Diamonds?

Some people believe that lab-created diamonds are an excellent eco-friendly alternative, but we strongly suggest against purchasing them. Why? Because they carry little value from the start and have no resale value. Jewelers do not buy back lab-created diamonds and if you try to sell them online, you’ll receive pennies on the dollar for what you paid. In addition, the lab-created synthetic diamond industry has been plummeting recentlymaking them even less desirable than before.

In addition to lab-created diamonds, there are companies claiming to offer “more ethical” options. Brilliant Earth, for example, offers a “Beyond Conflict Free” guarantee. While we commend Brilliant Earth on their attempt to provide an ethical option for diamond buyers, we feel they ultimately fall short of the mark. Read our full Brilliant Earth review to learn more.

How to Choose a Recycled Diamond

Similar to selecting a newly cut diamond, there are certain qualities to look for in a recycled diamond. To choose the most beautiful stone for your budget, you’ll want to consider the 4 C’s of diamonds:

You’ll also want to be on the lookout for the best value and beauty in the recycled diamond market. There are many recycled diamonds for sale but not every vendor will offer you a competitive price.

Here’s a comparison of actual diamonds to help illustrate the price difference that exists in the market.

Diamond Example #1

Here is a diamond from Blue Nile that’s 0.72 carat, G color, SI1 clarity and an excellent cut. It’s a beautiful diamond but it’s not recycled. This diamond is priced at $2,356.

Diamond Example #2

Brilliant Earth sold an almost identical diamond that was recycled: 0.75 carat, G color, SI1 clarity with an ideal cut. They priced their diamond at $3,140.

Diamond Example #3

Abe Mor, a specialty diamond retailer, sold a very similar recycled diamond for $2,350. It was a 0.71 carat, G color, SI1 clarity with an excellent cut. In other words, it was nearly identical to the Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth stones.

Price Comparison

While many people are willing to pay extra for a recycled diamond, the price should still be in line with other similar diamonds. Why is Brilliant Earth charging 33% more than both Blue Nile and Abe Mor? That is a high premium for nearly the same exact stone. Plus, Abe Mor’s diamond was also recycledand was still 16% less expensive than Brilliant Earth’s.

The diamond from Abe Mor (Diamond #3) is actually slightly cheaper than the Blue Nile stone. So, going this route, you’re getting the sustainable and eco-friendly benefits of a recycled diamond for a price that’s excellentespecially when compared with Brilliant Earth.

Our Selling Your Diamond article explains that even the best buyback options (like Abe Mor) end up owning their inventory for less than most companies acquire their diamonds.

Where to Buy Recycled Diamonds

When it comes to recycled diamonds, you won’t have as large of a selection as newly mined diamonds. There are much fewer sustainable diamonds in the world. Many recycled stones are also recut and repolished, so you wouldn’t even know if a diamond is recycled.

You can find recycled diamonds at estate sales and pawn shops, although they might not be certifiedmaking it hard to trust what you’re actually buying. That’s why we recommend Abe Mor, a reputable specialty diamond vendor and reseller. If you live in New York City or travel there, you can visit their in-store location. Luckily, through their website, they provide services to people all over the world.

To find a recycled diamond through Abe Mor, simply contact them with your specifications. For example, if you want a 1.5 Carat recycled diamond, they will send you videos and photographs of available options in their inventory. Once you decide on a diamond, they can design a custom ring setting. It can be a vintage design or a ring that’s simple and modern.

We’ve personally worked with Abe Mor on several custom rings and specialty orders. Many of our readers have found beautiful, one-of-a-kind recycled diamond rings at exceptional prices.

Price of Recycled Diamonds

Because it’s nearly impossible to tell if a diamond is recycled or not (unless it’s kept in its original antique cut state), the price of recycled diamonds and newly mined diamonds are usually quite similar.

Some recycled diamonds may have a vintage or dated look, while others are recut and repolished to achieve modern standards, like a round brilliant or cushion cut.

Certification of Recycled Diamonds

As with freshly mined diamonds, recycled diamonds receive legitimate grading from entities like the GIA. In fact, we recommend that any diamond you purchase come with a certificate from this entity, as it’s the most reliable and reputable.

The reason for this is that these entities take significant steps to provide objective, unbiased assessments of the diamonds they grade. The GIA, for example, ensures that diamonds are placed in transparent cases with no references to their owners or origin. They also require that graders offer independent opinions, meaning the grader for any diamond is unaware of any previous color or clarity grades that may have been assigned to the diamond in the past.

The AGS has a similar process, meaning you can trust that any diamonds with either a GIA or AGS certificate have the correct cut, color and clarity grades.

If you’d like assistance in finding a stunning recycled diamond at an excellent price, reach out to our experts. We’re always happy to help.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
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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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
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
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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