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Recycled Diamonds: Nearly Zero Impact Environmentally and Socially

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.

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What Are Recycled Diamonds?

Recycled diamonds are diamonds that were previously owned and put back in 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.

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 or AGS certificate.

Why Buy Recycled Diamonds?

While the diamond industry has recently made strides to reduce their social and environmental impact, many people are looking for more. Recycled diamonds are socially responsible and eco-friendly diamonds.

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.

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 (Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat).

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 Blue Nile Diamond 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 and AGS. In fact, we recommend that any diamond you purchase come with a certificate from one of these two entities, as they are the most reliable and reputable.

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.

About the author
Michael Fried
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.
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue NileBlue 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. Blue Nile is currently running a limited time sale offering 15% on settings site-wide. Click here to browse some great settings.
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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James Allen James AllenJames 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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