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Debunked: 6 Myths About Recycled Diamonds

Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? We’re not talking about plastics this time; we’re discussing recycled diamonds—yes, the ones you’re considering for that sparkly new engagement ring. Now, hear us out: This idea might not be as wild as it seems. Jewelers reintroduce recycled diamonds, which are previously owned and used in other jewelry pieces, into the market all the time. But why should you consider buying a recycled diamond for your engagement ring? Well, they can be a more affordable and sustainable option, for one. And they’re literally the same as new diamonds, so why not? But first, let’s go over exactly what we mean when we say, recycled diamond:

What Is the Recycled Diamond?

Just like your mom’s wedding dress from the 80s, diamond style, and its standards can evolve through the years. But its nothing a little make-over can’t fix. Often, jewelers remove diamonds from pre-existing jewelry and recycle them by re-cutting or re-polishing them before returning to the market. And just like that, an antiquated diamond can receive a sparkling new life.

Now, it’s also important to realize that recycled diamonds and antique diamonds are not always one and the same. See, all antique diamonds on the market are recycled diamonds but not all recycled diamonds are antique. Cut and faceted by hand anywhere between 1300 and 1939, antique diamonds maintain a softer glow larger faceting patterns. This contrasts with today’s precision-focused, laser-cut diamonds.

Mined and cut at any time, a recycled diamond is simply a diamond that was used/loved/worn before. This isn’t its first rodeo and it’s not new to the diamond market.

A row of fancy shaped diamonds are held vertically between tweezers. From top to bottom: an oval, radiant, Asscher, pear, and emerald cut diamond
You can’t tell the age of a diamond just by appearance. Many antique diamonds are re-cut and re-polished to reflect the ever-changing trends in the diamond industry. So are they 100 years old or 3? That’s one beauty secret they’ll never tell…
A lozenge shaped diamond with step cuts reflects onto a black surface
A diamond with a unique history deserves a unique shape. We love the sharp lines, pointed angles, and dazzling hall-of-mirror affect of lozenge cuts but there are a ton of other unique shapes to choose from.

Myth: A Recycled Diamond Is of Lower Quality

Reality: Many people mistakenly believe that recycled diamonds are of inferior quality compared to newly mined diamonds. In reality, recycled diamonds go through rigorous processes of cleaning, re-cutting, and re-polishing to restore their original brilliance and quality. In fact, recycled diamonds maintain the same standards as new diamonds.

Myth: Recycled Diamonds Are Less Ethical

Reality: Many assume that recycled diamonds are not as ethically sourced as new diamonds. However, recycled diamonds are more ethical because they do not require new mining, which can have significant environmental and social impacts. By reusing existing diamonds, demand for new mining of diamonds reduces. Thus promoting sustainability and ethical consumption.

A radiant cut recycled diamond engagement ring with claw prongs in yellow gold
Recycled diamonds can be a more sustainable and ethical alternatives to purchasing a naturally mined diamond. So go ahead and flaunt that dazzle, darling, because like this radiant diamond engagement ring-it looks radiant on you.
4 cushion cut diamonds graduate in size and rest between the pointer and middle finger
Distinguishing differences in size is easy, but determining what diamond was recycled? That’s another story.

Myth: Recycled Diamonds Are Easily Identifiable

Reality: There might be suspicion that recycled diamonds are easily distinguishable from new diamonds and may appear worn or damaged. Remember that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. They maintain their finish and quality, often for life. If by chance they need a re-polish or to be faceted to a modern design, recycled diamonds are re-cut and re-polished. They are then indistinguishable from newly mined diamonds. Professional jewelers treat and grade them to ensure they meet the same high standards of quality.

Myth: Recycled Diamonds Have Less Value

Reality: Another common misconception is that recycled diamonds are less valuable than new diamonds. In fact, recycled diamonds can offer the same value as new diamonds, often at a lower cost. Their value is based on the same criteria—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight—making them a financially savvy choice without sacrificing quality.

An east west, bezel set radiant diamond engagement ring in platinum
While recycled diamonds offer the same value at new diamonds, we don’t recommend buying a diamond solely based on value.
An oval diamond engagement ring and oval eternity band set
Always ensure the diamond that you are considering comes with proper certification.

Myth: Used Diamonds Are Not Certified

Reality: Some people think that recycled diamonds cannot be certified or graded like new diamonds. In truth, recycled diamonds can be certified by reputable gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These certifications provide assurance of the diamond’s quality and authenticity, just like with new diamonds.

Myth: Recycled Diamonds Are Hard to Find

Reality: Many reputable jewelers and online retailers offer a wide selection of recycled diamonds. With growing awareness and demand for sustainable and ethical options, the availability of recycled diamonds is increasing.

A chunky Marquise cut diamond engagement ring with claw prongs in yellow gold
We can help you source the perfect recycled diamond. Simply reach out to us at with a few details about what you’re looking for and we’ll work our magic to whip you up multiple options.
Recycled or not, elongated cushion cut diamonds are quickly becoming one of the most loved diamond shapes of 2024.

Myth: No One Wants a Recycled Diamond

Reality: Recently there has been a significant rise in consumer demand for recycled diamonds, reflecting a cultural shift towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. As folks are more aware of environmental and social issues associated with traditional diamond mining, they’re asking for more ethical options.

Today’s consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, are making more conscious choices in their purchasing. They prefer products that align with their values, and recycled diamonds fulfill that ethos. They offer a way to enjoy the beauty and luxury of fine jewelry without contributing to the negative effects of new mining or the energy consumption of lab grown diamonds.

Exploring the Sustainability of Recycled Diamonds

What about lab grown diamonds? Well, both recycled and lab grown diamonds offer eco-friendly alternatives to newly mined diamonds, but they differ in their environmental impacts. Created in a controlled environment using high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes, lab grown diamonds consume significant amounts of energy. And often, this energy comes from non-renewable sources, which can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. However, lab grown diamonds avoid the ecological destruction and social issues associated with mining.

In contrast, recycled diamonds have a lower environmental impact because they do not require any new mining or manufacturing processes. Because recycled diamonds are repurposed, they do not use up any additional resources or create new waste. This makes recycled and antique diamonds the most sustainable option, as they minimize the carbon footprint and avoid the adverse environmental effects associated with both traditional mining and lab grown diamond production.

Eco-Friendly Benefits of Recycled Diamonds

Recycled diamonds boast several eco-friendly benefits. As we mentioned before, they significantly reduce the demand for new diamond mining. Often linked to deforestation, habitat destruction, and soil erosion,by reducing demand, recycled diamonds preserve natural landscapes and protect biodiversity. Secondly, recycling diamonds eliminates the need for the energy-intensive processes used in lab grown diamond production, further reducing carbon emissions and conserving energy resources.

And oh-no, let’s talk about H2O. The water usage involved in diamond mining and lab grown diamond manufacturing is substantial. But recycled diamonds require no additional water consumption, making them a more water-efficient choice. By choosing recycled diamonds, consumers can contribute to the conservation of vital water resources and support sustainable practices within the jewelry industry.

A Marquise solitaire engagement ring with diamond eternity band on a tattooed hand
As the saying goes, “Waste not, want not” but does it apply to a recycled diamond Marquise solitaire engagement ring? Adds to cart – we think so!
A three stone Marquise engagement ring
Looking for another nifty trio to think about? Consider three stone engagement rings!

Why Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?

 Mining activities have severe environmental and social consequences, including ecosystem disruption, water pollution, and human rights violations in mining communities. By recycling diamonds, we can alleviate some of these negative impacts and promote a more ethical and sustainable diamond industry. And because the natural diamond supply is finite, continued mining is not a long-term sustainable practice.

Recycling diamonds helps to extend the life cycle of these precious stones, ensuring they can be enjoyed by future generations without depleting natural reserves. Embracing recycled diamonds is a practical step towards a more sustainable future, fostering a circular economy where existing materials are reused and repurposed rather than thrown out. And who doesn’t love a greener future that happens to also be more sparkly?

TLDR; Recycled Diamond Advantages

  • Environmental sustainability: They reduce the need for new diamond mining, thereby minimizing environmental degradation, habitat destruction, and resource depletion.
  • Ethical considerations: By choosing recycled diamonds, consumers  avoid contributing to the potential human rights abuses associated with some diamond mining operations.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Recycled diamonds often come at a lower price point compared to new diamonds of similar quality, providing excellent value.
  • Quality and beauty: Recycled diamonds are reconditioned to meet high standards, ensuring they are just as beautiful and brilliant as new diamonds.
In a shaft of light, a variety of diamond and moissanite stones sparkle
TLDR; Purchasing a recycled diamond can save you both money and resources while maintaining the same stunning quality and beauty of non-recycled diamonds.

Shopping for Recycled Diamonds

If you’re ready to dive in to explore recycled diamonds on your own, you can shop our collection and design your own ring from our signature engagement rings styles. Our twice-loved diamonds are 5-20% more affordable than retail, because we believe that every diamond has a love story. They’re just waiting to find their perfect match! I
Or check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York or San Francisco studio to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person.

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