Recycling, repurposing, and upcycling have become welcome trends in a world faced with all sorts of environmental woes. But many of us are used to thinking of these concepts in terms of paper, plastic, furniture, and other household items, rather than jewelry and diamonds. Make no mistake, recycling diamonds is not only possible, it’s encouraged!
Below, we’ll explore how the precious stones are recycled, and find out how this differs from repurposing them. We’ll also explore why it’s something to consider doing if you have diamonds that you no longer wear.
Recycled VS Repurposed Diamonds
The distinction between recycled and repurposed diamonds is a fine one. Still, it’s important to understand it, because when used professionally, the term ‘recycled diamonds’ has quite a specific meaning.
Diamond recycling usually happens when people decide to get rid of one or more items of jewelry. After the piece is sold to an agent or jeweler, the stones are removed and then processed for resale. The processing usually includes a professional cleaning, re-cutting, and re-polishing. The result is a pre-owned diamond with a bright new look. And, if the stone weighs more than 0.30 Carats, it even gets AGS and GIA certificates, just as it would have done if it were freshly mined and new on the market.
Repurposing diamonds usually happens when the owner of the stone wants to give it a new lease on life. For example, Madhuri purchased a diamond pendant in the early 2000s that was fashionably fitting for its time. However, times have changed, Madhuri’s style has evolved, and she no longer wears the pendant because she asks herself, “What were you thinking?” whenever she sees it.
As she purchased the diamond with her own hard-earned money, it’s a symbol of her financial independence, and she’s reluctant to part with it. A solution to the dilemma is to have the stone repurposed by taking it to a jeweler and having it reset in a ring, bracelet, or another piece of custom made jewelry that she will be happy to wear. In this case, the stone might not be re-cut, but it may be re-polished or cleaned professionally.
The Case For Recycling Diamonds
As a consequence of centuries of diamond mining, some mines have been exhausted. Others still yield stones, but only at high costs and a great deal of danger and difficulty. Mines can also have a significant impact on communities and the environment, and then there is the question of ethics.
Are the stones mined by miners who earn decent wages and get danger pay, medical insurance, and other benefits? Does the sale of those stones benefit the mine shareholders as well as the nearby community? Does the sale of the stones fund armed conflicts, making them blood diamonds?
When you recycle diamonds that are decades or centuries old, you make it possible for others to purchase stones in a way that supports sustainability and environmental friendliness. No new mining was required to obtain the stones, which means there was less of an impact on the environment or people.
Recycling diamonds is the perfect option for the person who wants to thin out their jewelry collection or who wants to sell their stones because they need the money.
Reputable Jewelers Offer Fair Prices
If you take your diamonds to the neighborhood pawn shop, you are not likely to receive a good price for them. Instead, the shop is likely to offer you as little as it possibly can for your stones or item of jewelry.
A much better option is to take the diamonds to a reputable jeweler or agent, who will offer a fair price so as not to devalue the stones. When the jeweler or agent resells them, they will do so at the same price as newly mined diamonds, as it’s impossible to tell the difference between recycled and new stones.
Ideas For Repurposing Diamonds
If you’re reluctant to part with diamonds in your collection due to sentimental or other reasons, but you never wear them because the setting isn’t practical or to your taste, repurposing them is the way to go. You can get creative and design a new setting for them yourself, or you can ask a jewelry designer to do it for you.
The goal would be to create a piece with a timeless design or one that expresses your individuality. If you use diamonds that you inherited, you could create a new heirloom that you will be proud to pass on to your heir.
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to repurpose a diamond is to have the stone set in a necklace or pendant. You can have the stone incorporated into a larger charm that symbolizes a quality you admire or your religious beliefs, or you can make the stone the star of your jewelry collection. Highlight its beauty by keeping the bezel to a minimum, and don’t feel you need to stick to traditional yellow gold. Rose gold can make a beautiful setting, although white gold and platinum really allow the stone to pop visually.
If you would prefer to keep the diamond where you can see it, consider repurposing it by having it set into a ring. You can set a large single diamond into a fashion ring that adds undeniable bling to your wardrobe. Alternatively, if the stone is small, you can purchase diamonds or other recycled precious stones to supplement it.
Brooches fell from grace a few years ago, but there’s no denying they are back in fashion now. Repurpose your diamonds by incorporating them into a striking brooch design that will complement your taste and add an extra sparkle to any outfit.
Should You Recycle Diamonds?
If you’re still wondering whether recycling diamonds is a good idea, the answer is, “Yes, absolutely!” Unless you have the stones locked up in a safe as an investment for the future, there’s no reason to hang on to diamonds you never wear, especially if you don’t like their setting or have other jewelry you prefer.
Recycling your old stones puts less pressure on the planet, has less of an impact (or zero impact) on vulnerable communities, and allows prospective diamond buyers to make an ethical choice.