Recycled Diamonds


When sourcing a diamond for a customer, Bario-Neal offers the following options: Recycled Diamonds, Kimberly Process Diamonds, Canadian Diamonds, and Namibian Kalahari Diamonds. To help you choose which is the best diamond for you, this post will review Recycled Diamonds and their benefits and drawbacks.

Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones since their use in religious amulets in India dating as far back as 6,000 years ago. Approximately 4.5 billion carats of diamonds have been extracted from the ground since large-scale mining efforts began in South Africa in the 1870’s. This means many millions of diamonds are part of the world’s existing, above ground supply of diamonds. In order to reduce the industry’s reliance on environmentally damaging mining practices, these diamonds can be recycled and reintroduced back into the jewelry supply chain.

There are two types of recycled diamonds that Bario-Neal uses:

Contemporary Recycled Diamonds are diamonds that have been re-sold to a jeweler, refinery, or other agent. These diamonds are then cleaned, graded, and reintroduced to the supply chain as a Recycled Diamond. All of Bario-Neal’s Contemporary Recycled Diamonds are GIA certified.

The other type of recycled diamonds that Bario-Neal can source is Antique Diamonds. Antique diamonds are typically not as clear in color as contemporary diamonds, and because they are hand-cut, they tend to be deeper and chunkier than modern cuts. As a result, they are less brilliant and much softer looking than contemporary diamonds. Antique Diamonds can usually be categorized as either Old Mine Cut or Old European Cut diamonds.

Most diamonds cut before the late 1800s are considered to be Old Mine Cut Diamonds. These diamonds are mostly square or rectangular in shape, with a heavy crown, a large open culet, a deep bottom, and a very small table. The facets have a more handmade look and are therefore less uniform.


Old Mine Cut Diamond


Old European Cut Diamonds were introduced in the 1900s with the advent of motorized machinery.  They have a rounder look than Old Mine Cuts and have more facets on the pavilion. Like the Old Mine Cut Diamonds, they have a very small table and an open culet.  Old European Cut Diamonds are popular in Art Deco jewelry.


Old European Cut Diamond


All of Bario-Neal’s antique diamonds are graded and appraised by a local appraiser. They can be GIA certified for an additional cost.


How Bario-Neal Uses Recycled Diamonds

Bario-Neal will work with you to find a Recycled Diamond that best meets your carat, cut, clarity, and color needs. We are not always able to meet a customer’s exact specifications, as the market for Contemporary Recycled Diamonds is limited. Additionally, Antique Diamonds are rare, making it difficult to find a high color and clarity Antique Diamond.

Bario-Neal is also happy to work with your heirloom diamonds. This is a great way to use a recycled diamond as well as lower your costs!


The Benefits of Choosing A Recycled Diamond

The diamond mining industry has a dark and complicated history, rife with human rights abuses, environmental destruction, community displacement, and economic exploitation. The benefit of choosing a Recycled Diamond is simple: no new mining needs to occur for you to acquire your stone.

There are other unique advantages to using a Recycled Diamond. Some are attracted to the softer, more romantic cuts of hand-cut Antique Diamonds, and others find romantic the notion that their diamond has had previous lives and owners.


Art Deco Ring with 1.12ct Old European Cut Diamond


The Drawbacks of Recycled Diamonds

The major issue with recycled diamonds is that they aren’t traceable, meaning that there is no way to tell exactly when and where they were mined. Therefore, there is a chance they could have been mined in terrible conditions during the 18th, 19th, or 20th centuries, or fueled a violent conflict, such as in Sierra Leone in the 90’s.

Additionally, while purchasing a recycled diamond allows you to avoid the risk of contributing to a mine with poor environmental practices or human rights violations, it does not confront the industry in a constructive way by supporting economies that do mine responsibly (such as TAWOMA).


There are many things to consider when purchasing a diamond. By choosing a Recycled Diamond, you can side-step many of the social, political, and environmental grievances associated with diamond mining and cutting. To read about diamond options that actively support responsible mining, please read our articles on Canadian Diamonds  and Namibian Kalahari Diamonds.





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