Why Choose a Recycled Diamond - Bario Neal

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Ring made with Recycled Diamonds

Why Choose a Recycled Diamond

Recycled diamonds are the go-to for many clients working with the Bario Neal team to make ethical jewelry. “Reclaimed,” “new to you,” “antique” — whatever the label, they shimmer as only diamonds can. Our recycled diamonds and antique diamonds (recycled diamonds with an antique cut) are just like a diamond mined this week: a durable, lasting precious gemstone of high value. 

Recycled Diamonds Gemstory

Origin: Our recycled diamonds are repurposed from old stock or other jewelry, which diminishes human and environmental impact. We work with U.S.-based distributors that specialize in recycled diamonds to get them.

Color: Color is best known by letter grades for diamonds, from D to Z, with a D being the most colorless diamond and the end of the alphabet having the most color. Grade I is Bario Neal’s standard, but with all diamonds, including recycled diamonds, we can get a stone that matches a client’s style and budget.

Treatment: Some diamonds have been heat-treated to enhance color or drilled to remove flaws and increase clarity; this is more common with recycled diamonds. Testing can reveal if a recycled diamond has been treated.   

Mohs hardness scale: 10 (Diamonds are the hardest gemstone.)

Sizes: Bario Neal is able to get recycled diamonds in the smallest of sizes to the largest.

Design notes: The neutral brilliance of a recycled diamond, whether in an engagement ring, necklace, or ring for any special occasion or person, means the gemstone can stand alone in a solitaire design or shine in a cluster.

How Recycling Diamonds Works

Millions of diamonds have already been extracted from the Earth and set into jewelry for centuries. We tap into that ready and ever-growing supply. When people downsize their personal jewelry collections or decide they no longer want to wear certain pieces, they sell them to jewelers or agents who then remove the diamonds for resale. (Sometimes jewelers also recycle diamonds from stock they’ve never set.) Every Bario Neal recycled diamond has been professionally cleaned. Those larger than .35 carats (with the exception of antique cuts) also come with the same Gemological Institute of America certification that accompanies newly mined diamonds. 

No New Diamond Mining

While we can’t tell the conditions under which recycled diamonds were initially mined decades or even centuries ago, recycled diamonds are a sustainable choice because no new mining is required, which means averting environmental and human impacts now. And while lab grown diamonds require great energy expenditure to manufacture, the durability of a natural diamond means that very little energy is required to reuse one. 

Recycling a diamond, however, won’t directly benefit communities that large-scale corporate mines have historically damaged, both environmentally and economically. So when Bario Neal buys new diamonds, we partner with responsible artisanal miners in these same places who today are working to improve the industry’s environmental and human rights records. We also contribute to nonprofit organizations that foster environmentally sensitive gemstone and precious metal extraction and promote practices that result in healthy, locally managed economies.

Cut, Clarity, and Color of Recycled Diamonds 

Our recycled diamond suppliers are always buying more old jewelry and gemstones, so we can almost always find the specific cut, color and clarity our clients want (even if it takes some searching). 

Antique Diamonds 

All of Bario Neal’s antique diamonds are graded and appraised by a diamond expert. They can be GIA certified for an additional cost. Recycled diamonds are a chance to get a stone cut in techniques of years gone by that evokes another era or design style, from Victorian and Edwardian to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. For example, the Old European diamond cut has 58 facets and is considered to be the precursor of today’s brilliant cut. Rose cut diamonds, which date back to the 1500s and look similar to a rose bud, are making a 21st-century comeback. Diamonds were usually cut by hand in the 18th and 19th centuries, so antique cuts are typically less uniform and not as clear in color as contemporary diamonds. They tend to be chunkier than modern cuts. If you want a softer-looking, less brilliant diamond, an antique cut is for you. (Here’s our complete guide to fancy diamond cuts.)

During in-person visits at a Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia or Brooklyn, or by email, phone, or Skype, our team takes the time to explain all diamond choices to clients who come to us for ethical jewelry. We aim to be totally transparent about sourcing, sustainability, and budget. Browse our diamond rings and custom designs on our site, and fill out our Custom Design Questionnaire or make an appointment to find the perfect design with a recycled diamond today.