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Green Diamonds

Updated on January 28, 2014

Diamond Sources

Re-cutting existing diamonds is a growing practice. Modern technology in the cutting industry is able to take an existing diamond and produce end jewels with better clarity and brilliance. Sources of existing diamonds include:

  • Estates that sell off jewelry.
  • Divorcees who part with engagement rings.
  • Damaged stones.
  • Law enforcement seizure sales.
  • Owners who part with diamonds whose cuts are dated.

New Diamonds

The process of diamond creation hasn’t changed as it literally takes our earth millions of years to produce one. Still, the process from mining to retail has changed quite a bit. In fact parts of this process have become flat out controversial. From the dangerous mining conditions to supposed corruption of third world governments, the reputation of a diamond has become a bit tainted despite its brilliant appearance. This is only one part of the story—there is a brighter side to the industry.

Consumers misunderstand diamonds by believing that the stones available through retail outlets around the world are new. They are not new. They are millions of years old and have only recently been cut and polished. The service of cutting a diamond is “recent” but the stone is not new.

Retailers and wholesalers understand the industry but they are stuck in a mindset that stones have to be bought through supply channels that originate at the mine. Why are they wrong? They are wrong because the optimal surce of diamonds in the world is not the mines in foreign countries. The ultimate supply of diamonds are yesterday’s stones that sit the drawers and jewelry boxes of consumers across the world.

Diamond Cutting

The diamond cutting process.
The diamond cutting process. | Source

Dust Diamonds

The word “blood diamond” has become quite famous after the release of a movie of the same name. I’m going to introduce a new word—the dust diamond.

Consumers have bought diamonds for centuries. They have been passed down through generations, lost, stolen, and many even damaged. There are literally tens of millions of diamonds in the possession of human beings today.

In many cases the diamonds in circulation today are not worn, rather, they pass their days collecting dust in jewelry boxes and drawers around the world. Though diamonds can sustain damage, the only real flaw of pre-owned diamonds are their cut.

Rough Diamonds

Rough stones are cut to become the brilliant jewels we know as diamonds.
Rough stones are cut to become the brilliant jewels we know as diamonds. | Source

The Cut

Diamond cutting has improved drastically in recent years. Why? The answer is plain and simple—technology.

Today’s diamond cutters have a level of equipment that is far superior to what was available in the past. This has enabled the creation of diamonds that are far more attractive and brilliant than the diamond of the past. This technology is continuing to improve. Diamonds do not have to be in rough form to be cut, however. Any diamond can be cut including those mined and cut 75 years ago. In fact, the process of re-cuting an older diamond renders a finished product that is far superior to what was created in its initial cutting.

Recycling Stones

After consuming a beverage from a plastic bottle, consumers face the choice of recycling the bottle or donating it to a landfill. Morality is the only real driver of the decision. Diamonds, on the other hand, are never considered a candidate for the landfill. Why? They are worth something. Still, every day millions of people make jewelry choices and they leave certain jewelry unworn for long periods of time because it no longer appeals to their sense of style. In fact, they’ll consider buying new pieces versus considering recycling the old. But what does it mean to actually recycle a stone.

In simple form, an existing diamond can be remounted on new jewelry. However, its cut or its quality might not right for the new application. This is where the concept of re-cuting stones becomes important. Instead of buying a new stone, an existing stone can be recycled by re-cutting it.

“We recut diamonds on a daily basis. Today’s technology and techniques can render a stone with higher value and more stylistic appeal,” says cutting specialist Ashley van Creveld.

High tech diamond cutting equipment.
High tech diamond cutting equipment. | Source

Why Isn't There A Movement?

The movie blood diamonds revealed the ugly side of the diamond industry. But people haven’t committed to improving the situation like they have with that of trash or even conservation of energy. Why not? Would a bride actually accept an engagement ring without a diamond in the name of improving the industry? Of course not. Would a bride support a diamond that was recut from a 20 year old stone who’s clarity and style rivaled anything available at a local jewelry shop? Of course as the source diamond it is being cut from is no different than the original rough stone that had sat in the earth over a million years.

The reason why the recycling of diamonds is not as popular of a movement as recycling paper is that it takes very rare skill to cut diamonds and there are not many people on this earth that can do it.

What You Can Do

When it comes to a purchase that could range from $500 to $50,000, the morality factor is probably the last consideration. After all, money is money. However, if you could buy a larger diamond with better cuts and clarity for less, you’d choose it.

The rough diamond market itself has been commoditized by technology. 30 years ago, ¾ of a diamond buyers skill was being better at knowing the worth of a rough diamond than the mines themselves. Today the technology is equal on behalf of both the miners and the buyers driving the price of rough stones while diminishing the margins. Thus, if you are looking to buy a better stone more economically, recutting is an avenue every consumer should consider.

“We buy diamonds from the general public on a daily basis. Many are divorcees finally parting with engagement rings or estates that sell off both individual stones and collections,” says diamond buyer Barry Adler.

If you want an incredible stone for your next diamond, consider re-cutting an existing diamond. You’ll get more stone for your money and a much higher quality cut in the stone.


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