Are old diamonds worth more than new or lab-grown diamonds?
When it comes to buying a diamond, you’re often faced with three choices: old diamonds, new (mined) diamonds, or lab-grown diamonds. Each option has its unique characteristics – which we explore in this article. Let’s look at the various aspects of the three kinds of diamonds on offer, such as their rarity, quality, and ethical concerns.
Old Diamonds: Old diamonds, also known as vintage or antique diamonds, are mined from natural sources and have been in circulation for decades, if not centuries. You may not fully know the origin of an old diamond, but it’s possible your diamond may have come from a mine that is no longer in function or was exhausted years ago. Therefore, these diamonds may have unique characteristics that are no longer found in today’s diamonds due to changes in mining locations and techniques. Your diamond will certainly have an interesting story to tell.
New diamonds: Diamonds are a finite source, so they are still rare. However, ‘new’ natural mined diamonds will typically be mined from extraction sites that are still operating, perhaps – in the current climate – making them less ‘rare’ than older diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds: Lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled environments using advanced technology. While technically lab-grown diamonds could be an infinite supply, currently, not many laboratories have the necessary tech to craft high quality lab-grown diamonds. They therefore currently have a ‘rare’ quality about them.
Old diamonds: Old diamonds may exhibit unique characteristics like vintage cuts (e.g., Old European Cut or Old Mine Cut) and charming imperfections that some find appealing. However, their quality can vary widely depending on factors like wear and tear over time, and the care they’ve received. If you’re looking for a sparkling, ‘as new’ diamonds, it’s unlikely you’ll find what you’re wanting with an old or vintage diamond.
New diamonds: New diamonds are cut using modern techniques, resulting in precise shapes and brilliant cuts. They are often certified for their quality and can come with detailed grading reports, making it easier to assess their worth based on factors like the 4Cs (Carat, Cut, Colour, Clarity). Mostly, new diamonds should be cut well, and depending on the 4C’s you opt for, of a high quality. Certifications will confirm this for you.
Lab-grown diamonds: Lab-grown diamonds are often of very high quality, with fewer impurities and excellent clarity. Their worth is determined by the same criteria used for new diamonds, including the 4Cs.
Old diamonds: Old diamonds unfortunately have a history that may be associated with unethical practices like conflict diamonds, which were mined in war zones and used to fund armed conflicts. And if a piece is vintage, you may not know the full history of your diamond at all.
New diamonds: The diamond industry has made strides in promoting responsible sourcing and ethical mining practices. Many new diamonds are now accompanied by certification indicating ethical origins. If you have concerns, speak to your jeweller who should be able to trace the origin of your new diamond, and show you that it is ‘conflict free’.
Lab-grown diamonds: Lab-grown diamonds are considered ethically superior by because they are created without the environmental and ethical concerns associated with mining. They are often seen as a more sustainable and ethical choice, with a fully transparent, traceable origin.
So which is worth the most?
The worth of old diamonds compared to new or lab-grown diamonds depends on various factors, including rarity, quality, and ethical considerations. Old diamonds can be exceptionally rare and unique, making them valuable to collectors and enthusiasts. However, new diamonds offer modern precision and are easily assessed for quality, and lab-grown diamonds are considered the most ethical and environmentally friendly choice, making them worth more to some.
As you can see, the ‘worth’ of a diamond is entirely objective, and it really is all about finding the piece that speaks to you personally.
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