4 Tips for Finding a Great Pre-Owned Diamond

By Mills Mesner

April 27, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

There is a common misconception surrounding pre-owned diamonds.

Some people think of them like used cars, as if use and age greatly affect their value. But a diamond doesn’t have an odometer, and although there can be a price difference between new and pre-owned diamonds, the quality and value of a diamond do not diminish over time.


Let me put it this way: A diamond isn’t going to break down after 200,000 miles, so you don’t have to worry about the fact that it was previously owned.

Diamonds Are Forever

In a way, there’s no such thing as a pre-owned diamond. Diamonds are billions of years old, and no one in the world can tell whether a diamond has been freshly mined or whether it has changed hands over the course of decades.

Yes, there are extreme situations in which a diamond can be chipped or otherwise damaged, but for all practical purposes, the appearance, quality, and classification of a diamond don’t change.

Why They Get a Bad Rap

Although some people are drawn to so-called “estate” diamonds because of their history, many more people are turned off by the idea of wearing a diamond that has belonged to someone else.

Some people simply think that anything that’s been previously owned must be less valuable. Many others feel like a “used” diamond must have come from a failed relationship, so they are worried about having bad luck in their own marriage.

But for those who can get past superstitions, purchasing a previously owned diamond offers one great advantage: It can be as much as 30 percent less expensive.

The cost difference isn’t attributable to a loss of value. Rather, with a new diamond, you have to pay for the cost of bringing it to market, which includes mining, sorting, cutting, polishing, and manufacturing. With an older diamond, those costs have already been covered.

How to Shop Smart

If you’re interested in purchasing a pre-owned diamond, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you’re getting a high-quality diamond at the best price.

1. Ask about wholesale. Sellers often obtain diamonds at a reduced wholesale price and will sometimes pass along those savings to the buyer.

2. Insist on Gemological Institute of America certification. GIA is a nonprofit organization that protects buyers and sellers by applying a series of standards to ensure gemstone quality. Using this internationally accepted system for classifying a diamond proves that the color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are accurate and that you’re actually getting the diamond you think you are. Never purchase from a jeweler who is unable or unwilling to show you the certificate.

3. Shop around. See what other diamonds with similar GIA-certified characteristics are selling for to ensure you’re getting the best price.

4. Check the web. Ask the seller to show you what comparable diamonds are going for on BlueNile.com to ensure you’re actually getting a wholesale price. Blue Nile is the largest direct-to-public wholesale diamond dealer.

Don’t be afraid to buy a pre-owned diamond. Unlike a used car, a used diamond won’t break on you after two months of ownership. It’s a diamond. It’s as tough as anything found on Earth, and it’s going to stay that way. Plus, by choosing a pre-owned diamond, you can get a great piece without breaking the bank.

Mills Mesner

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