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Is It Illegal To Have Uncut Diamonds?

Is It Illegal To Have Uncut Diamonds?

Diamonds have been a popular part of jewelry for the longest time. There isn’t any other stone out there that fits an engagement ring the way a diamond does!

You may have scoured the internet or heard somewhere that you could buy uncut diamonds and save up a significant amount. However, is it illegal to have uncut diamonds?

Continue reading to find out more about holding uncut diamonds – laws and all!

What Are Uncut Diamonds?

In essence, uncut diamonds are precious stones in their natural state. You see, diamonds aren’t polished and extremely shiny when they’re first found.

In fact, many diamond rocks you find in their natural state are pretty dull and not at all attractive. 

Also known as rough or raw diamonds, the phrase “uncut diamond” is used for semi-polished, unpolished, cut-into-pieces diamonds – and even diamond dust.

There are certain beliefs that uncut diamonds are cheaper to buy than cut and polished ones, making them a rather tempting purchase. However, there are specific legal issues regarding uncut diamonds – and we’re about to get into the details of it. 

So, keep scrolling!

Learn More: Can You Sell Uncut Diamonds?

Is It Illegal To Have Uncut Diamonds? 

Technically speaking, no; it is not illegal to have uncut diamonds – but only under certain conditions. 

The truth is, there is a way to do everything by the books and in a completely legal way.

If you decide to buy uncut diamonds, you must buy them from a licensed seller that will provide you with certificates about the origin and the state of the precious stone. 

If you opt for buying uncut diamonds online, we advise you to check out the company’s legal disclaimers and their reviews and ratings beforehand.

So, in general, having an uncut diamond is not illegal if you have certificates providing more information about the stone.

It should go without saying, but always buy uncut diamonds from a reputable dealer, whether online or in-store. Make sure that you have a receipt, as well as all the certificates the diamond should have. 

Don’t use sketchy services or unknown websites to buy raw diamonds – even if they offer you a better price. After all, nobody wants to save a few bucks only to pay a fortune in legal fees to the lawyer.

Related Read: Can You Travel With Uncut Diamonds?

What About Uncut Diamonds Found On Private Property?

Well, the situation is a little different if you do happen to find a diamond in your backyard, for example. The chances are that you won’t have the mining claims, even if you found the precious stone on your private property.

It genuinely depends on the state and county laws in your area. So, if that happens, we advise you to call the police and get the correct information. 

If you happen to find it on public property, the situation is different since it’s more likely that the state will let you keep the object. As for finding diamonds on private property, it depends on the state; every country will have different laws on this particular matter.

Learn More: What Happens If You Find Diamonds On Your Property?

How To Determine The Worth Of An Uncut Diamond?

When it comes to uncut diamonds and cut diamonds, the same rules apply for determining the worth and the price. The sparkly precious stones you can see on jewelry – usually engagement rings – are cut diamonds.

For cut diamonds, the worth is determined with four factors, commonly known as 4Cs. The 4Cs are cut, color, carat, and clarity.

The cut factor is the one that determines the worth of the diamond the most. Keep in mind that the cut doesn’t only refer to the shape of the gem. It also refers to a diamond’s symmetry, polish, and proportion of stone. 

What’s more, all those things affect how shiny the diamond is under light: The best-cut diamonds reflect more light, making them shinier. 

So, again, the cut of the diamond isn’t only the shape of it – like a cushion, princess, or a round stone shape.

To make a perfect cut for the diamond, the jeweler needs to have the right technology and lots of experience cutting diamonds. All that affects the price a lot, so the best cuts cost significantly more than simpler, less shiny ones.

However, the cut isn’t the only thing that affects the cost. The natural state of the gem affects its value, as well. And by “natural state,” we mean the size of the gem, the color, and the clarity.

It’s common knowledge that rough or uncut diamonds don’t have any shine to them. 

That is precisely why the cut cannot be used to determine the value. So, these other factors are used to assess the diamond’s worth instead. 

Size (Carat)

Obviously, the higher the weight, the more the diamond will cost – if all other qualities are the same, that is.

For example, if the smaller rough diamond is very clear, it could cost a lot more than a larger, heavier diamond with a yellow tint and inclusions, and other flaws.

Read Also: Can You Make A Diamond Into Smaller Diamonds?


When it comes to clarity, it’s referred to the number of inclusions in the diamond. The inclusions are flaws inside the diamond.

So, if a diamond has few inclusions, it gets a better clarity rating. That, in turn, affects the price, meaning that a heavily included diamond is likely worth a lot less than a diamond without flaws.


Most colorless diamonds have a subtle tint of yellow or brown to them. More of that colored tint means that the diamond will appear less sparkly after cutting.

If the diamond has less of that tint, it will appear shinier and more attractive. And that could also make the jewel more expensive.

Shape Of The Raw Diamond

Another thing that could affect the worth of your uncut diamond is its shape. That is particularly important if you do want to cut the diamond into a particular form.

Some rough diamonds have a weird shape, and because of that, the jeweler might have to cut off a lot to make a polished stone. A rough diamond like that is worth less than a smaller gem with a more symmetrical shape.

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Advantages Of Having Uncut Diamonds

The thing that comes to mind first here is the price since uncut diamonds are way more affordable than the polished variety. More often than not, this is what makes the rough diamonds an attractive buy. 

The price for a one-carat rough diamond is over a few hundred dollars cheaper than a one-carat diamond of the polished variety. Also, these raw diamonds are usually conflict-free, which is just another advantage. 

Conflict-free diamonds are gems that have not been used to fund civil wars in Africa or were not mined in a war zone like the so-called “blood diamonds” are. 

To make sure that this is the case, the diamonds come with a Kimberley Process Certificate.

The certificate ensures that the rough diamonds are safe to be imported or exported to and from the USA. But there’s a catch: If the diamond has been cut and made sparkly, it cannot be reviewed by the Kimberley Process

The thing that makes the raw diamonds so attractive is their artsy appearance – because each gem has its unique shape. Jewelry made with raw diamonds will stand out all the time because it’s not something you see every day. 

And many people like how diamonds look in their natural state!

Related Read: What Is A Blood Diamond?

Disadvantages Of Having Rough Diamonds

The first and the biggest flaw of a rough diamond is seen with your bare eye. Of course, it’s the fact that the raw diamonds don’t have a shine to them – and they don’t reflect more than quartz does. 

Related Read: Diamond Vs. Quartz: ​Comparison Guide

Another thing most people don’t realize is that the raw diamonds are much darker in color than they are post-polishing. Usually, they are heavily included and perhaps even oddly-shaped. 

Here’s the thing: After mining the diamonds, the best pieces are immediately sent to be cut and polished to be placed into jewelry. The gems with a lower quality rating are left uncut; it could be challenging to find one you genuinely like.

What’s more, it’s not that easy to pick the right rough diamond – experts need to do that. 

One expert needs to make sure that the rough diamond is suitable for cutting, and another one to do the cut and polish – which can cost you a lot, meaning you didn’t save up much by buying a raw diamond.

So, if you are looking for a stone that will look like a polished diamond but comes with an affordable price tag, you should consider white topaz or the popular moissanite, and lastly, cubic zirconia. 

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Can You Hire A Jeweler To Cut Your Rough Diamonds?

Some people believe that if they purchase some raw diamonds, they can save up a significant amount by going to the jeweler to get them cut and polished. However, if you are looking to do that, you may want to reconsider because it can still cost a lot of money!

To make it even more complicated, the stone you want to polish has to meet specific standards, or the jeweler might refuse to cut and polish it.

So, the first thing the jeweler will look at is the gem grade. 

If your raw diamond is gem grade, that means that the stone can be cut into a decent piece for jewelry. Gem grade means that the diamond is not fractured on the inside and isn’t heavily included. 

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the rough diamond has to be rather large if you want to make it into something engagement-ring-worthy. Once the diamond is cut and polished, it will be around half its original size.

For example, a 3-carat rough diamond will turn into a 1.5 carat cut diamond once the jeweler is done. Keep that in mind if you decided on a rough diamond because of the price.

Moreover, you will need to find true experts on this particular matter. You’ll need to take some time researching and finding an expert to help you pick out a raw diamond that has the potential to be cut and polished – but you will need to search for an experienced jeweler, as well.

Keep in mind that finding a diamond cutter will not be easy – especially finding one that is near you. Most jewelers work for large companies, and likely won’t take on smaller jobs like cutting a diamond or two.

Once you do find a diamond cutter willing to do the job, that’s not the worst of it – because the price of cutting can surprise you. 

Professional cut and polish can be costly, and it’s priced per carat.

So, the prices usually go from $125 to $400 per carat. There are still no guarantees because if the rough diamond is of low quality, it won’t survive the cutting, and you will be left without your gem – polished or rough.

See Also: How Do You Avoid Diamond Switching At The Jeweler?

Bottom Line

So, is it illegal to have uncut diamonds? The bottom line is: 

No, it’s not unlawful to have uncut diamonds per se. However, if you found a rough diamond in your backyard, it might be best to contact local police and get all the information about the next steps. 

However, if you opt for buying raw diamonds from a dealer, check whether the diamond has all the certificates it needs. The most important one would be the Kimberley Process Certificate – since this certificate proves that the diamond in question is conflict-free.

Uncut diamonds may seem like a great way to save some money, but the whole deal of getting it cut can take a lot of your time. If you’re looking to save some money, consider buying jewelry online from reputable dealers!

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