Chances are your diamond purchase, whether for an engagement ring or different piece of jewelry will be a significant investment, and when it comes to diamonds, price is directly related to quality, so you’ll want to ensure you get exactly what you pay for. A diamond certification assures you that the diamond you purchase is all the seller claims it is and can also help guide your research to make sure you’re getting a fair price. Not all certificates are performed by an independent lab, so we’ll guide you through the process so you know exactly what to look for.
What is Diamond Certification?
A diamond certification, also known as a diamond grading report or diamond certificate, is a document that provides a detailed assessment of a diamond’s characteristics and quality. It’s typically issued by an independent gemological laboratory after a thorough evaluation of the diamond’s physical attributes. This certification serves as a reliable and standardized way to communicate a diamond’s unique features to potential buyers, helping them make informed purchasing decisions. Each report has its own number which is kept on file at the gem lab and many certified diamonds include a microscopic laser inscription of their certification number on the outer edge of the diamond.
In the 1940’s the Gem Institute of America (GIA) established the 4C’s of diamond buying and the International Diamond Grading System™. Today, the GIA’s grading system is still the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality. It’s important to note that diamond certifications are issued by reputable and independent gemological laboratories, such as the GIA and the International Gemological Institute (IGI). These diamond grading laboratories are fully independent, international organizations dedicated to upholding stringent diamond grading criteria to ensure diamonds are graded accurately and fairly according to world standards.
There are the four main factors that determine a diamond’s quality and value: cut, color, clarity and carat weight, known as the 4 C’s. When you receive a certification for your diamond, the paperwork should include the following:
- Carat Weight: The weight of the diamond, measured in carats.
- Color: The presence of any color tint in the diamond, graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).
- Clarity: The extent of internal and external imperfections, known as inclusions and blemishes, respectively.
- Cut: The proportions, symmetry, and polish of the diamond, which influence its brilliance and overall appearance.
The certification will also include other information such as the diamond’s shape (round, princess, emerald, etc.), measurements of the stone, table and depth percentage, fluorescence (the diamond’s reaction to ultraviolet light), the diamond’s grade, and any potential enhancements or treatments the diamond has undergone.
Benefits of a Diamond Certification
Having a diamond certificate is the best way to prove your unique gemstone’s identity. It’s essential to note that not all diamond certificates are created equal, and the credibility of the gemological laboratory that issued the certificate matters. Before making a significant purchase, always ask for a diamond certificate from a recognized and reputable laboratory to ensure you’re getting a quality diamond with accurate grading information. Here are some reasons why a diamond certificate is important:
- Quality Assurance: A diamond certificate provides an objective and accurate evaluation of the diamond’s 4Cs, characteristics that significantly impact the diamond’s value and overall appearance.
- Comparison: With a diamond certificate, you can compare different diamonds and understand which one offers the best value for your budget.
- Confidence: Having a certified diamond gives you peace of mind in the authenticity and quality of the stone you are buying.
- Resale Value: If you ever decide to resell or upgrade your diamond, having a certificate will make it easier to determine its value and authenticity.
- Insurance: A diamond certificate is often required by insurance companies to insure your diamond properly, and serves as documentation of the diamond’s quality and value.
- Protection Against Fraud: A certificate helps protect you from purchasing fake or misrepresented diamonds, and ensures that you’re getting what you paid for.
It’s important to know that there’s a difference between a diamond certificate and a valuation or appraisal certificate. A diamond certificate describes the characteristics of a unique diamond and serves as proof of the diamond’s identity; a valuation or appraisal certificate gives the monetary replacement value of the diamond or jewelry item for insurance purposes. An appraisal document solely relies on the estimated value of the diamond, which is influenced by supply and demand. Since the appraisal can fluctuate, it’s important to have your diamond reappraised every two years.
A diamond engagement ring is designed to last a lifetime, but you need to take steps to protect your investment. We recommend purchasing a diamond that has undergone GIA certification. Unlike the GIA, both the GSA and ESL for example don’t have standard grading practices, making it difficult to assess the real value of the stone. If possible, buy a GIA certified diamond with a laser inscription. The inscription process doesn’t harm the diamond and protects it should the ring ever be lost or stolen. In addition, we recommend insuring your diamond engagement ring and other fine jewelry.