The Nitty Gritty: This is a HUGE deal. Diamond Certification is what sets your diamonds price and tells you what you are buying. Do not buy a diamond without a certificate. Only buy a diamond that is certified by GIA or AGS. Do not accept any other certificate. These are the two most prestigious Labs with a policy of strict grading that doesn’t waiver. Grading a diamond incorrectly is not illegal. Its subjective to the grader. Lower quality labs bend the rules in favor of the seller.
Example: a large retailer buys a lot of diamonds that are I1 clarity and J color. They send it to a “loose” lab to get certified and they get back SI1-SI2 clarity and I-H color. That can mean a significant price increase for you the buyer and a larger profit margin for the seller. Some company’s give each ring beautiful insurance paperwork with double the value you paid. BEWARE you are OVER PAYING. This paperwork means nothing in the real world and exists to create an illusion of a deal. Yes you can insure your purchase but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting paid that amount if ring is lost.
Recommended Diamond Certification
GIA – Gemological Institute of America
Considered the standard in accurate grading, GIA Diamond Certification is what you should seek for a confident purchase. “Established in 1931, GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. A public benefit, nonprofit institute, GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry.
In the 1940s, GIA established the “4Cs” and the International Diamond Grading System™ – to this day, the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality.”
PROS: The originator of the 4C,s, they wrote the book on accuracy. The most trusted certification company worldwide
CONS: The only negative aspect of a GIA CERTIFICATE is fancy cut diamonds (anything other than round) doesn’t have a cut grade. You heard that right, most online companies that have a cut grade for there fancy shaped diamond is not on the certificate, it’s an option based on proportions.
That’s why it’s critical you buy from sites like James Allen or BlueNile where they have images and video of their diamonds. A picture is worth a thousand words they say. Especially true for diamonds!
They have full page Certificates and and also smaller ones.
AGS – American Gem Society
“ Founded in 1996 by the American Gem Society (AGS), and are a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. This mission ensures you will receive an unbiased opinion on the quality of your diamond.
Fast forward to 2004, the AGS Laboratories developed its revolutionary Light Performance Grading System, that changed the way diamonds are cut.
Today, because of this research from AGS Laboratories, you now have more beautiful diamonds to choose from because diamond cutters now have an even greater understanding of how to unleash a diamond’s beauty.
AGS came out with their own way of measuring light performance. Which leads me to there biggest PRO.
PROS: They focus on Cut performance. Every stone gets a rating not just rounds. That is AGS’s biggest pro. You can get a cut grade for a fancy cut: Princess, Emerald, Asher, etc. They are strict like GIA so that comes standard with there clarity and color ratings.
CONS: Its not as common to find an AGS certificate and it tends to be more expensive.
They have full page reports and smaller versions.
THE TAKE AWAY:
If your Diamond Certification is not GIA or AGS certified I would not buy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even Though GIA doesn’t grade Fancy Shaped Diamonds(anything shape other than round) there are still ways to evaluate proportions. Feel free to email me Here and I can help evaluate a diamond or help you search for one.