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!

Diamond Certification

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.

Diamond Certification

They have full page reports and smaller versions.


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.

Recommended Places To Buy

For me to recommend any business, they must meet certain criteria. They must prove valuable to my clients in regards to How to buy a diamond savings and selection | EXPECT 20%-40% LOWER PRICES THAN TRADITIONAL JEWELERS |, time doing business(legitimacy), reputation, and return policy.

James Allen Logo

James Allen  is my favorite vendor.  They revolutionized the ability to get the clearest image of a Diamond with a 360 degree HD image/video and a zoom in up to 40x on all their Diamonds. This without question leaves no doubt on what you are buying.  I argue the ability to see your diamond more clearly than in a physical retail store is a massive plus for you.  They have incredible prices that I will easily  beat retail store pricing.  They have an a amazing 30 day Free no hassle return policy and have been in business for over ten years with countless positive reviews from real customers. The only Con is they are slightly limited in the search filtering ability. Blue Nile  has a deeper way of filtering certain attributes.  Click on this link or Picture to search their inventory.


Blue nile logo

Blue Nile was the original online giant that opened in 1999! They probably have the largest selection. In the past they didn’t have images of their inventory but because of James Allen , they were forced to adapt and they now have a large amount of their inventory with images.  There viewing technology is not as good as James Allen  but its still clear and one can evaluate a Diamond with confidence.  Blue Nile  has an incredible 30 day free return policy as well that is insured.  The only Con is they do not have AGS certified goods on their site.  This isn’t an issue for round diamonds but very helpful with fancy shapes like Princess, Cushion, Oval etc… Click on this link or the Blue Nile Logo to see their inventory.


buying a diamond over 1 carat

Brian Gavin opened in 2009. He is a 5th generation Master Diamond Cutter. He is an authority when it comes to crafting Hearts & Arrows Diamonds and is well respected in the industry.  The company sells reasonably priced diamonds.   An excellent brilliant Cut grade is the focus of Brain Gavin and its his biggest PRO.  Many stones are AGS Certified with excellent cuts and this is helpful with fancy cut diamonds(Princess, Cushion,Emerald, etc).  A negative  is a 15 day return policy. Most will prefer more time however its still a respectable amount of time.  A client should know quickly  if  pleased with a purchase. There are also some exceptions to certain custom work. Feel free to dig deeper in the about section of his site as it may not apply to your purchase.  Click of the Brian Gavin Logo or this link to see their site.

Feel free to reach out and send me a message. Do you want buying advice on How to buy a diamond or have you found a stone you wish for me to evaluate. Feel free to drop me a line and say hello. Advice is free.