A diamond certification is also known as a diamond grade report. The report, or certification, is like a fingerprint for a particular diamond. The diamond certification is the written documentation of a diamond’s various attributes and dimensions. With it, you know the exact grading for each of a diamond’s Four Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat.
Many diamonds may look the same to the untrained eye. A diamond certificate is an independent verification of the cut, color, clarity and carat of the diamond. The diamond’s flaws (or inclusions) are also noted and, depending on the laboratory grading the diamond, can be plotted on a diagram of the diamond.
With a diamond certificate, you don’t have to worry about a diamond retailer or jeweler telling you anything less than the truth, because the certificate comes from an independent gemological laboratory – not the retailer or jeweler. You may be required to pay for the certificate, but the cost is usually low compared to the cost of the diamond, and in most cases, it will keep you from overpaying for a lower quality diamond altogether or it can help you get the best price on the diamond.
When you buy a diamond, be sure to question the jeweler first about the characteristics or attributes of the particular diamond. Then ask to see the diamond certification that will come with diamond when you buy it. If the particular diamond you are interested in buying does not already have a certificate with it, get one to confirm the diamond’s characteristics or attributes. Don’t buy an expensive diamond without paying the extra cost of the certificate.
If a dealer tries to convince you to make the purchase without the certificate, you should be concerned that perhaps the jeweler may have exaggerated the quality of the diamond and inflated the price.
There are a few different gemological laboratories grading diamonds. Some of the better known labs are: GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gemological Society), PGS (Professional Gem Sciences), EGL (European Gemological Institute) and the IGI (International Gemological Institute).
The two most respected are GIA and AGS. They are known in the industry for having the authenticity and reliability of their grade report. The still relatively small PGS is also a respected name in the diamond industry. Some in the industry feels that EGL and IGI tend to over-grade the diamonds that are sent to them for certification, as well as having less critical grading standards and training criteria for their gemologists. Given a choice of GIA and AGS or EGL and IGI, go with GIA or AGS or even PGS. You cannot go wrong if you look for these names on the grading report before you buy.
A copy of the diamond certificate should be given to your insurance company when you insure the diamond or ring (the diamond and its setting). Keep in mind that a diamond certificate documents a diamond’s quality and does not state the value of the diamond. For an impartial evaluation or estimate of the diamond’s value, you will need to have the diamond or diamond ring appraised by a professional appraiser.
An appraisal is a document used to value the diamond for insurance policies and replacement of the diamond. The appraisal is isuued by an independent appraiser that states the approximate retail value of the diamond based on its cut, color, clarity and carat and the current diamond market prices. If the appraisal is for a set or mounted diamond, the weight of the precious metal, the labor, and the craftsmanship is also included in the appraisal. The more information on the appraisal, the better the chance you will receive an equal replacement value from your insurance company in the event the ring is stolen, lost or damaged in the future. The certificate leaves the insurance company less room to argue the quality and ultimately the replacement value of the diamond or ring.
A diamond certificate will also be useful when you later decide to sell the diamond because the potential buyer, like you when you were shopping for a diamond, will likely ask to see the certificate. If you do not have one, you will have a hard time selling the diamond to someone else.
With a diamond certificate, you don’t have to rely sorely on the honesty of the jeweler when buying a diamond. You may pay a little more money for the certification, but the cost is well worth the peace of mind you get from knowing that you didn’t overpay for a lower quality diamond.