One may think that buying a diamond is easy. They just need to hop into a well-known store and choose the diamond of their choice. In reality, diamond buying is a daunting task, especially for the first time buyers. There is a number of technical information which should be well understood by you in order to ensure that you are not only buying the right kind of diamond but also that your hard earned money has been well utilized.

There are some well-accepted rules which all diamond buyers should comply with. One such rule is to buy certified diamond that has been issued by a reputable lab. Widely recognized as the world’s most trusted diamond grading industry, the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) certified diamonds have always been the standard and most accepted diamond certificate. Though GIA is considered the leading gemological laboratory, it is not necessary that you have to buy GIA certified diamonds only. There are other equally reputable gemological labs in the world the like of which includes AGS, IGI, EGL, GSI and EGLI. As a consumer, it is essential for you to understand what differentiates one from the other or what makes one superior to the other.

What is a diamond certificate?

First of all, it is necessary to understand what a diamond certificate is and on what basis such a certificate is made. A diamond certificate is an unbiased and professional evaluation of the various attributes in a diamond. A diamond certificate is inclusive of such precise details as carat, clarity, color and cut. In addition to this a diamond certificate also contains details on the diamond’s polish, fluorescence, symmetry, measurements and graphical presentation of the diamond with the position of the diamond’s inclusions in it. Hence, certificates determine and stand testimony to the value of a diamond.

As mentioned, there is a plethora of diamond grading labs around the world, yet not all laboratories issue a diamond certificate based on the same grading process and nomenclature. Some labs are looser in color while some in clarity. Hence, a diamond report from one lab may not share the same result with a diamond report from another lab for the same diamond. 

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Understanding the workings of the different Gemological Institutes

It is no doubt necessary to check a diamond certificate before you venture out to purchase a diamond. This will help you make a more informed decision. Let us first understand what makes the GIA certificates the most respected, trusted and followed diamond certificate in the world.

It is the Gemological Institute of America, (GIA) who unveiled the diamond evaluation criteria and nomenclature which are today followed by the other gemological labs too. At present their opinion is counted as the most authentic and most respected.

However, “Are you really going to walk around with the diamond certificate in your hand”? No doubt for your own personal satisfaction and peace of mind, a GIA certified diamond may be more preferable, but it is to be noted that there are many other reputable and trusted diamond labs and businesses in the world who have also received their due status over the years. Diamond grading is subjective, so be it GIA or any other gemological institutes, none can mathematically explain what a “G” color looks like or what an “SI1” clarity will be like.

It is true that the GIA follows a strict and meticulous evaluation process and they are done by at least four expert gemologists. The EGL and other gemological institutes, follow a more lenient grading standard, making the same diamond less expensive as a result. However, no lab not even GIA can guarantee that the diamond is extremely brilliant and is priced perfectly.

Moreover, it is to be understood that a quality certificate and an appraisal do not mean the same thing. This is because a grading report does not allocate any value to the stone or determine the market value. The grading report only contains precise details on the quality and other characteristics like the 4 C’s. With the help of this information, an appraiser fixes a value to a diamond. So just because a diamond is a GIA certified many jewelers may increase the price of the stone. GIA certified diamonds are sold at a premium. Hence, buying diamonds that are certified by AGS, IGI, EGL, GSI and other laboratories is a potential way to save more money.

At the end of the day, it should be borne in mind that you are buying a diamond and not the certificate. It is up to the consumer to not only understand the difference in different lab certifications, but also to decide which certification to depend on. They need to make an informed decision based on the description of the diamond and know exactly what they are paying for. They should not just look at the lowest price, but rather should look at the stone by comparing it with other similar stones. 


Posted by Roy Izakov.
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