Certified diamonds are the ones that an independent grading laboratory has evaluated, whereas non-certified diamonds haven’t been evaluated, and a retailer can only speculate on the diamond’s quality. If you own a non-certified diamond, you might be wondering:
Can You Get a Diamond Certified After Purchase?
The answer is yes, you can. You can send your gem to a reputable grading lab for evaluation. Many consumers send their diamonds through a retailer for packaging, shipping, and insuring. Also, keep in mind that jewelers have to remove the diamond from the jewelry piece before sending it to the grading lab.
But what is diamond certification, and what are the benefits of having your precious gemstone certified? Answers to these and many other questions are covered in this article, so without further ado, let’s dive in.
What Is Diamond Certification?
Created by the GIA, diamond certification is a system that evaluates the diamond’s quality based on several key factors such as carat, cut clarity, and color. Also referred to as the diamond grading report, diamond certification is crucial when purchasing a diamond.
Not only does the diamond grading report determine the gem’s quality, but it also communicates the qualities of the stone in a way that helps consumers better understand what they are purchasing.
Not all gems need to be graded in a lab. Diamond grading reports on small diamonds offer negligible benefit while significantly adding cost.
While grading reports offer assurance that the stone is a real diamond, that confidence can be brought about by having an appraisal done by a qualified diamond professional. With that said, diamonds that aren’t followed by a certificate will always be more common.
For consumers buying diamonds of significant expense, a diamond certificate is highly recommended. Investing several hundred dollars on a document that guarantees the quality of a diamond that costs thousands of dollars is a reasonable thing to do. Spending that much money on a gemstone that doesn’t come with a certificate can be a very risky proposition.
Almost all diamonds can be sent to a laboratory to be graded, and the fact that it’s a certified diamond doesn’t necessarily mean it’s anything extraordinary. The grading information found in the diamond report will serve as evidence of whether the stone is gem grade, commercial grade, or a grade below.
Contrarily, just because a diamond isn’t certified doesn’t necessarily mean that it is somehow undesirable. There are many reasons why a grading report may not accompany a diamond.
Diamond dealers will often forego the expense of a diamond certificate to be able to sell the gem a bit more affordably. This is especially true with diamonds in small to medium sizes.
Larger diamonds of high quality are generally sent to the laboratory before they are put on the market. Today’s consumers are much more likely to be looking to get certified diamonds.
Related Read: How to Sell a Diamond Without Certificate?
How Do I Get My Diamond Certified?
To get your diamond certified, you’ll need to do a couple of things. Firstly, you’ll need to remove the diamond from the jewelry mounting since most labs won’t grade a mounted diamond.
If your stone is already set in a jewelry piece, simply take the piece to a professional jeweler who can remove your diamond right on the spot.
This is much better than taking your jewelry to a store where they have to send your piece elsewhere to have it done, which can take them up to 2 weeks just to do that.
Removing a diamond from a jewelry piece takes just a couple of minutes to execute. You can ask the jeweler to clean your diamond while they’re at it – that way you can scope it before sending it out to the grading lab.
Send your gem to the gemological laboratory of your choice and a professional will evaluate your diamond. It’s a good idea to have your stone insured before sending it in the mail. This way you are covered if something unfortunate happens and your diamond gets lost or damaged.
On average, it takes about three weeks to get your diamond certified, and it can cost between $150 and $300.
Related Read: How Do I Get My Rough Diamond Certified?
Issuing Diamond Grading Reports
Diamonds are certified by organizations that must be engaged in scientific research. Diamond vendors pay these grading laboratories to provide diamond certificates. Here are some of the most well-known labs:
- Gemological Institute of America
- American Gem Society
- European Gemological Laboratory
- International Gemological Institute
Every single one of these organizations will evaluate the key diamond’s characteristics such as cut, carat, clarity, and color.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these grading labs.
Gemological Institute of America
The Gemological Institute of America also known as GIA is a non-profit organization committed to researching and educating people about gems. They evaluate and grade all kinds of gemstones.
In addition to issuing lab grading reports, GIA also trains gem professionals and provides in-depth research support for the gem industry.
Currently, GIA’s grading reports are top-rated diamond certificates in the industry. GIA provides two kinds of grading reports – full diamond reports and diamond dossiers for small gems.
The diamond dossiers are less expensive but don’t include the full plot of a gemstone that exhibits the precise locations of diamond inclusions. Since the inclusion locations aren’t featured in dossier reports, GIA requires a mandatory diamond laser inscription.
On the other hand, this isn’t the case with full diamond grading reports. Diamond dealers can purchase the laser inscription as an additional service in full reports.
American Gem Society
The American Gem Society, also known as AGS, is an organization of jewelers, diamond suppliers, diamond traders, and diamond appraisers.
The company also has a modern instruments division that was founded in 2004. AGSL is the division that assesses and grades diamonds and has created its standards for doing so. This organization is GIA’s close competitor and has a very strong reputation in the diamond industry.
International Gemological Institute
IGI or The International Gemological Institute was founded back in 1975 and its headquarters are in Antwerp – one of the biggest cities when it comes to the diamond industry. IGI has several branches worldwide and has a gemology school. In addition, IGI is one of the world’s largest diamond grading laboratories.
Since this organization is extremely large, spanning across the globe, its laboratories in different countries use a bit different criteria when evaluating diamonds. We would rate IGI as less accurate compared to the previously mentioned GIA and AGS.
Read More: Is IGI As Good As GIA?
European Gemological Laboratories
The EGL, short for European Gemological Laboratory, used to have huge shares in the diamond business. However, the company has lost much of its reputation.
EGL is reorganizing its organization and you shouldn’t rely entirely on its grading reports, at least for the time being. As a result of their shaky reputation, even RapNet doesn’t allow EGL-graded stones to be listed on its platform.
It’s a safe bet to avoid EGL-graded gems unless they are from the 1950s to the early 2000s; even though you should expect inconsistencies in the overall grading.
The Process Of Diamond Grading
In this section, we’ll cover the process of evaluating a diamond’s characteristics.
Carat Weight And Proportions
The first step in the grading process is for the stone to be measured and weighed. Experts use an electronic microbalance to measure the carat weight, while an optical scanning gadget is used to measure the stone’s precise measurements and facet angles.
Clarity And Finish
The next step is grading the diamond’s clarity and finish which is done by using magnification in standard viewing conditions. The grader examines the stone to find any clarity and finish characteristics. Simultaneously, the grader verifies all measurement and weight data captured in the prior step.
Color And Fluorescence
Next, the grader compares the gem’s color to a set of master stones. This set is a row of diamonds laid out from D to Z – these represent the standard for each color grade.
By moving the diamond being graded down the line of master stones, the grader determines where the submitted stone falls in the color grade spectrum. After that, the grader observes the stone under a special UV lamp to determine if it exhibits signs of fluorescence and to what degree.
Finally, the grader assigns the cut grade once the color and clarity grading processes are complete. The diamond’s brilliance, scintillation, and fire are assessed and incorporated into the cut grade. The stone’s measurements, facet angles, symmetry, and polish are also used when assessing the final cut grade.
Once the grading process is complete, the grading lab issues the diamond certificate.
Benefits Of Certified Diamonds
When you buy a diamond accompanied by a certificate, you know that it has been verified for its quality. You will be buying a gemstone based on its attributes instead of blindly trusting the sales pitch of the dealer with no actual proof of quality.
Diamond certificates offer consumers an accurate representation of what the gemstone will look like in real life. Here are some benefits of certified diamonds:
- Certified diamonds have a higher value than their non-certified counterparts, especially regarding resale and upgrading purposes.
- Certified diamonds have a much simpler comparison process since comparing stones that have been evaluated based on the 4C’s is much easier than relying on visual inspection.
- Instead of being skeptical about what they might be getting, consumers can shop confidently with online retailers.
- You can save significant money when opting for certified diamonds, especially when purchased from online retailers instead of in a jewelry store.
Diamond Certificate Vs. Diamond Appraisal
Two terms that are commonly confused with one another are diamond certificates and diamond appraisals. Although some retailers will try to use a diamond appraisal rather than a diamond certificate, there’s a big difference between the two.
A diamond appraisal is a paper that simply provides a piece of information about the monetary value of the diamond. It’s generally used to determine how much one should pay for the gemstone’s insurance.
Conversely, a diamond certificate doesn’t include information about the stone’s worth. The purpose of the grading report is to document the diamond’s key qualities and characteristics.
The diamond certificate doesn’t estimate how much the stone should cost – it simply evaluates the diamond based on its cut, carat, color, and clarity.
How To Interpret A Diamond Appraisal
While diamond appraisals are pretty common, they often lead to many misunderstandings. Many people think that the value stated on the diamond appraisal is the same as its resale value; however, that’s not the case.
Often diamond appraisals reflect a value that’s inflated – sometimes this can be double the retail purchase price. This allows insurance companies to raise the premium consumers need to pay to have their diamonds covered.
The truth is that the resale value of a diamond is based on its set attributes, as well as the demand for these characteristics at a given time. Thus, getting a diamond appraised by a certified appraiser doesn’t reflect the true resale value of the stone.
Overall, diamond certification is a crucial element one should consider when buying a diamond. If you buy a diamond not accompanied by a certificate, you have to trust the seller, which can often be biased and not the actual truth.
However, if the stone is certified by a trusted and reputable grading organization such as the GIA, you immediately know the diamond’s quality and characteristics. It helps consumers make an informed decision when selecting and purchasing a natural diamond.
Even if your diamond isn’t certified, you can send it to a trusted lab for assessment, and they will provide you with a diamond certificate.
Overall, purchasing a certified diamond or having one sent to be certified will give you peace of mind.