With the following I will attempt to explain some key considerations you should make when considering the purchase of a diamond. A diamond for most people is a major purchase and is something you should take great care to understand before hand.
There are a few things you should take into account when selecting a diamond including certification and where you plan on purchasing it. I will cover some of these factors in this section, and the pros and cons of each.
There are probably as many certification companies out there as there are diamonds. One key to understanding certificates is knowing which ones are the best and which are the
worst. Another key is understanding how to read a certificate as well as what they tell you and what they don’t. I will cover the four most likely certificates that you will run into during your diamond shopping and what to look for.
A good word of advice is if you have never heard of the company doing the certification it is not worth the paper it is printed on. There is a BIG difference between a certificate and an appraisal.
- A certificate is issued by an independent laboratory that grades diamonds and has no stake in what the outcome of the certificate is.
- The certificate will describe the characteristics of the diamond including the four “C’s” and other identifying qualities.
- The laboratory should always have graded the diamond loose (not in the setting) to have an accurate carat weight as opposed to an estimation.
- An appraisal is usually issued by the company selling you the diamond and is therefore not unbiased as a certificate would be.
- Appraisals will not always be as accurate as a certificate as the diamonds are sometimes graded already mounted in the setting.
- Appraisals will typically have a value of the stone included to be used for insuring the diamond with an insurance company.
The Gemological Institute of America is probably the most accurate laboratory for the certification of diamonds. I highly recommend buying a GIA certified diamond, the advantages of buying a GIA certified diamond far outweigh the drawbacks as I will cover.
The GIA is a non-profit organization and is therefore more unbiased than other laboratories. Bias is an important characteristic to consider when selecting a certificate. A non-profit organization has no motivation to increase it’s business as a for-profit organization would. For example, a company which is for-profit might consider grading the diamonds which are submitted to it more leniently thereby increasing the number of diamond cutters who would consider using that laboratory to increase profits. GIA is, in my opinion, is the most strict in grading diamonds, and that will always be in the benefit of the end consumer (you).
This is an example of a GIA certificate for a diamond:
There are many components to a GIA certificate and they can be confusing if you do not understand what they mean, or what they tell you about the diamond.