Certified Diamond Info & Tips

You went for the best, now make sure you bought the best. Certified diamonds are not only essential for your purchase, but to protect you later on. If you get your diamond cleaned by a jeweler, you'll have a way to prove that the diamond jewelry you receive back is truly yours. Or if you want to sell your diamond necklace or earrings, you have ironclad proof of their value. You are also able to do more informed comparison shopping.

All lab reports are not created equal, so just because a diamond dealer throws a certificate your way doesn't mean your diamond is properly certified. A report's cost is factored into the price of your diamond. Paying a little more for a diamond with a report by a top gem lab ensures a lifetime guarantee of its high quality.

What Does An Independent Lab Report Tell You?

While diamond certification reports provide detailed information, they do not place a monetary value on your stone. They describe the precise details that identify your diamond, its clarity, color, cut, carat size and its exact measurements. This information can be used to identify your diamond at a later date and is also useful for insurance claims.

Even the top gemological labs focus on different criteria for their reports, so if you're a real diamond aficionado, you'll look for a diamond certified by a particular lab.

Major Certified Diamond Labs

The top two certified diamond laboratories are The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS). They are the two most internationally known and respected gemological grading labs. The GIA is the most widely used in the USA. The diamond industry recognizes both of these labs as having the most stringent policies and consistency in their grading of color and clarity.

Genuine reports are costly and this is factored into the price of your diamond. The GIA or AGS's reports, which run about $100—$175, fare only a small percentage of the price of a more expensive diamond, but worth it, as the resale value of your diamond jewelry remains higher with their reports.

Diamonds that are under .5 carat, less than $1,000, whose clarity is lower than S12 or has a color lower than I usually aren't certified by the GIA or the AGS, the cost simply isn't worth it.

The AGS provides a more thorough analysis of a diamond's cut, and their ideal cut designations are the least discounted.

Another respected lab is the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL). For smaller, less expensive diamonds, an EGL certification is adequate. While the resale value won't be as high as GIA or AGS certified diamonds, it is still important that you have some certification or you'll have no real proof of what you own.

Bottom on the list is the International Gemological Institute (IGI), which is widely used by mall retailers and lower end diamond wholesalers. High quality diamonds are not certified by them.

Certified Diamond Scams

  • Don't be duped into accepting an independent "graduate GIA gemologist" or a retail replacement appraisal to evaluate and certify your cut stone. These are not industry standard reports and mean absolutely zilch.
  • A certification might have a slight variation in the name to make it read as if it were the Gemological Institute of America or the American Gem Society. For example, the Gemologists Institute of America or the American Gemology Survey. A cheap trick, but it can work.
  • If a certification looks altered in any way or the lamination is torn, don't accept the diamond.
  • GIA and AGS reports are occasionally forged. These reports have security features such as microprint lines, chemically sensitive papers or a hologram. If you have doubts about the authenticity of an AGS or GIA report, contact the GIA Gem Laboratory at (760) 603-4500 or AGS at (702) 255-6500.
  • A good way to save money is to choose a diamond that's slightly off in carat size. It's also a good way for a dealer to claim a full carat size when it's not and get a few hundred dollars more from you. This is another reason to buy only certified diamonds, and get a diamond appraisal for your more expensive purchases.
  • When you're traveling, beware the allure of the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime diamond deal. The "yes, yes, don't worry, it's certified by a proper gemological laboratory, but hurry up and buy it right now before someone else does." You'll most likely wind up with a costly souvenir with low value and very little to no chance of ever obtaining a refund.

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