Diamond Certification

diamond certification

One way of building upon the wealth reserves and assets is by buying valuable items. Among the most common are precious stones and of course diamonds.

When you want to purchase the best quality and highest-grade diamond, you will need proof of this. The best way to tell the value of a diamond is by the diamond’s certification.

The certification will provide you with valuable information which includes the 4Cs—cut, carat, clarity, and color.

James Allen Diamonds

Difference between a diamond certificate and an appraisal

Two terms when talking about diamonds that seem to be commonly misused are diamond certificates and diamond appraisal. While some sellers will use the term diamond appraisal, there is a big difference between the two.

The diamond appraisal will only add a monetary value on the stone while the diamond certificate will not tell you how much the stone is worth. What it does is to record all the properties and features of the diamond mainly on cut, carat, clarity, and color.

The different laboratories

Different labs offer diamond certification and it is important that you know the process involved for grading the stones by your chosen lab.

This should be concerning the two most popular grading labs the GIA and the AGS. Some labs could grade a diamond a color grade higher than the GIA. If you know how the different labs are grading the stones as per the 4Cs, then this will allow you to choose your diamond wisely.


The GIA, short for the Gemological Institute of America, is the most recognized diamond laboratory in the world.

It dates as back as 1931 as a nonprofit organization set to provide both buyers and sellers with valuable information regarding diamonds. This helps a great deal when purchasing the right diamond.

Initially, before the GIA, buyers would go with what the sellers told them. Of course, the information that they received wasn’t always reliable. However, thanks to the GIA and other good diamond labs, buyers now have access to the quality information. As a result, they can make more accurate and more informed decisions.

The GIA is the preferred diamond lab by the world’s most reputable jewelers. It is not surprising after you have considered just how high their grading standards are.  When it comes to the diamonds, it provides the apex standards.

The laboratory employs more than 1400 employees.

Part of the reason why GIA is the best diamond lab is partly that they have been in the industry for such a long time. The other reason is that they came up with the global standardization of diamonds—the 4Cs.

Also, GIA provides information and diamond education through the internet.

The GIA certification

The GIA certification is also known as the diamond grading report or the diamond analysis report. It contains information on cut, carat weight, clarity grade and a color grade of the diamond. It also contains plenty of other information about the diamond that you are interested in.

If you have a diamond, you can submit this for grading to the GIA. For a fee, the laboratory will provide a full report on that individual diamond.

You can also resend a diamond that you bought at some point in your past. But the question now becomes, why would you need to resubmit a diamond to the GIA?

One of the main reasons is if the diamond has been recut and you need a new report. You may also require a freshly updated report to the old one that you had or you may need to verify the report by the seller.

When you are evaluating a diamond, the report will provide you with some invaluable information concerning the stone. This lets you know exactly what you are observing and why the stone is priced in a certain way.

The importance of the GIA certification

The certificate from a world-renowned laboratory provides trust and confidence in the stone. This is the best report you can have anywhere you go in the world.

Some of the main benefits of the GIA report that you can find include:

It allows you to find the best diamond for you.

Since the report is highly detailed, you can find options that are within your budget. The attributes of the individual diamonds can be identified or easily compared helping you pick the most ideal one for you.

These mainly include but are not limited to the 4Cs.

A carat is equal to 0.2 grams. A single carat will be divided into 100 points. Half a crat will, therefore, be divided into 50 points. Keep in mind that two diamonds may have the same carat weight but different values based on the clarity, cut and color

Clarity will be affected during the diamond formation process. There are high pressures and forces at work. Because of these small imperfections will often be too small to be noticeable especially with the naked eye. There are eleven clarity grades in the GIA certification which range between flawless and included.

Color is another factor that you will obtain from the GIA certification. Note that finding a completely colorless diamond is extremely rare. The GIA color scale contains letters which you will use to judge the color of the stone. The grading system starts with D for the colorless diamonds and Z for the yellow or brown diamonds. Keep in mind however that some color distinctions are extremely subtle and need to be looked at by a trained eye.

The cut of the diamond is another piece of information on the certificate. It refers to the proportions of the angles and sides of the stone relating to the light. Many factors affect the cut grade of a diamond. The cut grade by the GIA will range from excellent to poor.

Adds value to the diamond when you are looking to sell

When you want to sell your diamond to a jeweler, you will get priority if it is certified by the GIA. There will not be any negotiations around it as this is evidence that it is quality tested by the best lab in the world.

You get peace of mind

When a diamond is GIA certified, you can be confident to the quality do the stone regardless of where you buy it whether it is online on a site such as Petra gems or buying from a physical jewelry store, you are good to go and you know that you are not getting ripped.

Think of it this way, sending a diamond to be certified by the GIA is nothing compared to losing money on a stone that is not worth as much.

Avoid synthetic diamonds

Technology means that now there are synthetic diamonds that are produced in a lab. With the GIA certification, you know you are getting an original stone.

Other important pieces of information in the diamond certification

Other than the 4Cs there is other information that you will get with a diamond certification.


When comparing the grading report, make sure you pay special attention to the consistency of the report more than the strictness of the grading.

Note that you will not be able to get the same consistency between different grading laboratories. The GIA is not the same as the IGI for example. How reliable the grading labs are will depend on the grading lab’s reputation.

For example, if you were to find a grading lab that provides a higher grade than another, then this type of inconsistency is unreliable.

The price and the certification

It is important that you evaluate the price of the diamond as much as you evaluate certification. Of course, the price should mirror the cut, quality and clarity and size of the diamond. This is both as per the certificate as well as the naked eye.

If you are not sure about the price of the diamond, have a gemologist or diamond expert do the reviewing for you.

The IGI certification

The International Gemological Institute is another highly rated diamond lab. They are among the most popular grading labs in the US and Canada and are used by some of the largest jewelry chains in these countries.

One of the reasons why IGI is so popular is that they have much better prices than those of the GIA. This makes it appealing to the diamond seller but may not be the best for the consumer.

That said, their grading comes second to GIA and they have little inconsistency.

Most diamond experts will recommend going for stones that are AGS or GIA certified.

The IGI is the second most popular diamond lab in the world. Their offices are based in Antwerp Germany. They not only grade genuine diamonds but synthetic diamonds as well and are very popular in Asia.

They have offices in key cities such as New York. That said it is recommended to avoid diamonds by the IGI due to their lax grading systems. IGI has been known to be off on the clarity and color by as much as 4 grades.

AGS certification

The American Gem Society AGS is among the first and original labs to provide consistent reports on diamond grading. They had been providing consumers with an accurate grade of 0-9 many years before the GIA came up with their cut grade.

Their main offices are situated in Las Vegas. They are well known for their consistency and ethical standards and this makes it the second most popular grading lab in the US. They also have an international repute and have offices in Israel, Hong king, Belgium, India, and China.

When you first see the AGS grading report, it might look a bit confusing but once you understand it, it is quite simple. Cut grade 0 means an excellent cut when you compare with the GIA standards.

The AGS cut quality standards are stricter than the GIA.

It was the AGS that had archived monopoly of the diamond cut market. You would not call a diamond ideal if it did not have the AGS certification that claims it is ideal.

However, they lost their major share on the market after GIA entered the scene. That said, many sellers will go to AGS for their diamond grading especially those that sell round diamonds.

Always keep in mind that color and clarity are subjective and therefore no grading system is 100% accurate. Also, AGS is not a popular choice lab for fancy cut diamonds.

GSI Certification

The Gemological Science International is a grading entity that has been in existence for a few years. However, they don’t seem to come with anything new.

The GSI reports still do not compare to the GIA standards. They lack consistent gradings. It is not then the best idea to go for a stone that is rated GSI certification. The best is the GIA and AGS reports.

HRD certification

Hoge Raad Voor Diamant is a lab-based in Europe. While sellers in the united states do not believe in its claims for being the leading authority for diamond grading in the world, there has been proof of inconsistencies with the grading lab.

Their average is about two color grades and two clarity grades above the GIA.  This means that the HRD diamond will ask a higher price than the same graded diamonds in the GIA certification. Diamond companies will, therefore, make more profits with the HRD certified diamonds.

EGL Certification

EGL is short for European Gemological Laboratory. This lab is not very prominently used in the United States. However, it is very popular in Europe. It also has big global presence heaving offices in Tel Aviv, London, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Paris.

EGL is most well-known for being the pioneer for grading stones that weigh less than 1.0 carat in size.

The EGL also introduced the SI3 clarity rating. They have also been in controversial lawsuits on over grading diamonds.

That said it is important to note that the GIA is far superior to the EGL in terms of consistency and diamond grading. EGL has even been known to inflate the quality of its stones.

Some customers will buy an EGL certified diamond only to find out later that they have a less valuable stone than they paid for.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how affordable and in your budget a diamond is, if it is EGL certified, it is best to avoid it.

There are many grading labs around the word. This means that there is a huge difference in the methods used to grade diamonds. The nomenclature used also varies widely.

While some are known the world over for their strictness and consistency, others have lost standards. This means that a report from one lab may be completely different from a report from another lab.

Picking the best labs is important as it will help you avoid diamonds that are inflated causing you to pay more than they are worth.

Don’t rely solely on the diamond certificate

If you plan on making a purchase or a deposit on a diamond based on information that you read solely on the report, then this can easily cause you to make a mistake.

There are still some sellers who will offer a diamond based on the certificate alone. This will often cause buyers to pick a stone that does not appeal to them in the end.

Granted the certificate is among the most important pieces of information that you need when buying a diamond. That said, it should never be relied on alone as the information will often only contain the material properties of the stone.

Let’s consider two different round diamonds that have the same proportions and the same carat weight. It is easy to think that based on the report, they have similar light properties and brilliance. However, one may have H color and IF clarity while the other may have F color VS1 clarity.

Of course, these two round diamonds will not perform the same. This is just one example of why it is a mistake to rely on the certification alone.

Buying tip-always ask for videos and photography of the diamond

Buyers will tend to go for the largest stone they can find at the least price. When it comes to diamonds this is a risky way to shop for your stone. It is especially true with the fancy shape diamonds. The GIA reports on these types of diamonds will have even less information on the shape of the diamonds.

Also, note that you will not be able to tell the shape appeal simply through the certificate. Of course, the shape will affect how beautiful the diamond is. To pick the best diamond shape for you, you will need to view the diamond itself.

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