To the untrained eye, most certified and uncertified diamonds look identical. They come in the same shapes and both reflect light in attractive flashes of fire and brilliance.
One obvious difference between them is their price tag. Certified diamonds cost more than uncertified, but it is important and well worth the investment to purchase a diamond with a certificate.
What is a Certified Diamond?
A certified diamond has been graded on each of its “4 Cs” by a gemological laboratory. These 4 Cs are:
1. Carat Weight - Like other gems, a diamond’s weight is measured in metric carats. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Since precision is vital in the diamond industry, gemologist usually measure a diamond’s weight down to the hundred thousandth of a carat and then round it off to a hundredth of a carat.
2. Colour - Truly colourless diamonds are extremely rare. Most diamonds come in varying shades of yellow and brown. Gem labs grade a diamond’s colour on a scale that begins with D (colourless) and ends with Z (light colour).Nearly colourless diamonds which fall into the categories of G – J are the gems most often used in engagement rings and other jewellery.
3. Clarity - During their formation, diamonds pick up internal inclusions and blemishes. Clarity refers to the number and type of these imperfections. The diamond clarity scale begins with Internally Flawless (IF) and continues through seven more categories to the least valuable Inclusions 2 (I2) diamonds.
4. Cut - The cut of a diamonds refers to the gem’s facets and angles. The number and quality of these facets and angles determines its brilliance and fire.
Who Certifies Diamonds?
Some diamond retailers certify their own stones, but these certificates are often biased and lack precision. The most trustworthy diamond certificates come from independent gem laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Hoge Raad van Diamant (HRD), and International Gemmological Insititute (IGI).
Why is It Important to Buy a Certified Diamond?
There are two essential reasons why you should purchase diamonds with a certificate:
- A certificate guarantees the quality of the stone – A diamond’s cut, colour and clarity, as well as its weight are all qualities which the common buyer is unable to evaluate and some jewellers take advantage of this. They sell uncertified diamonds with exaggerated claims about their quality and the buyer will only find out later that they paid too much for an inferior diamond. When you purchase a diamond with a certificate from a reputable gem lab, you can be confident of the gem’s quality and that you are paying a fair price.
- A certificate protects your investment – Good-quality diamonds cost thousands of dollars per carat. A certified diamond holds its value better over time and when you decide to sell the stone or upgrade it to a larger one, you will be more likely to get back what you invested in it.
One additional benefit from diamond certificates is that they simplify gem shopping. Since many of the subtle differences between diamonds are invisible to the naked eye, it is helpful to compare the 4 Cs listed on the diamonds’ certificates.
Now, enjoy shopping for a diamond – preferably a certified diamond!