March 18

What Does Certified Diamond Mean? | GIA Grading and Reports Explained in Detail


Author: Paula Vysovska

Key Takeaways

  • A diamond is verified as being 100% natural, enhanced, or lab-grown.
  • Certification takes into consideration the quality of the diamond based on color, carat, cut, and clarity.
  •  The GIA grading report price varies depending on the carat weight, the type of diamond, and the service you request.
  •  Measurements, shape and cutting style, GIA report number, and the date of grading are the things to look out for in a diamond certificate.
  • What Does Certified Diamond Mean?

    Different labs evaluate diamonds and provide valid certificates to validate their grading. While some diamond grading labs are loose and inconsistent, others are strict and consistent. Above all, you need to make sure you’re spending the right amount of money for the actual diamond certification and value.

    When buying a diamond, there are various factors that’ll determine the price. The most important factors are the diamond’s color grade, carat weight, cut grade, and clarity grade. Some of these elements are easier than others in terms of grading, for example, you can measure the carat weight and find a correct answer, but you cannot grade color and diamond clarity since they require a more subjective scale.

    That means you need a certified diamond, so what is it, and who certifies it? Keep reading to discover more.

    What Are Certified Diamonds?

    Certified diamonds are diamonds that have been through a rigorous grading process. They’ve undergone high-quality analysis by a respected gemological laboratory like the Gemological Science International, the International Gemological Institute or the Gemological Institute of America.

    Certified diamonds have a diamond grading report, known as a certificate. Gemological laboratories act as independent authorities on the diamonds’ quality and identity and aren't directly involved in the transactions.

    What Are Non-Certified Diamonds?

    Uncertified diamonds are diamonds that haven’t been analyzed and graded by an independent certifying agency. Since uncertified diamonds are common in the marketplace and often cheaper, you need to ensure you’re dealing with a trusted and reputable jeweler. You can also talk to a diamond expert to help you compare the uncertified diamonds with their certified complements.

    Who Certifies Diamonds?

    Various diamond certifying agencies offer valid and trusted grading reports.

    The GIA grading report is the most trusted since this certifying agency is stricter with its grading. As a result, many customers prefer GIA-certified diamonds since they are sure of high standards.

    American gem society report and a diamond under magnifying glass

    Started by the same person who founded the Gemological Institute of America, the American Gem Society also offers trusted diamond certificates due to its strict guidelines.

    What Does a Certification Provide?

    Diamond certification offers a number of important reports on different elements. When you ask a certifying agency to certify your diamond, it’ll inspect and grade it. The agency will provide grading reports on your diamond's carat weight, color grade, cut, and clarity grade.

    It’ll also provide a grading report on other characteristics such as proportions, symmetry, polish, and fluorescence. The agency will also indicate any inclusions on the clarity diagram. Additionally, the GIA diamond grading report will certify if it is a natural gemstone or an artificial diamond.

    How important is a Diamond Certificate?

    A diamond certificate is important since it describes and verifies what you’re purchasing. Without a valid certificate from one of the leading certifying institutions in the diamond industry, there is no way to prove the diamond’s authenticity, quality, and value.

    a diamond and a report paper

    What Are the Best Diamond Certifications?

    GIA and AGS diamond certifications are the best because they are the strictest and most consistent lab report providers. That means you can be 100% sure of their grading in all aspects, including the diamond's quality, clarity, color, carat, and cut.

    Buying Diamonds In-Store vs. Online

    Pros of Purchasing a Diamond In-Store

  • You can walk away with your certified diamond immediately after finding a perfect one.
  • Buying a diamond in-store allows you to physically touch and feel it before paying.
  • It’s reassuring to talk to a diamond expert face-to-face about any concerns and questions you may have.
  • Cons of Purchasing a Diamond In-Store

    • The only downside is that you may instantly find a smaller collection of certified diamonds available. However, a collection of loose diamonds can be sourced and provided for viewing and comparison on another day.

    Pros of Purchasing a Diamond Online

  • It's relatively cheaper to buy a certified diamond online since selling sites have fewer overheads.
  • If you buy a certified diamond online, you can have access to a wide range of diamonds from all parts of the world, and you can quickly compare the current market prices of different carat weights and qualities.
  • Cons of Purchasing Diamond Online

  • Most diamond images online stores provide can be misleading since they don’t portray how it’ll look when you expose it to natural light.
  • It's tricky to compare diamonds online since they're usually sold by weight and not size.
  • What Are Enhanced Diamonds?

    Enhanced gemstones are low-quality and cheaper diamonds that have undergone artificial treatment to improve their quality. The treatments involve laser drilling to eliminate any visible inclusion and fracture-filling to hide internal cracks. 

    They also include color treatment to provide a diamond with either less or more color. They're different from lab-grown diamonds since they are low-quality natural diamonds.

    Can Enhanced Diamonds be Certified?

    Most diamond grading agencies don’t certify enhanced diamonds, and those that do usually indicate on the diamond certificate how the product has been enhanced. When purchasing diamonds, request to see the certificate to know whether it’s enhanced or lab-grown diamonds. Don’t judge using the naked eye.

    diamonds on the dark surface

    What is the Difference? Diamond Certificate vs. Appraisal

    A diamond appraisal values a diamond according to the latest market price, while, a diamond certificate grades and describes a diamond. 

    The certificate helps appraisers determine the replacement value or insurance of a diamond. Having a certificate means the certified stones will be higher on the grading scale and value.

    How to Read a Diamond Certificate

    The things you need to keep in mind when reading a certificate are measurements, diamond shape and cutting style, lab report number, and the grading date. After these details, look for the 4Cs as well as additional diamond grading information like fluorescence, symmetry, polish profile view, and clarity characteristics.

    Types of Diamond Grading Systems

    The GIA grading system is the most popular and trusted, however, there are also a few other diamond certifications to look out for, including HRD, GIS, EGL, IGL, and AGS.

    GIA diamond certificate and an engagement ring

    Final Thoughts: Which One Should I Buy? A Certified or Non-Certified Diamond?

    Almost any diamond can be certified. The fact that a diamond is certified doesn't mean it's of good quality. Also, just because a diamond hasn’t been certified doesn’t mean it’s low in quality and less desirable.

    Purchasing a diamond engagement ring with a certified diamond will provide much-needed peace of mind. If you're dealing with a trusted jeweler or on a budget, an uncertified diamond can be a perfect option.

    FAQs about Certified Diamonds

    Is a Certified Diamond More Expensive?

    A certified diamond is more expensive since experts take time to analyze it and provide a lab report. If you buy any of the non-certified diamonds or lab grown diamonds, you'll notice that they are cheaper than certified ones.

    Should You Get a Certified Diamond?

    You should buy a diamond with a valid certificate. A certificate guarantees the stone’s quality and helps protect your investment.

    Is Certified Diamond a Real Diamond?

    Not all certified diamonds are real diamonds since some of them are lab diamonds. A certificate will indicate whether it’s a lab diamond or a natural diamond.

    Is it Worth Buying a GIA Certified Diamond?

    It’s worth buying a GIA-certified diamond since it has high quality and value.

    About the Author:

    Paula Vysovska

    I have a strong background in editorial roles as well as content writing. I oversee all Diamond Explainer content on the topics related to fine jewelry, precious gemstones, and the diamond industry in general.

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