Buying diamond jewelry is not easy. It is after hours of research, window-shopping in stores and online that you ultimately find what you really like. Even then, you might have some last-minute hesitation before pulling out your credit card or checkbook. Are the diamonds genuine? Is the diamond color and clarity good? Does it weigh as much as it’s supposed to? Getting a certification with your diamond jewelry answers all these questions and provides you the peace of mind with your purchase.
You should consider the importance of certification when you’re buying a piece of diamond jewelry. Getting a certification and more importantly a third party certification from a reputed laboratory for your diamond jewelry is significant because these laboratories don’t sell diamonds and have no connection to diamond mines, dealers or retailers, so they have no vested interest in the grade they give a diamond. These labs therefore provide an unbiased evaluation of the diamond. Also, these labs depend on repeat business so they have to maintain a reputation for accuracy and integrity.
Usually expert gemologists in these laboratories use high-powered microscopes and other sensitive instruments to study and measure the diamond for it's 4C's- Color, Carat, Clarity, Cut and other characteristics like finish, treatments etc. Based on these findings, the laboratory then issues a certificate that accompanies the diamond jewelry.
The 4 C's:
- Carat - Diamonds are weighed in carats, with 1 carat equaling 0.2 grams.
- Color - Diamonds come in a wide range of colors, ranging from colorless to yellow.
- Cut - Determines how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.
- Clarity - Refers to the purity of the diamonds or to the degree that it is free of inclusions.
Reputed third party laboratories are often back logged and getting a certification from them is time consuming, but they do a thorough job grading the diamond which makes the wait all the more worthwhile. The cost of certifying a diamond product depends on the number of diamonds and the total diamond weight in the product.
A lot of Jewelry stores offer their own certification with the diamond jewelry, but customers need to know that this certificate holds little or no value. Let me give you an example here- Suppose you bought a diamond jewelry from a store which provided you with their own certificate for the product. After a few years, you decide to sell the same diamond jewelry. Now honestly you have no choice, but to sell it back to the same store you bought the jewelry from as no one else recognizes the store specific certification or trusts it's value.
On the other hand, if you were to have a diamond certificate from an independent reputed lab, you could sell it to any jeweler or friend and get a much better value for your product since they are more likely to recognize and trust the certificate and provide you a value consistent with the market value of the product.
Retail jewelry stores can tell you a lot of things about a diamond, but having a confirmation of their statement by an independent certifier gives you additional assurance. A certificate from an independent lab provides third-party verification of the seller’s claims regarding the quality of the diamond they are selling.
Having a third party certificate that contains information on the 4C's Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut of the diamond makes it easier for you to know what you are actually buying. In case of solitaire diamonds, you can easily compare the price asked for a stone with the prices of other similar diamonds and thus make a more informed purchase decision. Last but not the least, if you ever want to sell the diamond jewelry, it is always better to have a third party certificate for its diamond.
Here are sample image of diamond certificates from reputed International laboratories:
Trusted certificates from independent laboratories you are likely to see in the marketplace include:
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - pioneered diamond grading in the 1940s.
- American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS) - developed the AGS performance-based cut grading system.
- European Gemological Institute (EGI) - is an independent grading and appraisal organization.
- International Gemological Institute (IGI) - is an independent grading and appraisal organization with centers in New York City, Los Angeles as well as in Antwerp, Bangkok, Mumbai, Tokyo, Dubai and Toronto.
- Gemological Science International (GSI) -is one of the world's leading gemological labs serving the industry in the United States, Europe and India.
- GemEx Systems Inc.,- is an independent laboratory that focuses on light performance, or the movement of light through the diamond.