Friday, April 5, 2013

Diamond Certification

In the world of diamonds, certification is absolutely critical. A certification entails a scientific analysis of the stone. It also serves as a “proof of authenticity” of sorts and it accurately reflects information about the stone, enabling the buyer to determine its true value.

Diamond certificates are issued by third-party organizations such as the Gemological Institute of America or GIA. GIA certificates are widely regarded as the best in the industry.

Certificates typically include a diamond map as well. Diamond mapping is the process of documenting the flaws on the diamond. Inclusions are interior flaws such as cracks, bubbles or mineral deposits, whereas blemishes are exterior flaws like scratches and chips. All of these flaws are “mapped” and documented, creating a one-of-a-kind fingerprint for the gemstone.

Some diamonds are also identified via a tiny laser inscription that's engraved around the girdle.
The more detailed the certificate, the more valuable and useful it is to the consumer. Notably, GIA certifications are issued while the diamond is loose; this is considered to be more accurate since the setting can be used to hide flaws.

Diamond certificates include an array of information on the diamond, such as:
  • Laser inscription number;
  • Diamond cut shape and style;
  • Dimensions and carat weight;
  • Colour grade;
  • Clarity grade and characteristics;
  • Cut grade; and
  • Symmetry, polish and fluorescence.

Certification is important for insurance purposes as well, since it includes the diamond's grading information and a map of any and all flaws, both of which serve as proof of the stone's value. This information can also be used to identify a stone in the event that it's stolen or switched – a practice that occurs among dishonest jewelers who switch a diamond with another stone of lesser value.

In short, without a diamond certificate, you don't know what you're purchasing. You're left to take the seller's word on the diamond's quality and authenticity – not a wise decision, since the seller has a vested interest and many are deceptive in an attempt to command a higher price for their stones.

In addition, GIA certification is essential for individuals who are purchasing natural coloured diamonds. While it's virtually impossible to pass off another type of gemstone as a colourless or “white” diamond, coloured diamonds are another story entirely. To the untrained eye, there are many, many gemstones that are similar in appearance to a coloured diamond and there are unscrupulous sellers who may try to pass off a gemstone as a coloured diamond.

What's more, a GIA certificate will also provide you with assurance that you're purchasing a natural stone versus a lab-grown stone, which is less valuable since it's man-made and created on-demand.
Notably, GIA certificates are not issued for low-quality diamonds with surface cracks that have been filled in to create the appearance of a higher quality stone. Therefore, by purchasing a diamond with a GIA certificate, you can effectively avoid low-quality stones.

1 comment:

  1. These are some important reminders about the need for third-party certification of diamonds; it's really the best way to be sure of your investment. Thanks for this detailed overview of the aspects that are covered in the certification process. Reading your blog has given me more knowledge and thus the ability to ask better questions as a consumer and investor.