Many people have heard of certified diamonds, but not all consumers are sure what this term exactly means. And a lot of people don’t know how uncertified diamonds are different from those that come with a certificate. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between certified and noncertified diamonds.
What Are Certified Diamonds?
Certified diamonds are stones whose quality characteristics have been evaluated by a gemstone grading lab.
The results of the assessment are recorded in a grading report, which is what most people call a “diamond certificate.”
So, when a diamond is referred to as certified, this simply means that its quality has been examined and verified by an expert third-party (which is different from the vendor selling the stone).
What Information Is Included in a Diamond Certificate?
Diamond certificates include information about the quality characteristics that are deemed most important for a loose diamond. At the very least, a grading report contains information on the so-called 4 C’s: color, clarity, cut, and carat.
Each of these four characteristics is assigned a grade, which in turn affects the price of the stone.
Grading reports also often contain information about the symmetry of the diamond’s facets, how well polished the stone is, whether the diamond exhibits fluorescence under UV light, etc.
Usually, the certificate also includes a diagram illustrating the most important proportions of the stone.
What Are Uncertified Diamonds?
Noncertified diamonds are simply stones that do not come with a grading report. These diamonds have been cut and polished, but for some reason, the seller has decided not to have their quality graded by a third party.
The reasons for not having a diamond certified can be many.
For example, the seller might not want to pay a fee for having the stone graded.
This is often the case with low-quality diamonds whose inferiority is obvious – for such stones, a certificate would not help them sell better anyway.
What Is the Difference Between Certified and Uncertified Diamonds?
Uncertified diamonds are not necessarily of lower quality compared with certified ones.
In fact, not having a certificate doesn’t tell you anything about a stone’s quality – the lack of such a document just tells you that there is no verified information about the diamond’s characteristics.
Because their exact quality is unknown, uncertified diamonds are riskier to purchase compared with certified stones: You simply don’t know whether the price asked for a noncertified stone is fair relative to its quality.
The price tag might sometimes seem low, but it might turn out that diamonds of the same quality grade have a market price that is even lower.
Certified diamonds, on the other hand, are a much safer bet. While a certificate does not guarantee high quality, it assures that it is what the seller claims it to be.
In a sense, a grading report serves as a seal of approval by a third-party expert and provides you with a quality evaluation that is more precise than what your own assessment is likely to be.
(Even expert diamond graders need a microscope and other tools to establish exact quality grades for cut, color, and clarity.)
Should You Buy Certified or Noncertified Diamonds?
Unless you have a lot of experience in diamond grading and feel confident that you can establish correctly the quality of a stone, it is recommended that you always buy diamonds that come with a grading report.
This will ensure that the vendor does not misrepresent the quality of the stone.
Moreover, the information in such a certificate would allow you to look up the prices of other diamonds with the same characteristics and check if the price asked is too high compared with market prices.
It is very important for the certificate to be issued by a reputable third-party organization that is independent of the seller. Look for reports issued by the G.I.A., E.G.L., A.G.S., I.G.I., or C.I.B.J.O.
Further reading: Read more about the difference between certified, uncertified and self-certified diamonds, diamond certification, and certified diamonds vs. non-certified diamonds.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.