One of the services offered by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is diamond certification. Certifying a diamond involves grading its quality and issuing a report containing the findings of the assessment. Let’s see how can you have your diamond certified and find out if it is actually worth it to do so.
How Does the GIA Certification Process Work?
In order to have your diamond certified by the GIA, you will need to send it to the Institute’s laboratory. To do so, it is recommended that you use a reliable courier service and have your stone insured beforehand.
After your diamond is received by the GIA, trained gemologists will examine the stone’s most important quality characteristics and assign a grade to each of them.
For example, a diamond’s clarity is graded by looking at the stone under 10x magnification to determine the number, visibility, and position of any detectable flaws that may be present in the diamond.
The proportions of your diamond will also be measured, and depending on how close they are to the so-called “ideal diamond proportions,” the stone’s cut will be assigned a quality grade, ranging from Excellent/Ideal to Poor.
(This is mostly true for round diamonds; most other diamond cuts do not have such precise proportion benchmarks.)
Your diamond’s proportions and cut grade are some of its most important features, as they determine how much light the stone will return to the eye of an observer and how brilliant the diamond will look.
What If Your Diamond Is Not Loose but Is Mounted in a Setting?
One thing to remember is that the GIA grades only loose stones.
This means that if your diamond is set in a ring or another piece of jewelry, the stone will have to be taken out before you send it for grading.
We recommend that you do not attempt to remove the diamond yourself as you may damage the setting or the stone. It is best if you have a jeweler take off the diamond for you.
What Information Does a GIA Grading Report Include?
A diamond certificate issued by the GIA contains grades indicating the quality of the stone’s color, clarity, and cut, as well as the weight of the diamond in carats (1 carat = 200 milligrams).
These four most important quality characteristics, also referred to as “the 4 Cs”, are what diamond buyers are most interested in when reading a grading report.
A GIA grading report also contains information about how well polished the diamond’s surface is, how symmetrical the stone’s facets are, and whether the diamond exhibits fluorescence when exposed to UV light.
Diamond certificates also usually include diagrams that show the most important proportions of the stone and the locations of its visible flaws (inclusions).
Why Should You Have Your Diamond Certified?
So what are the benefits of having your diamonds certified?
First of all, a certificate issued by a reputable, independent gem lab provides reliable information about the most important quality characteristics of a diamond.
In addition, the document also serves as an assurance that this assessment is not only unbiased but also reasonably precise, as certification authorities such as the GIA employ highly qualified gemologists, who have sophisticated equipment at their disposal.
The information in a diamond’s certificate can also help you to establish the stone’s value.
Although such a document issued by the GIA does not list how much a diamond is worth, the grades assigned to its color, clarity, and cut can be used to infer a reasonable value range based on how much similar diamonds sell for.
A GIA certificate can also make the identification of your diamond easier.
Every grading report issued by the Institute bears a unique number that identifies the diamond described in the document, and you can elect to have this identifier inscribed on the girdle of your stone with laser.
If you ever need to verify that you have the right diamond, you can always check its microscopic laser inscription (if it has one) and see if it matches the number in the stone’s report.
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.
Another reputable retailer is Blue Nile, but since it doesn't show real pictures of its diamonds, we usually recommend James Allen if you prefer to see what you're buying.