It is important for a diamond to be certified since an independent appraisal can verify the stone’s quality. But has it occurred to you that the accuracy of a diamond certificate can be affected by whether the stone was graded in the mounting as opposed to being appraised loose?
What Does “Graded in the Mounting” Mean?
“Graded in the mounting” is a term you can sometimes see on diamond certificates or jewelry appraisals.
It means that the appraiser did not remove the gemstone from its mounting and the stone was not graded loose.
This phrase serves as a disclaimer, indicating that the grading results may not accurately reflect the quality of the diamond.
When Is Jewelry Graded in the Mounting?
Usually, diamond graders evaluate stones in their mounting unless explicitly instructed to remove them before the grading.
That’s why if you have a diamond that you want to be graded as accurately as possible, you need to either have it removed from the setting beforehand or tell the jeweler to grade the stone loose.
Sometimes, people may prefer not to have their diamonds removed before grading if the accuracy of the appraisal is not that important to them. And sometimes people are afraid that the jeweler may damage the stone while removing it.
The Problem with Stones Graded in the Mounting
The biggest problem with diamonds that are not graded loose is that the mounting can hide a good portion of the stone and distort the evaluation results.
For one thing, the ring’s setting can hide some of the inclusions, flaws or chips the diamond has. As a result, the clarity grade of the stone would be inflated.
If the mounting is colored, its reflections in the stone may tint the diamond, resulting in an inaccurate appraisal of its color.
For example, if your stone is set in yellow gold, it can make the diamond look more yellow that it actually is, possibly bringing down its color grade.
Another problem is that it is hard to establish the exact carat weight of a diamond unless it is graded loose. When the stone is in the mounting, the grader has to rely on partial measurements to calculate the weight of the entire stone, and this process is not 100% accurate.
Why It Is Better to Grade Diamonds Loose
Since grading a diamond while it is not loose can result in an inaccurate appraisal, the claimed quality of a stone labeled “graded in the mounting” has diminished credibility.
This may be a problem if you want to sell your diamond as you may not be able to get the best price for it.
Because of the risk that your stone may turn out to be of lower quality, a possible buyer may offer you a heavily discounted price or even refuse to buy the diamond. And if your stone’s quality is actually fine, you won’t be able to get the right price for it.
Should You Buy Diamonds That Are Not Graded Loose?
It is one thing if you don’t want your stones removed just to have them appraised after you’ve bought them – this is your personal choice. But what about diamonds that are sold as “graded in the mounting?”
You already know that the quality of stones that are not graded loose may not be correct, so you should be wary of buying them based on their claimed grade.
If it turns out that one or more of their quality characteristics are actually lower, you may end up overpaying by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Next time you are shopping for diamond jewelry, take a closer look at the diamond certificate. If it says “graded in the mounting” and you really want the piece, ask to have the stone graded loose. Otherwise, move on.
If the seller has nothing to hide, there should be no problem to have the diamond graded outside the mounting.
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.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).