You’ve probably heard Juliet’s famous line, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But does the same apply to diamonds? Let’s say the diamond you’re looking at comes with some papers that say it is a G/VS2 quality stone. Isn’t that good enough? Well, it depends. As you’ve looked for your perfect engagement diamond, you’ve no doubt seen dozens of gem labs that issue diamond certification. But, are all gem labs made equal? The answer is a resounding NO.
Below, you’ll learn about:
What Diamond Certification is
Why Diamond Certification is important
If Diamond Certification affects value
Who issues Diamond Certifications
If all Diamond Certifications are equal
3 reasons you really want a Diamond Certification
Note!! This post is about diamond certification for Natural Diamonds. Have questions about Lab Diamond Certification? Check out our upcoming post on Lab Diamonds!
What is Diamond Certification?
An independent, scientific analysis of your diamond’s quality.
Appraisals and jeweler-written documents are not certifications!
Diamond certification is a process where an independent gem lab (one that’s not in cahoots with the jeweler!) tests and assesses the quality of a diamond. Then, the lab issues a written report about the diamond. Each report, or “certificate,” has its own number which is kept on file at the gem lab and a copy is sent back with the diamond. Also, many certified diamonds include a microscopic laser inscription of their certification number on the outer edge of the diamond (its “girdle”). This is helpful if a diamond certificate is ever lost or stolen.
MOST DIAMOND CERTIFICATES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING GRADING CATEGORIES:
Natural or Lab Created Status
Some diamond certificates will include a diamond “plot.” A plot is a drawing of the internal marks (or “inclusions”) of the diamond. In other words, this is your diamond’s fingerprint! Others do not include plots, to save time. In addition, certain gem labs include their opinion of the diamond’s value. Other labs refuse to value the diamonds they test, preferring to keep their reports impartial.
Pro Tip! Appraisals and other documents written by a jeweler are NOT diamond certificates. Most jewelers and appraisers do not have access to the testing equipment gem labs have. So, appraisals, or the word of your jeweler, cannot take the place of a diamond certification.
Why is Diamond Certification important?
Diamond certifications are important for three big reasons. Firstly, a diamond certification proves the stone has been tested and has been confirmed natural. Secondly, credible diamond certifications (more on that below) prove diamond quality. Thirdly, diamond certifications help to put a diamond buyer and a diamond seller on equal ground.
DIAMOND CERTIFICATION PROVES IT’S NATURAL
Gem labs have access to a bunch of testing equipment that jewelers and appraisers do not. For example, while most appraisers have common tools, they typically do not have a way of testing for lab created diamonds or diamond treatments. So, a diamond certification proves the stone you’re buying is natural and not lab made.
DIAMOND CERTIFICATION PROVES QUALITY
Diamond certifications are important as they are unbiased opinions of diamond quality. Grading between different jewelers and appraisers varies wildly. In comparison, gem labs have consistent diamond grading techniques. In other words, reports generated by jewelers and appraisers do not have the accuracy or trustworthiness of diamond certifications.
As we discuss in more detail below, some gem labs are more strict than others in these guidelines. The best diamond certifications, those we call “credible” diamond certifications, honestly and accurately describe the quality of your diamond. So, a credible diamond certificate is the best way to get what you pay for.
DIAMOND CERTIFICATION LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD
Diamond certification also helps diamond buyers and sellers compare diamonds. It is important, therefore, that the diamond certificate you choose is credible. It is a diamond expert’s job to know the “ins and outs” of diamond quality. On the other hand, most diamond buyers are new to diamond grading. So, customers use diamond certificates to level the playing field. As small differences in diamond grading can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ difference, the credibility of a diamond’s certification is huge.
Hot tip! In addition to helping you choose a beautiful diamond for your engagement, making sure you choose a credible diamond certification will help you later if you and your partner ever choose to upgrade your diamond for a special anniversary, or gift it to your children. A credible diamond certificate lets others know exactly what they’re getting!
Is a diamond without certification fake?
Not all diamonds come with certificates. So, just because a diamond does not have a certificate, does not mean that it is fake. On the other hand, a diamond certificate does prove that a diamond is natural!
Is a diamond without a certification worth less?
In theory, no, in real life, yes. Remember, a diamond certificate cannot magically change the quality of your stone. So, a diamond certificate, in theory, shouldn’t change the value of a stone. But, in real life, where we live, not having a diamond certificate can hurt you.
Without certification, there is no unbiased proof of the quality of your diamond. This makes your stone difficult to resell, loan against, or replace in case of loss. As a result, buyers, investors, and insurers do not value diamonds without certifications as highly. A diamond engagement ring is one of the most expensive, emotional purchases you’ll make in your life. Choosing a stone with a diamond certificate protects your investment!
Are all Diamond Certifications the same?
Not all Diamond Certifications are trustworthy.
Only labs that grade diamonds strictly protect your investment.
Ah, the $64,000 question! No! Diamond certification is a business. And, like all businesses, there are ones you can trust, and ones that just take your money. Diamond certification is not a regulated industry. In other words, there are no laws governing who can be a gem lab, who can write diamond certifications, how diamonds need to be tested, or what acceptable variations in grading quality are.
VALUES ON DIAMOND CERTIFICATES
Don’t trust a certificate that lists a diamond’s value – that’s a red flag!
The most credible diamond labs use strict guidelines to assess and grade your diamond. In other words, the only thing credible labs do is scientifically test and grade your stone. They do not put a value on your diamond. So, beware of certifications which list a value. These values are always inflated to trick you into thinking you are getting “a steal” at the retail price. But, they are not worth the amount of money listed on the certificate!
Labs that include values on their certificates often also “upgrade” diamonds. In other words, they give diamonds a higher quality grade than the stones actually deserve. Certification cannot magically make your stone a higher quality. Upgraded certificates, therefore, are not credible. As we discussed above, one of the big reasons you should choose a certified diamond is to protect your investment. Choosing a reliable, credible diamond certificate is the best way to ensure the value of your diamond.