Updated: Aug 4
Why is it important to look for jewelry with certificates?
A certificate, is a written evaluation of the quality of a diamond from an outside source, and evaluated with an unbiased opinion. This is important because a seller, can evaluate a diamond incorrectly for two reasons. The first, because he will be biased to evaluate it favorably, and second because he doesn’t have the same testing and lab equipment to make a thorough and accurate evaluation. Learning how to read a diamond certificate prior to a purchase can ensure you are in full awareness of what exactly you are purchasing.
Does it matter which gemological institute issued the certificate?
Yes. The certificate industry has no governing body and anyone can write certificates. You and I can start a new company and write certificates. You can have the same diamond with two different certificates and the evaluations and grades given to the same diamond can vary drastically. As much as you want a good diamond, a certificate with positive ratings on the diamond, that isn’t accurate to the diamond can result in a cost that is more than the worth of the diamond, and therefore a reputable gemological certificate is highly important.
How does having a certificate affect me personally after the purchase?
You have thoroughly read your jewelry certificate, and have gathered enough information about your diamond, the market value and all other sorts of information to go through with the purchase. After the purchase, one of the purposes of the certificate has to do with insurance. An insurance company will reimburse you for a lost or stolen piece of jewelry, according to what they think the worth of the diamond is. Not how much you spent. You may have a certificate, but the insurance company has full right to say “I don’t trust the evaluations done by this gemological institute’ and can than take away grades from the stone to reimburse you at a price drastically less than what you paid for. But insurance agencies all trust the evaluations of one institute and will not question grades from GIA.
What is the best gemological certificate?
The undisputed, most accurate and trustworthy certificates are from GIA. They have founded the 4C’s system for accessible information for all who wish to be a knowledgeable customer. The Gemological Institute of America are the first institute to evaluate diamonds, and as they are an independent business from diamond buyers, traders and sellers, they remain completely unbiased. GIA, works worldwide and its diamond evaluations are accepted as a gold standard across the globe. An additional benefit of buying a stone with GIA, is they offer laser inscription on the girdle of the diamond. All certificates numerically identify the diamond, but only a professional can recognize if the certificate is applicable to that stone. GIA offers numerical laser inscription on the side of the diamond, so anyone can get a loupe and read the numbers to ensure they match the certificate. There are two reasons why this is helpful. The first one is for the consumer, especially if shopping online, as an added protection, and ensuring you are receiving what you purchased. The second is for insurance companies. If your diamond is marked with its numerical code, it makes it easy to trace your diamond if it was stolen and sold, because a warning will be put out with your diamond number and all buyers will be looking at the numerical code. Second of all, the insurance companies cannot debate about whether your diamond matches the evaluation on the certification.
International Gemological Institute, is another gemological grading company. Their certificates are pretty common because it is cheaper to get a certificate from IGI than GIA. A lot of stones have IGI, and although they aren’t bad certificates, they are slightly less accurate than GIA. But some insurance companies will accept an evaluation from IGI. A positive of IGI, is that they are the first institute to evaluate lab grown diamonds and they are trusted in their evaluations for lab grown diamonds. Most lab grown diamonds that you will come across will have an IGI certificate. So, for natural diamonds, is it a bad certificate? No. Just not as accurate as GIA.
European Gemological Laboratories certificates are less trusted than GIA and even IGI. They are known to evaluate a diamond favorably and will add grades to the diamond that GIA would not. This means, they are rating a diamond highly which increases the price of the stone, when there is no foundation for how highly rated the diamond is, and you are paying more than you should for a diamond of a certain quality. We do not recommend basing your purchase and investment from an EGL certificate.
There are thousands of other gemological institutes, because as written previously, anyone can issue certificates. We recommend only purchasing with certificates that are well known, as to protect your investment as much as possible. We recommend to learn as much as you can about diamonds, its value and gradings prior to making a purchase, and the best way to learn the ins and outs of diamonds is in person, check out this tour of the worlds largest diamond exchange, to learn all there is to know about diamonds.