You may be wondering what the difference is between certified diamonds and diamonds that do not come with a certification. Here are the top 10 facts to know about certified diamonds and why diamond certifications are so important when shopping for diamonds and diamond studded jewelry:
- A diamond certification is likened to a diamond’s passport. It lists the diamond’s various qualities, including the diamond’s 4 C’s (its clarity, cut and color grades, as well as its carat weight), any internal inclusions and external blemishes the diamond may possess, whether the diamond had undergone any clarity or color enhancement treatments, etc.
- A diamond certification is issued by licensed gemologist labs, the most well-renowned being the AGS (American Gem Society) and the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). These gemological labs are known for their expertise in all things concerning diamonds and precious gemstones.
- A diamond certificate not only ensures the quality of a diamond or precious gemstone, it also guarantees the gemstone’s authenticity, discerning whether the diamond was naturally formed or whether it was synthetically made. Generally speaking, diamonds which were naturally formed are worth more than synthetic or artificial diamonds as natural diamonds are increasingly rarer, and thus considered to be more valuable than synthetically formed diamonds.
- Diamond vendors and retailers will not trade in gemstones that lack a proper certificate of authentication as there is no way to determine whether the diamond or precious gemstone is truly authentic.
- Since a diamond certificate of authentication is practically the best way of guaranteeing the authenticity of your selected diamond, it is highly recommended that you avoid diamonds and diamond studded jewelry that lacks an approved certificate.
- If the diamond is under a certain carat weight, if it is relatively small in size, it may not come with an approved certificate of authentication as gemological labs will not bother certifying said diamonds.
- A diamond certificate may tell you the quality and authenticity of a diamond or precious gemstone, but it will not list the diamond’s value. Although it is true that a diamond’s value is determined by the diamond’s 4 C’s, it is also influenced by a number of additional factors, such as market fluctuations, changes in diamond trends and popularity, etc.
- A diamond appraisal cannot replace an AGS or GIA approved certificate of authentication. A diamond appraisal is designed to give you a rough estimate of the gemstone’s value and an appraiser will be able to verify the authentication of a diamond, but his testimony is not as binding as a proper certificate of authentication.
- If your diamond or diamond jewelry lacks proper certification you may encounter difficulty when trying to sell your diamond as diamonds that are not certified are considered to be suspicious and will most likely not be traded.
- An insurance company may refuse insuring a diamond that lacks the proper certificate of authentication.
The 4 C's of Diamonds
In the world of gemstones and diamonds, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the 4 C’s – Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight. However, the common man does not have the time to research everything about diamonds. Below is a short explanation of what each of the 4 C’s are and what the most important things to know about them are.
The Cut of a diamond refers to its shape. There are somewhere between 10 and 30 different ways to cut a diamond. Only 10 are in use today and the remained typically have to be specially requested by a jeweler or found in an antique store in vintage jewelry, such as engagement rings and wedding rings. The most common diamond cut is the round brilliant diamond, which is the well-known pentagon-shaped diamond that is circular when looked at from the top.
The cut of a diamond can affect price as the more a diamond flashes, the higher its price will be. Another important thing to know about the cut of a diamond is that it often is the most obvious marker of the level of competency of the cutter as a more experienced cutter and polisher will be able to remove less of the stone and still create a gemstone that catches the eye immediately
The Clarity of a diamond refers to the diamond’s purity, but also how easily it can be seen though. This is the most important factor when deciding on a diamond’s price because it takes any inclusions, or flaws, in to account. The inclusions are usually invisible to the naked eye, but generally are clouded areas that prevent the examiner from being able to see through the diamond. 99% of all diamonds have some inclusions in them, so while they affect the final price and grade of the diamond, the majority of them do not have much influence on the price unless they can be seen easily.
Color refers to the degree of coloration inside of a diamond. Generally diamond color is white, although yellow and brown tints are fairly common. Diamond color grades start at D and go to Z. However, any diamond that has a deeper color than Z is called “Fancy Colored” and has a different grading scale. The color only affects the diamond price in that those which have a deep color or no color at all are considered to be much rarer and carry a higher price.
The Carat weight refers to the actual weight of a diamond. A heavier diamond generally is more valuable unless a smaller stone was cut and polished by a more experienced cutter. Generally, diamonds are not larger than 1 carat. Anything larger is usually sold in private auctions or in the possession of royalty.