Diamond Grading Certificates
Diamond grading reports are surprisingly subjective, despite the regimented, standardized system of grading that's been in place for many years. Unfortunately, some people in the diamond business know that small differences in a diamond's grade can make a big difference in a diamond's price. The ability to buy diamonds online has made the temptation even worse since the online shopper relies almost entirely on the grading report to make a buying decision.
Case in point: two diamonds, which seem identical in the virtual world, have two very different prices (see below).
Know The Difference
These diamond certifications come from a reputable online dealer. On paper, they certainly appear to be the same in size, cut, color & clarity. Yet, the price difference is $1,300 – a 15% difference. Why? That's an excellent question, one that no one can really answer without seeing the stones.
The only way to truly know and understand what you are buying is to shop with a knowledgeable jeweler. We provide expertise, working with you one-on-one to help you make the best choice possible. We are passionate about what we do, whether it's helping you choose a ring on the spot, or working with you to design & create your heart's desire. Because getting engaged is more than finding a ring, it's about finding the perfect one.
We're confident you'll agree that when it comes to love and engagement rings, there's nothing like the real thing!
About Diamond Grading Labs
All diamond grading labs are not equal. Most smaller gem labs are extensions of local jewelry stores, created solely for the purpose of raising the image of the store's inventory. But such labs are hardly unbiased and the certificates are rarely accurate. To make it simple, if you want an honest assessment of a diamond's true quality, avoid any lab that is not one of those listed below:
GIA -- Gemological Institute of America
The most widely respected laboratory in the world today. Certs from this lab are in such demand that diamonds with a GIA cert are often priced 30-50% higher. This premium is also due to the fact that the diamond is truly the stated quality, since GIA is known for its conservative grading. All labs can make a mistake, but GIA labs have been the most consistent for decades.
AGS -- American Gemological Society
This was the only large, nationally respected lab that assigns a grade to the overall cut of a diamond. Now they all give cut grades, using varying criteria for each grade. More on that in my future blog, or the upcoming new website. Certs from AGS are often used for all Ideal Cuts, and describe all the details of the cut to verify perfect proportions. If you want a perfect cut above anything else, you should insist on an AGS cert.
EGL-USA -- European Gemological Laboratories
Several related labs around the world operate under this network. Please focus on certs from the EGL-USA network of labs. EGL certs from other labs around the world are NOT as reliable yet. The grades at the non-USA labs are not as reliable, and that reflects on the value of the diamond. EGL-USA labs are consistent in our opinion.
AGL -- American Gemological Laboratory
This lab is best known for its work in the colored stone industry, working to provide expert assessments of gemstone identification, treatments, and enhancements. The diamond certs have recently gained a reputation as consistent and conservative.
IGI -- International Gemological Institute
This lab is working to improve its reputation and grading standards, but it will take some time to convince us that the bugs are worked out. They tend to grade diamond higher than GIA, AGS, and EGL-USA.
Note About Other Labs
Other labs may be highly qualified and offer excellent information. However, other labs do not enjoy the same reputation and popularity as those listed above, and therefore will not command as much value if you ever need to sell the diamond. In the worst scenario -- and a very common one -- other labs will not grade the diamond properly and you are not receiving the actual quality of diamond you want. In most cases, you will end up paying too much for a diamond of lesser quality with certificates from other labs.