Certified Diamonds vs. Non-Certified Diamonds
January 22, 2009 by Yelena Jenkins
Last week we shared a little about the 4 Cs of diamonds, and how each C (cut, color, clarity and carat) affects the value and appearance of a diamond. This week we’ll tackle another popular diamond related question: what’s the difference between a certified diamond and a non-certified diamond? Though the question seems simple, most people would get the wrong answer. People tend to automatically assume that a certified diamond is worth more than a non-certified diamond. This assumption, however, is false. So then, what is the difference between a certified and non-certified diamond? Potentially nothing. Allow us to explain…
A diamond that comes with a grading report from a reputable laboratory is considered certified. The most common grading labs are GIA, AGS and EGL, which stand for the Gemological Institute of America, the American Gem Society and the European Gemological Laboratory. GIA and AGS graded diamonds are measured according to strict standards, while the EGL certification are sometimes considered more lax (meaning that they might tend to grade a diamond higher on the 4 C‘s than the GIA or AGS would, though this isn‘t always the case). The AGS diamond certifications are usually only done on near-perfectly cut diamonds. The majority of certified diamonds in the U.S. are graded by the GIA.
During certification a diamond is measured against the color scale, the amount of flaws (inclusions) are carefully analyzed and noted, the diamond is weighed to verify the carat, and the cut is measured based on the proportions, the symmetry and how ideal the cut is. Once a diamond is graded it receives a certificate that explicitly explains each of the gradings – voila! You now have a certified diamond.
Technically speaking, an uncertified diamond is exactly the same as a certified diamond, except that it’s lacking the piece of paper with grading information. A non-certified diamond is not necessarily better or worse than a certified one; the only difference is that the non-certified diamond’s grading is not fully known. Additionally, any uncertified diamond can get certified by sending it to the GIA, EGL or AGS.
The Cost of Certified, Graded Diamonds v. Uncertified, Non-Graded Diamonds
Surprisingly, there isn’t always a price difference between certified and non-certified diamonds. This is because GIA only grades the stone’s quality, it does not appraise the diamond. Only a reputable jeweler can appraise a diamond for you, but you can do research online to find out what a diamond in the quality range you are looking for can cost.
Though there shouldn’t be a price difference between certified and uncertified diamonds, sometimes a GIA certified diamond will sell for more than an uncertified one simply because the certificate helps consumers verify the quality they are paying for. GIA certification (as well as EGL and AGS certification) can also be used with insurance agencies to take out a policy to protect your diamond from loss or theft. Non-certified diamonds must first be certified before they can be insured, as the certificate lists all the unique characteristics of a diamond and acts like a diamond’s “birth certificate”, making it easily identifiable if lost or stolen.
Apples of Gold offers all GIA graded diamond types (like the one pictured above), from the 1/3 carat size up to a full 2.00 carats in any color and quality by request, even if the stone isn’t listed on our site. Simply contact us and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect GIA certified diamond for your engagement ring, earrings or diamond necklace.
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