When you are buying a diamond, you may think that having to worry about the stone’s certification at the same is a nuisance, but, in fact, diamond certificates can be a very useful way for you to be sure you are getting what you have been told that you are getting! Let us take a look at why diamond certificates exist and under what circumstances, if any, you can be sanguine about not getting a certificate with your diamond.
Why Are Diamonds Certified?
There are two reasons that diamonds are now uniformly certified: one is to protect the diamond trade – if diamonds were suddenly found to be fake or poorer quality than promised, trust in the diamond industry would plummet, putting thousands of traders, jewelers and buyers out of business. Which is, needless to say, a prospect to be avoided at all costs. The second reason for certification is to protect you, the buyer.
Very few laymen can tell a real diamond from a fake one, never mind the quality of a diamond when there are only a few degrees of separation in it. Having a certificate arrive with your diamond allows you to see the diamond grading: cut, color, carat, and clarity at a glance. You can also check your certificate online to make doubly sure that you are getting what you are paying for.
But Do I Need a Certificate?
While getting a certificate is always highly recommended, it is not a legal requirement – and buying stones outside the USA will bring you under the mandate of different diamond certification bodies. In the USA, certificates are usually from GIA or AGS.
Insuring your diamond or reselling it will always be easier with a certification that the insurer or potential buyer can use to check out the diamond before they commit themselves to protecting the stone or purchasing it, respectively.
Having a certificate for your stone will give you peace of mind that your stone is worth the price you paid for it. Certificates will often also let you know if your stone has been enhanced. Enhancing is the diamond equivalent of plastic surgery: laser removal of inclusions or flaws, filling in of cracks and feathering and sometimes, the application of a coating to make the diamond shine even more dramatically.
So, while it is highly recommended that every diamond should have a certificate, there is no reason to assume that there will be a problem with an uncertified diamond. And, in fact, there are a couple of circumstances in which you would not expect to get a certificate with your diamond.
Size Matters: If your diamond is less than half a carat, it is unlikely to have a certificate issued for it. Very good quality small stones may have certificates, but in general, just averagely good stones that are less than half a carat will not.
Age Matters: If your diamond is an older stone, that has been inherited or purchased as a vintage piece, it will most likely not have a certificate with it. This is because there was no system for certification before the advent of GIA in the 1940s, and also because GIA and AGS only certify loose stones. To get an antique diamond ring appraised, the stone would have to be removed from its setting, which can damage the setting and – in worst case scenarios – the diamond itself! There are some companies that offer to certify mounted diamonds without ruining the setting, but these can be a little inaccurate as it is hard to fully examine a diamond that has been set.
If a diamond has a certificate, it should be kept near the diamond (not with it, in case of theft) and sold with it every time it changes hands. While certification is not necessary, it is a system that has been implemented for the good of all: from vendor to buyer – why not take advantage of it?
Photo: Pauline Perrucci Photography