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Until you started shopping for diamond rings, you probably lived a completely happy and satisfying life without even knowing the terms “round brilliant,” “D colour” and “inclusions.” Now, though, you may feel the pressure of a whole new world with an unfamiliar vocabulary and high expectations.

You don’t want to make a mistake, clearly. First and foremost is your desire to choose a ring that will make your beloved feel cherished and loved. But you also want to buy a ring that will stand the test of time and hold its value.

This is where diamond ring certification comes into play. While it’s possible to buy diamonds that don’t have any kind of certification, you may not want to take such a risk. In this blog post, we’ll take a close look at diamond ring certification and how it can help you as you make decisions about buying a ring.

 

What Are Diamond Ring Certifications?

Simply put, diamond certification is a certificate from an independent, third-party laboratory that confirms a diamond’s specifications (like colour, cut, clarity and carat). When you’re making such a significant purchase, it just makes sense to get an outside verification on the quality of the diamond, especially if you’re unfamiliar with jewellery yourself.

Today, the most valuable test a laboratory can test for is whether the stone is natural or synthetic. 

What else is included in a diamond ring certification?

  • The standard of finish (polish, symmetry, girdle width)
  • Shape and dimensions of the stone 

Some labs refuse to certify diamonds that have been enhanced. What does this mean?

Enhanced diamonds are lower grade diamonds that have been treated to appear higher quality by improving colour and/or clarity. Some of the treatments include laser drilling to remove inclusions, fracture filling to hide internal cracks, and colour treatment to change its natural colour. Diamond sellers have an obligation to tell you whether or not a diamond has been enhanced, but this information should be readily available on the diamond certification paperwork as well.

Keep in mind that the diamond certification is an important document. You should keep it in a safe place in case you ever need to appraise, insure or sell the stone.

 

Should Your Diamond Be Certified?

Most experts recommend that any diamond ring over 50pts (0.50 carat) should have a certificate. It’s important to remember that while cut and carat are easily quantifiable categories, colour and clarity are more subjective. Nonetheless, we recommend that you buy a diamond ring that has been certified by an independent, third-party laboratory. 

Don’t confuse a valuation with a diamond grading certificate. A grading certificate should never display a value.

 

What a Diamond Ring Certification Does Not Include

While diamond ring certifications are extremely helpful to people looking for a quality diamond ring, it’s important to know what kind of information is not included on a diamond certificate: 

  • The diamond’s origin (if you’re looking for conflict-free diamonds, you’ll need to find this information elsewhere).
  • Market value (this information will come from an appraisal or from your annual revaluation provided by your insurer like Q Report).

 

Diamond Ring Certification Protects Both You and the Jeweller

Unless you’re a very skilled and experienced gemmologist, you’re not likely to be able to examine a diamond in a showroom and know whether or not the stone is worth the asking price. That’s where diamond certification comes in. The fact that the certification comes from a third-party laboratory means that you can trust the information given to you on the certificate.

Likewise, the jeweller has a third party backing up claims about the diamond’s quality. Certification is a win-win for customers and jewellers seeking the best products for fair prices.

 

Most Popular Grading Laboratories

Who are these third parties that grade diamonds? Do they all use the same standards and scales? Are some of them more reliable than others? 

We’re glad you asked. Although this may seem like trivial information, you can make a more informed decision by understanding a bit more about popular grading laboratories.

 

GIA (Gemological Institute of America)

GIA is arguably the most respected diamond grading laboratory in the world because of its consistency. With no financial stake in the sale of the diamonds it grades, GIA provides buyers peace of mind. As mentioned earlier, clarity and colour are somewhat subjective, but GIA grades these categories rigorously, making it less likely that you’ll be taken advantage of by a seller. 

A GIA certification will include the following items:

  • Evaluation Date
  • Measurements
  • Cut style and diamond shape
  • Carat weight
  • Table & Depth
  • Culet size
  • Symmetry
  • Diagram of proportions
  • Polish grade and girdle thickness
  • Cut and colour grades
  • Clarity grade
  • Diamond plot showing inclusions and other blemishes
  • Fluorescence grade
  • Laser inscription
  • Security features, if applicable

 

AGS (American Gem Society)

AGS was the first laboratory to provide diamond cut grades. GIA also adopted the AGS standards for diamond cuts, and today there’s little difference between these two labs. AGS grades colour and clarity slightly looser than GIA, but it’s a reliable lab, and diamond buyers can confidently trust an AGS diamond certification.

 

IGI (International Gemological Institute)

The IGI started out as a blue-collar workhorse in the diamond industry, providing a huge amount of diamond certifications for the major jewellery chains in the United States and Canada. This lab works fast and its prices are very reasonable, but their grading is sometimes thought of as less consistent and more relaxed than the grading that comes out of GIA and AGS.

 

HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant)

Based in Europe, HRD was established in 1973 as the European counterpart to the GIA. “Hoge Raad voor Diamant” translates to “High Diamond Council” in English. This lab uses similar grading standards, but like the EGL and IGI, it can be less strict in its evaluations of clarity and colour.

 

GSL (Gem Studies Laboratory)

The GSL is a Sydney-based laboratory, which is endorsed by the Gemmological Association of Australia. It began operations over 20 years ago and has grown to become one of the best-known independent grading laboratories in Australia.

 

DCLA (Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia)

The DCLA is Australia’s foremost International Diamond Council (IDC) standard Diamond Grading Laboratory, and offer a suite of services including certification, valuation, testing, verification, salvage assessment and inscription.

 

Moving Forward with Your Search for a Diamond Ring

Armed with this information about diamond ring certifications, you’re ready to ask some great questions as you shop for a diamond ring. Before you get too attached to a particular loose stone or diamond ring that is already set, ask to see the certificate. You might be surprised to learn that diamond shopping is more interesting than you’d anticipated. With a little more knowledge, you might find yourself becoming a connoisseur of sorts.

Visit a Q Report Certified Jeweller to learn more, and when you find the perfect ring, insure it before you ever take it out of the store. For more information, or to get an instant online insurance quote, get in touch with us at Q Report.

 

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Helpful resources

Diamond Setting Fact Sheet

The Complete Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring Shopping Checklist

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