Diamond Certificates Explained
When searching for diamonds for a loved one, consumers should be aware of the following parameters about the numerous so called diamond certificates available.
Having industry insight, knowledge and experience, we can authenticate the following detail.
GIA – Is the foremost authority in diamond grading and the industry leader. Our experience shows that if you wish to purchase any diamond over £20,000 you should ideally be looking for a GIA certified diamond. Most expensive diamonds sold at auction houses like Christies and Sotheby’s are offered ONLY with this certificate. This is a fair barometer of its authority in gemmological terms.
HRD and IGI – Are both based in Antwerp.In our opinion, a diamond with this certificate can be used for purchases between £2,000-£20,000.
AGS - A fairly well recognised lab predominant in the USA but hardly available in the UK.
Gubelin, GRS and SSEF – based in Switzerland, are the main authority on grading important coloured gemstones and natural pearls.
In essence, if possible, look firstly for GIA, then HRD orIGI certified diamonds. Avoid purchase of any other certified or non-certified solitaire (over one carat) diamond if you can help it, especially if spending a substantial amount of money which you can ill afford to loose.
Besides the above three, there are 100's of worldwide gem labs offering diamonds with their own "independent" certification. Predominant in the UK are the AGI, EGL, GIE, IDL, and IGL(with new ones introduced all the time) and some retailers offer their own so called certificates. Generally, these labs are NOT recognised by trade experts and prices can differ to the extent of double the actual value. For example, a 1ct GIA certified F colour VS2 clarity diamond may be selling at a retailer for £8000 and a 1ct FVS2 diamond could be offered on another "so called" certificate for £4000. Actually, this diamond would be of a H-J colour and SI1 or lower clarity on the GIA grading scale. To the untrained consumer eye, they may look similar until the time comes to sell the diamond, if need be. In our opinion, if your budget is £4000, buy a 1ct H colour SI1 diamond certified by the GIA rather than the same diamond shown as FVS2 1ct by a generic lab for £4000. A properly certified diamond (by the GIA) should either go up in value over a very long period of time or remain relatively stable, whereas other diamonds certified by generic labs may generally loose up to 70% of its value. An "independent" certificate does not mean anything unless it truly shows the colour and clarity of the diamond offered on a GIA grading scale. We strongly recommend NOT to purchase solitaire diamonds certified by other labs except for GIA, HRD or IGI. For such an important purchase, use a trusted jeweller for proper advice and direction. Finally, try and VIEW the diamond before you commit to buy and pay for it...
Check out our Diamond Industry Insight blogs to for further information.
Here are some external links that you find useful in understanding certification and trust better.