A diamond or a diamond ring is a valuable purchase. But how can you ensure what you are buying is the diamond with your chosen 4Cs?
A diamond certificate is, to put it simply, is its assessment card (grading report). This certificate will assure you about its 4C’s (Cut, Carat, Color, and Clarity) as well as important elements of symmetry, polish, and the origin of your stone (whether it’s a mined or a lab grown diamond). There are several reputed laboratories which are used by retailers for diamond certification. Each of them applies distinct methods and parameters to grade a diamond. It is thus normal to see each of these labs assessing the same diamond differently.
So, why is it important to buy a certified diamond?
Diamond certification helps you verify what it is you’re buying. The diamond certificate will give you a detailed grading report (like a blueprint) that is prepared by trained experts. These gem experts from independent laboratories which do not sell diamonds, nor do they represent the retailer. They are impartial gemologists who go over the different aspects of the diamond to determine its quality characteristics. It is important to note that a diamond grading report isn’t an appraisal.
With a certified diamond, you can safeguard and validate your purchase because you have professional assurance that your stone is authentic and stands up to the quality tests applied by the grading lab.
Diamond certification also helps diamond buyers compare diamonds accurately. It is important, therefore, that the diamond certificate you choose is from one of the credible gem grading laboratories.
Here’s an overview of some of the most reputed diamond grading labs
- IGI Certification
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) is recognized as the world’s largest independent gemological laboratory. The oldest institute of its kind in Antwerp, the IGI was set up in 1975 and along with its sister laboratory in New York, and is well-regarded as one of the leading gemological institutions in the world.
IGI’s expert gemologists use state-of-the-art technology and tools to carefully analyze the most crucial aspects of a diamond – color, cut, clarity, carat weight, symmetry, and finish. The result is a highly detailed and reliable report highlighting a diamond’s quality characteristics.
- GIA Certification
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is credited with creating the Diamond 4Cs and the International Diamond Grading System™ which is widely used to grade diamonds. Through its world-renowned library and experts on the subject, GIA acts as a resource of gem and jewelry information for the trade and the public.
The GIA certification includes an assessment of over 19 parameters including symmetry, culet size, fluorescence grade, cutting style & diamond shape, and girdle thickness. A GIA Diamond Report is one of the most prolific and detailed evaluations of the 4Cs – Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight.
GIA’s report also includes a plotted diagram highlighting the graphical representation of the diamond and its clarity characteristics. All GIA certified diamonds showcase a microscopic laser inscription of the report number on their girdle – which helps in matching and validating the diamond with its certificate.
- AGS Certification
The American Gem Society (AGS) is another leading and respected name in grading gems. It created the first scientifically reviewed and repeatable Cut Grade method in the industry. The AGS grade scale from 0-10 is rather unique where ‘0’ was referred to as most valuable while 10 as least desirable. The Cut Grading system uses computerized modeling to generate a three-dimensional model of the diamond. After that, the AGS rates the performance of the diamond based on contrast, brightness, and dispersion.
The AGS Diamond Quality Report merges two technologies to provide a proportion-based report. The diamond grader also analyzes the proportions of the diamond. These proportions include the culet and girdle, weight ratio, tilt, and durability. The finish is graded based on symmetry and polish. The AGS grading report also includes laser inscriptions and customized reports for both loose diamonds and those mounted in jewelry.
- EGL USA Certification
The European Gemological Laboratory USA (EGL USA) is well-known for its pioneering innovations in diamond grading. The institute was the first to start grading diamonds weighing less than 1-carat and created the “SI3” grade for assessing diamond clarity.
Each diamond goes through an extensive evaluation process wherein multiple gemologists inspect minute details of the gem. The EGL grading report evaluates diamonds based on core factors such as carat weight, color grade, clarity, cut, finish, and fluorescence.
- HRD Certification
The HRD Antwerp is a private foundation, established in 1973 as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD) or Diamond High Council, at the initiative of the Belgian government and diamond industry representatives.
HRD’s diamond laboratories in Antwerp (HQ), Mumbai and Istanbul apply sophisticated technology and expertise of its in-house research department to grade diamonds, both natural and lab grown.