Choosing Between Certified and Non-Certified Diamonds
Many customers shopping for a diamond engagement ring know they should buy from a retailer who only sells certified diamonds, but few understand what distinguishes a certified diamond from a non-certified diamond.
First, we’d like to applaud you for shopping certified! Now let’s discuss the differences between certified and non-certified diamonds and how shopping for certified diamonds is a benefit in itself.
Certified Vs. Non-Certified Diamonds
To put it simply, certified diamonds are diamonds that have been evaluated by an independent certifying agency, and they’re accompanied by a unique identification number and certificate. Some certified diamonds are laser inscribed with the ID number for your peace of mind.
On the other hand, non-certified diamonds have not been evaluated by an independent certifying agency, and a retailer can only speculate as to the diamond’s quality. If a retailer tells you the clarity, color, carat weight, or cut of a non-certified stone, the retailer is only sharing a best guess.
Certified diamonds aren’t inherently better than non-certified diamonds, but they tend to be higher-quality stones because the retailer has chosen them for their documented quality. Many times, certified diamonds are completely natural and have not undergone treatment.
Who Certifies the Diamonds?
A number of diamond certifying agencies exist, but Diamond Mansion works mostly with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and EGL USA. What we’ve noticed with the naked eye is that GIA is more strict with its grading than EGL. As a result, customers tend to prefer GIA certified diamonds because they know that GIA sets a high standard.
Here’s a sample of a GIA diamond grading report. GIA also maintains an online database where any user can search for diamonds by ID number. In addition, here are some sample EGL reports. Users can also verify an EGL report by visiting the agency’s homepage.
Benefits of Shopping for Certified Diamonds
When you shop for a certified diamond that will be the center stone in your custom engagement ring, you remove much of the guess work. Viewing a diamond’s certification can give you peace of mind you might not have if you try to choose from a selection of non-certified stones.
Furthermore, shopping for certified diamonds can educate you about diamonds and give you a better appreciation for them. When you start to understand the various criteria listed on the diamond grading report and then compare grades to what you see with your naked eye, you’ll slowly begin to learn the nuances of characteristics like color and clarity. When you see a D color stone, you’ll be able to appreciate the lack of color for what it is.
Is It Ever Okay to Buy a Non-Certified Diamond?
For small stones or accent stones, you might consider purchasing a non-certified diamond. In smaller diamonds, it can be difficult or near impossible to view quality characteristics with the naked eye. However, GIA does offer special testing for loose and mounted diamonds in smaller sizes. Testing for diamonds less than .2 carats can determine whether your small diamonds are natural and whether they’ve been treated.
How has your experience shopping for certified diamonds been? Do you wish you could understand anything more about the reports or the certifying process?