Here’s a good question:
What does “graded in the mounting” mean?
You’ll often see this disclaimer on diamond certificate reports or jewelry appraisals… And it means exactly what it says.
Your stone or diamond has been graded while still in the mounting. In other words, they didn’t remove your stone from the setting at the time of grading. Your diamonds were not graded, then reset back into the mounting. They were graded as is.
If you see this…
Because grading stones while still set in a ring, head, basket, prongs or bezel is not always accurate or easy.
Prongs can hide many things like chips, flaws and carbon spots. They can cause reflections in the stone which can make grading clarity tough. They can block light from entering the stone which makes it harder to spot inclusions and pinpoints. Mountings can also add color (like yellow) into the diamond and give it a lower color grade.
Plus, even measuring the stone is difficult because you can’t measure from the base of the diamond (the pavilion) to the table. You have to ‘eye’ it, and it all ends up as an educated guess.
Graded in the mounting
Without an exact appraisal or grade, your diamond may be worth less than what it says it is (did you pay too much?)
Who knows what your mounting is covering up? If you remove your diamond from the mounting you could discover a chip or fracture that was hidden underneath a prong. And chips or fractures could drop your clarity rating all the way down to an I clarity.
The truth is, when your diamond is graded in the mounting, you can’t be totally sure of what quality it really is. Just because you can’t see the inclusions, doesn’t mean they’re not there. I’m always very skeptical of stones that were graded in the mounting.
Now, don’t get me wrong…
Sometimes grading stones in the mounting is unavoidable…
For example: If you own a non-certified diamond and want a jewelry appraisal done, that piece will be graded in the mounting unless you tell them otherwise.
The same goes with getting it certified. Sometimes jewelers or customers send rings to certificate institutes (like IGI or EGL) to get certified (note that GIA will not grade any diamonds mounted, so all of their reports are accurate). If it’s in the mounting… It stays in the mounting. If you want a more accurate report you’ll have to tell them to…
Remove the stone before grading.
Removing the stone from the mounting allows the grader to get the exact measurements, exact weight, exact color (grading it on a colorimeter), and exact clarity of the stone. Grading the stone loose could possibly get you a better appraisal and a better value. Or like I said before, it could also be the opposite. You could find out it’s worth way less than what you paid for it.
Now, grading stones in the mounting can be accurate… But no one will dispute that it’s not perfect. Graders can get close. But is close good enough for you?
Most people that already own a ring probably wouldn’t want the ring torn apart just to get it appraised. But…
If you’re buying a brand new ring from a jeweler, that’s a different story. Especially if the diamond is large (like 3/4 carat and up). With larger diamonds, I would ALWAYS have them take the diamond out of the ring, graded, and double checked. When I see big diamonds that were graded in the mounting, I think why?
Why didn’t they take the stone out to get exact cut, color, clarity and carat weight? What gives?
Isn’t the point of certification to be exact?
To know exactly what it is you’re buying?
I think so.
So if you see “graded in the mounting” listed on a diamond certificate, maybe you should question it by taking a closer look at the stone.
A large stone that’s off in clarity just one grade could be the difference of thousands of dollars.
That’s not good!
The only time that “graded in the mounting” is not an issue… Is if it’s an I clarity diamond.
I clarity is the lowest clarity group there is (I1, I2, I3). There is nothing lower.
Which means, they are are not hiding anything. They’re admitting that the quality is low and that you will see inclusions and flaws in the stone just by looking at it. With I clarity diamonds, you know what to expect.
But, if we’re dealing with VVS, VS or SI clarity, then I would probably want the diamond taken out of the mounting and graded separately.
Just to be sure.
Take it out.
Because with better quality, it’s good to be exact.
That way, there is nothing to hide.
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