Certified or not?
There are two types of loose diamonds you can buy:
Certified diamonds and non-certified diamonds.
Certified diamonds are the diamonds that come with a certificate report from an independent certification company (like GIA… this means not the jeweler). The certificate company looks at and grades the diamond for the 4 C’s; cut, color, clarity and carat weight.
While non-certified loose diamonds are all the rest of the diamonds that are sold on the market. You know the ones, they have no certificate, no real documentation stating what that diamond really is (other than what the jeweler says). All you get is what the ticket says, or what their in-store appraisal may state.
And I’ll tell you right here, right now, that I would never advise any serious diamond buyer to buy a loose diamond that’s not certified. EVER!
If it’s not certified, you’re basically taking the jeweler’s word for what that diamond is.
Which means, it could be anything.
And you’ll never really know what it is you’re actually buying. You’ll always wonder if you got ripped off or not.
These jewelers may be listing the diamond as an SI2 clarity, but is it? Should you trust them? Do you just accept the jeweler’s word as the truth?
Being non-certified means that the jeweler can call that diamond’s clarity and color anything they want… and a lot of jewelers do. Jewelers have a sly way of bumping the quality up a bit. Calling a nice looking I1 clarity diamond an SI2 instead. That way it sounds better, sells better and makes the jewelers more money.
Is this acceptable?
This is because the jewelry industry and the whole trade (FTC) permits jewelers to make decisions about the clarity and color of diamonds. And the reason being is this:
It’s all opinion.
Everyone’s opinion is going to be slightly different. There’s not one single diamond in the world that everyone will totally agree on as far as the color and clarity goes. So the trade leaves room for personal opinions and judgments.
They actually accept the fact that diamond grading can be off one grade up or down the charts. Every single diamond is different, every single opinion is different. It’s just the way it goes.
So what can you do to make sure you get what you truly want and pay for when shopping for loose diamonds?
Don’t buy non-certified diamonds.
Easy as that.
If you want to be assured that the color and clarity you’re buying is in fact true, accurate and perfect (and that you’re not getting ripped off), then you’ll need to buy a diamond that’s certified by an outside appraiser.
Who do I recommend?
GIA of course!
(After all, GIA wrote the book on the 4C’s!)
GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) is the best there is. Buy a GIA certified diamond and your diamond’s color and clarity will match what it says on the diamond report (aka certificate). When you’re shopping around for loose diamonds (buy a loose diamond first and then have it set into a mounting later), ask the jeweler if they sell GIA certified diamonds. If they do, great, start shopping.
If not, go somewhere else.
And if you really want the best advice possible…
Then buy from James Allen (They have the lowest prices on the web).
So if you’re trying to decide between buying a certified diamond versus a non-certified diamond…
Always buy certified (GIA).
That way you’ll be “certified happy” with your diamond purchase.