Are you surprised that GIA (The Gemological Institute of America), does NOT certify diamonds?
Well Don’t Be…
They never did!
GIA never, ever, in their entire existence actually “certified” diamonds.
We call them “certified“, but in reality, it’s just an official document (laminated with a hologram), about the quality of that diamond or gemstone graded.
So why do we still call them “certified”?
It’s a good question. One that I’m totally guilty of (as you see in all of my posts)… But if you ask anybody in the field, in any jewelry store, across the country “Can I look at certified diamonds?“, they’d say the same thing…
“Sure, right this way!”
(And lead you over to their bridal cases).
The term is used loosely. We’re not saying the diamonds are really certified, but just that they come with expert paperwork listing the quality and grades of that stone.
And NO, it’s not a Guarantee either!
Nothing in life is guaranteed 100%, especially when it comes to quality.
And you know why?
Because of human error, nature, and opinion.
It all comes down to the fact that grading a stone is just one person’s opinion (and we all know everyone has one).
Granted these opinions are done by highly trained experts with years of experience and education… But still, it’s what one person thinks at that given time. And because grading varies so much (like trying to grade people with moles, freckles, scars and skin color…), they don’t ever want to be second guessed, or wrong, so most experts probably grade on the low side (call it an SI1 instead of a VS2).
Just in case!
And with GIA, they actually have 3 or more experts study the stone and then arrive at a mutual consensus as to the quality of that stone (triple redundancy).
With diamonds, there are no exact guidelines. Every diamond is different. There could be mixed reviews.
Every stone is graded independently, painstakingly, and graded under the most strict testing facilities in the world. They scope the inclusions and blemishes, where they lie, what they look like, the size, the shape, the visibility… The body color from all angles and upside down. How the stone faces up, how beautiful it is, and how it interacts with light. There’s so much to consider: The facets, the cut, the symmetry, alignment and fluorescence…
That’s why a “diamond report” (the official name for these documents), is findings based upon the evidence and technology at that particular facility.
This could change in the future.
(as technology does)
But GIA doesn’t “certify”, nor guarantee anything. No diamond reporting company does (Not AGS, not EGL, not IGI…) It’s just their most honest and truthful opinion about what they feel that stone is.
That’s all they can do; Grade it.
GIA’s Official Limitations for their Reports:
(As seen printed on every single diamond report.)
“This Report is not a guarantee, valuation or appraisal. This Report contains only the characteristics of the diamond described herein after it has been graded, tested, examined and analyzed, by the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory under 10x magnification using the techniques and equipment available to GIA Gem Trade Laboratory, including fully corrected triplet loupe and binocular microscope, master color comparison diamonds, electronic carat balance, non-contact optical measuring device, and ancillary instruments as necessary, at the time of the examination, and/or has been inscribed by GIA Gem Trade Laboratory.
The recipient of this Report may wish to consult a credentialed Jeweler or Gemologist about the importance and interrelationship of cut, color, clarity and carat weight.”
So while everyone still calls them “certificates” (customers and jewelers), they aren’t. It’s just how people were taught and what we presume.
Plus, it sounds better than saying “This diamond is diamond reported!“.
When we say “diamond certificate“, everyone knows it’s just paperwork. Graded by an outside independent source. Something official (not just the jeweler’s opinion).
Easy as that!
Still room for error, yes, but as close to being certified as we’ll ever come.
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About the Author
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.