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A young couple walks into the jewelry store shopping and comparing prices on a 1.00 carat loose brilliant cut diamond.

They say the diamond they’ve been looking at down the street has SI clarity and G color and it’s $1000 cheaper than ours.

I ask them if the diamond they’re looking at is certified? They say “Yes“.

I ask them, “Who certified it?” They shrug, they don’t know.

All they know is that it’s certified and everyone has told them to “Make sure you buy a certified diamond!” She bats her eyelashes at me and says:

“Aren’t all certified diamonds the same?”

I smile at her because I know 3 things: 1) I know all certified diamonds are not created equal. 2) I know I’m about to explain to them the why GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds are the best in the world. 3) And I know by the time I’m done showing them and teaching them all about the 4C’s and certification, that I’m probably going to get a sale.

Confident? Yes! But with GIA on your side, who wouldn’t be?

P.S. Check out all the GIA certified diamonds at James Allen – Awesome diamonds, awesome prices (use “RINGSUM” at checkout to save an additional 10% off your ring mounting).

Most trusted appraiser:

In fact, you could go around to just about every jeweler in the country and ask them who the most trusted certified diamond appraiser is, and I’ll guarantee you at least a whopping 95% of them will instantly and proudly proclaim “GIA.”

The funny thing is, not all jewelers carry GIA certified diamonds, but they’ll still know who the most trusted appraiser is.

Why don’t all jewelers carry GIA certified diamonds?

Probably because of cost. They can buy non-certified diamonds cheaper with other certificates, which means they can sell them cheaper. It all comes down to money.

Is it GIA?

If you look at the jewelry industry, GIA’s influence is everywhere. For example, when people bring their diamonds in to sell. The jeweler’s first question is “Is it GIA?” If it is, the customer will make more money selling that diamond. Same with trade-ins. The big question is always “Is it GIA certified?” Insurance claims also want to know “Is it GIA?” Why does everyone always want to know ‘Who’ certifies the stone? Trust! It’s actually not just ‘Who’ certifies the diamond… It’s “Is it GIA? Or is it the ‘others’?” That’s what they’re really asking.

It all boils down to trust. GIA has built a name for itself. If it’s GIA, then jewelers, vendors and insurance companies know they can trust the appraisal. They know that it’s accurate. They know the cut, color, clarity and carat weight listed on the report are dead on. They can look at the certificate and very quickly form an opinion about the diamond’s worth.

If it’s not GIA certified, then the jewelers will have to scope the diamond just to verify the cut, color, clarity and carat weight listed on the appraisal and find out what it really is. In other words, they don’t trust just any one. They trust GIA!

So what is it about GIA that makes it the biggest and best independent appraiser in the market?

What makes GIA so hot?

Everything! Let’s take a closer inspection of the details and learn why GIA is the best in the business and how they became the largest gem library in the world.

First off, GIA is totally independent! They don’t buy diamonds, they don’t sell diamonds. This is a very important fact, because it shows that GIA isn’t concerned with how much a jeweler can make on that diamond being graded. All they care about is giving the most accurate, factual, detailed, analysis of the diamond that you could possibly get. Their sole purpose is to identify that gemstone or diamond inside and out.

And it’s not just one person’s opinion either. GIA uses what they call “triple redundancy” in its grading. In fact, GIA has a minimum of 4 (or even more depending on the actual diamond being graded) professional diamontologists that scope the diamond, and make their own evaluations based solely on their own expert findings and experiences. In other words, they aren’t influenced by other opinions.

But what makes GIA’s opinion so great? Why should one trust them over other certificate companies? Simple… For one very good reason…

GIA is God

There is no company better suited to grade your stones and diamonds and that’s because GIA wrote the book on diamonds. Literally!

Remember the 4 C’s? The 4 C’s that every single jeweler talks about when showing and selling diamonds? They show you charts and diagrams and talk about cut, color, carat weight and clarity? Remember that diamond buying guide? All jewelers have listed right on their ring tags and tickets all the 4C information???

GIA wrote the book:

GIA devised that grading scale. I repeat: GIA created the 4 C’s grading system which is clarity, color, cut and carat weight. GIA actually wrote the 4 C’s. They came up with the charts and categories and identifying systems that all jewelers across America use. Everyone uses the 4C’s. Diamonds are bought and sold every day based upon the 4 C’s ratings.

GIA started the complicated grading system way back in 1949 and for over 50 years has been the king of diamonds and diamond grading. There is nobody better on the face of the Earth to grade your diamonds, than the people that wrote the book. Period!

No one knows GIA’s grading system better than GIA themselves. There is no equal.

When GIA says your diamond is an SI1, G color, you better believe that it’s an SI1, G. There’s no doubting them. Need proof? GIA was the company that did the diamond grading on one of the best known diamonds in the World; The Hope Diamond. Now that’s prestige and class.

The others don’t count:

I’ve seen a lot of other diamond certificates from other certificate companies, and when I say they’re highly skeptical, I mean it. This is why jewelers want to know if your trade-in is certified by the GIA, or if its been certified by any of the ‘others’. The others don’t matter.

I’ve seen some ratings that are way off the mark. Funny thing is, most certificate companies use GIA’s grading formula… Or try to. The problem is, they’re not as strict or as technically advanced as GIA.

If you look at a lot of different diamond certificates, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’ll open your eyes to compare diamonds to diamonds and certificates to certificates. You’ll see what ‘others’ call a SI2, and what GIA really calls an SI2. Big difference!

GIA will not falter in their decisions either. They are not influenced by cash. You get the facts, the truth, that’s all. In fact, GIA is so tough in its grading system, they will actually grade a diamond lower than it should be, just to never raise any doubts.

What? Sounds crazy, but listen up…

There are a lot of diamonds that are border-line diamonds. Diamonds that are sitting on the fence of being either one clarity or another. For example: A diamond could be either a poor SI2 clarity or a really good I1 clarity. Well here’s what GIA will do… they will always grade that diamond an I1. The lowest grade of the two. Why? So no one will ever dispute that their diamond rating was ‘bumped up‘ or ‘rounded up‘. They don’t make it better than it could be just to sound better and sell better.

You are assured that the grade you got on your diamond report is what it’s listed at… OR BETTER!

You can’t argue with that.

So let’s look at the reports closer…

Two different reports

GIA offers 2 different types of diamond certificates: The full diamond report and the dossier diamond report. Both certificates have their own strengths. Starting off is the full GIA diamond report…

The diamond report is a full laminated page that contains all the useful identifying facts about your diamond that you’ll ever need. Highly meticulous things like: culet and girdle thickness, laser drilling, fracture filled, polish and symmetry, Proportions, facet angles, fluorescence, and even color origin.

The full GIA diamond report lists these items:

  • Date
  • GIA Report Number
  • Laser Inscription Registry
  • Shape & Cutting Style
  • Measurements
  • Carat Weight
  • Color Grade
  • Clarity Grade
  • Finish
  • Polish
  • Symmetry
  • Fluorescence
  • Comments
  • Reference Diagram
  • Color & Clarity Scales
  • Proportion Diagram
  • Key to the Symbols
  • Security Features

You will notice that GIA does not list an appraisal value. They are not here to determine what the price is of a diamond. They only want to correctly identify that stone and grade it.

The thing to point out about the full diamond report is the diagram. (the dossier doesn’t have this diagram). The full report has the reference diagram drawn right on the appraisal.

The diagram is the actual plot of the diamond. The diamond’s fingerprint, if you will. It shows all the diamond’s inclusions and blemishes. Anything like crystals, feathers, naturals (like trigons) and pin points are drawn on the diagram.

The diamond’s flaws and imperfections are recorded forever on the report. They clearly indicate the diamond’s natural birthmarks.

You can microscope that Diamond at any time and see those exact lines and clouds and inclusions listed on the report. It’s an awesome way to identify your diamond. 80 years from now, you can look at your diamond under a microscope and say “Yes, that’s my diamond!

Stop diamond switching:

Once you understand what a plot is and how to read it, you’ll always be able to tell your diamond from the next. This actually prevents and stops diamond wwitching. Those shady, unscrupulous jewelers will never be able to steal your diamond because they know that you can identify it. They know you can spot your diamond’s faults and be able to spot their own as well. You can’t beat that.

Diamond Dossier Report:

GIA’s second report is called the diamond dossier report. It’s used for diamonds weighing between .015 and 1.99 carats. The dossier is a smaller, simpler, slightly condensed version of the full report. There are only a couple differences though… The smaller report is laminated and security marked with holograms and security screens just like the full version. But the dossier doesn’t have the reference diagram like it’s bigger brother as we discussed. It does have everything else needed to clearly identify your diamond.

Things like:

  • Date
  • GIA Report Number
  • Laser Inscription Registry
  • Shape & Cutting Style
  • Measurements
  • Carat Weight
  • Color Grade
  • Clarity Grade
  • Clarity Characteristics
  • Finish
  • Polish
  • Symmetry
  • Fluorescence
  • Comments
  • Color & Clarity Scales
  • Proportion Diagram
  • Security Features

(At the end of this post is a scan of a real dossier report)

You’ll also notice besides the reference diagram and key chart being taken away, it’s been replaced with what they call “clarity characteristics“. This is where they would list things like: finish, polish, size, shape, placement of facets, and the evenness of the outline.

Laser inscribed:

One very important thing that I want to point out here about the full diamond report and the dossier diamond report is the category that says “laser inscription registry“.

This is the most awesome category of them all, because it’s the best fraud detection system available in diamonds today.

The laser inscription is actually the report number and the initials GIA etched directly into the side of your diamond. If you use a microscope and view the edge of a laser inscribed diamond you’ll see the tiny etchings. The letters and numbers are absolutely perfect. They use a microscopic laser that makes crisp, clean and perfectly legible marks. If you view them under 10x magnification you’ll see that they are truly flawless. The etching is permanent and each diamond has its own unique number to identify it.

Identify your diamond:

Now you don’t have to purchase a diamond that’s laser inscribed, but I highly recommend it. It’s the quickest way to identify your diamond. Because chances are, you may not ever learn how to correctly read a plot or diagram. You may have a diamond that’s so clean, even under magnification you don’t see any inclusions. See what I mean? The plot can only get you so far. Buy a diamond that’s laser inscribed. You’ll always be able to read the engraving. You’ll always be able to verify those numbers from your report. It’s that simple.

Laser inscriptions are so small, that unless someone tells you that the diamond’s inscribed, you wouldn’t know it. Even if you know it’s inscribed, it’s still hard to find the inscription under a loupe. You really have to look for it. Sometimes I have to rotate the diamond around a couple of times, looking at the girdle from all sides, just to spot it.

That inscription says one thing loud and clear… It says that the diamond you’re buying, is in fact, the diamond listed on the GIA report. Think about that. It’s your proof of purchase. There is no easy way to remove or polish out those inscriptions. The only way to get rid of them is to send your diamond to a diamond cutter and have them recut your diamond smaller, or polish out those engravings. The bottom line is: Who would ever do that? No one. It’s GIA. You’d be silly to want to remove the best inscription there is.

The nice thing about those numbers etched in stone is that anytime in your lifetime, if you ever lose your GIA diamond report, you can call GIA and have them send you a new one (or request one through GIA’s Report Check).

GIA keeps track of every single diamond report they’ve ever done. They’re all listed by registry number. That’s a great thing to know: You’ll never lose your certification information, ever. Now that’s security.

GIA costs more:

GIA certified diamonds will cost more than non-certified diamonds. You’re paying a bit more for high standards, security, and integrity. But remember, they are the cream of the crop. A normal cost to have a 1.00 carat diamond certified is around $200. I would imagine that most Jewelers would charge you $300-$400 to cover their own overhead costs and insured shipping charges.

It could be worse… If your diamond weighs more than 50.00 carats, then it’ll cost you about $2500 plus.

Turn around time:

Standard turn around time to get your diamond certified is about a week. Unless you’ve got a 4.00 carat diamond, then you’ll get the first class service and get their priority 2-3 day turn around time. Seems like size does matter.

So if you’re considering buying a loose diamond…

Here’s my advice:

Never buy a loose diamond that’s not certified. If it’s a good deal, there’s usually a reason as to why it’s that deal.

The only certificate I would advise purchasing, hands down, is GIA (The Gemological Institute of America… AGS is a second best). But be very careful not to get the GIA mixed up with similar sounding certificate companies (IGI). And watch those abbreviation letters, they can fool you.

GIA wrote the book. They made the 4 C’s. They set the standards that America and every jeweler uses today. You can trust GIA.

Take your chances:

Now you can take your chances elsewhere with other appraisal companies. They could very well be accurate and perfect in their grading. The problem is, they’re not consistent. You never know. If you really want the true grade of a diamond… If you want to be assured that the jeweler you’re buying the diamond from isn’t ripping you off by selling you something that it’s not… If you want to have peace of mind, zero disputes, and the best, most accurate, trusted appraisal in the World, then by all means take no substitutes.

Buy GIA certified diamonds!

GIA are the leaders in the industry, and the leaders in diamond grading.

Below is an actual scan of a GIA diamond dossier certificate report for a diamond that I own.

The last word on GIA and certified diamonds…

GIA rules!

GIA Certificate

And do check out James Allen

They have awesome certified GIA diamonds are very well priced.

Cheers! :)

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter 10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope


  1. Very good! I loved reading through this, if for no other reason than to make sure that what I thought I knew about GIA reports was really the truth. And, it is! Thanks for writing such a comprehensive guide to GIA!!

    In fact, I used to go check out the diamonds AND the GIA reports at James Allen. Particularly the lower grades, just to see WHY they had those grades, check out their plots, etc.

    But lately, I’ve discovered that you can’t look at the GIA Full Diamond Reports, or the Dossier Diamond Reports either – they arent available to see anymore without bugging a salesperson or a diamond consultant online or by phone, or whatever it is they call them.

    Perhaps it’s a security issue with GIA, a kind of “sales technique” or whatever. I’m not calling them out on it, because as a vendor, they can of course do what they wish, but it sure was disappointing! :°(

    • Hi Shari. I’ve noticed that too, don’t know why. I think I’ll write them and inquire. Maybe it’s just a matter of time, they want to get the new diamonds up a.s.a.p. and then go back later and scan in the cert? I’ll find out, because I love looking at them too. -Richard

      • Shari Davenport // April 28, 2019 at 12:41 am // Reply

        About the GIA reports on JA – I didn’t get the feeling that they were going to be uploading the Certs anymore, but I could be wrong. It’s happened a time or two in the last 62 years! I also DID notice that they are still available to download and read on Blue Nile, of course, or I couldn’t have done such a tidy comparison of those two diamonds myself! I read EVERY detail to make sure I was making a proper evaluation between the two. Particularly the plots – those are crucial! I’ve read them on other vendor’s sites as well, including Stuller, in their loose stones section. (I think it was them. I know it was somebody’s that I go to frequently, and I do like their site, because of all the empty/semi mounts available in which you can put your stones or theirs. Anyway, it was one of those guys! So, it seems it’s not likely to be GIA making the turnaround in requirements.)
        Let me/us know what you find out, eh? I’ll be looking forward to finding out soon!

  2. How to save $20,000 Thanks to GIA (and one “V”) –

    Round Brilliant – 2.53ct D VS1 Triple Ex – Astor by Blue Nile – 5 teeny tiny clouds and a needle – $63,638


    OR – Round Brilliant 2.53ct D VVS1 Triple Ex – Astor by Blue Nile – 2 teeny tiny pinpoints on the pavilion – $83,027!


    • The “cheaper” one looks better too. :) But any diamond VS or higher is going to look almost flawless. BUT THE CARAT WEIGHT… YES! I would love a 2.50 carat diamond. BLING! -Richard

      • Shari Davenport // April 28, 2019 at 1:18 am // Reply

        Richard –

        I just used the same link to go look at those bad boys again, and it took me right to them. They have BOTH dropped in price in the time it took me to write my first message to you about them, by almost $1,000 – $1,500 each! :-O

        The “less expensive” of the two now is at $62,123, instead of $63,638! That’s exactly $1,515 difference.

        And the MORE expensive of the two, is now at $82,050 – leaving a difference of $977.00, almost a grand! Any decrease is a benefit to the buyer! *$*$*$*$* Touché!

  3. Shari Davenport // April 28, 2019 at 12:31 am // Reply

    I noticed that as well – it just seems to have a little bit more “ooomph” to me than the other one, for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s in the “Astor” report with how all the different light factors “behave” in that analyzer. I don’t know. Sometimes, once you get past all the basics, including how hard it’s going to hit your bank account, it’s really down to how it hits your eye.

    But, regardless of all that other stuff (I almost wanted to call it “schmaltz” but I know that the basics are much more important than that!) IF I were given the amazing opportunity to actually own a high quality, GIA certified, 2.53ct diamond like these, my money would be on the one that saved me TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, and looked identical to, if not better than, the other one, and put it in a killer solid platinum mounting, then still take myself and my husband on a dandy vacation, and STILL have money left over!

    • I agree. If you can’t really see that much of a difference, no one else with either. Visual appearance, sparkle and money saved are huge key factors in buying a diamond. Regardless of what color, clarity or cut is. :) I sent JA a message and should hear back next week, he’s on vacation. -Richard

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