If you read anything that I write here, you’ll often hear me say:
“Never Buy a Diamond that ISN’T Certified!“
While I strongly believe in this line, it isn’t always the truth!
There are times when a Diamond Certificate doesn’t matter. There are many Diamond purchases that don’t require one.
While it’s true that any Diamond you purchase for an Engagement Ring should be Certified, even this isn’t always the case.
Reasons NOT to Certify!
There are some reasons to simply NOT buy a Diamond that’s Certified. And here they are…
- The Carat Weight is Small
- The Diamonds are Side Stones
- The Diamonds are in a Cluster
- The Diamond Quality is Low
- It’s not a Big Purchase
- The Diamond was Pre-owned or Estate
Let’s take a closer look at these…
1) The Carat Weight is Small
Small Diamonds don’t need to be Certified.
And by “Small“, I’m saying Carat Weights under 40 Points (.40 Carat). When you get into Diamonds that small, the Clarity and Color is much harder to see with your naked eye, and even under a microscope everything gets very difficult to spot. The smaller the Carat Weight, the smaller the Inclusions and Flaws become. Small Carat Weights also make Color harder to see, since it makes the saturation of the stone much fainter.
Check out the difference between Carat Weights when it comes to the same Clarity and Colors…
This is why in smaller Carat Weights, like .33 or .25, or even .10 Carat, you won’t see Certificates with them.
Small Carat Weight Prices
Also, when it comes to Smaller Carat Weights, price is a big factor!
A Diamond Certificate costs around $300 from GIA (The Best). Diamonds that are small may only run $300, so adding an additional $300 onto that price is ridiculous.
It’s just not worth it!
No one is going to pay double the price for a Diamond just because it comes with paperwork.
When it comes to small stones, a Diamond Report is not necessary. But it is necessary to microscope those stones (Use a 10x Jewelers Loupe or a Microscope) so you can see what’s inside and what the real Clarity is!
That’s a big eye opener!
2) The Diamonds are Side Stones
Usually only the big center Diamond of an Engagement Ring is Certified. If there are side stones (i.e. Channel Set Diamonds down the side), those side stones won’t be Certified.
It would cost too much to certify them all and it would get way too confusing and result in way too much paperwork.
Say for example, you had a mounting with 20 Invisible Set Diamonds in it. Would you be able to understand and follow “The 4th row, 5th Diamond across…” It would get crazy to keep track of it all.
Plus at $300 a Diamond, those 20 little side stones would suddenly add an additional $6,000 onto the price of the ring!!!
The same goes for stones set in a Cluster Setting…
3) The Diamonds are in a Cluster
The new Illusion type heads that you see in all the Jewelry Stores have a cluster of interlocking Diamonds that look great! These Diamond Rings are flashy and give you a big look for a much smaller price tag. But, there is no way to easily or cheaply Certify each and every Diamond.
It would be an insane job!
If the Diamonds are small and bunched together to look like a bigger Carat Weight, it’s cool. But even though it’s a 1.00 Carat Total Diamond Weight (all the Diamond Weight of the Ring added together as one), it still doesn’t mean it should be Certified!
4) The Diamond Quality is Low
If the Diamond is an I2 or I3 Clarity Diamond, guess what? It doesn’t need to be Certified!
Low Quality stones are low quality and no one’s disputing that. No one needs a Diamond Report sayings it’s low quality. Having a Report does nothing but assure you that you bought a low quality stone and paid more for that stone because you bought one with a Certificate!
Really, who cares?
It’s not worth the money to document or guarantee. If you were buying a higher Quality or Clarity (like VS) of Diamond, then I’d say yes, in a heart-beat, buy Certified! But not with a low grade stone.
You’ll know your stone is low grade if you can easily see Flaws or Black Specks in the stone with the naked eye. All Certification does is jack up the Price.
If the Diamond is I2 or I3, Skip the Certification and save the money. :)
5) It’s not a Big Purchase
Usually only an Engagement Solitaire or a Loose Diamond is Certified (considered a big purchase).
If you’re buying an Anniversary Band or a Men’s Wedding Band, or even Diamond Stud Earrings, a Pendant or Bracelet, those items generally will not be Certified.
The norm is to only Certify Single Diamonds over 40 points, and with many places it’s actually more like 50 points or 75 points.
It really all has to do with the time, effort and cost of the items involved.
No one will pay $600 for a pair of Diamond Earrings worth just $300 just because the stones happen to be Certified!
It just won’t happen!
6) The Diamond was Pre-owned or Estate
Often if a Diamond was purchased by the Jeweler from a customer (through a direct purchase, trade-in or exchange), or if the Jeweler bought out an Estate and the Diamond in question was in that lot, that stone would not come with a Certificate.
Diamonds passed down from generation to generation won’t come with Cert Papers either (under normal circumstances).
Antique pieces or old Estates didn’t do a lot of Certification back then. Certificates are a more modern thing to do because of shows like 20/20, where consumer awareness is heightened.
Customers are now more leery of Jewelers, Scandals, and getting ripped off!
In the old days, people just trusted their Jeweler, now we know better and back up our big purchases with Certificates!
The Entire Ring is NOT Certified!
The bottom line here, is just because you buy a Diamond Ring with a large Certified center stone, doesn’t mean that the entire ring is that quality. In all likelihood, it isn’t!
Many stores don’t even talk about the quality of the Diamonds in the side of their rings (they just talk about the center stone). Many stores don’t talk about this for a reason: Their Side Stones have Poor Clarity or Color!
Many customers don’t know any better to ask either. If the center stone is a Certified VS1 Clarity, E Color (my favorite), many believe the side stones will be that same quality as well. WRONG!
Chances are, the side stones are probably only SI or I Clarity stones, with a Color range of around H or I (the normal quality for side stones).
Lastly, even though only the center stone is Certified, make sure you also get a full Appraisal on the entire ring that lists all the Carat Weights, Clarity, Color and Cuts of the stones. That way you can get it insured and covered just in case anything were to happen.
P.S. Most Certified Diamonds will be sold as Loose Diamonds. But I have seen some sold pre-mounted in Solitaire Settings (like the common Tiffany Style Engagement Ring), or in Wedding Sets.
I recommend buying a Diamond loose first, so you can view the Diamond under a Microscope (10x Magnification) with no prongs or mounting to get in the way.
P.P.S. And PLEASE, do buy a Certified Diamond (I recommend GIA), that has a Laser Inscription on it.
It makes identifying your stone painless and easy!
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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.