A good portion of all the diamonds worn today are not certified (and by certified, I mean, without a laminated diamond report).
So at least 75% of all the rings and diamonds worn, do not have official grading paperwork with them.
That’s sad. Especially since most people know that if you’re buying an engagement ring, buy it certified.
But as we know, there are many, many reasons why one would wear a Diamond that isn’t Certified…
It’s not Certified Because:
- It was sold like that
- The buyer did not care, or know enough
- It costs more to have a stone certified
- The diamond could be of small carat weight (like under 50 points)
- The diamond could be low quality (meaning clarity or color)
- The diamond could be old, or antique
- The diamond could be a hand-me-down, or inherited
- The paperwork may have gotten lost
- You may have purchased it from a friend
- The diamond was re-cut and never re-certified
And there are many reasons why you should get that stone certified:
- To verify the grades and 4C’s
- Insurance might demand it
- For peace of mind
- To double check that another diamond report is accurate
- Because you don’t fully trust your jeweler
- It’s never been appraised or graded before
- You need it for an estate sale
- You bought it not certified
- You want the best, most accurate report that’s possible
So now the real question becomes:
Where do you get it certified?
To get your diamond (or a gemstone like a ruby, sapphire or emerald) certified (graded with a diamond report), you’ll need to do a couple of things:
- Remove the diamond from the mounting (most places won’t certify a mounted stone)
- Send the diamond to a grading company (like GIA, AGS, IGI, EGL or HRD – Insured of course)
- Take it to a jewelry store and have them send it into the grading companies for a report (most jewelers have accounts with these places and can easily submit it for grading)
Have your stone removed:
If your stone is already set in a head, prongs or mounting, simply take the ring (or whatever piece of jewelry it is) into a jewelry store that has a jeweler working on-hand, and one that can remove your stone while you wait (call around to the independent stores and you’ll find one).
I think this is way better than taking it to a store where they have to send your item out to have it done, and it’ll probably take them 2 weeks just to do that.
Take it to a jeweler and have them remove the stone from the mounting. Sometimes they can even do it in front of you (but often insurance doesn’t allow customers in the shop area). No matter, this process takes just a couple of minutes, depending on the mounting of course.
Jewelers remove stones all the time from mountings, and a lot even have to remove them just to do accurate jewelry appraisals (it’s very difficult to grade a stone in a mounting – the mounting doesn’t allow you to get an exact weight, nor to get the real color or clarity of the stone).
This simple process takes just a minute or two to execute. You may even ask them to clean your stone while they’re at it (I recommend this, that way you can scope it before you send it out to the grading company). Clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner, and use either a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe to see what your stone looks like under 10x magnification.
Now, it’s just a matter of where you send it.
The two certificate grading companies that I would recommend the most are GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society). Those two are the best and the top of the line when it comes to reports.
Generally it can take anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks to get a report done (you can also pay for a rush job).
Now you can also send your diamond to IGI (International Gemological Institute) and EGL (European Gemological Institute), but quite often, these companies are loose on their grading, and will grade the stone higher quality than it really is (they’ll round the quality up).
That’s why I always advise and prefer to use GIA or AGS only.
Now what’s the price?
The cost of certifying stones will vary on what type of report you want, and what additional services you require.
GIA (based out of Carlsbad, California) offers 3 different types of diamond reports:
- The full diamond report
- The smaller Dossier report
- The eReport (online diamond report)
There are also different features you can purchase as well:
- GIA inscription
- Custom text inscription
- Having more than 1 stone certified
- Having the diamond or stone sealed in a plastic case
These all affect the cost of the report.
A .50 carat round diamond, with a smaller diamond Dossier (non-laser inscribed), will cost you $43 (if you submit it yourself).
While a .50 carat round diamond with a full diamond report and a GIA laser inscription will run you $76 (that’s $64 for the report and $12 more for the inscription).
These prices are good and cheap (and at the time this post was wrote). If you take it directly to a jewelry store to have it done, they’ll probably charge you double that price, and add on shipping and handling and insurance fees.
So most stores will probably charge a customer $150-$300 to get their stone certified.
Do also note that the size (carat weight) of the diamond will also affect price.
A .50 carat full diamond report is $64, a 3/4 carat diamond report is $78, while a 1.00 carat diamond report is $105.
And if you have a 50.00 carat diamond, well that stone will cost you $2,845 to certify.
So let’s look at the charts and see what the prices are for services rendered.
GIA full diamond reports
A full GIA diamond report (their newly updated look is above), includes the following; report #, shape, cutting style, measurements, carat weight, color, clarity, cut, polish, symmetry, fluorescence, inscription, comments, and a plot, the costs are (for D-Z colored diamonds):
|0.15 to 0.22||$ 53|
|0.23 to 0.46||$ 59|
|0.47 to 0.69||$ 64|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 78|
|1.00 to 1.49||$ 105|
|1.50 to 1.99||$ 121|
|2.00 to 2.99||$ 169|
|3.00 to 3.99||$ 250|
|4.00 to 4.99||$ 331|
|5.00 to 5.99||$ 470|
|6.00 to 7.99||$ 554|
|8.00 to 9.99||$ 656|
|10.00 to 11.99||$ 910|
|12.00 to 14.99||$ 1,067|
|15.00 to 19.99||$ 1,309|
|20.00 to 24.99||$ 1,707|
|25.00 to 29.99||$ 1,992|
|30.00 to 39.99||$ 2,417|
|40.00 to 49.99||$ 2,845|
|50.00 +||Upon Request|
GIA Diamond Dossier Reports
A smaller diamond Dossier report (0.15-1.99 carats), includes the following information; report #, shape, cutting style, measurements, carat weight, color, clarity, cut, polish, symmetry, fluorescence, inscription, comments, and clarity characteristics (just no actual plot – see image above for their new look), the costs are:
|0.15 to 0.22||$ 32|
|0.23 to 0.29||$ 34|
|0.30 to 0.39||$ 40|
|0.40 to 0.49||$ 42|
|0.50 to 0.69||$ 43|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 53|
|1.00 to 1.49||$ 85|
|1.50 to 1.99||$ 110|
If you want to have just a digital copy of the report made (nothing laminated and sent back to you – it’s online only), then the prices get cheaper:
|0.15 to 0.22||$ 32|
|0.23 to 0.29||$ 34|
|0.30 to 0.39||$ 36|
|0.40 to 0.49||$ 38|
|0.50 to 0.69||$ 39|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 48|
|1.00 to 1.49||$ 80|
|1.50 to 1.99||$ 99|
|2.00 to 2.99||$ 152|
If you want your diamond to be sealed securely in a plastic tamper-proof package, the cost is:
|0.15 to 8.00 Carats||$ 9|
GIA Laser Inscriptions
If you want the diamond laser inscribed with the report number, or custom text (up to 15 characters, like: I love you) or even graphics, then the price of these inscriptions are as follows (in addition to the actual cost of the report you want):
|CARAT WEIGHT||REPORT #||CUSTOM TEXT||15 CHARACTERS|
|0.01 to 0.14||$ 12||$ 15||$ 12|
|0.15 to 0.22||$ 12||$ 15||$ 12|
|0.23 to 0.46||$ 12||$ 15||$ 12|
|0.47 to 0.69||$ 12||$ 15||$ 12|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 15||$ 15||$ 12|
|1.00 to 1.49||$ 15||$ 19||$ 15|
|1.50 to 1.99||$ 16||$ 20||$ 16|
|2.00 to 2.99||$ 24||$ 30||$ 24|
|3.00 to 3.99||$ 33||$ 42||$ 33|
|4.00 to 4.99||$ 44||$ 56||$ 44|
|5.00 to 5.99||$ 62||$ 79||$ 62|
|6.00 to 7.99||$ 73||$ 93||$ 73|
|8.00 to 9.99||$ 86||$ 110||$ 86|
|10.00 to 11.99||$ 119||$ 153||$ 119|
|12.00 to 14.99||$ 140||$ 179||$ 140|
|15.00 to 19.99||$ 172||$ 219||$ 172|
|20.00 to 24.99||$ 223||$ 286||$ 223|
|25.00 to 29.99||$ 261||$ 333||$ 261|
|30.00 to 39.99||$ 316||$ 405||$ 316|
|40.00 to 49.99||372||$ 476||$ 372|
AGS Diamond Quality Reports
AGS is the only other company I would really advise using to obtain a diamond report. However, this is not an easy process. In fact, it’s almost impossible. Why do I say that? Because AGS doesn’t have their pricing guide online. So I wrote them. They replied back saying that they don’t allow customers to send them diamonds directly… You have to go through a jeweler to do so. And, that’s the only way to find out the price as well (which also means prices could be all over the board).
So I decided to test this out…
I called up a dozen stores in my area to see if they would send in my diamonds (fictional diamonds I made up just for this call) and the responses I got back were rather interesting:
“We deal mostly with GIA.“
“We don’t have an account.”
“Do you mean IGS?” (which doesn’t exist, it’s either AGS or IGI.)
“Why would you want it AGS certified?” Was another.
“We deal strictly with GIA.”
“We could probably do it, I would assume the prices are the same as GIA’s”
“GIA and IGI only.“
“We could send it to our corporate offices and have them send it out to AGS. I don’t know what the price would be.”
“The price would depend on the size of the stone and the amount of inclusions in the stone…” ??? What? This guy said that the lower the clarity, the more the report would cost, because they would have to plot it (insane).
“You’re the first person to ever ask that.”
“Have to send it to corporate to have done.”
“No.” He went on to say that AGS is for profit, while GIA is non-profit.
Bewildered at my loss of help, I went back to AGS’s website and looked at their jeweler’s approved list. I typed in my zip-code and saw that there was only 1 store in a 50 mile radius from me. I called…
They said that they don’t have an account with AGS anymore (even though they were still listed), and that they would have to re-submit an application, do a background and credit check, and then be required to submit a certain number of stones per year in order to keep their account active. So in other words “Sorry I can’t help you.“
So I widened my zip-code search to 100 miles, and came up with 2 more locations. I called them. They said that they would have to check on prices, and whether they could even do this, they would have to call me back.
They did so (surprisingly). One responded “$100-$150ish” depending on what I wanted done. The other store called saying “$200-$300“, and it would take them 2-3 weeks.
All in all, AGS is a great diamond report to have, but that’s only if you’re buying one already certified by them. Otherwise, forget it.
Getting one done after the fact is not simple at all. Good luck if you try. :)
IGI Diamond Reports
IGI is mainly used for jewelers like Kays, Jareds, and any of the Sterling stores. They feature a full diamond report, as well as a mini-identification report (both shown above, and both are the same price).
Their reports are questionable in my mind. And if I had to choose to either have a stone IGI certified or nothing… I would choose nothing.
The prices they charge are here:
|Up to 0.22||$ 35|
|0.23 to 0.29||$ 45|
|0.30 to 0.45||$ 50|
|0.46 to 0.69||$ 70|
|0.70 to 0.89||$ 80|
|0.90 to 0.95||$ 95|
|0.96 to 1.45||$ 125|
|1.46 to 1.94||$ 150|
|1.95 to 2.94||$ 190|
|2.95 to 3.94||$ 290|
|3.95 to 4.94||$ 350|
|4.95 to 5.94||$ 455|
|5.95 to 7.94||$ 495|
|7.95 to 9.94||$ 575|
|9.95 +||Upon Request|
EGL Diamond Reports
EGL has offices in both New York and California. Their reports are also highly skeptical. I’ve seen some diamonds come back that have been extremely inflated (grade bumped). EGL reports will make a diamond appear better, and sell better (make the jeweler more money), but they aren’t worth much in my book. Plus, if you try to sell a diamond that’s IGI or EGL certified, jewelers will just frown and dismiss these reports anyway. They don’t matter much. Take a look at them…
EGL Full Diamond Report:
The prices of the full EGL diamond report are:
|Up to 0.69||$ 60|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 65|
|1.00 +||$ 65|
|Hearts & Arrows||Additional $ 5|
|360° Light Performance||Additional $ 15|
EGL Plot Reports:
The EGL mini plot reports are smaller versions of the diamond certificate.
The prices for the mini certificate (shown above), and the mini appraisals are:
|Up to 0.69||$ 50|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 55|
|1.00 +||$ 55|
EGL Mini Gem Card:
These prices are for the ID card, gem passport, gem tag, or appraisal summary:
|Up to 0.69||$ 45|
|0.70 to 0.99||$ 50|
|1.00 +||$ 50|
HRD ANTWERP CERTIFICATES
The HRD Institute of Gemmology (housed in Antwerp, Belgium) is also respected in the field, but not quite as well known here. Their prices for their two diamond reports are as follows:
HRD Full Certificate Report:
The full certificate is a detailed description of the 4C’s, and can be ordered with additional fees for hearts and arrows grading, laser inscription as well as sealing. Their prices, shown as Euros (EUR), are as follows for the full report and the additional services:
|Up to 0.49||€ 40.55||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.50 to 0.69||€ 51.15||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.70 to 0.84||€ 56.45||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.85 to 0.99||€ 64.40||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|1.00 to 1.49||€ 75.00||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|1.50 to 1.99||€ 93.55||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|2.00 to 2.99||€ 133.30||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|3.00 to 3.99||€ 186.30||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|4.00 to 4.99||€ 236.65||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|5.00 to 5.99||€ 289.65||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|6.00 to 6.99||€ 318.80||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|7.00 to 7.99||€ 347.95||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|8.00 to 8.99||€ 377.10||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|9.00 to 9.99||€ 406.25||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
|10.00 to 10.99||€ 435.40||+€ 5.00||+€ 15.00||+€ 5.00|
HRD Diamond Identification Report (DIR):
The compact report (for diamonds smaller than 1 carat), can be ordered along with additional services. Their pricing structure is as follows:
|Up to 0.29||€ 30.15||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.30 to 0.49||€ 33.15||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.50 to 0.69||€ 35.95||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.70 to 0.84||€ 41.25||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
|0.85 to 0.99||€ 44.04||+€ 5.00||FREE||+€ 5.00|
Have a trusted jeweler send your stone to GIA for grading. Or do it yourself.
That’s the best report to have and the most accurate you could get in the states.
It’s well worth the time, effort and money.
Send it in, get it graded, and laser inscribed. You’ll have great peace of mind.
P.S. Also note that these prices listed on this page are as of February 2013. Which means, they may change, go up, go down, as inflation and services increase.
Check with the company to see the actual costs so you don’t get sticker shock.
Their pricing and information is here:
So there you go… The cost to certify your diamond.