A lot of people see “GIA certified” or “Certified by GIA” on a website, description, or catalog, and have no idea what it means.
What does GIA certified mean?
Is it a good thing? Bad?
Does it really matter?
Should you care?
GIA means that the diamond you’re looking at, has not been graded by the jeweler or the jewelry store. The store has no say-so in what the actual grade is (so you’re not taking their word for what the quality is, which also means… You don’t even have to trust the jeweler for the quality).
GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) is an independent outside source that grades stones by expert Diamontologists and Gemologists, that evaluate the stones for cut, color, clarity, carat weight, and more, to identify and classify that particular stone.
See their official website here…
GIA tells you what the quality really is by the strictest and most technologically advanced systems on earth. When they say that a diamond is SI1… It’s an SI1 hands down.
No question about it!
If the diamond is not GIA certified, you could get yourself ripped off by hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Just because it’s not GIA?
Do I have your attention now?
Good, now lets take a closer look at GIA and see what it all means…
1) GIA is highly established
GIA is the most established certification company in the world. They have been around since 1931 and are the foremost authority on diamonds, gems and pearls. They are a non-profit organization that sets the standards for jewels and identification world-wide.
Their main headquarters are located in Carlsbad, CA, but they have training offices around the globe like: London, Thailand, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. These locations make it perfect for individuals to build a career in the diamond, gemstone, or jewelry field.
See their locations here:
GIA has made break-through discoveries with gemstones, and even patented the professional jeweler’s triplet loupe.
Research, education, grading, and analysis is their goal. They are the Gemological Institute of America and there is no one better.
2) The founder of the four C’s
In the 1940‘s, GIA established the 4C’s.
They wrote the book when it comes to diamond grading and education.
With extremely strict standards for cut, color, clarity and carat weight, they made the guidelines that all jewelers use today to grade, buy, sell, and evaluate gemstones.
So there is nobody better to trust with your stone, than the professionals who made the system and perfected it.
3) GIA is admired and trusted
Go to any jewelry store and ask them what the best diamond certificate is, and 9 out of 10 times they’ll say “GIA” (the other certificate would be AGS, which is the second best diamond report to get… And if for some reason they don’t say GIA or AGS, then that just means they don’t sell them).
There is no debate here. Jewelers all agree that GIA puts out the most trusted and accurate report ever.
You’ll know this is true if you ever try to sell your diamond at a jewelry store. You tell them you have a certified diamond, and the first question they’ll ask is “Who certified it?“
It’s a very important question, because what they really want to find out is, whether GIA Certified it, or any of the others (the others don’t count).
If it’s GIA, they’ll trust the grade… If it’s EGL or IGI, they’ll dismiss the certificate, because they’ll usually find that these reports are not accurate, or are lax in their gradings.
“Is it GIA?”
That’s what everyone cares about.
So that should be a huge eye-opener. If that’s all any jeweler cares about, shouldn’t that be what you buy as well?
Plus, GIA certified diamonds also hold their value better (because the report and grades are accurate).
The cert really does matter!
4) GIA triple checks
GIA is redundant. And that’s a good thing.
They don’t just have one person evaluate a diamond and come to a conclusion.
They have multiple experts view and grade the stone. They call it “triple checking“, but it’s not even just 3 people… It’s actually 4 or more.
You see, GIA knows that grades are opinion based. They know that some diamonds are borderline stones, so they get at least 4 people to critique a diamond and arrive at a unified grade for all of the diamond traits and characteristics. And, if a diamond is a borderline stone, they always grade the stone lower, just so there’s never ever a question about the grade. That’s smart. (you’ll never over-pay for that stone)
These strict policies are why GIA is the most trusted and admired diamond grading company, and their findings are truthful and just.
If it’s GIA, you get what you pay for.
5) No replacement value
Want to know whether to trust a diamond report or not?
Check the replacement value.
If there’s a monetary value on the report, then I would never buy it.
A diamond that has a value determined by the grading company can never be factual or accurate (GIA never puts a value on their diamond reports).
Diamond prices change, often daily, just like the gold market. So if the value of the diamond changes, then how can this value, sealed in cement, be real?
The value would be higher or lower… It doesn’t make sense. I would bet it’s probably way over-inflated! (just so the value looks good and you think you got a good deal)
I say keep the replacement values where they belong, on a jewelry appraisal so you can turn it in for insurance purposes.
Replacement value example
Here’s an example of a replacement value on a EGL diamond report:
DON’T BUY IT!
There’s no way that value can be up-to-date. Look at how much diamond prices have escalated over the past 30 years…
GIA puts no value on their diamond reports. Neither does AGS.
They are not bias or swayed by how much money a store could, or could not make.
All they want to do is to grade the stone as accurately as possible.
Simple as that.
6) Compare GIA to GIA
Here’s the thing that I love about GIA certificates…
They make comparing diamonds a breeze.
That way, you’re comparing apples to apples. For you can’t compare a GIA diamond to an EGL or IGI stone.
It’s not the same stone.
The stone quality, certificate and price will all be different.
Plus, some companies, like EGL, even have a different grading system for diamonds. They have added in a new clarity grade, called SI3 (as shown above in the EGL certificate), that GIA doesn’t even recognize. So it’s not a fair comparison.
To truly compare diamonds, quality and prices, you need to:
Compare GIA to GIA
That’s how you’ll find out what store really has the better stone and better deal.
And make sure when you’re comparing, that you compare all these characteristics:
- Carat Weight
Because any one of these could change the cost of a diamond by thousands.
Other helpful tips:
Always view the diamond under magnification.
You must see the stone at 10x+ magnification (using a jeweler’s loupe or a microscope), to see what the flaws are inside of the stone (that’s why I love James Allen, because they show you the real diamond, and not a sample stock photo, magnified at 40x power, so you can turn and rotate the stone to see the diamond from all angles).
Loupe the stone.
Loupe the diamond. View the inclusions. Compare them to the diamond plot, as seen below…
That’s what you should do in order to get the best diamond for you money.
And if you ever need or want to double check a diamond or a report, head on over to the GIA diamond report checker, and it’ll pull up all their database records so you’ll know if the information provided is accurate and real.
Because GIA matters the most.
If it’s not GIA…
Then forget it.
And that’s the truth! :)
14k Wheat Chains
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