When buying a diamond more than likely you will run into certified as well as non-certified diamonds. The question is which one should you buy? Let me start off by telling you exactly what a diamond certification is. A diamond is sent to an independent gemological laboratory where they evaluate and grade a diamond, then issue a certificate for that diamond stating the quality, which includes dimensions, clarity, color, polish, symmetry and many round diamonds will include cut. The consistency of grading does vary from lab to lab, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Should you buy a non-certified diamond? The answer is maybe. There are some things to consider before buying a non-certified diamond. First and foremost if you are looking to purchase a non-certified diamond it is more than likely less expensive than one that is certified. Why? Because a certified diamond comes with the cost of the certification, and some gemological labs are more expensive than others to obtain a cert. That does not mean that non-certified diamonds are of lesser value, they just haven’t been stamped by an expert.
If you are on a budget, then a non-certified diamond may be a good option, if you’re sure you’re getting the quality of diamond you want.
Find a reputable jeweler who is certified by GIA to grade diamonds. That way even if the diamond is not certified, your trusted jeweler should be able to tell you the quality of the diamond. Although you may not be a jeweler you’ll be able to see whether a diamond possesses the qualities you’re looking for.
Most of the diamonds you find will be certified, by whom is another matter. Many people will buy a certified diamond for the peace of mind and proof that the diamond has been examined by a professional.
Let’s jump back to the consistency of a gemological lab’s grading. Some are known to be more consistent and stricter with their grading than others, which in turn means you may be paying more for those diamonds, but it also means they may be more accurate grades. Among the most well known independent gemological labs are GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gem Society) and EGL (European Gemological Laboratory).
GIA and AGS are both based in the U.S. GIA created the standard by which diamonds are graded, so they tend to be a little stricter with their grading. AGS is also known to be consistent with their grading. They have also done extensive research on the cut of a diamond, so their cut grades go beyond that of GIA. EGL has a large global presence. They are known to be less expensive and more often than not are a little more lax with their grading than GIA or AGS. That does not mean that you can’t get a nice diamond that is graded by them. In fact, sometimes you may get a better deal on a diamond because the diamond has been graded lower quality than what it actually is. A jeweler will be able to tell you if the grading is accurate.
Keep in mind grading is subjective. Since grading isn’t performed by a machine but by the human eye there are certain tolerances when grading a diamond. No two diamonds, even with the same color and clarity will look exactly the same, which also means you shouldn’t just go by the diamonds certificate, but by how the diamond looks to you.