Loose diamond shopping can be tricky and you really need to know what you are doing so you don’t get taken advantage of. Today, I am going to talk about certified versus non-certified diamonds and which one you should buy for your engagement ring. This is actually something that is very important and may or may not come into play when you are searching for your loose diamond. Please keep in mind that I am discussing the main, larger diamond for your engagement ring. I am not talking about the accent diamonds, as those are way too small to be certified.
Basically, here is what you need to know about certified and non-certified diamonds. Do you want to buy a diamond that has gone to an independent grading laboratory (like the Gemological Institute of America) and has had a full inspection or do you want to take someone’s word (possibly the jeweler who is trying to sell you the diamond) for what they say you are buying? After all, a diamond is a diamond, right? Well, yes and no. Cut diamonds can vary tremendously in terms of actual cut (depth percentage, table percentage, girdle thickness etc) as well as color and clarity and ultimately, value.
What happens when a diamond is sent to the GIA for grading? Well, read it for yourself from the GIA website. You can see that both color and clarity are not determined until ‘there are sufficient agreeing opinions’. A diamond at the GIA lab can be seen and graded by multiple gemologists. This ensures an accurate, independent grading of the diamond. A non-certified diamond is most likely (or at least hopefully) graded by a gemologist and is graded to be whatever they judge the color and clarity. Believe me, even trained gemologists can make different calls as far as color and clarity. It is for this reason why the GIA has multiple gemologists grade each diamond.
Personally, I think the determining factor for if you buy a certified or non-certified diamond should be price. If you are tempted to buy a non-certified diamond, just be sure to check the stores return policy. You should want and absolutely be able to take it somewhere to have it evaluated by another independent appraiser, someone not associated with the store from where you are buying. I am not saying that you should never consider a non-certified diamond. I am saying that the point of buying a GIA graded diamond is that you know what you are buying. You are not taking someone’s word for what they say you are buying. Buying a certified diamond gives you peace of mind. You will never wonder in the back of your mind if what you bought is accurately graded.