Certified vs Uncertified Diamonds: How to Choose

When buying a diamond, should you splurge on certification or save with an uncertified stone? This decision impacts what you pay and the quality you get.

Certification by gemology labs like GIA authenticates a diamond’s specs, while uncertified relies on seller claims that could misrepresent value.

I’ll help you determine if the certification’s protection and assurance of accuracy is worth the investment.

The Difference Between Certified and Uncertified Diamonds

Diamonds that are certified have been evaluated and are sold with a certificate. Diamonds that are not certified have not been evaluated and are NOT sold with a certificate.

Certified diamonds are usually more trusted than those that have not been certified because a professional and qualified gemologist generally does the evaluation.

This doesn’t mean that uncertified diamonds are worse to buy, but usually, those which have certification prove the stone is of higher-quality.

What a Certified Diamond Means

When a diamond is certified, it has been professionally examined to ensure that the diamond is 100% natural, some will accept enhanced diamonds to be certified. The quality of the diamond, such as the color, clarity and cut is up to a particular standard, usually set by gemologists.

They will examine the diamond and determine whether it can be certified; once it is, the diamond can then be sold with a certificate.

What is on the certified diamond’s certificate

A certified diamond will come with a piece of paper which is its certificate. Some diamond sellers will instead call it the diamond grading report or a diamond analysis document. The information on the certificate will describe the diamonds physical attributes; the usual ones include:

  • Shape
  • Dimensions
  • Carat weight
  • Color grade
  • Clarity grade
  • Standard of finish
  • Cut grade

There could be other information that might be put onto the certificate, but this is very much the standard information.

When you purchase a certified diamond, you are paying for the certificate as well.

The certificate should always be kept with the diamond.

This means if you are to sell the diamond, it should be sold with its certificate, never without.

Why Diamonds Are Certified

Diamonds are certified to confirm the physical attributes of a diamond by a professional and trusted gemologist.

This means that when you are buying a diamond, the certificate is there to protect you.

Anything the diamond seller tells you can be supported by the certificate, otherwise, the seller could be telling you false information about the diamond, and you might be overcharged or scammed.

Why You Might Buy a Diamond Without a Certificate

Buying an uncertified diamond is usually much cheaper than one that has been certified so it can be rather tempting, but the downfall is, is that you might not be buying what you think you are.

Diamond sellers can always self-certificate diamonds, but the likelihood of it being accurate is slim. Gemological laboratories use rigorous criteria to grade diamonds, and those who do it are professionals.

Therefore, a seller might grade the color of a diamond as grade G.

In contrast, if it was professionally graded, it could be grade K. This means you might have overpaid for your diamond.

I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a diamond without having a certificate.

It is better for you to buy a diamond with certification. This is because having a certificate means that you are not paying more money than you should be. It is there to protect you as the buyer and to ensure that you know what it is that you’re paying for.

Why GIA Certification Matters

GIA is a well-respected and trusted gemological laboratory in the United States. Having a GIA certification does matter because they are the leaders in the grading industry, they were the ones who came up with the 4C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat weight).

They even wrote the book that diamond sellers and gemologists use to grade, compare, price, etc. for diamonds.

However, there are also other gemological laboratories such as AGS and IGI, which are also both trusted and respected. Despite this, many people suggest not to purchase a diamond unless GIA grades it.

Now you know the difference between certified and uncertified diamonds

You should now have an understanding of the difference between certified and uncertified diamonds. The physical attributes of certified diamonds have been determined accurately by trusted and professional gemologists.

However, when it comes to uncertified diamonds, you are relying on the words from the seller, which could not be accurate.

I always recommend that purchasing a certified diamond is better than buying one that hasn’t been certified or one that the seller has “self-certified” themselves.

Purchasing a certified diamond will put your mind at ease because you know that it is accurate

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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