The diamond trade is flooded with con-artists who take advantage of buyers at every opportunity. The naked eye can spot very little difference between a natural diamond and an enhanced lab made diamond. Diamond collectors and enthusiasts can tell the difference because they have experience but common buyers can not.
The seller’s word cannot be trusted since their aim is to make a profit in any way possible. Fortunately, there are certificates that verify and validate the physical attributes of a diamond according to cut, clarity, color and carats. The certificate is the fifth ‘C’ that you need to consider when buying a diamond gem. The evaluation is not done by the buyer or the seller but by a recognized third party.
Certified diamonds are diamonds that have been tested and graded by a reputable agency. They are more expensive due to the cost of certification but this is the best way to ensure that you get the value for your money. You should only buy certified diamonds (unless you are a diamond expert) to avoid getting ripped off. However, certified diamonds are not necessarily conflict free diamonds because certificates do not verify the source. Certificates only verify the physical attributes of the diamond.
What are the various certification agencies used to grade diamonds?
The grading agencies include:
- American Gemological Society (AGS)
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
- European Gemological Laboratory (EGL)
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)
GIA and the AGS certificates are the most reputable and certainly the most trusted. They show consistent results even when re-tested. GIA is the most commonly used certification in the industry though AGS is seen as superior by some experts. AGS carries out intense research on diamond color grades therefore it tends to be more extensive than GIA.
Can the Diamond Certifications be forged?
There are some corrupt dealers who work tirelessly to earn easy money. They forge diamond certificates and exploit the buyers. A unique serial number that corresponds to the one on the certificate is permanently inscribed on a diamond with a laser. However, a diamond can be re-polished, removing this number. So an unsuspecting buyer will easily fall for this trick.
You need to confirm that the details are correct by going to an independent appraiser to test the diamond and verify that the values are the correct ones.
You should not consult an appraiser recommended by the seller or an in-house appraiser because they may be biased. An independent qualified third party appraiser is best suited for the job.
In fact, the appraiser should not be a diamond seller due to conflict of interest. They will also attach a certain value to the diamond which can help you to know if you were ripped off.
Buying a certified diamond ensures that you get the value for your money. All the physical characteristics of the diamond are verified, so you can be assured that you are getting what you paid for.