Why Buy Certified Diamonds?
A diamond which is certified provides consumers with confidence, security and increases comfort levels while making a decision on which diamond to purchase.
Before purchasing a diamond, you should expect to review a copy of its certificate, as this is your only guarantee of the quality and value of that diamond. A diamond certificate documents the characteristics of the diamonds quality, color, cut, clarity & carat weight which are verified by an independent company with no conflict of interest between buyer and seller.
Listed below are highly regarded Diamond Grading Laboratories that have the strictest grading standards. A diamond certificate is only as good as the Laboratory it comes from.
DCLA, GIA, HRD & AGS are the only Diamond Certificates that Diamond Imports trusts and has complete confidence in. When you compare a diamond make sure you also compare the details and statistics on the certificate and also make a note of which laboratory issued the certificate.
DCLA, GIA, HRD & AGS laboratories are recognised for their procedures, technical ability and cutting edge equipment necessary to analyse and grade diamonds. Furthermore these laboratories are Independent, grade to an internationally recognised standard and subscribe to the highest ethics. We strongly recommend diamonds that have been Certified by DCLA, GIA, HRD or AGS.
The table below details the various laboratories and the different grading scales they use, you will notice that there is an over lap in some of the grades and that the top grade is not the same for each laboratory.
GIA and DCLA have Excellent as their top grade, HRD has Very Good for its top grade whilst AGS splits its top grade category into Ideal and Excellent.
DCLA & GIA have the same grade categories except DCLA calls its second lowest grade Medium whereas GIA calls it Fair. AGS has the same breakdown of catgeories as both DCLA & GIA except for the top grade of Excellent where it breaks down that category into two sections of Ideal and Excellent.
AGS is the only Grading Laboraotory that actually has a grade called Ideal. The term Ideal Cut Diamond is a widely and quite oftenly misused marketing term used by Jewellers and Diamond Dealers to describe a cutting style based on proportions rather than an actual Ideal grade by a laboratory unless the diamond has been certified by AGS with and AGS grade of Ideal.
Comparing Diamond Certificates
When comparing Diamond Certificates it is important to refer to these 3 grading scales for cross referencing. However the true test to evaluate a diamond is to view it in person and compare it with other diamonds. Nothing beats seeing a diamond in person to determine whether it is a ‘good’ diamond to your eye or not. Diamond appreciation is a very personal thing and different people will prefer different things about different diamonds. At the end of the day all the numbers and photos in the world mean nothing if you do not like the diamond in person.
Many jewellers and diamond dealers will use terms like Hearts and Arrows, Ideal, Excellent, Russian Cut, Belgium Cut, Fine Make and others to describe their diamonds, with the intention of portraying them as ‘better’ than others. Be wary of accepting these terms as is. They are especially dangerous when assigned to diamonds by the jeweller or diamond dealer themselves without third-party independent support.
DIAMOND GRADING RULES ESTABLISHED FOR LABS
Since 1975, any laboratory that wants to be recognized as a genuine gemological laboratory must follow the certification rules as laid out by CIBJO. CIBJO was formed in 1961 by multiple national jewelry trade organizations, in an effort to form an international jewelry confederation that could lie out uniform rules for the grading of diamonds.
CIBJO, which is the acronym for the French phrase, Confédération International de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie des Diamantes, Perles et Pierres, and which translates to International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds and Stones, is the international jewellery confederation of national trade organizations.
CIBJO currently has 21 countries involved in its associations. Their rules are the basic rules of grading today, such as: using a 10x loupe for grading; that each diamond to be certified must be graded by at least three (3) professional graders; that all laboratories must be independent and impartial and cannot be involved in the buying or selling of diamonds.
DCLA is the ONLY official CIBJO Diamond Grading Laboratory in Australia.
DCLA is the ONLY official IDC International Diamond Council Laboratory in Australia.
Are All Diamond Certificates the Same?
NOT ALL LABS GRADE THE SAME
There are many different diamond grading laboratories available to the diamond-buying public. Some of the more well known grading laboratories are: GIA (Gemological Institute of America), DCLA (Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia), AGS (American Gemological Society), HRD (Hoge Raad Voor Diamant; Diamond High Council), EGL (European Gemological Institute) and the IGI (International Gemological Institute).
Each of these diamond grading laboratories has their own criteria and method of grading loose diamonds, but they all operate within a high set of parameters, in regards to grading a diamond’s attributes and dimensions. Be aware that as each grading laboratory has its own methods, each grading laboratory also has its own expense guides for preparing a certificate and these grading laboratories differ in their standards and level of strictness.
GIA’s standards for grading have set the bar for all other gemological laboratories. DCLA & AGS are on par with GIA for grading standards. In fact, it is the AGS grading for Cut that served as an impetus for the GIA to recently include Cut grading to their grading reports. HRD out of Antwerp, Belgium is also a greatly respected name in the diamond industry. A certificate from any of these grading laboratories – GIA, DCLA, AGS, HRD – can be considered accurate, reliable and trusted. In Australia we highly recommend DCLA – Diamond Certification of Australia – as they are the only internationally recognised laboratory in Australia and is one of only five laboratories worldwide recognised as an International Diamond Council (IDC) laboratory.
Another pair of well known grading laboratories is EGL and IGI. Each of these grading laboratories is fine in their own right, but neither have the name and reputation of GIA or any of the other previously mentioned grading laboratories. Much of this is due to the fact that both EGL and IGI tend to over-grade the loose diamonds, as well as having less strict grading scales and training requirements for their gemologists.
For example, EGL created the grade of SI3 for Clarity. This is the equivalent of the I1 or P1 by GIA, DCLA, AGS & HRD standards (which do not accept the SI3 grade in their grading scales). In addition to this, a diamond that received a grade in clarity of VS2 from either EGL or IGI would most likely receive a grade of SI1 from the GIA, AGS or DCLA. A diamond’s clarity grading has a greater influence on the price of a diamond and increases the value more than the colour grading of a diamond.
It is important to remain aware of the facts and differences with certification and the process as well as the different grading standards each diamond grading laboratory offers. While it might be possible to find certified diamonds with the same grade notably cheaper which have been certified by different grading laboratories; one must remember that there are no huge bargains within the diamond industry. Remember, if a certified diamond sounds too good to be true, it probably is and there usually is a reason.
Buying Certified Diamonds in Australia
In Australia DCLA is the only true world class Independent recognised Diamond Grading laboratory that is both compliant and recognised by CIBJO and IDC.
For Australian customers we recommend to obtain a second certification or have the diamond verified by DCLA to check the acuracy of the diamond certificate and check that the diamond matches the certificate and is unaltered or damaged in any way.
It is important to keep in mind the fact that not all diamond grading laboratories are as well respected or as stringent in their grading as each other. Diamond grading laboratories should always be independent of any diamond retailers or wholesalers, to avoid any conflict of interests or bias. Diamond Certificates are only of value when they are issued by an independent accredited diamond grading laboratory. Always make certain to identify the source of the certificate or diamond grading report. If you have not heard of the laboratory, it could very well be associated in some way with the store, jeweller or diamond wholesaler itself, and so have a vested interest in aiding the sale.
The DCLA Diamond Grading Certificate sets the standard for technical ability. The Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia is equipped with the most advanced equipment and it is the ONLY Independent Internationally Recognised and Compliant Diamond Grading Laboratory in Australia.
Before you buy a diamond you should always, as a first priority, insist on an independent diamond grading certificate from an accredited laboratory to support any added claims about a diamond and why Diamond Imports strongly recommend diamonds that have been Certified by DCLA, GIA, HRD or AGS.