This is such an important question. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion as to what constitutes a ‘certified’ diamond. It’s a word that should invoke trust and reassurance as to the diamond’s characteristics however sometimes that doesn’t happen. Let me explain.
First, a key thing to remember is that diamonds come out of the earth. They are mined and cut, then they are graded as to clarity, color, etc so that a value can be put on them. Since no two diamonds are the same (like snowflakes) each one has to be carefully graded to determine its value. This is where a laboratory comes in.
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) & AGS (American Gem Society) are the two most trusted and recognized laboratories in the world. A diamond may be sent to one of these laboratories, where teams of gemologists are employed to grade diamonds properly, according to very strict standards. The end result is a certificate that is unique to that diamond, noting all the characteristics, flaws, finishing notes, etc. If your diamond is certified by one of these labs, you can be assured that the grading is accurate. This is important because each step up and down in quality equals money.
It’s critical to note that there are other laboratories, however in our experience their standards can be lower. For example, a diamond that GIA grades as an SI1 clarity, G color might be graded as a VS2 clarity, E color by a less reputable set of criteria. It’s vital to speak to your jeweler and understand exactly what you are buying and who certified the diamond.
Do all CJEX diamonds come with a GIA or AGS certificate? The short answer is no. Why? Primarily because half of our inventory is pre-owned. We buy jewelry & diamonds from the public and re-sell those items at or below wholesale. The value is tremendous. Most of these diamonds have never been certified. We could send them to GIA ourselves and have them certified but we typically only do this on large diamonds. It costs around $300 for GIA to do their work, plus we have to insure it and ship it across the border. All in all, the diamond has to be worthy enough for such a process. If our buyer deems it necessary, it is done. If not, our GIA trained staff go through a similar process to grade the diamond properly.
If we are shopping for a diamond for you, we almost always locate one with a GIA or AGS certificate. Speak to your personal shopper for more details.