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Most people have heard a diamond described as “certified”. What does it mean to say that a diamond has been certified. Do only the best diamonds get certified? Surely a certified diamond must be better than a diamond that is not certified, right?

No, not necessarily.  What it means to say that a diamond is certified is that the stone has been sent to a gemological laboratory to be graded. If the diamond comes back from the lab graded I3 on the clarity scale and “P” on the color scale, it will be a certified diamond, but it will be junk. It will have little to none of the optical characteristics that we normally look for in a diamond and think of as beautiful.  It will be a highly included, yellowish stone with little brilliance, fire or scintillation.

But it will have a lab report.  All certified diamonds have lab reports (certificates) that give the buyer an independent third party verification that the stone is a natural diamond, that it has the dimensions, carat weight, color  and clarity stated on the “cert”.  The existence of the lab report means that the consumer does not have to trust what the sales person says about the size or quality of the diamond. But it does not necessarily mean that it is a good diamond.

So the next time you hear that advertisement on TV from the discount jeweler about 3.00 carat GIA certified diamonds on sale for $1.50, you will know that it probably is certified, but you will understand what that diamond must look like.

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