What You Need to Know

Diamonds are magnificent; they sparkle with glamour and grace.  Each diamond is special, unique and its individual qualities determine its level of beauty, rarity and value.  So how do we know just how special our diamond is?  And how can we ensure, when purchasing a diamond, that we’re getting our money’s worth?

“Make sure you get a diamond certificate! “says one friend. “Take your diamond for a full appraisal at a qualified jeweler” says another.  “Well, aren’t these the same things…?” you silently wonder… The answer is a definite no!

We want to state this up front and very clearly .. DO NOT COMPROMISE WHEN BUYING A DIAMOND .. GET IT CERTIFIED.  Ok, now that we got that out let’s explain the differences.

Diamond Appraisal

An appraisal is simply the evaluation of a jeweler or gemologist.  In the process of appraisal your diamond will be inspected, either loose, mounted or in its jewelry setting.  (When diamonds are appraised on a mounting or in a setting, inference techniques are often used for some of the more camouflaged aspects).  Basic characteristics and the diamond’s condition will be appraised and evaluated and an estimated monetary value will be given.  The person making an appraisal should be an expert and well trained but in truth, any person may by law give you an evaluation.  It is up to you to verify the reliability of the appraiser involved.  Don’t assume that jewelry appraisers or even labs are qualified or unbiased.  You should use someone whose services are not connected to the firm that is selling the jewelry or gemstone. A good idea is to do research and ask anyone who will be trusted with your jewelry for references and educational credentials.

While sometimes necessary for insurance purposes or simply for your own information, an appraisal is a simple document and will rarely shed much light on neither the intricate qualities of your diamond nor its relative quality in the diamond world.  The value given in an appraisal should be seen as a rough estimate, as the intricate characteristics are not usually inspected.  Because monetary value changes with the times, appraisals will vary over periods of time.  Some insurance companies insist on an appraisal every two years or so.  A final note: It may be an obvious answer, but we have been asked whether rough diamonds are appraised.  No, only polished diamonds are appraised or certified.

Diamond Certificate

A certificate is a highly detailed, specific and complex document.  A certificate is issued on loose diamonds only by a diamond laboratory which is specialized in the inspection of diamonds and gemstones.  At these laboratories, trained gemologists will grade and list the important factors which make up the diamond.  They will use highly specialized tools and techniques, each aspect being assessed by a specialist in that area (eg. There are different people who grade color and others who grade clarity).  This will be the basis for classifying, and categorizing the specific of the diamond and therefore its inherent value and beauty.

A diamond certificate is not bound by time as diamond characteristics do not change with time, unless they are damaged in some way.

The 4 C’s are the basis for the certificate: diamond cut, diamond color, diamond claritydiamond carat weight.  However the certificates include much more than a simple grading in each of these 4 categories.  The detail is amazing.  (In a related story: Do you know why diamond color grading starts with the letter D, not A?  The grading goes from D-Z.)

Insist on Independent Certification

One of the most important factors of a good diamond certification is that it is performed by a diamond laboratory which specializes in certification and is fully independent of jewelers and sales.  Grading, while following certain accepted guidelines and procedures, is after all the result of the skilled graders opinion.  This means that one who is biased for whatever reason may allow a diamond to be classified in a class higher or lower than it belongs.  For this reason, independent labs are a must to ensure that the certificate will be unbiased and accurate, and not just a tool to enhance sales.

Mazal Diamond only uses the top 3 diamond grading labs in the world, IGI, GIA & HRD.  Learn all about IGI Diamond Certification ,GIA Diamond Certification & HRD Diamond Certification.  Every diamond we sell comes with a free certificate from one of these laboratories.  Our commitment to you: guaranteed quality.  Three generations in the diamond business .. three generations of earning the trust of our customers.

There are unscrupulous jewelers or salespeople who will provide diamond certificates which were not produced by outside labs, but rather by their own agents.  This may simply be a logistical, financial or practical issue.  Whatever the case, it may compromise the unbiased approach which is vital in the accurate grading of the diamond.  As an example, the GIA is one of the foremost respected labs in the world, a certificate provided by the GIA lab is a trusted and noteworthy document.  However, a certificate provided by a GIA graduate gemologist simply means the one writing the support studied and attained a certificate in the training program of the GIA.  While he may be highly skilled, his certificate is not an actual GIA certificate.

When purchasing a diamond, an appraisal should certainly not replace a certificate.

Most appraisals will have legal disclaimers to protect from legal repercussions if the appraisal is inaccurate.  Disclaimers usually state the appraisal is no guarantee of quality and is only the opinion of the appraiser.  Many people who buy un-certified diamonds may end up paying too much because the diamond is inaccurately graded.  It is not uncommon for a diamond appraisal to be imprecise by two, three or even more grades when the diamond is sent to an independent expert lab for precise evaluation.

Only Purchase 100% Conflict Free Diamonds

Just as important as diamond certification, we feel very strongly that all diamonds should be conflict free.  We mention it here to make the point that we hope you will only purchase from a reputable source.

Conflict free diamonds remain a serious issue.  A conflict diamond, or blood diamond, is any stone sold in order to fund armed conflict or civil war.  Mazal Diamond works almost exclusively with russian diamonds, a country which is known for its strict adherence to the kimberley process.  For more information, read our Conflict Free Guarantee and tour the Mazal Diamond Factory.

Read all articles in Certification