Category Archives: Certificates

GIA, IGA, Gem Lab Certificates

No Such Thing as a ‘Certified Diamond’

BenThat may sound harsh, especially with jewelry stores everywhere offering certified diamonds.  So, what’s up with that?

“We are not the compliance police,” asserts Mr. Gordon, “ but the term ‘Certified, or Certificated’ is old school marketing.” The term, ‘Certificate’ carried too many different meanings and the jewelry industry itself issued guidelines to help standardize the terminology for describing diamonds and gemstones.  “Technically, any retailer can create a Certificate, but only gem labs create Grading Reports,” The Jewelry Judge explains.

GIA CertA big part of the Jewelry Judge mission is education, so clarity (no pun here) is important to Mr. Gordon.  Diamonds with Grading Reports have undergone scientific analysis by qualified professionals who analyse, report and grade the qualities of each gemstone.  There will be a description for each of the four C’s, i.e., Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight.  There will also be additional language to describe fluorescence, color enhancement, fracture filling or heat treatments.

Store receipts and typical Certificates have little to no meaning because they do not go far enough to completely describe a diamond.  “Don’t mix up the terms,” the Judge warns.

Diamonds with a laboratory Grading Report may be priced slightly higher than non-graded diamonds because of the extra step of having the gemological laboratory test them.  A jeweler may pass this cost along to the buyer.

How do I Get a Laboratory Grading Report?

“Each appraisal we create comes with a grading report,” Mr. Gordon explains. A laboratory grading report is for analysis and identification only.  “Our testing is similar to the testing that is done at the gem labs, but our purpose is to arrive at a valuation.  We take the report one step further by adding current market value.” A diamond Grading Report’s details should never change, (unless the stone is damaged or altered), but appraisal values will certainly change with market conditions.

“If your diamond did not come with a Grading Report, don’t worry,” assures Ben.  For a service fee, important stones can be sent to a reputable lab to obtain a Grading Report.  The GIA, Gemological Institute of America and AGS (American Gem Society) are two reputable gem labs based in the US.  There are other laboratories around the world, but they have not earned the level of trust of  the US based gem labs.

Diamond Plot
Diamond Plotting Diagram
(courtesy of GIA)

Double-Check for Peace of Mind

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckMany of the consultations we do are to confirm laboratory Grading Reports,” Mr. Gordon explains.  “And sometimes we find that the grading report that comes with a diamond, does not match.”  It’s always best to ‘trust but verify’ especially with new purchases.  In some cases, an honest mistake has been made, in others, there may be a suspicion of fraud. 

The Jewelry Judge can identify discrepancies and offer suggestions for resolution.  “We have saved or recovered thousands of dollars for our clients, by helping them to document a claim,” Mr. Gordon added.

Click here to schedule a visit with The Jewelry Judge. Verify a laboratory grading report, retrieve a lost one, or learn current values of your precious jewelry or loose diamonds.   The peace of mind you’ll gain, as well as “Information You Can Trust” is worth an hour of your time.  Consult the most experienced Houston Jewelry Appraiser!

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Trust But Verify

Verification is what we do in our gem lab on a daily basis. Often the paperwork or certificate from a gem lab does not match the stone that accompanies it.

We ‘call them as we see them.’ This past week we examined a diamond ring with a certificate grade for the stone of SI-1. While we agreed with the color grading, we determined the clarity to be SI2 – 3. This meant that the owner had received a lesser quality stone than he thought he was buying.

With the information we provided, he was able to return the stone to the jewelry retailer in exchange for a better quality stone with a GIA certificate – the more trusted grading laboratory.

This type of discrepancy happens more and more frequently so Buyer Beware – Trust but Verify. Here is a helpful link to a news network broadcast: