Often, a customer will shop for a diamond at a traditional retail jeweler, even if they eventually purchase the diamond ring online. The buyer is able to see various diamond sizes, shapes, and qualities first hand, allowing for a more confident online purchase. (Be aware that “actual” images shown online are often stock photos and not the actual diamond being sold).
In some cases, the customer may decide to purchase from the local jeweler based on their service and selection. But in either case, when shopping for a diamond at a traditional jeweler or on-line retailer;
keep the following in mind: The number one mistake made when purchasing a diamond is being misled on cut, color, clarity and carat (the 4Cs). The 4Cs are difficult for consumers to recognize, and therefore may be misrepresented.
The sales pitch – breakdown
For most people, purchasing a diamond is an emotional process!
Retailers will often tell consumers: “If you fall in love with a diamond, don’t put too much weight on what the certificate says.”
“No matter the gem lab, we prefer to judge the stones by their visible qualities and beauty, not just by the certificate”
Warning: The U.S. Federal Government legally permits jewelers to be off by one color and clarity grade from what a qualified independent appraiser might determine.
It might sound like a small margin of error, but it can mean that you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more for your diamond.
Unfortunately, this leeway encourages some retailers to inflate their grades; a G color diamond may be represented as a better F color.
It is impossible to accurately judge the clarity and color of a diamond once it is set. (Diamonds have to be removed from their settings to be sent and graded at gem labs.) Setting allows flaws in the diamond to be easily hidden under prongs, and color is obscured by the reflections from the setting itself. Unless it is GIA or AGS certified, do not purchase a
diamond over $2,000 without getting a second opinion, so that you can ensure you are getting what you paid for.
Pro Tip #1: Never buy a diamond without a GIA or AGS Diamond Grading Report.
Do All Labs Grade Diamonds The Same Way?
Definitely not. We conform to GIA standards, diamond grading protocols, systems and nomenclature. Other organization do not follow these standards and may vary greatly from this industry norm. Besides the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) there is the American Gem Society (AGS), the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), the International Gemological Institute (IGI), and many others.
4C grading is notoriously difficult. GIA goes to great lengths to create standardized environments and training for diamond grading. Do not accept the retailer’s grade as a substitute. While color and clarity grading for small accent diamonds is commonly given in ranges (e.g. G-H color); for a center diamond, accept only reputable lab grading.
Pro Tip #2: If a retailer gives a color range on a center diamond (e.g. “This diamond is color grade G / H”) you can be sure the diamond has not been graded by any reputable gem lab, much less GIA or AGS, and know the color grade will not be a reliable indicator of value.
Your diamond certification is important: A GIA or AGS diamond grading report will help you down the road to:
Confirm the identity and quality of your diamond
Help determine its market value
Help to verify ownership for repair or insurance
Pass it on if you want to resell or identify a lost/stolen diamond
Pro Tip #3: Get a “Second Opinion” As a Graduate Gemologist (GIA), Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon appraises the diamond in the mounting,
documents, grades and values the diamond “While You Watch”.
Rest assured “See the Judge” with over 6 Decades of experience in
modern, antique and vintage jewelry will verify your diamond grading report/certificate.
A Jewelry Judge consultation will provide you the 5th C “Confidence”.
Trust but Verify!