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Diamond: Real Or Fake

A diamond certificate is still useful, you just have to know what to look for. Certificates are an analysis of a diamond by experienced graders in a gemological laboratory, using various gemological instruments. Certificates present a list of data which, without the appropriate knowledge, is rather worthless to the consumer as it does not tell you how (techically) beautiful the diamond is.

Here Are Some Pointers On How To Decipher A Certificate What Are The Key Things To Look For In A Certificate?

A certificate includes an analysis of the Cs, a diamond's dimensions, polish, symmetry and other characteristics. Look out for the name of the laboratory. If you have never heard of it, do your own research to find out more. Every lab has a certificate (or "report") number, which uniquely identifies a diamond. The lab keeps a copy of everything you see on the certificate. If you call the lab and give it the certificate number, it can even re-issue a certificate if you lose it.

Who Certifies Diamonds?

They are certified by labs, some in-house and others independent. Buyers should look for certifications by independent, international bodies such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gem Society) and HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant). The GIA, for example, relies on a minimum of four diamond graders and gemologists.

However, such gradings usually only apply to loose diamonds. Diamonds that have already been mounted can still be given an approximate grading, that should not be more than two to three grades off, says kenny, a manager and gemologist. 

How Much Does The Grading Process Cost?

The GIA charges a fee of US$100 exclusive of shipping costs.

Can A Buyer Doublecheck The Certification Of His Diamonds?

Yes. But this is less common because a stone has to removed from its setting for accurate grading, which comes at a cost.

Why Certify?

First of all, an uncertified diamond does not mean an inferior diamond. But the bigger the size of the diamond, the more important the certification. Experts recommends a certificate from an independent laboratory for a diamond bigger than 0.30 carats. An in-house certificate should be enough for smaller diamonds, depending on the reputation of the retailer.

If you are buying a diamond for investment, obviously you would want it graded. A diamond grading report adds value to a diamond. The quality assessments made by independent labs such as GIA or AGS are recognised worldwide. These quality assessments are used by appraisers to determine the insurance or replacement value of your diamond.

What Is The Difference Between A Certificate And An Appraisal?

A diamond certificate is a document issued by a gemological laboratory describing a loose diamond. A certificate retains its value over a long period, assuming the diamond is not chipped or is not otherwise altered. An appraisal can be performed on a loose diamond, a mounted stone, or jewellery. Most importantly, an appraisal indicates the dollar value of the piece. Appraisals are most often used for insurance purposes.

How Reliable Are Independent Gemologists?

A gemologist is a qualified specialist who has undergone at least a six-month certification course with an institution such as the GIA. But "experience counts" above everything else, says Susan,  a gemologist of 15 years and graduate of the GIA. Also, gemology labs should be properly equipped with up-to-date equipment such as a GIA master diamond set, against which the gemologist compares the color of the tested diamond.

Romancing The Stone

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A diamond's color is graded against a set of master diamonds ranging from D - a highly valued, perfectly colorless stone - to Z, which has a visible yellowish tinge. Check if the gemological laboratory uses a GIA-certified master diamond set which uses natural diamonds instead of man-made cubic zirconia.

Colorless Near Colorless Faint Yellow Very Light  Yellow Light Yellow


The purity of the diamond. Flaws such as cracks that develop as diamonds form affect how a gem reflects light. There are 11 clarity grades ranging from Flawless (FL) to Imperfect (I), as graded by the Gemological Institute Of America (GIA).

FL IF WS1 WS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2 I1 I2 I3
Flawless Internally Flawless Very Very Small Inclusion(s) Very Small Inclusion(s) Slight Inclusions(s) Inclusions(s)


Unit used to weigh a diamond. A carat weights 0.2 gram, while five carats would weigh 1 gram.

0.20 0.25 0.33 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50


A well-cut diamond reflects as much light as possible back to the observer's eye or what is known as the classic fire, brilliance and sparkle. A poorly cut one will have some darkness or a flat, whitish appearance.

Round Marquise Oval Pear Heart Princess Emerald

On The Diamond Certificate, Check For The Following

Serial Number

This is a unique number stored in the laboratory's database and registers the gradings of it the diamond and other information for the lab's use.

Shape And Cutting Style

Describes the outline of the diamond and the pattern of the facet arrangement.


The exact dimensions of the diamond such as its diameter (for a round diamond) and its width and height (for a fancy-cut diamond).

The 4 CS

A must-know, if you are not to get ripped off. Shape And Cutting Style, Carat Weight, Outer Grade and Clarity Grade.


Refers to the surface quality (polish) of the diamond, size, shape and orientation of the facets and the symmetry.

Laser Inscription Registry

Your diamond maybe laser-inscribed with its serial number at your request.

Plotting Or Reference Diagrams (After Laser Inscription)

These diagrams chart as close as possible the shape and cutting style of the diamond. They have symbols depicting the size, placement and nature of flaws, which affect clarity. These symbols can be deciphered using a guide

Proportion Diagram (Right Of Plotting Or Reference Diagrams)

A Graphic representation profiling the diamond's properties.

Security Features (Bottom Right)

Some reports include features such as holograms or barcodes to ensure their integrity.

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