DIAMOND CERTIFICATIONS& Grading Reports
There are numerous labs worldwide who provide full reports for geological stones. For most you are looking for a diamond grading report. Note, that while we use the terms "grading report" and "certification" interchangeably, diamonds are not actually certified. Diamonds are simply graded. However, industry marketing standards have latched on to the "certified" nomenclature and it has stuck.
The certification report will give you a full dossier on the respective diamond, detailing out its performance for all the relevant metrics. While these shouldn’t be used as your complete determining factor when choosing a diamond, its individual stats based on the certification will get you at least 80% of the way there.
Needless to say you should never make a significant diamond purchase without a certification. It’s the equivalent of buying a house without a title search. Remember though that ultimately each lab is giving their expert opinion on the diamond. The key word there being opinion. No lab is going to be 100% correct and consistent across the board. Your goal as a consumer though, is to pick one that, per industry norms, does the best job possible.
While there are a multitude of grading labs there are only two we feel are acceptable, GIA and AGS. With GIA being the gold standard across the industry, and the AGS having some cutting edge technology.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the Carfax of the diamond industry. Their opinion matters most across the industry. Most major retailers will offer a GIA certificate, and it’s the one you should be looking for as well.
The AGS (American Gem Society) is the OG diamond certifier. Generally speaking their certifications are considered as good as GIA certification industry wide. They specialize in Ideal cut diamonds and if you end up buying an AGS graded diamond, you should feel confident in your choice.
IGI, EGL, HRD, etc…
There’s a lot of other certification labs, with varying degrees of results. While there are some significant jewelry chains that utilize these labs, if you’re on this site your goal isn’t to overpay at a chain. Your goal is to get the best deal possible at the highest quality possible. The best way to do that is to go with a GIA or AGS certification.