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What Are GIA Certified Diamonds?

When shopping, it is important to understand the quality and value of whatever you are buying. Not only is being knowledgable about the product useful, it also helps ensure you are getting a legitimate item. When it comes to buying diamonds, there are many different ways to determine the quality of the diamond itself. One way to guarantee you are getting a quality diamond is buying certified diamonds. However, diamond certification itself ranges in quality. While there are many respectable diamond certification labs, GIA has the most stringent standards. This ensures that GIA certified diamonds are of the highest possible quality and value.

What Is The GIA?

The Gemological Institute of America, better known as GIA, was founded in 1931. The mission of the organization is to ensure the highest quality standards are used in evaluating gemstones, including diamonds. This helps protect both consumers and sellers. In addition to setting diamond grading standards, the GIA also researches diamonds and techniques. Through this ever expanding education, the GIA leads the way in the study and evaluation of diamonds. In addition to setting standards and continued research, the Gemological Institute of America also educates gemologists. These certified gemologists work independently of retailers to evaluate GIA certified diamonds.

In 1953, the GIA developed the International Diamond Grading System. This system is commonly referred to as the Four C’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Headquartered in California, the GIA operates in 13 countries around the globe

What Are The Grading Standards?

To ensure the quality of the diamonds, the GIA uses their grading system to evaluate diamonds. This evaluation looks at the quality of the cut, the clairy and color, as well as the diamond’s carat weight. After inspection by a GIA certified gemologist, a report on the diamond’s quality is written. This report is available in multiple formats, but the primary two are known as the Diamond Grading Report and the Diamond Dossier. While there are a number of differences between the two reports, both reports define the Four C’s of every diamond.

Diamond Dossiers vs Diamond Reports

The GIA uses Diamond Dossiers for color diamonds in the range of D to Z weighing between 0.15 and 1.99 carats. The dossier also includes a microscopic laser inscription of the GIA report number for easy identification. On the other hand, a Diamond Report does not include laser inscription. However, a plotted diagram of the diamond’s clarity characteristics and a graphic representation of the diamond’s proportions are included. This shows a map of the diamond’s inclusions and helps jewelers and jewelry appraisers identify GIA certified diamonds.

GIA Diamond Dossier
A sample GIA Diamond Dossier

Diamonds sold by Adiamor are accompanied by their original diamond certificate. This ensures every diamond we sell is legitimate and of the highest quality. Please visit our diamond education center for more information on diamond certificates.

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Loose Diamonds: How to Know Your Pick is Perfect

Loose Dimonds: How to know your pick is perfect

Every diamond is a miracle, millions of years in the making. And, like delicate, precious snowflakes, no two loose diamonds are exactly alike.  Nor would we want them to be. The exquisite nature of loose diamonds is precisely their appeal.

The perfect loose diamond will always offer exceptional artistry as standard. Its magnificent quality will make it easy to create a unique, personalized piece of jewelry. Its delicate grace will beautifully complete your engagement ring or anniversary setting.

Loose Diamonds – What is Perfection?

So, what is the perfect loose diamond?

Is it majestic because of its rarity? Is it spectacular because of its value? Or, does it inspire because it sparkles so splendidly?

While all of these may be true, the real truth is something far more personal.

The loose diamond that you are seeking is also seeking you. That is because the perfect loose diamond is a diamond that is perfect for you.

There are, of course, certain qualities to look out for to ensure your pick is perfect.

Here’s our quintessential guide to help you pick the perfect diamond for you.

Certification

The very first major decision you will make when shopping for loose diamonds is the precise nature of certification you require.

There is arguably no greater certification than the Gemological Institute of America or GIA and the American Gem Society or AGS.

Acclaimed across the world for their stringent and precise grading standards, the GIA and AGS grant high ratings to only the most superior diamonds.  

We consider there to be no greater certification than that offered by the GIA. It is the gold standard in the field of diamond certification. Operating as a non-profit, its objectivity is guaranteed and its standards are beyond reproach.

The GIA has been the pioneering agency in many techniques and processes. In fact, many of its innovations have served to make all competing diamond labs what they are today.

So, when you’re shopping for loose diamonds, make sure that the diamond you choose has been certified to a standard that you are supremely happy with.

The 4 Cs of Diamond Quality

There is a universally accepted method for assessing the quality of loose diamonds. Created by the GIA and globally accepted as a universal language in diamond quality, it comes in the form of the 4 Cs:

  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
  • Carat

All diamonds share these four attributes. The key to ensuring the perfect pick is to understand how these four features affect the quality, rarity, and beauty of your diamond.

Diamond Color

Loose diamonds come in a variety of hues, ranging from colorless diamonds to ones that are more yellow or brown.

When certified specialists are evaluating diamonds, they do it based on the absence of color. In GIA standards, diamonds are classified from D – colorless to Z – light yellow or brown. The less color, the higher the grade.

A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue at all. As you can imagine, a truly colorless diamond is a rarity and its value will always reflect this.

Here is what all of this means for you:

When you are looking for the perfect diamond, what you are really looking for is a diamond that is as close to colorless as possible.

Diamond Clarity

When you consider the extreme heat and pressure that combine in nature to form a diamond, it comes as no surprise that almost no diamond is perfectly pure. Most will contain natural flaws.

The scale of perfection in diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are the internal characteristics of the diamond itself, while blemishes are the external characteristics.

The GIA has 11 clarity grades for diamonds, operating on a sliding scale of perfection.

At the top end, a diamond is categorized as flawless if it is without any inclusion or blemish at 10 times magnification.

At the lower end, it is given a grade called I3, if inclusions and blemishes are obvious.

The thing to remember about flaws is that they don’t affect the beauty of the diamond. They primarily affect the value.

Many blemishes are so minute that they cannot be seen by anyone other than a trained professional. Many other flaws can be hidden by setting or the mount.

Diamond Cut

When we refer to a diamond’s cut, we’re talking about its design, its proportion, its finish and its craftsmanship. All GIA certified diamonds are given a grade range of any of the following:

  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

The cut of your diamond is probably the most important consideration in your search for perfection.

Why is this?

Because the cut of your diamond directly affects its sparkle. The brilliance of a diamond lies in its incredible ability to interact with light.

So, if you want a diamond with an amazing sparkle, you need to focus on how successfully your diamond unleashes its light.

Look for the following criteria in visual effects:

  • Brightness – internal and external white light reflected from the diamond
  • Fire – the scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
  • Scintillation – the amount of sparkle a diamond produces and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections.

A diamond’s cut grade is really concerned with how successfully it interacts with light. Put simply, the better the cut, the more brilliant the diamond.

Diamond Carat

Diamonds are measured in carats, which is actually a unit of weight, though there is a common misconception that ‘carat’ refers to size.  

As the carat size of a diamond increases, the diamond’s price increases exponentially.

Why? Because, the larger the diamond, the more increasingly rare and desirable it is.

Some people believe that a diamond’s value is determined only by its carat size. This is not the case.

Two diamonds of equal carat weight may actually have very different values. This is because diamonds are not valued using just one of the 4 Cs, rather they are valued using all of the 4 Cs taken together as a whole.

The Perfect Loose Diamond

Now you have the knowledge you need, choosing the perfect loose diamond has never been so exhilarating.

When purchasing a diamond, ensuring that it comes with unparalleled certification is not only good advice, it’s an absolute must.

Considering the 4 Cs will ensure that you choose a diamond that does you justice; A diamond that is as dazzling as it is remarkable; as alluring as it is breathtaking.

Your instinct and intuition will take care of the rest.

Lifetime brilliance in a diamond is just a step away.

Yes, diamonds really are forever and magnificence never goes out of style.

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GIA vs EGL vs AGS

When shopping for a loose diamond to complete one of our beautiful engagement ring or anniversary ring settings, one of the first decisions a consumer must make is the certification. Adiamor’s loose diamond selection is currently exclusively made up of certified diamonds evaluated by the GIA – Gemological Institute of America or AGS – American Gem Society.  We currently don’t offer EGL or EGL-USA – European Gemological Laboratory.

GIA vs EGL vs AGS

The result of your decision between a diamond from GIA or AGS vs EGL has a major effect on the characteristics of stones available to you, how much you spend, and how universally accepted your certification will be.

Who They Are

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL or EGL-USA) are the world’s two leading gemological analysis laboratories.  AGS is a highly respected gemological lab, but not as commonly used as GIA.

All follow a rubric of diamond assessment that measures stones against an ideal version, but it was the GIA that first developed the “Four C’s” concept most people know of noting and ranking the four major traits of a diamond that make it the most attractive, strong, and valuable: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Once reserved only for the round brilliant diamond, over the years all three labs have opted to extend certification and grading services to include other popular diamond shapes such as the princess cut and cushion cut.

The GIA and the EGL are large diamond grading and certification labs but are markedly different in some key ways that often prompt jewelers and consumers to choose diamonds certified by the GIA.

What Makes GIA Different

GIA is known for having the most stringent and precise diamond grading standards in the world, granting high ratings to only the most superior diamonds that other labs including the EGL issue much more freely. This means that when two diamonds that receive comparable grading for cut, color, clarity, and other determinations of quality,  one from the GIA, and one from the EGL, the stone graded and certified by the GIA is invariably of higher quality than the stone receiving the same marks from the EGL.

GIA’s operations are broad in scope and geographically, featuring locations in all of the world’s major diamond-trading hubs. The organization also boasts educational campuses in 12 cities where educational certificate programs for aspiring gemologists, designers, and professional jewelers are offered. The best known of these is the GIA Graduate Gemologist certificate program, as many independent jewelers complete the course to develop proficiency in identifying all the factors making up a diamond’s quality according to GIA standards.

AGS was started in 1934 and has since grown to approximately 3,400 jewelers and other companies related to the jewelry industry.  AGS began offering diamond grading services in 1996.

EGL has fewer locations than GIA, operating labs or offices in a few European and Asian metropolitan areas and, independently through the EGL-USA, select major American cities. Formerly two branches of one organization, the original EGL, and the EGL-USA ended their association and began operating as unaffiliated organizations in the early 1980s.

Which Lab is Right for Me?

Adiamor’s customers ultimately typically purchase GIA certified diamonds compared to AGS due to the larger GIA inventory.  Both GIA and AGS Laboratories have excellent records and multiple methods in place to ensure transparency and accountability in all processes, so which lab certification an individual chooses depends mainly on which diamonds fit their criterion.

While GIA offers similar services in the way of grading, certification, and security, GIA has a much longer history than AGS or EGL. GIA was the pioneering agency in many techniques, processes, and innovations that served to make all competing diamond labs what they are today.

Additionally, the GIA operates as a non-profit while the EGL is a for-profit organization. This is an important distinction for many diamond buyers as the GIA’s non-profit status adds another layer of accountability and makes objectivity on the part of the gemologist much more likely. The general acceptance of GIA’s quality standards as superior to other laboratories may even be a direct result of operating this way; the outcome of each non-profit lab certification is the same for the gemologist regardless of his or her findings, and without the possibility of kickbacks, there’s no incentive to exaggerate or overlook a diamond’s defining characteristics during the analysis.

If simply having a certification and report attached to an aesthetically pleasing diamond or saving money is your priority, the EGL may be the way to go. Without the same history and resources the GIA can offer, the cost of EGL certification is slightly lower and allows consumers to purchase a more affordable certified loose diamond. The downside to this is that obtaining insurance or an appraisal for the diamond consistent with the information given on the EGL report can be challenging as the more critical GIA, or AGS standard is widely preferred.

Selecting a Certified Diamond

If you’ve chosen which certification you prefer and wish to proceed selecting a diamond, or if you have additional questions about the benefits and drawbacks of choosing a diamond from a specific lab, contact Adiamor. Our certified diamond specialists can guide you through the selection process, answer more specific inquiries not addressed above, and match you to the perfect certified loose diamond for the jewelry you’ve selected.