Information on Diamond Certificates
What is a Diamond Certificate?
There is an international standard for the grading of diamonds, know as the 3 C's, it defines the stone's carat weight, its colour and its clarity. A certificated diamond is one that has been independently (of the retailer) graded and the carat weight, colour, clarity and other factors recorded on a certificate that is sold with the diamond. There are two main types of certificate - a mini certificate from the Birmingham Assay Office costs about £50, or you can get a more detailed, full certificate for between around £100 to £200 per stone.
Is a certficated diamond better than a non-certificated?
No. All the certificate means is that someone else, independent of the seller, has assessed the stone's characteristics
Should I buy a certficated or non-certificated diamond?
This rather depends on who you are buying from! There is little advantage in a certificate if you are buying from a respected and established retailer - in fact, you are likely to get less 'diamond for you money' going the certificated route as of course the price of the independent assessment has to be included in the price of the stone. You will be quite safe buying a non-certificated stone from an established jeweller based in the UK as their receipt will represent a guarantee as to the stone's grade, however we would suggest that if you are thinking of buying a loose diamond oversees or on the internet, a certificate might be a good idea as you may be less sure as to the credentials of the retailer.
Is a certificated diamond more valuable than a non-certificated diamond?
Contrary to popular belief, that 'value' of an engagement ring tends to be as much in the design and craftsmanship of the ring than in the quality of the diamond. Second-hand diamond engagement rings are plentiful in the marketplace so don't really command a huge price, certificated or otherwise. Although, of course, you will want to find the best stone for your money, thinking about the resale value of your engagement ring may not perhaps be the right way to start your engagement!!
Does a certificate tell me everything I need to know about my diamond?
Certainly not! One H SI 0.4ct diamond will not be the same as another even if you consider all the other critia such as the cut etc etc. Every diamond is different, some have that extra sparkle factor that others just simply don't and that is something that science just can't define. Harriet likens it to two countryside views - one may be more beautiful than the other - you can have a go at trying to scientifically define its beauty (eg a certain proportion of sky to ground for example) but in the end you just have to look and see which grabs you the most.
Is it safe to buy a certificated diamond unseen over the internet
A diamond's certificate is a rather convenient thing for internet retailers because they can convince you that its therefore safe to buy unseen (as you know what you are getting) and what's more you can compare prices between retailers. This isn't true because each diamond is unique and you really need to sit down, with an expert in a reputable company, and look at a selection of stones before making your choice - you will see that each is very different regardless of its grading and its certificate.
- Read Harriet's blog article on diamond certification for more information.