Our family company has over 40 years’ experience handling engagement rings. As a result, we are often asked, “what is the difference between certified and non-certified diamonds?” and “which diamond would be best for my engagement ring?”
Here at Burrells, we understand that buying the right engagement ring is of great importance. You want it to be perfect as it's a piece of jewellery worn for the rest of your life. So in this blog, we are going to explain what certified diamonds and non-certified diamonds are, and also discuss the differences between these two types of stones.
Whether your engagement is a surprise, or you're searching for your dream ring together, we hope to help you with your special decision.
What is a Certified Diamond?
A diamond becomes certified after it has undergone a grading process. Expert diamond graders view the diamond and appraise the stone under different criteria. The four factors of grading criteria are:
The symmetry, proportion and shine of the diamond. (How well the stone has been cut).
A grader uses a standard scale to determine diamond colour. This ranges from ‘D’ (colourless) to ‘Z’ (light colour).
Diamond clarity is dependent upon the movement of light through the stone. A grader will inspect a diamond for any markings or imperfections that may affect the flow of light.
A carat is purely a measure of weight. Today, a single carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
In the diamond industry, the cut, colour, clarity and carat of a diamond are known as ‘the 4 C’s’. These 4 C’s determine the overall quality of the stone.
For more information on the 4 C's of diamonds, we advise taking a look at our full diamond guide, including blogs, videos and more exciting diamond content!
After the grading process is complete, the expert accredits the diamond and gives it a certificate. This certificate remains with the stone throughout its journey from retailer to owner.
What about Non-Certified Diamonds?
Non–certified diamonds are stones that have not been subject to the same grading as certified ones. Certified and non-certified diamonds are created in exactly the same way. These stones may not have been graded for several reasons, including:
Sometimes if the diamond has particular inconsistencies, then the retailer will not have it graded. For example, if the stone were to have inclusions within it, or if it were somewhat yellow.
However, many of these imperfections are not perceivable without close inspection. These lower quality diamonds may not be certified simply because it would provide negligible benefit to the consumer while adding significantly to the cost.
The Effect upon Sale Value
A retailer has to pay to get their diamond certified. Due to this additional cost, a retailer will consider whether certifying the stone makes financial sense. The retailer will compare the potential profit of an uncertified and less expensive diamond, with a certified and more expensive one.
Nonetheless, this is not necessarily negative for the consumer. As previously mentioned, a non-certified diamond will frequently cost less to buy than a certified one of a comparable standard.
Is the diamond the quality you say it is?
Without a certificate, the question can arise as to how a price has been reached and is it worth that value. Confidence can be achieved by dealing with a reputable jeweller and talking to a diamond expert.
They can help by drawing comparisons of certificated counterparts to give examples of how pricing is affected by visual properties. A good jeweller should also show you how to view the diamond with a loupe (a magnifying lens specifically for looking at gemstones), point out the flaws if you can’t see them at first, and give candid opinions on the quality.
Don’t be afraid to ask to look at diamonds that you wouldn’t consider within your budget (either above or below) - it all helps to inform your choice.
Who Certificates Diamonds?
There are many recognised, worldwide bodies who certificate diamonds. Amongst them, many consider The GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) to be the strictest.
The GIA uses a specific downgrading policy to assure the quality of certified diamonds. If their diamond graders have a difference of opinion, then the GIA grades the diamond according to the lowest given rating.As a result, a GIA certified diamond will always be of the same quality as its grade (or possibly, better).
It is vital to remember, however, that diamond grading is a matter of opinion. What each diamond grader perceives may vary, and the industry acknowledges this variation to aid diamond regulation.
Are There Any Other Differences Between Certified and Non-Certified Diamonds?
Some GIA certified diamonds have their certificate number laser inscribed to provide a reassurance of quality. This can be done on request. The inscription is microscopic and only visible to a trained eye.
However, overall, there is nothing fundamentally different between a certified diamond and non-certified diamond. Additionally, in many stores (including ours), these stones also follow the same ethical process that certified diamonds do.
So, Should I Buy a Certified or Non–Certified Engagement Ring?
Many opt for a certified diamond ring as a grader has assured the stone’s quality. Knowing the quality of the stone maintains a better resale value.
However, if you are on a budget but looking to purchase a diamond with a certain carat weight, then a non-certified diamond may be a good option for you.
Overall, just as your engagement is personal, so is your choice of ring and diamond. We advise that you consider any preferences and select the engagement ring that is the best fit for you and your partner.
Whether you purchase a certified diamond or non-certified diamond, we hope that we have eased your decision process.
Here at Burrells, we proudly stock both GIA certified-diamonds and non-certified diamond engagement rings so that everyone can find their perfect match.
If you would like to view our range of beautiful engagement rings please visit one of our stores where our dedicated team can assist you.
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