Diamond Certificates … the documents that are supposed to make you, the consumer, feel confident in your purchasing of diamonds, is a tool that must be used (if used at all … ) with some caution and understanding I will try to impart here.
In theory the idea of a diamond certification is amazing! Why not have a tool that makes assessing a diamonds value and beauty easy for the layman and make it easy to compare similar diamonds to aid in making an informed purchase? If two stones get the same diamond grade from a lab, the logical person would just by the cheaper one assuming they got a better value. This is RARELY the case, a ‘cheap’ diamond is generally less expensive because it is a lesser stone, no matter what any certification says. Like anything else, with diamonds, you get what you pay for. Easy assessments and comparisons of diamonds may have been the intended goal of certifications but it is unfortunately not the outcome.
Diamonds are not created equally and are difficult to assess and compare. You can easily buy an Apple iPod from anywhere knowing that it is going to be identical no matter where you get it, they have to be consistent or you would have no faith in the brand. Buying a diamond is not like buying a standardized consumer product. Even if they have high quality certifications that are actually objective and more or less correct (very rare unfortunately), there is more to diamonds that is what is outlined on any diamond certification and can really only be understood by a true diamond specialist. These characteristics are difficult to describe but the first time you are experienced enough to see the vast difference between two seemingly identical diamonds on paper and how one just seems to startle you with its beauty while the other seems to have no ‘life’ to it … you will understand. What I’m essentially trying to get at is if you shop for diamonds at Oshawa Jewellery we have done the hard work for so you don’t have to be the expert, you can feel confident when you shop here that we have great diamonds that have been individually assessed to ensure they are truly unique, high quality and high value gems!
Personally, I would NEVER buy a diamond for our store without looking at it with my own two eyes, I don’t really care what the certifications say, we give it our own grade, if it is something that makes sense for us to purchase, we do! It is nice if the diamond is accompanied by a certificate that agrees with our assessment but it is not a requirement. A diamond can have certification that is ‘optimistic” in our opinion but the diamond itself can still be beautiful and a great value. That is our goal, to source great diamonds, no matter what the diamond certifications say. It amazes me that some consumers would try and purchase a diamond online using the certification as the sole assessment tool. This is a bad idea, diamond certifications were never intended to be used as a sole assessment tool. In conjunction with the assessment of a diamond specialist, a certification can be a useful document. I’ve seen MANY horror stories of diamonds bought online, they rarely have grading reports that are truly correct and thus the consumer has bought a diamond that is actually of lesser clarity, colour, or cut than they paid for and have truly been duped. I know it sounds like a scare tactic to drive you in to our store, it is not. I really love working with diamonds and jewellery and I want to make sure the diamond you buy and give to that special someone is something that is beautiful and a great value. We may seem more expensive, but if you factor in the fact that we will show you real diamonds that you can actually look at and assess and compare under our guidance it is a no brainer! To put it in perspective if you think you saved a few thousand on a stone but really, since the certifications was ‘optimistic’ you actually received a lesser diamond, it was actually priced right. A diamond that matches, I mean really matches the diamond certification parameters would have been more money anyway … you are left with a substandard diamond and a bad taste for the jewellery industry which is unfortunate … save yourself the frustration and risk, just give us a try first, you will not be disappointing.
My Lab Assessments (Disclaimer!! These are my opinions only!):
GIA – Regarded as the best … had a few scandals, they are generally fair certifications but I have seen some optimistic grading, especially with regards to Clarity.
AGS – Decent lab comparable with GIA, they are a little more in depth when it comes to cut grading which is good. 4C’s grading is generally fair but their grading tolerances are not as tight as GIA’s occasionally.
EGL – These certifications are all over the map unfortunately. We hand pick our EGL certified stones to be very close to what they have outlined in their certification but generally these certifications can go from optimistic to laughable. What do I mean … grading something VS2 when I would give it an I1 to me is laughable … truly it is inexcusable but this is what goes on in the diamond game.
IGI- another international lab, they are actually pretty decent though can have some inconsistencies.
GemScan – a local lab that is generally fair with their assessments.
HRD – a lab based in Belgium, not as popular anymore (most production has gone to India so you don’t see as many of these anymore). They are fair as well.
JUST A CAVEAT … grading is a subjective assessment of a diamond, there will always be disagreements within the professional grading community regarding the grade diamonds receive. The descriptions above are my personal opinions and are by no means fact.
Oshawa Jewellery Diamond Specialist