What’s the difference between a diamond certificate and an appraisal?

What’s the difference between a diamond certificate and an appraisal?


We know that the diamond buying process can be overwhelming. You spend all this time trying to learn about the 4 C’s, then jewelry stores throw another “C” at you….Certificates. Many consumers confuse a “diamond certificate” with an “appraisal”, but these are in fact two very different things.

Let’s try to clear up this common misconception....

A diamond certificate (aka diamond grading report) is much like the title of a car. Just as a car title contains information such as the VIN number, year, make, and model of a car, the diamond certificate contains specific information pertaining to a specific diamond. This information will include specifications such as meaurements, carat weight, color, clarity, and internal characteristics of the diamond (inclusions or imperfections). It also confirms that the stone is in fact a diamond and not some other material, and whether the diamond has undergone any color or clarity enhancements such as irradiation or laser drilling/fracture filling. This certification is performed in a gemological laboratory by a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) under 10x magnification.

There are a variety of different grading laboratories in the world that issue diamond certifications. Just like different brands of cars, some labs are more reliable and reputable than others. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most respected lab because of their strict standards and consistency. Most of the world’s “Graduate Gemologists” are trained at GIA. Among other reputable labs that you may encounter as you visit local jewelers or online jewelry websites are the American Gem Society (AGS) and the European Gemological Laboratory of the United States of America (EGL USA). One important thing to keep in mind is that a reputable diamond certification will never list a cash value.

An appraisal, on the other hand, is an estimate of a diamond's current monetary value. The value is determined based on the quality of the stone, and the current market conditions. The diamond certificate, however, is often used to determine the value of a stone when doing an appraisal.

Although appraisals can change over time and need to be updated periodically for changes in market value, certificates will always be the same.

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