If you’re looking for a diamond and have not heard of the term Diamond Grading Report, you will. Grading reports are as common in the diamond game, as a wine grade is from Wine Spectator. In fact, if your jeweler does not offer a grading report alongside your diamond purchase, run don’t walk from the store and go find one that will provide you with a diamond certificate.
A diamond grade by itself has very little meaning. This is because the terminology used in a Diamond Grading Report is somewhat arbitrary. However, when used in mass(and consistently), diamond grades are extremely important: If I showed you a diamond that was G Color, VS1 Clarity, excellent Cut, and 1 carat in weight, and you had no other reference point you would not know if that’s a good, very good, or excellent diamond. Nor would you know if the price that you’re going to pay is appropriate for the diamond that you are about ready to receive. However, when comparing that G Color, VS1 Clarity, Excellent Cut diamond against a stone with different metrics, you will begin to understand what you like and don’t like about each diamond. More importantly, you don’t need to be a gemologist to understand the quality of the diamond that’s in front of you, because an independent diamond grading lab like GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, consistently applies the measures of Color, Cut, and Clarity. Because they are independent you become less concerned about being duped, and more concerned about trading off variables to get the best diamond for the money.
Diamond grades make it possible for people to discuss the stones simply and concisely. The fact is, without a “system” the buyer and seller of a diamond would need to describe the attributes of each stone and still might not get it right. For example, the quality of a L colored diamond with a VS1 Clarity might be described in the following way: the diamond is faint yellow, it is dark enough to see, but just barely so. The diamond has two microscopic little crystals that can’t be seen with the naked eye. In fact, they are so small, that you can barely see them under 10X magnification. It’s much easier to say L – VS1. Diamond grades are part of an international language that virtually all diamond professionals and many diamond buyers understand.
A diamond graded “D – Flawless” is very different from a diamond with a grade of “M – I1.” However, each has a buyer in the market. A diamond grade indicates its quality and is a determinant of the diamond value. More importantly, once a buyer has determined the Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight that they like, then the diamond grade allows them to select the best price, among a large pool of diamonds available at diamond retailers and wholsalers such as JamesAllen.com.
Besides price, diamond grades allow people to match diamonds for jewelry. For example, a tennis bracelet with stones of a similar color looks far more attractive than one whose diamonds span D through Z Color. Therefore, a consistent, repeatable system for diamond grading is essential in the diamond market.
Reputable diamond grading laboratories like GIA are the most consistent and dependable sources of diamond grades. It is important that you choose a reputable diamond grading lab to determine the quality of your stone.
A diamond grading report from a reputable diamond lab allows a diamond dealer (or indeed retailer) to choose a diamond without ever seeing the stone. Many diamond dealers purchase diamonds in mass from what are called “Wholesale Price Lists.” They can only do this if the stones are “as advertised” in the Diamond Grading Report. Diamond grading labs measure the 4 C’s of Color, Cut and Clarity along with carat weight; however most do far more than this. GIA for example measures the diamonds Polish, Symmetry, and Fluorescence (which is typically invisible to the naked eye, unless the Fluorescence is extreme).
To learn more about the 4Cs (as well as polish, symmetry and florescence) click the drop-down box at the top of the screen.