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The originator of the diamond grading nomenclature being used today is the Gemological Institute of America. One division of GIA is a gemological laboratory, and is the “gold” standard of Diamond Grading Reports. Perrywinkle’s grades its diamonds using GIA’s parameters.
A diamond laboratory is simply a business that issues its opinion of the diamond’s grade. for a fee. The grading results are generated on a form called a Diamond Grading Report. It is not a “Certificate”, which is defined as a document that warranties or guarantees the grades and parameters. The term “Certificate” is an inappropriate word that the jewelry trade commonly uses. The GIA and Perrywinkle’s issue Diamond Grading Reports; other laboratories, such as the American Gem Society, use other terms, such as ‘Documents”. Diamond laboratories differ from appraisers in that they do not buy or sell diamonds, nor should they provide an opinion about the value of the diamond. This insures impartiality — so beware of ‘certificates’ that do indeed include an appraised value, but which the issuing laboratory will not defend the “retail” value stated. Think of the Diamond Grading Report like a driver’s license; you wouldn’t go out on a date with someone if all you knew about them came from their driver’s license, but after one date you certainly could verify what is on their license. Likewise, you shouldn’t choose your diamond based on its diamond grading report but it should verify what you see in your diamond.
Is it important to have a diamond grading report?
Two diamonds, even if just one grade apart, can be very different in value so a detailed report about all of its characteristics is essential. If a sales person in a jewelry store provides the grade of a diamond, it doesn’t mean that it’s ‘certified’ or ‘guaranteed’. Very few diamonds less than one carat are graded and have diamond grading reports issued by laboratories, let alone by the GIA. Choose a diamond expert that you find trustworthy who will demonstrate, using a high quality gem microscope and different lighting environments, all of the characteristics listed on the diamond’s diamond grading report. All of Perrywinkle Devotion diamonds over 3/8th carat have Perrywinkle’s Diamond Grading Reports.
Are all laboratories created equally?
Laboratories compete for customers, whether they are a “for-profit” or “not-for-profit.” “Not-for-profits” such as GIA or AGS are usually part of larger educational institutions. The U.S. has no “Diamond Laboratory Regulatory Authority” so anyone could simply set up shop and set their individual grading system; you’d face more regulation opening a hair salon! So, for example, GIA’s color grade “G” could be different from that of a less reputable lab. After all, the GIA has no vested interest in improving the profitability of lesser laboratories by sharing its grading standards.
There is little regulation or enforcement of the lesser laboratories, jewelry stores, and online sellers. All too often we assume that some watchdog agency must be looking out for us, but there is no record of a Federal Trade Commission action taken toward a company that misrepresented a diamond’s grade. The reality is diamond cutters and dealers will “shop” less stringent diamond laboratories to get a higher grade on a “certificate” just as banks shopped rating agencies prior to the 2008 financial crisis. So an “SI1” clarity grade may not really be an SI1 if graded to GIA’s standards and parameters. This is outrageously confusing! How can you be sure you’re really getting what you were told? And worse yet, what if a sales person lacking credentials “graded” the diamond or told you its official looking ‘certificate’ was from the GIA when it really wasn’t?
GIA is King but not God.
Simply, the GIA is the top authority on diamonds. That’s not to say there aren’t other laboratories that do a good job or that a GIA grade is infallible but if a diamond does not have a GIA report you should investigate the reason. All diamond documents and reports, including GIA’s, carry a disclaimer that essentially states there is no guarantee the diamond will retain the same grade if it were to be graded again at some time in the future. This is due to the fact that grading involves human perception and some diamonds will fall on the “border-line” between two grades. What are the chances that a GIA diamond sent to back the GIA a second time will receive a lower grade? The GIA grades lots of diamonds; and mistakes or borderline calls are very fairly low, although the chance is much greater if sold by companies that never actually see or own the diamonds they sell, like many online. Many online sellers simply act as clearinghouses, brokering diamonds that have already been rejected by diamond experts, like Perrywinkle’s, who hand-select diamonds.
How are Perrywinkle’s diamonds graded?
Perrywinkle’s uses GIA reports for some, but not most, of its diamonds. The reason is that Perrywinkle’s has invested in high-tech equipment used in grading its diamonds. Each report lists the details of the equipment used. The format of Perrywinkle’s diamond grading reports provides crucial information not provided on a GIA report that will aid you in selecting a diamond. The GIA diamonds at Perrywinkle’s are evaluated and hand-selected and serve as “markers” thus insuring your confidence in the Perrywinkle diamond grading reports. For added confidence, Perrywinkle’s guarantees its clarity grades with a $1000 cash payment in addition to replacing the diamond if your clarity grade is lower than the clarity grade if submitted to the GIA for evaluation, or any nationally recognized gem lab. Perrywinkle associates will use high quality gem microscopes and varied lighting environments that will aid you in verifying the diamond report and in defining your taste in diamonds.
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