In 2021, the global production of diamonds reached 120 million carats, an 11.9% increase over 2020’s rates. The slump in the diamond industry caused the COVID-19 pandemic has started to rebound.
You’ve heard the quote “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” often attributed to the famous 50’s blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe. You’ve probably also seen diamonds for sale with a GIA certification label. But just what is a GIA-certified diamond?
In this post, we’ll cover the finer points of what makes a GIA-certified diamond a smart choice for you. If you want to know about the benefits of a GIA-certified diamond, keep reading below to discover more information.
What Does GIA Stand For?
The GIA is the Gemological Institute of America, or, GIA for short. The Gemological Institute of America is an independent and nonprofit organization located in Carlsbad, California.
Founded in 1931, its aim is to provide education and research into gemology, especially relating to diamonds. Today, the GIA spans the globe with 11 campuses across 13 countries. It also has 4 research centers and 9 laboratories.
The GIA seeks to protect buyers and sellers of diamonds. They do this by creating and maintaining the diamond industry standards for evaluating and determining the overall quality of gemstones for use in jewelry designs like engagement rings.
The Gemological Institute of America offers research and educational programs into all aspects of jewelry and gemstones. Its two most notable programs offered are diamond grading and gem identification. Because of their extensive knowledge and experts in all areas of gemological study, they have become a top leader in the diamond industry.
In 1953, the GIA developed an international diamond grading system. It also created a system for determining a diamond’s price and overall quality, known as the 4 C’s. Diamonds meeting the criteria set forth by the GIA receive a Gemological Institute of America certificate.
Thanks to the 4 C’s, this system is now a standard around the world for assessing a diamond’s grade and value. Now we’ll delve further into the 4 C’s and what they mean for diamond grading. 543
What Are the 4 C’s of Diamond Grading?
If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology of diamond grading, it can be confusing. The 4 C’s can help you narrow down your diamond options and find the best diamond for your budget and quality specifications.
The 4 C’s of diamond grading are:
The GIA uses these 4 categories in their process of evaluating diamonds and other gemstones. Let’s explore what these mean and the qualifications necessary to receive a GIA certificate.
A diamond’s cut doesn’t refer to its stone shape, although there are some cuts that can change a diamond’s overall shape. Cut specifically applies to forming a rough diamond to create a faceted surface. The number of facets on a diamond’s surface also determines its dimension and reflective properties.
The proper diamond cut can influence the proportions, polish, and symmetry. Cut is a major aspect of contributing to a diamond’s total beauty. The right diamond cut allows more light to pass through and reflect.
The most popular cut of a diamond is the brilliant cut, which is well-suited for round and oval diamonds. They contains 58 facets for the ultimate sparkle since it catches and reflects the light from every angle.
A step cut is a variation of gemstone cut that creates a large mirrorlike flat faceted table on the top with rows of cuts on the side of the stone. These cuts look like stairs or steps from above that go down into the bottom of the diamond (culet).
Step cuts are popular with Emerald, Asscher, and Baguette-shaped stones. An Emerald cut has 58 facets with 25 on the crown (top), 8 on the girdle (middle), and 25 facets on the pavilion (bottom).
A mixed cut uses a combination of both brilliant and step cuts. They can have step cuts on the crown (top) and brilliant cuts on the pavilion. Or they can contain brilliant cuts on the crown portion and step cuts on the pavilion region.
While there are dazzling colored diamonds available, diamond color on the GIA 4 C’s refers to the amount of brown or yellow coloring they contain. A more desirable GIA-certified diamond contains little to no coloring. The most expensive diamonds rate as completely colorless.
The diamond color scale rates a diamond’s coloring on an alphabetical scale from D-Z. The ratings are as follows:
- D, E, F- Colorless
- G, H, I, J- Near Colorless
- K, L, M- Faint
- N, O, P, Q, R- Very Light
- S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z- Light
The GIA diamond color grading scale is the standard of the diamond industry.
No diamond in the world is absolutely perfect on its own. Diamonds have certain flaws, called blemishes or inclusions. A GIA-certified diamond focuses on the utmost quality of clarity.
The GIA grading system takes into consideration elements like the size, position, type, texture, color, and quantity of any properties that are visible within a diamond using 10× magnification.
The clarity grading scale established by the GIA falls into 11 grades under 6 main categories. These categories are:
- Flawless (FL) – No visible inclusions or blemishes are visible under 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) – Visible blemishes only but no inclusions when viewed under 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Small inclusions that are difficult to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Minor inclusions that may be difficult or somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are more noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Obvious inclusions that affect a diamond’s brilliance and transparency are viewable under 10× magnification
While Flawless diamonds are rare, the higher the clarity grading a GIA-certified diamond receives, the more value it will have. Internally Flawless is the most popular since it has the best combination of price and appearance.
Carat and Karat are not interchangeable when grading diamonds. Karat is the system for rating gold purity while carat relates to the overall size and weight of a diamond or other gemstone.
One carat of a diamond is equal to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. A larger carat diamond will be worth more than one with a smaller carat weight. The carat weight of a diamond, when combined with the clarity, cut, and color of a diamond all factor into a diamond’s total worth.
What Is On a GIA Report?
A GIA certificate report takes multiple features and attributes into consideration when determining the overall value of your diamond. In addition to the 4 C’s, a GIA report is a full summary of the diamond’s specs.
The GIA’s gemologists examine every aspect of the diamond to assign a total grade. A standard GIA certificate contains 21 different areas of reporting information. The GIA only issues the Diamond Grading Report for loose natural diamonds weighing 0.15 carats or more.
Date and Report Number
Every GIA certificate lists the date the diamond was examined by the GIA. They also contain a GIA report number, a unique number that applies only to a specific diamond that is registered in GIA’s global database.
Shape and Cutting Style
The GIA report displays an outline of the diamond’s shape. It also denotes the cutting style and pattern of the facet arrangement, such as round brilliant.
The information in the report also details the diamond dimensions in mm. These are listed as “minimum diameter – maximum diameter x depth” for round diamonds. For fancy-shaped diamonds, they are listed as “length x width x depth”.
The total diamond weight in carats. It is rounded to the nearest hundredth of a carat. One carat represents ¹⁄5 of a gram.
The absence of diamond color, on a scale of D-Z from colorless to light yellow or brown. These are compared to the GIA Master Color Comparison Diamonds. If a“*” symbol appears next to the color grade, this indicates the detection of a color treatment.
As stated above, clarity is the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Graded on a scale from Flawless to Included based on the characteristics that are visible under 10x magnification.
The GIA Diamond Grading Report includes an assessment along with a plotted diagram of its clarity characteristics. As well as a graphic representation of the diamond’s proportions.
The cut grade applies to standard, D-to-Z color, round brilliant diamonds. It incorporates the areas of the design, craftsmanship, and face-up appearance. This area is graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor.
The polish applies to the smoothness of the diamond’s surface. This is also assessed on a scale ranging from Excellent to Poor.
Symmetry pertains to the symmetrical design of the diamond’s shape and outline, as well as the alignment and placement of its facets. Also assessed on a scale ranging from Excellent to Poor.
Fluorescence in diamonds relates to the color and strength of the diamond when exposed to a long-wave ultraviolet light. A fluorescence description of “none” will represent a range of fluorescence as Indiscernible to Very Faint.
Larger and more expensive D-F color-rated diamonds displaying no fluorescence are even more valuable.
Inscriptions and Comments
Inscriptions list any personal engraving text, symbols, or logos on the diamond. This section will also note the unique GIA report number inscribed on the diamond’s girdle.
The comments section denotes any additional features or identifying characteristics not mentioned elsewhere in the report. If any diamond treatment is detected, like color treatment or laser drilling, it will be listed here.
Proportion Diagram and Plotted Diagram
The proportion diagram is a graphic profile representing the diamond’s actual size proportions.
The plotted diagram approximates the cutting style and shape of the diamond. Symbols on the diagram indicate the approximate size, type, position, or nature of any clarity characteristics.
Key to Symbols
This section lists any characteristics and symbols that are shown on the plotting diagram. If there are none present, this section will be blank.
GIA Color Scale
The GIA Color Scale illustrates the GIA Color grades. It also displays their positions on the GIA Diamond Color Grading System.
GIA Clarity Scale
The GIA Clarity Scale depicts the GIA Clarity grades. It indicates their relative positions within the GIA Diamond Clarity Grading System.
GIA Cut Scale
The GIA Cut Scale showcases the GIA Cut grades as well as their relative position in the GIA Diamond Cut Grading System. This is available for standard round brilliant cut diamonds in the D-Z color range and Flawless-I3 clarity range.
Securing features include watermarks, holograms, two-dimensional barcodes, microprinting, security screens, and sheet numbering. These features act as a safeguard for maintaining report integrity and facilitating document authentication.
A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode. When this code is scanned with a smartphone or QR code reader, it verifies and displays data on the report with the GIA database.
What Are the Benefits of a GIA-Certified Diamond?
A GIA-certified diamond undergoes a rigorous examination by trained and experienced gemologists. A GIA-certified diamond report tells you about all of the unique features of your diamond. Every distinct aspect of your diamond is listed on the GIA certificate, so you will know exactly what you are buying.
With a GIA-certified diamond, you’ll know that your diamond is a natural diamond and you’ll get what you pay for. You can also easily compare different stones due to the consistent grading scale.
In addition to these benefits, you’ll also get added security features. Since each GIA-certified diamond has its own ID number laser engraved onto its surface, this makes it easier to track if the diamond is ever lost or stolen. It also protects against fraud since you’re able to search and verify a true GIA-certified diamond against the GIA’s extensive database.
A diamond is both a symbol of love and a solid investment. You want to know that you’re getting the best diamond for your money. Buying a GIA-certified diamond ensures a high quality and value.
Buy Your Quality GIA-Certified Diamond at Finer Custom Jewelry
Your wedding and engagement rings hold special meaning. They are an everlasting expression of your devotion to your partner.
Choosing a GIA-certified diamond gives you peace of mind knowing your diamond meets the highest GIA quality standards. You can find a wide selection of beautiful GIA-certified diamonds at Finer Custom Jewelry.
Finer Custom Jewelry has 3 locations to serve you in Dallas and Houston, TX, and Scottsdale, AZ. We even do remote consultations online. With 30 years of experience, we can help you find the right diamond for your engagement ring.
Contact us today to book your appointment for a jewelry consultation.