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What are all of these certificates and appraisals!!

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ukstipe

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
18
Hi everyone

I have been lurking on these boards for half a year now to build up some smarts before making a big purchase. I have got a good handle on pricing, 4c''s, etc but there are 2 areas I don''t have a full comprehensive understanding of yet:

A) certificates and appraisals.

1) what do the different certificates mean (GIA, HRD, etc)?
2) why one would get an appraisal even though they have a certificate
3) does every diamond come with a cert?
4) is the authenticity of the cert an issue?

B) I live in London. I am thinking of buying in Hatton Garden or flying over to Antwerp and buying from a dealer there. Any thoughts? Advice? What can I expect in prices in the 2 places?

Any help is very much appreciated.
 

Rank Amateur

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Messages
1,553
Hi uk. Welcome aboard.


The Initials GIA, HRD AGS, IGI etc are different labs who issue the grading reports. These reports contain the 4Cs and various additional information. Some labs (GIA AGS and HRD) are considered more "strict" than others and generally their reports are better respected and stones graded by them sell for a few more $$.

You need an appraisal in order to insure your stone. Other than that, the appraisal brings a hopefully-independent set of eyes and peace of mind. Sellers often provide "appraisals{" with the sale, which some sticklers consider a improper (due to the seller's inherent bias).

Not all diamonds are sent to the labs for a report. Traditionally the cost of the report dictated that the smaller stones were not sent out. With the advent of the internet, it seems like more stones get lab-graded in order to level the playing field for sight-unseen sales. Fifteen years ago it seemed like the stones had to be over 1ct to get sent out for grading.

If you have concerns about authenticity, you can match the inclusion plot on the report with the inclusions in the actual stone. This is tricky for us Amateurs, so that's another thing the appraisers can do for you. One hears occasionally about a fake cert, but not too often. Maybe one of the pros can comment on how often reports are faked.

I can't even hazard a guess on Antwerp pricing but there are quite a few Brits on board here who can help!

R/A
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
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1) what do the different certificates mean (GIA, HRD, etc)?
-----------

The certificates are diamond grading reports from major gem laboratories universally recognized by the trade and the public. Some labs are more credible and more recognized than others, thus stones certified by them usually trade easier and for less of a discount than a less recognized lab.

GIA, AGS & HRD lead the field, with EGL and then IGI following behind. Those are the "major league labs", and then there's a host of what I refer to as "triple A", "double A" and "A" minor league labs.

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2) why one would get an appraisal even though they have a certificate
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A. To make sure the diamond matches the cert.
B. To tell you if (in their opinion) the diamond was accurately graded.
C. To translate all the grades and numbers to let you know if you're getting a good diamond.
D. To let you know if you're getting a good price.
E. To give you a necessary document for insurance.

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3) does every diamond come with a cert?
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No. The internet vendors use certs a lot because it gives the consumer more confidence, but as you get away from the internet there are multitudes of diamonds without certs. As a rule of thumb, the higher quality the stone, the more likelihood that the vendor will have it certed.

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4) is the authenticity of the cert an issue?
-----------

Not so much with reputable and well known vendors (although mistakes can be made), but more so with unknown vendors. The internet has it's share of scams revolving around non-authentic certs of one type or another, as well as shady non-internet dealers.
 

Rockabye

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 3, 2003
Messages
8

Lost my reply when I tried to save it in rtf mode. Here we go again...


A)


1) Acronyms for independent diamond grading laboratories (GIA - Gemological Institute of America; HRD - Diamond High Council (Hoge Raad voor Diamant, HRD) that issue diamond grading reports (aka certificates) for diamonds inspected and evaluated by them. Another good lab would be AGS - American Gemological Society. If you search their websites, you would be able to find out more about how their certs look like and the information provided.


2) A certificate only specifies the characteristics of the diamond but would not indicate its value. An appraisal, on the other hand, would and this is normally used for insurance purposes. Also, when buying on-line, an appraisal from an independent appraiser serves as an objective second opinion to confirm that the diamond you are buying matches the certificate.

3) No. Having a report done up on a diamond incurs costs and adds to the price of the diamond. All other things (including weight) being equal, colour and clarity have a major impact on price. Hence, you would not want to pay for what the dealer represents to be an F VS1 only to discover that it is a G VS1, F VS2 or G VS2.

4) Most certificates have security features, e.g. watermarks, holograms, laminations.

B)
No real experience with Hatton Garden or Antwerp. However, based on enquiries with other London jewellers, prices could be about 1.5X - 2X what you might find for a comparable or better cut on pricescope.

Might be a good idea to use pricescope as a price guide but do be aware of the need to compare like with like, bearing in mind that ideal cut diamonds go for a premium.
 

ukstipe

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
18
Thanks folks! It feels like I am so far away from the point of actually buying. Lots of money to spend on a little itty bitty thing and it is a special purchase so don't want to get it wrong!!

Another couple questions:

I want to get "ideal cut" but how is this indicated on the different certificates? Is "triple 0" in the AGS scheme similar to something in the other certifying schemes?
 
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