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Certificates are important, but not as much as you are led to believe. If you base your diamond decision on a laboratory certificate alone, you may needlessly end up paying more. We’ll call ‘Certificates’ the 5th C of your diamond education. While a certificate is useful for authenticating a diamond and providing basic specifications of a particular stone, a certificate alone doesn’t reflect the true beauty and value of a diamond. Consequently it doesn’t tell you the whole story.

Diamonds are graded in ranges. If a particular diamond falls within a given range, based primarily on colour and clarity criteria, it will be given the appropriate certified rating. You’re probably thinking, with the almost infinite possible combinations of colour and clarity ranges, how do I know if what I’m getting is what I’m paying for?

The onus is on us regarding the accuracy of the certificate. The grades on certificates, while correct in gemmological terms are very far from being taut enough for financial comparisons. Two diamonds can be categorized as having the same characteristics on a diamond certificate, yet be priced differently, and the certificate won’t tell you why. You’ll be able to quickly see a price variance of roughly 15%-20% between grade ranges and sometimes you’ll see a 10% price difference within the same grade. We cannot afford to misrepresent the goods and because of this we reject 30% of certificates we see due to misgrading.

Diamond cutters understand everything that we have described above, and they are well aware of it when deciding how to sell their stones. They sell to two different markets: to professionals and the public. First they sell to professional dealers or brokers like us, where every stone is examined under magnification before a dollar is parted with, and the only way that the diamond cutter makes a sale to that broker on a stone at the bad or low end of any grade is to discount it. Then they supply the remaining list of certified stones available to the public on Internet sites, (we won’t say who, but we’re sure you know who they are).

Now imagine for a moment that you are a diamond cutter (instead of a potential diamond buyer): you have thousands of certified stones, some at the top end of each grade and some at the bottom, and you are unknown to the potential consumer. Now ask yourself which half of your stones you might keep at your office to show your experienced repeat customers who will personally examine each stone, then ask yourself which half you will list on other people’s Internet sites to be sold to an inexperienced, one-time consumer who cannot examine the stone itself before buying? So how are the diamonds you see listed on various sites actually priced online? Completely all over the place. Some sites might price all stones of a certain grade at the same price. Other sites might discount their lesser quality stones jewellery houses and brokers won’t buy. Bottom line is that there is no way to know from the certificate alone which is which.

A diamond certificate doesn’t indicate how a stone’s inclusions and blemishes affect its beauty and value. You need to actually see a diamond to understand the nature of both. We believe it is better to buy a great SI1 than a bad VS2, potentially savings yourself thousands of dollars in the process.

Simply put, you can’t tell which diamond is more beautiful based on a report and you’re not going to carry around a certificate to prove that your stone is what you paid for it are you? Buy the diamond, not the certificate. Only you will know what you paid for it, everyone else will only see how beautifully it sparkles on your fiancé’s finger.