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Selling a Diamond – Understanding Diamond Certificates

Selling a Diamond – Understanding Diamond Certificates Featured Image

Learn how to read a diamond certificate (aka diamond grading report) before selling your diamond ring to us.

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In this article, we will discuss diamond certificates and the most respected diamond certification labs. The proper term for a “diamond certificate” is actually “diamond grading report”. However, since jewelry stores and websites often call them certificates, we will use the informal term too.

Diamond certificates are reports that evaluate the quality of loose diamonds. This evaluation includes the famous Four Cs: Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat weight. A certificate helps you buy a diamond with confidence, knowing that you are getting exactly what you paid for. These reports also make it easier to compare diamonds. And should you ever wish to sell your diamond ring, it will speed up the sales process.

When buying a diamond, be sure that the certificate was produced by a respected diamond lab (such as GIA), and not one associated with the jewelry store or seller. Note also that an appraisal and a diamond certificate are not the same things. A diamond appraisal typically shows the estimated retail value of your diamond for insurance purposes. It does not verify the characteristics of your diamond like a certificate does.

A diamond certificate verifies your diamond’s specific qualities. It is supposed to be an unbiased evaluation. However, all assessments (except carat weight) are at some level subjective. Results, therefore, can slightly vary from one diamond lab to another. Different labs may also use different scales and designations for color, cut, and clarity. This can make direct comparisons difficult at times.


How is a Diamond Graded?

Large Pear Shaped Diamond in Tweezers The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is recognized as the most accurate diamond lab in the world. In the 1950s, they developed the Four Cs of diamond grading (Carat weight, Color, Clarity, and Cut), which is now the accepted industry standard.

Diamond Carat is a unit of weight. There are five carats in a gram. Each carat is divided into 100 parts, called points. Thus a half carat diamond would be 50 points.

Diamond Color actually indicates as lack of color. A perfect diamond has no hue. The color of your diamond is determined by comparing master stones of a predetermined color to your diamond.

Diamond Clarity refers to internal flaws called “inclusions” and external flaws called “blemishes.” While no diamond has perfect clarity, the closer your diamond is to perfect, the higher its value.

Diamond Cut refers to the shape of the stone and how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. A diamond’s cut impacts greatly the overall beauty and value of your diamond. It is also the most complex element to analyze.

Many diamond certificates also include the diamond’s laser inscription registry number (if it has one), and other information such as shape and degree of fluorescence.


Diamond Certificates by GIA

GIA diamond grading certificate exampleDiamond certificates issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are the gold standard of diamond grading reports. The GIA offers two certificates, a Diamond Dossier and a Diamond Report.

There are also two types of Diamond Dossier issued by GIA: one with cut details and one without. Both provide basic information about the Four Cs of your diamond, as well as the stone’s fluorescence and measurements. If cut information is included, details such as table size, crown and pavillion angles, and girdle thickness are included.

A GIA Diamond Report is slightly more detailed than the Dossier. It includes all the basic information found in the Diamond Dossier, plus a detailed schematic of the stone’s blemishes and inclusions.

GIA Color Grades are shown on a scale from D to Z. The color D is the highest quality and Z the lowest. Diamonds graded D-F are considered Colorless, G-J Near Colorless, K-M Faint Yellow, N-R Very Light Yellow, and S-Z Light Yellow.

GIA Cut is shown on a scale from Excellent to Very Good, Good, Fair, and finally Poor.

GIA Clarity is graded using 10x magnification on the following scale:

I1-I3: Inclusions obvious and may be visible to the naked eye.

SI1-SI2: Noticeable inclusions, relatively easy to find.

VS1-VS2: Very Slight Inclusions difficult for an expert to find.

VVS1-VVS2: Very, Very Slight Inclusions difficult for an expert to find.

Flawless/Internally Flawless: No inclusions visible by an expert.


The Diamond High Council (HRD)

Large oval diamond engagement ring on fingerHRD Certificates Laboratory is a large, well-known diamond lab with an excellent reputation for quality and objectivity. They issue what is called a “Natural Diamond Certificate.” This report shows a comprehensive description and grading of the Four Cs. It also includes a diagram that plots any inclusions and blemishes.

HRD Color is graded on a scale from Exceptional White to Tinted Color. GIA’s D to Z color-scale equivalent is also included.

HRD Clarity is graded on a scale from Loupe Clean (Flawless) to P3 (imperfect).

HRD Clarity is judged as “proportions that range from Very Good to Good to Unusual. Also included is a Finish Grade, based on the quality of the workmanship of the diamond polisher.


The American Gem Society

The American Gem Society (AGS) is a respected diamond lab with strict standards. The most popular diamond grading report that they produce is called a “Diamond Quality Document,” which contains information similar to that found in GIA certificates.

AGS Cut, Color, and Clarity all follow a unique 0-10 grading system. This makes it a little easier for the public to understand. However, an AGS certificate also shows the GIA letter equivalents to the numbers on the scale.

The highest possible AGS diamond grade is zero, and 10 is the lowest. Therefore, a diamond with a color grade of 4 would have less color than a diamond with a color grade of 6. A perfect diamond would be graded as 0-0-0, the highest ratings for Cut, Color and Clarity respectively.



The European Gemological Laboratory is known for developing diamond grading techniques that can be applied to diamonds weighing less than one carat, and for establishing the “SI3” rating for diamond clarity.

EGL USA is the only EGL lab whose reports we (and many other industry professionals) recognize as being useful. This is due to the fact that many inconsistencies have occured in the diamond reports issued by EGL International.

EGL USA tends to grade their diamonds more loosely than the GIA. As a general rule, an EGL USA certified diamond will compare equally in quality to a GIA certified diamond that is graded two color grades lower and one clarity grade lower.

For example, an EGL certified diamond graded F in color and VS1 in clarity is comparable to a GIA certified diamond graded H in color and VS2 in clarity.


International Gemological Institute

The International Gemological Institute issues a certificate known as a IGI Diamond Report. This diamond certificate includes an analysis of the Four Cs. However, IGI grades diamonds less strictly than GIA with respect to color and clarity.

For example, a GIA certified diamond that is graded VVS1 might be graded slightly higher at IF-/VVS1 by IGI. And color grades are consistently one grade higher in an IGI report than a GIA certificate.


Do I Need a Certificate to Sell My Diamond?

marquise diamond engagement ringHaving a diamond report when selling a diamond can speed up the process, and sometimes increase the cash offer that you receive. However, Diamond Estate does not require one.

We employ GIA graduate gemologists and estate diamond buyers with decades of industry expertise. Our diamond buyers can evaluate the 4 Cs of your diamond in-house, and then make you a fair cash offer based on our analysis.

To receive a free verbal appraisal of your diamond and a generous cash offer, contact our diamond buyers today.

Call Toll Free: (800) 956-8505

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Real Reviews From Customers

Wonderful service! Paula made the selling process so easy for me from beginning to end. I live out-of-state, and she walked me through, step-by-step, exactly what to do to work with read more Diamond Estate to sell my diamonds. The process was effortless on my part! The owner gave me an excellent price. Paula was very professional and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend working with Diamond Estate.

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I reached out to Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to sell my husband’s Rolex. Lori was very nice, knowledgeable, & inspired trust. Most importantly to me, there was absolutely no pressure read more to proceed—I felt very comfortable with the pace of the process. Lori gave me an estimated range of what the watch would be worth, subject to adjustment based on their appraisal once their buyer was able to examine it. She provided all details and the Fed Ex labels for shipping the watch—it was not hard and I was fully confident it would go without a snag. Lori called to let me know as soon as the watch arrived. The next day it was appraised by their buyer and Lori called to let me know the adjusted price. They dealt fairly with me, so I accepted and wire transfer was made same day to my bank account. Nicely done, Lori!

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This company was excellent to deal with and very fair on their offer. Paula Dabney took care of my transaction and kept me informed of everything. The money was wired to me within an read more hour after the received my watch. I highly recommend this company to deal with..

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I worked with Paula the most and she was great. Very patient, very kind; answered all my many questions. Received agreed upon payment extremely fast, as promised. It is scary to send read more jewelry in the mail, but everything worked as I was told it would. I would do this again.

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Contacted Paula about selling my Rolex watch, and was treated in a very professional manner. She talked me thru the whole process from start to finish; which made this transaction very read more enjoyable. The estimate I received was higher than two other companies I contacted. Straight forward, no nonsense approach. If you have any doubts about selling your jewelry please give Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers a call. You will be happy you did.

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I had a timepiece that I was looking to sell and searched high and low to find a reputable dealer to appraise the piece and would offer a fair price. I came Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers read more online. At first I was hesitant to try an online service for this type of transaction but let me tell you, they were great. Paula helped me through the process and just as their website describes, it is a safe and secure method for this type transaction. It was a very smooth, seamless transaction…and the price was fair. I hope this review will allay any concerns people may have. I was hesitant at first, but now they will be my go-to people for this type of service in the future. Thanks again Paula for great customer-centric service.

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John H.


I sold a diamond engagement ring and a wedding ring. Paula was exceptional to work with. She answered all of my questions and assuaged any concerns that I had. I know the price I got read more was fair, as I had a prior gemologist look at the rings, but I was not comfortable dealing with that outfit for reasons other than the price. I am comfortable with my decision to sell my engagement ring, and I know I got the best offer I could get at this time. I highly recommend Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. Thank you, Paula, for all the time you spent with me. You have immense patience and empathy.

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We contacted Carl to sell approximately 25 pieces of estate jewelry. He was extremely responsive and followed up the same day. His secretary was fantastic getting us an appointment read more quickly. Carl spent a long time explaining the pricing, appraisals, value, and process and made us feel very comfortable selling to him. We are extremely pleased with the entire experience and will definitely recommend him to others!

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When I was thinking about selling a piece of jewelry I had, I looked at several different places. I just kept coming back to DEJB. I called, spoke with Paula & she was wonderful to read more work with. So friendly & knowledgeable. She explained everything to me from the first phone call. She really put my mind at ease. My transaction was quick & easy. Paula & Carl were so easy to work with. I will definitely work with them again. Thank you Paula & Carl for everything!

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Rhonda B.


Would you like to learn more about selling a diamond for a fair cash price? Read our article: The Best Online Diamond Calculators.

About Diamond Estate

Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers is a leading fine jewelry buyer and watch buyer serving customers throughout the US. We've built our business on core values of integrity, honesty, and superior customer service. Are you looking to sell diamonds, rings, watches, earrings or other fine jewelry? Get in touch to get your no-obligation offer.

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Diamond Estate President and Founder Carl Blackburn was interviewed in 2009 by KUSI Television, along with the Better Business Bureau's Sheryl Bilbrey, as one of San Diego's trustworthy and reputable jewelry buyers.

Ten Years later, Diamond Estate still maintains its A+ standing with the Better Business Bureau, while helping sellers nationwide become better informed through the many videos, guides, and articles published on this website.

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