Certified vs. Non-Certified

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No two stones are exactly alike, which can make shopping for one somewhat difficult. One of the most significant attributes of the selection process is whether or not the stone is certified. Certification is the written proof of a stone’s unique characteristics.

The greatest benefit of purchasing a certified stone is that you have written documentation that the stone has the exact specifications that the jeweler claims the stone to be. Purchasing a non-certified stone for this reason alone can be quite alarming, especially if your knowledge is limited on diamonds and gemstones. In addition, this helps with acquiring an appraisal.
For diamonds, the certification lists not only the date the stone was certified but whether or not it has an inscription, the shape and cutting style, measurements, carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, cut grade, the polish and symmetry, and the fluorescence. In addition, many certifications include a diagram indiciating the exact locations of inclusions as well as the type of inclusion. It also provides you with the diamonds proportions and, perhaps one of the most significant qualities to look for, whether or not the stone is damaged or color treated.
Types of Certifications
The type of certification is something to be considered as well. The three major certifications that exist are from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), and American Gem Society (AGS). Here at Inta Gems we consider the AGS to have the most strict guidelines and to be extremely credible; however, the GIA is probably the most well-renowned insitution. In fact, most of our stones have certifications from the GIA.
Guidelines from the AGS and GIA are much more strict than the EGL. In some cases, we have noticed EGL certified stones color to vary in a half or full grade in difference when compared to GIA or AGS.
Because of this reason, it is suggested that when purchasing an EGL certified stone, that you strive for a higher quality diamond.
Purchasing certified can have a great impact on the price of the stone, which can be as much as $100-$125 per carat. The type of certification can also create a difference in price. Because EGL certified stones tend to be a little lower in quality in comparison to AGS or GIA certified stones, the price can be a little lower.
One of the greatest benefits to purchasing non-certified is, beyond any doubt, the affect it has on price. Non-certified stones are significantly less in price. The most identifiable negative to purchasing non-certified; however, is the stone having qualities that you are not aware of. A diamond, for example may not be the same color, clarity, cut, and carat that you expect, or worse, it could be chipped or cosmetically treated to improve its appearance. Laser drilling is a great example of a cosmetic procedure. In this process, gemologists drill into the stone and vacuum out an inclusion leaving a needle-like hole, which significantly devalues the diamond compared to a natural, untreated diamond.
While their is a difference in price between certified and non-certified stones, this does not mean all certified stones are expensive. There are plenty of stones that are very inexpensive, but also have the guarantee that your purchase has validity.
Gemstone Certification
Regarding gemstones, about 90% are actually not certified. Unless the stone is extremely rare, it is not worth the investment to certify. For example, amethyst stones cost about $10 a carat. Because certifications cost about $100 per carat, for a 5 carat amethyst, the certification would cost $500 while the stone itself only costs $50. Here at Inta Gems, we sell both certified and non-certified gemstones, but carry mostly non-certified.
We also carry some small non-certified diamonds that are extremely low in quality; however, we always recommend buying a certified diamond unless you are extremely qualified gemologist.
This decision now rests wherever your priorities lay. Good luck and happy shopping!
Featured in this blog are examples of certifications for diamond certification from AGS, GIA, and EGL. Following those is a fancy colored diamond certification and a gemstone certification both from GIA.
GIA Diamond Certificate

GIA Fancy Colored Certificate

GIA Gemstone Certificate