Wondering about GIA Certification?
You're in the right place!
In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the following about the Gemological Institute of America:
- Why Should You Buy GIA Certified Diamonds?
- What Grading Reports Does the GIA Offer?
- Why Are GIA Certified Diamonds More Expensive?
What is GIA Certification?
GIA certification is a type of certification of a loose diamond by the Gemological Institute of America. The GIA is the world’s lead researcher of diamonds and gemstones.
A diamond certificate or grading report most often comes as the size of a printed index card, or you may get a digital report. It lists all the different specifics about a loose diamond.
You can buy GIA certified diamonds at many reputable retailers, both locally and online. You are also able to get a loose diamond certified by them to obtain your own GIA certification for a fee.
What is on a GIA Grading Report?
The GIA has a number of different reports for diamonds and gemstones. They include the following:
- GIA Diamond Grading Report
- GIA Diamond Origin Report
- GIA Diamond Dossier
- GIA Colored Diamond Report
- GIA Colored Diamond Origin Report
- GIA Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report
- GIA Laboratory Grown Diamond Diamond Report
- GIA Laboratory Grown Diamond Dossier
- GIA Laboratory Grown Colored Diamond Report
- GIA Laboratory Grown Colored Diamond Origin Report & Color Identification
- Colored Gemstone Identification
- Colored Gemstone Identification and Origin
GIA Pearl Identification Report
GIA Pearl Classification Report
GIA Natural Diamond Reports
The GIA offers a few different reports for colorless natural diamonds. Some of them are extensive and others are concise.
GIA Diamond Grading Report
The GIA Diamond Grading Report is the most common report given to a GIA certified diamond. It includes all of the details of the diamond including the color, clarity, carat weight, and cut for round diamonds. It also includes a plotted diagram of your diamond’s characteristics and blemishes, as well as a depiction of its proportions.
GIA Diamond Origin Report
The GIA Diamond Origin Report contains the same information as depicted by the standard GIA Diamond Grading Report. In addition, this report gives an analysis of which country your natural diamond originated from.
These reports are excellent for someone heavily concerned with a conflict-free natural diamond. All GIA certified diamonds are conflict-free via the Kimberley Process. However, some companies like our friends at Brilliant Earth argue that there should be more done.
Along with fully traceable blockchain diamonds and recycled diamonds, Brilliant Earth offers natural diamonds with GIA Origin Reports.
GIA Diamond Dossier
If your loose diamond or diamond engagement ring comes with a GIA Diamond Dossier, it’ll have most of the same information as the standard GIA Diamond Grading Report. It doesn’t have the plotted diagram. It does have the report number laser inscribed on the diamond.
Not every GIA certified diamond has a laser inscription, so make sure to check if that service is important to you. The GIA will also laser-inscribe a diamond with a unique serial code for a fee.
GIA Lab Grown Diamond Reports
Before 2020, the GIA wasn’t the top grading authority for laboratory grown diamonds. Most gemologists agree the International Gemological Institute (IGI) certified lab diamonds were recommended. There were still GIA lab diamond reports, but they weren’t as extensive.
In 2020, the GIA revamped their lab diamond grading reports to rise to the top as well. There are two types of colorless lab grown diamond reports.
GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report
The standard GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report is the standard report given to a synthetic diamond. Unlike other reports, they are digital-only. These reports include the same information as the natural diamond reports. They have the 4Cs of the diamond with a plotted diagram for characteristics.
GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report Dossier
This lab diamond Dossier Report contains the same information as the Natural Diamond Dossier Report. It’s only used on lab diamonds with a carat weight between .15 and 1.99 carats.
GIA Laboratory Grown Colored Diamond Reports
Unlike their natural counterparts, lab colored diamonds are much less expensive. Natural colored diamonds are very rare. Lab colored diamonds have been treated to achieve fancy colors for an affordable price. The GIA has two types of reports for colored lab diamonds.
GIA Laboratory-Grown Colored Diamond Report
GIA Laboratory-Grown Colored Diamond Report Color Identification
GIA Natural Colored Diamond Reports
GIA Colored Diamond Report
The standard colored diamond report includes all of the same information as the GIA Diamond Reports to include all diamond specifics as well as the 4Cs. There’s a diamond plot with characteristics marked, the shade of your colored diamond.
GIA Colored Diamond Origin Report
The Colored Diamond Origin Report from the GIA contains the same information listed above in the standard Colored Diamond Report. This report has an explanation of your colored diamond’s country of origin as decided by researchers.
GIA Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report
This colored diamond report is more condensed than the other two. It only tells you the color analysis of the diamond as well as if it's natural or treated.
GIA Colored Stone Reports
The GIA is able to provide certification for any colored gemstone you can possibly think of, even down to the rarest gemstone.
That shouldn’t be a surprise though. The GIA has extensive research and analytics of over 100,000 different colored gemstone species.
Read also: Where to Buy Colored Gemstones?
GIA Colored Stone Identification Report
A GIA Identification Report will describe the gemstone’s cut, shape, weight, measurement, and color. It will also include a picture of your stone. You’ll also know if your gemstone has any detectable treatments, whether it’s natural or synthetic, and of course, the gemstone species it is.
GIA Colored Stone Identification & Origin Report
Like the Identification Report, the Identification & Origin Report provides the shape, cut, measurement, weight, and color. It also tells you if it’s synthetic or natural, any treatments, and its species.
In addition, this GIA grading report will tell you where the gemologist believes your gemstone’s country of origin is.
GIA Pearl Identification and Classification Reports
There are very few natural pearls left in the world. A natural pearl comes from a living organism called a mollusk. Different species of mollusks produce different types of pearls.
Today, most pearls are cultured. Uncultured pearls are highly expensive. You shouldn’t buy a natural untreated pearl without a legitimate report. The GIA has two different reports for pearls.
GIA Pearl Identification Report
The GIA Pearl Identification Report provides the quantity, weight, shape, color, whether its cultured or natural and what species of mollusk it came from if they can tell. It will also tell you if it’s a freshwater or saltwater pearl, and if it has any treatments.
GIA Pearl Identification and Classification Report
The GIA Pearl Classification Report contains all of the same details included in the Pearl Identification Report. It also gives you an analysis of the pearl’s luster, surface, thickness of nacre, and matching characteristics (for more than a single pearl).
GIA Cultured Pearl Identification and Classification Report
This report includes the same information above, but for cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are pearls that have been raised by pearl farmers instead of in the wild. There are very few wild pearls left in the world.
Cultured pearls are still real pearls, but had help developing by pearl farmers.
Read also: Best Places to Buy Pearl Jewelry
Why is Diamond Certification Important?
Buying a certified diamond is very important. I know not everyone does deep research when buying engagement rings, especially if they’re on a budget and buying locally. However, more and more people are doing their due diligence and learning all about the 4Cs of diamond quality.
An uncertified diamond still has its own diamond grades. Places like Kay and Zales usually give a range of clarity and color grades. They give you a minimum carat weight. They don’t give you all the details of each diamond.
Without a diamond certificate from a reputable grading authority, there’s no real way to ensure you’re paying the right amount of cash for the diamond grades your diamond is said to have.
Any retailer could tell you a diamond has general grades and you could find out the grades were different than they told you when you went to resell it. One, you were ripped off. And two, now you can’t even resell for what you thought you could.
Even though certified diamonds cost more than uncertified diamonds, they are absolutely essential to picking out a high quality diamond and protecting yourself in the long run.
Is GIA the Best Diamond Certification?
Diamond certifications are important. What’s more important than that is where your grading report comes from. Not every grading lab is the same. Some labs grade stricter than others.
The goal in a good grading lab is consistency. You want a grading authority that is consistent in their grading. The GIA has been the top grading authority for natural diamonds for as long as diamond grading has existed.
However, the American Gem Society is considered to be equal in quality to the GIA reports. AGS reports are slightly different than GIA reports with their cut grades. They mainly grade round diamonds as well, so they’re not as common as GIA certified diamonds.
The revamped GIA Lab Diamond reports are still relatively new to the industry, so there aren’t a ton of retailers that have them yet. More retailers carry IGI lab diamond certifications which are still top tier for lab diamonds.
Other reliable labs for synthetic diamonds include AGS and GCAL certified lab grown diamonds.
How to Get a Diamond GIA Certified?
If you’re the owner of an uncertified diamond or a diamond with another grading lab, you might be interested in a GIA certified diamond.
The good news is that you don’t have to buy a different diamond. You can get your own diamond certified by the GIA. Here are the requirements to send in your diamond.
The GIA only grades loose diamonds, not mounted diamonds. You must have your diamond unmounted before sending it to the GIA for grading. They only grade diamonds weighing .15 carats or more.
If you want the GIA to laser inscribe your diamond with a serial number, they’ll do that for $$.
Laser inscription is a great security feature in case your diamond is ever stolen and resold through a pawnshop. You can report the theft to the GIA and they’ll put a high alert on your diamond.
A pawn shop will run the code before giving payment to the seller. They’ll see the diamond has been reported stolen and report it.