Most diamonds today are sold with some sort of authenticity or grading report/document. Often these reports are referred to as certificates (certs). Please be aware that while most of these third party laboratory reports are referred to as certs they are not strictly certificates, in that, they do not guarantee anything. They are merely reporting a professional opinion. (If you don’t believe me take a look at the disclaimer some time – usually on the back of the report).

In general the certs give information regarding the shape, measurements, color, clarity and carat weight of a diamond. Some certs also have a diagram depicting the location and type of inclusions and/or surface blemishes of the diamond. You may also see information about cut and light performance on a cert.

The majority of certs do not give an appraisal value.

With so many different certs on the market, how do you know which lab is the best, the most accurate – who do you trust?

Reports/certificates are much like American Baseball. In baseball there are three basic leagues: Major, Minor and Little League. The principal behind the game is the same in all three leagues – however, the results and caliber of the players is vastly different. Through my experience of grading and selling thousands of diamonds I would classify the worlds most well known labs in the following way.

The Major League

The major league of diamond labs includes labs with the most experience and the best reputation both within the industry and with the average consumer. They are also in my opinion the most consistent in grading and maintaining high standards. The major league of diamond labs includes:

The Minor League

The minor league of diamond labs would include smaller labs that are less well known. Possibly with less funding than the major league labs they are still holding their own. They have a solid reputation. Just as the minor league of baseball appeals to the fans who love the game and don’t need all the bells and whistles, these labs still perform the fundamental points of diamond evaluation with skill.

Little League

You know how in little league you never want to say anything bad about the players ….. the players are doing their best but due to their age, lack of experience or lets just say it, plain lack of skill, the players just don’t perform well or consistently. Basically if you don’t see a lab mentioned in either the major league or the minor league, it is not because I don’t know about lab, its because they belong in the little league.

Although a cert can go a long way to giving you a sense of assurance and value regarding your diamond purchase, I highly recommend looking at a diamond before purchasing it. Certificates/reports in most cases give a wealth of information – but the information must be analyzed correctly. Comparing the carat weight, cut, color and clarity grades between certs will only tell you part of the diamond’s story. It usually takes a professional looking at a certificate to be able to analyze all the information correctly and have an accurate idea of what that diamond is going to look like in real life.