The Gemological Institute of America is an independent nonprofit organization that aims to protect individuals interested in buying gems and jewelry through research, education, and laboratory services.
In the 1940s, the GIA created “the 4C’s”, which have become the universal and objective standard grades given to each individual diamond, assessing its carats, color, clarity, and cut.
Carat refers to the weight of the diamond, and is the longest running standard in the industry and has been consistently used to appraise diamonds since the 1500s
Color is concerned with the diamond’s lack of color, as the less color, the higher the grade of the diamond.
Clarity is determined using a scale, and refers to how many inclusions or blemishes are in the diamonds. The highest standard for diamond clarity is F, meaning that the diamond is flawless--no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
Cut pertains to the way the diamond is cut, which has a big impact on the diamond’s sparkle and the way it unleashes light. Although, it is important to note that the GIA only uses the brilliant cut as its standard for grading diamonds. Thus, if you choose a diamond with an alternative cut, such as the rose cut or an old mine cut, the GIA rating will not be completely accurate as it will compare these cuts to a brilliant cut.
If you would like to learn more about the GIA’s “4C’s” grading system, you can read more about it in our diamond quality guide.
Why is GIA considered the best?
GIA is the most well known and well-respected diamond grading lab and is considered the industry’s gold standard. It has the most consistent and strictest guidelines for lab grading entities in color, clarity, and cut. In addition to brilliant cut diamonds, the GIA also has evaluations for colored diamonds and natural and cultured pearls; however, it is most famous for rigorously grading brilliant-cut diamonds compared to other labs. Some of its most famous graded diamonds are the Hope Diamond and the De Beers Millennium Star, and so, the organization has a high level of credibility in the industry.
Left to right: Hope Diamond and De Beers Millennium Star Diamond
Why do we choose GIA for diamonds?
At 64Facets, we aim to provide the highest quality standards in everything we do, which is why we use GIA when grading our larger diamonds. Small differences in color, cut and clarity could cost buyers hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which is why being GIA certified is important to protect your investment. It can also distinguish natural diamonds from lab-created synthetic ones.
Are there other certifiers other than GIA?
While the GIA is the international gold standard, there are other diamond certifiers as well such as the AGS, GCAL, IGI, and EGL. Unlike the GIA, the American Gem Society (AGS) uses a numerical system rather than the standard D-Z color and FL-I3 clarity scale. As for the Gem Certification & Assurance (GCAL) is not as well known in comparison to the GIA. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) was among the first gem labs to issue grading reports for lab diamonds. While still reliable, however, the lab is not as strong as the GIA, and its grading tends to be more lenient. Lastly, the European Gemological Institute (EGL) is a collection of independently owned franchises, and so, as a result, this organization’s grading can be a bit skewed depending on which lab that grades the diamond.
All in all, while there are numerous certifiers, 64Facets will always choose the premier choice, GIA.
When you get a GIA certificate?
Once a diamond is GIA certified, there is a number imprinted by a laser onto it that cannot be seen under the human eye. There is also an option for a personal message, symbol, or special date to customize the diamond for an additional fee. The diamond is then permanently stored in GIA’s database with its report number and all of the data captured during the grading process.
Here, we have provided an example of what a GIA certification looks like. On the left hand side, the report provides a written description of the diamond from its shape and cutting style to measurements to its 4 C’s to even its polish and symmetry. As for the middle section, the certification presents readers visually what the diamond’s proportions and clarity characteristics are. Finally, on the right hand side, it presents the GIA’s color, clarity, and cut scales, which were what the measurements were determined against.
Final important considerations
When it comes to purchasing diamonds, especially for the first time, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the aspects of what determines a diamond’s value. More importantly, you should be able to recognize who is grading and reporting your diamond’s worth. At 64Facets, we will always choose our larger diamonds to be GIA certified, as it is the leading institute; however, with that said, there are some final considerations that we want to emphasize. To reiterate, GIA grades diamonds only by a round brilliant cut, meaning no matter how perfect the Old Mine or European cut can be, they will never give a grade Excellent to these cuts. Moreover, the process of verification and certification may take a long period of time for your diamond. Finally, given the time and cost of each GIA grade, we only grade the larger diamonds in our fine jewelry collections, as grading each small diamond would be cost prohibitive.
All in all, for 64Facets, the only diamond is a natural diamond, and without any exception, we strive to provide the highest value for the women who wear our jewelry, which is why we choose to have our diamonds only be GIA certified.
For more information, learn more about what a diamond is here.