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Why You Need Certified Diamonds

Why Buy Certified Lab Created Diamonds

If you are buying a significant piece of diamond jewelry or a diamond engagement ring, you need a grading report from an independent diamond grading laboratory. Why? A diamond grading report, sometimes called a diamond certificate, gives you independent confirmation of the quality of your diamond. 

Lab grown diamonds are graded in the same way as mined diamonds by the same diamond grading laboratories. The two leading laboratories for diamond quality grading are the International Gemological Institute, most commonly known as IGI, and the Gemological Institute of America, known as GIA. Because they are the leading labs, most of the certified diamonds that you see on the market will have grading reports from one of these two labs.

At Carbon Atelier, we focus on better quality lab grown diamonds. In general, we hand-select well-cut lab certified diamonds that offer the best combination of quality and value: G-H color and VS clarity. For the connoisseur, we also carry E-F VVS diamonds. And you can be sure of the quality because we offer diamond certificates from the International Gemological Institute for all our diamonds above 0.33 carats for independent confirmation of their quality.

A diamond grading report is an inspection of a diamond’s exact quality characteristics, known as the 4Cs: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. Today, laboratories also confirm diamond origin, which is important because jewelers often can’t tell if a diamond is mined or lab-grown with ordinary gemological testing.

Buying certified lab-created diamonds makes it possible for you to comparison shop. You’ll know the exact quality of a diamond ring, engagement ring, or other diamond jewelry so you can decide if the price is right. Because they have documented quality information, certified diamonds and certified lab created diamonds also ensure you will receive the same quality replacement if your diamond is ever lost or stolen. Insurance companies use diamond certificates to determine the quality of replacement diamonds. 

Here’s what you need to know about shopping for certified lab grown diamonds for your engagement ring or other significant jewelry purchase.

GIA and IGI Certified Lab-Grown Diamonds

The GIA Diamond Grading Report has become the benchmark for natural diamond certification around the world. The GIA literally invented the diamond grading scale and those famous 4Cs of diamond quality.

But because GIA is a jewelry industry institution, funded by industry donations and the support of the mined diamond business, for many years it refused to certify lab-grown diamonds with the 4Cs in order to protect the natural diamond market. It wasn’t until October 2020 that GIA began offering a new lab-grown diamond grading report with precise quality grades, acknowledging the growing demand from consumers for lab-grown diamonds.

When GIA refused to grade lab-grown diamonds, IGI stepped in and became the world’s leading grading laboratory for lab grown certified diamonds. IGI’s lab-grown diamond grading reports are exactly the same as its mined diamond grading reports except for a different color cover. That’s why although GIA reports are the benchmark for mined diamonds, IGI reports are the standard for lab-grown diamonds.

Because most lab-grown diamonds are sold with IGI grading reports, buying IGI certified diamonds offers you an important benefit. You’ll have a much better selection of IGI certified diamonds to choose from. This makes it much easier to find the exact size, shape and quality that you are looking for. You can easily compare IGI certified lab-grown diamonds from different jewelers knowing they have been graded in the same way from the same laboratory.

How to Read a Lab-Grown Diamond Report

Every diamond grading report has a unique number. You can use this number to double-check the report on the grading laboratory’s website to make sure the report is genuine and the grades haven’t been altered. Modern reports have a QR code to make this easy but make sure that you also check navigating from the grading laboratory’s website, which is www.IGI.org for the International Gemological Institute and www.GIA.edu for the Gemological Institute of America. Diamond certificates also have tamper-proof measures like background images and holograms.

The most important thing to look for on a lab report is, of course, the quality of the lab-grown diamond: the 4Cs of color, clarity, carat weight and cut. The letter grades for color and clarity also include a helpful scale so you can see how the grade of your diamond compares. And for round brilliant diamonds, the report shows a plot of the inclusions so you can see at a glance where clarity characteristics are located.

The cut information is more extensive. For round brilliant lab diamonds and princess cut lab diamonds, the report includes an overall grade for the diamond’s cut. In addition to describing the shape and cutting style, the report includes actual dimensions, which gives you the face-up diameter. It also shows a profile view with the proportions and angles.

For fancy shapes, the length and width measurements will tell you how elongated the silhouette is, especially important for shapes like the oval, pear, marquise, and emerald, which can vary a lot. 

Another characteristic that is described on your lab diamond grading report is fluorescence. This describes whether and how much your diamond reacts to ultraviolet light. Only about 25-35% of diamonds fluoresce. In very rare cases, very strong fluorescence can give a diamond a hazy glow. A famous example is the Portuguese Diamonds in the Smithsonian Institution. This kind of rare fluorescence is considered a drawback. Because of this, diamonds with strong fluorescence often sell at a discount. However, GIA surveys have shown that even diamond traders can’t see the difference between diamonds with different levels of fluorescence in normal viewing conditions.

The report also describes the inscription engraved on the girdle of the diamond. Lab grown diamonds will have “Lab Grown” and the report number inscribed on the girdle. These inscriptions are permanent, can only be seen with magnification, and do not affect the clarity grade of the diamond. You can add a custom inscription to your diamond, like a secret message that is only revealed under magnification.

In the comments section of the report, your diamond grading report will also include information about how your lab grown diamond was made. It will describe the process as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). Some lab-grown diamonds are grown using a two-step process that includes both CVD and HPHT: this may be described as “post growth treatment.”

Finally, the comments section may include a note describing a lab diamond as Type IIa, which is expected for CVD grown diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are the purest type of diamond crystals with almost no impurities. Only 2% of natural diamonds are Type IIa. If your diamond is Type IIa, you can expect icy pure sparkle and exceptional brilliance in your certified diamond.

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