GIA is a world-renowned authority when it comes to diamonds, pearls, and colored gemstones. It is an independent organization with a mission to guard public trust in valued gemstones, and offers education programs, research discoveries, and laboratory services. Consumers and industry professionals the world over have come to hold GIA grading reports in the highest esteem with regard to impartial quality assessment. Following is a look at how to read such reports.
The 4 C’s
- Carat Weight: The carat is the standard unit used to denote the weight of diamonds as well as other gemstones. Its namesake is the carob seed. The metric carat equals precisely 0.2 grams, and the weight is exactly the same in every part of the world.
- Color: The color grade for diamonds ranges from D to Z, with the former standing for virtually colorless, and the latter for largely colored. What you need to know is that the closer a diamond lands to the D end of the scale, the more light it will be able to reflect. This translates physically to more brilliance.
- Clarity: It is difficult to see and gauge clarity using the naked eye, but this is one characteristic which can affect overall brilliance dearly. Diamond clarity is defined as the absence of blemishes on the outside and inclusions on the inside. Inclusions types can range from VS to SI.
- Cut: Although this aspect is hard to quantify and analyze, it has three different attributes to it. These are brilliance (the whole of the light reflected from the stone), fire (how the light disperses into the multiple colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (flashes that occur when the stone is moved). The cut grading system has a D-Z color range.
More Grading Information
It holds that the majority of any diamond’s value depends on the 4 C’s, but there is also the finish of the stone to consider if you are interested in desirability, which most people are. The grading report from GIA lays out two factors which affect the finish of a diamond.
- Polish: This is the general smoothness or condition of the surface of the stone.
- Symmetry: This is the preciseness of the outline of the diamond, as well as the alignment, placement, and shape of its facets. If a stone is more symmetrical, its facets will reflect light more perfectly.
When you look at a GIA grading report, there are a number of reference diagrams as well as graphical representations in it which are meant to boost the confidence of consumers with regard to the gemstone they are considering buying. This includes the following.
- Plotting Diagram: This shows the relative position and size of any clarity features which are present either on the surface or in the internal structure of the stone. What the customer gets is a tangible way to comprehend the clarity grade which is assigned, and this is also useful for identifying the diamond, because the clarity characteristics or every stone are unique.
- Size And Cut Details: This is a scale drawing which shows the precise cut and size of the stone, so that a consumer is enabled to visualize it properly.
- Security Features: In all GIA reports you have a background screen, hologram, microprint lines, as well as other security features exceeding industry guidelines, which prove the integrity and authenticity of the report.
The iPad Application For The 4 C’s
GIA keeps up with the latest technology, and to this end, it released an app in 2011, meant to educate consumers on the 4 C’s. There are two versions of this app (consumer and retailer) which have interactive as well as video tools teaching the process GIA follows to grade diamonds under the 4 C’s. This app also explains the grading scales GIA uses for clarity, color, and cut, in addition to explaining how the different grades can impact stone value. The beginning of the carat system is also explained, and there is information about subjects such as fluorescence, synthetics, and diamond treatment.
The consumer version of the app has a special feature called “My Diamond Wish List”, which lets a consumer keep track of the different stones they have seen and mulled over. Consumers have the option to enter relevant information on each diamond, and this includes its report number, price, 4 C’s info, image, and the retailer’s address. If there is a GIA report with the diamond, the grading information populates automatically when you use the report check action.
What makes it good for a consumer to have a GIA certificate for their diamond is that today, this is part of the most common “diamond language” used by people in the industry. Most knowledgeable diamond buyers insist on the perks of being a part of this.