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Diamond Grading and Gem Identification
The Internet is a major source of consumer self-education and more and more people are feeling comfortable buying diamonds, sight unseen, because the diamond comes with a certificate. A certificate contains some but not all of the information necessary to make an informed decision, and how do you know if it is even accurate?

When you bring your diamond to me for a pre-purchase evaluation, or to verify the certificate, I'll ask you not to show the certificate to me until after the consultation. It's important for you to know my opinion of your diamond without any outside information playing a role in the process. I recently looked at two diamonds for a client, I graded one a VS2, and the other a VS1. Both had certificates from a major gem lab and both were graded internally flawless. I drew a diagram of the inclusions that were inside both stones, and with that my client was able to get his deposits back from both jewelry stores. He then bought a diamond from a different jeweler, saved thousands of dollars, and ended up with a prettier diamond. But just as importantly, the diamond my client bought was exactly as it was represented to be, and it didn't even have a certificate. It just proves having a diamond without a certificate can be better than having a diamond with an inaccurate certificate.

The cut of the diamond is a very important factor in determining the sparkle that comes from the diamond, and is the most difficult factor to quantify. Because the cut of the diamond is so critical to the diamond's beauty, you shouldn't buy a diamond based solely on the information in a certificate. You should have someone, without a vested interest in the sale of the diamond, tell you if the cutter tried to make the biggest diamond he could, or the most brilliant. An informed buyer can then decide which one he would rather have, provided he knows exactly what he is looking at. If the cutter made the biggest diamond possible the cutter will own that diamond for a lower per carat cost. Conversely, if the cutter made the most brilliant diamond possible the cutter will own that diamond for a higher per carat cost. It's easy to understand why most cutters would opt for the biggest diamond possible because it can give the jeweler or internet source a cost advantage.

If you are about to spend thousands of dollars on a diamond, from someone you've never dealt with before, my opinion of the diamond should be very important to you. Just remember the motto, "buyer beware," and realize a certificate is only a piece of paper. Also, don't share too much information with your appraiser; let me share my information with you.

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