You’re looking for a diamond for a special occasion or gift, and want to be sure that the stone you choose is as close to perfect as possible. Jewelry stores may offer GIA-certified diamonds, and you have heard by word-of-mouth that that is what you should look for. But what does that even mean? What is GIA certification? And why should you care?

The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, educates jewelers and those entering the industry. It also offers evaluation of natural, unmounted diamonds that are not treated for stabilization. GIA certification cannot be used to evaluate synthetic diamonds or mounted diamonds. Diamonds eligible for certification must weigh a minimum of 0.15 carat.

GIA certification grades four aspects of each diamond, which include color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. These features are commonly called the 4 C’s; jewelers usually recommend buying stones with the highest possible level of each aspect.

  • Color: White diamonds of flawless color are clear without any hint of color within the stone itself. Colored diamonds are certified based on depth and consistency of color within the stone. Cloudy or muddy shades negatively impact color evaluation.
  • Clarity: Jewelry-grade diamonds are cut and polished for clarity and light refraction. Occlusions and blemishes within a diamond devalues it. A clear diamond enhances its cut and color as facets are easily visible, and a clear diamond presents its color without inconsistencies or blemishes.
  • Cut: Diamonds are available in multiple cuts or shapes. Faceted diamonds such as brilliant-cut stones refract light and create a glittering rainbow effect when seen in bright light. Step-cut diamonds including emerald-cut stones have fewer cuts and feature long facets along the side of the stone that reflect light and reveal the stone’s depth. Step-cuts require near-perfect clarity as imperfections are easily visible within these stones.
  • Carat weight: Diamonds are weighed by carat. When choosing your diamond, carat weight should not necessarily be your first priority; for example, a large diamond with visible occlusions will not shine as brightly as a smaller stone without visible blemishes.

GIA certification provides a diamond grading system for assessing diamond quality and balancing the four C’s with your preferences. Using GIA certification is a reliable method for comparing loose diamonds. Please contact us through our Diamond Castle Jewelers website or step into our jewelry store in Novi for help with selecting the best grades of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight according to your preferences and price range.