Does the Certification Date Matter for GIA Diamonds?

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 09:36

Often, a purchaser of GIA Certified loose diamonds will not notice that the certificate is dated. However, when they do, they often make the assumption that newer is better, and that an older date is an indication of a "used" diamond. Is it?

Every GIA diamond grading certificate contains key information about the diamond, including its weight, dimensions, color and clarity grades, and key proportions such as table and depth percentages. In addition, some certificates contain a diamond plot showing the position and nature of inclusions. In every case, the certificate will contain a unique identifying number and the date of certification.

The purpose of the certificate is to document key characteristics of a diamond which affect its value. Often, purchasers will also use the certificate to try to acquire information about the diamond for sale that was never intended. For example, a purchaser might look at the number or size of red inclusion markings on the diamond plot and attempt to infer whether the diamond has visible flaws. Or, the purchaser might use the certification date to try to determine whether the diamond is "old" or "used".

In one sense, every diamond is very old, and only vary in the date they were mined and cut. But what some purchasers wish to avoid is a diamond that has been previously owned by another individual. This history taints the purity and value of the diamond for the new owner, even if it in no way affects the diamond itself.

While this desire for a "new" diamond is reasonable, using the certification date is completely unreliable. This is because the certification date is no guarantee of the age of a diamond. Re-certification of diamonds is standard practice when a certificate becomes dated, or a diamond is sold back into the market. By sending the diamond back to GIA, a new ("fresh") certificate is created, while the old ("dated") certificate is discarded. For this reason, looking at the certification date tells a buyer nothing about the history of the diamond. In fact, there are no processes in place to track the provenance of a diamond (as there are for houses or fine works of art). Anyone who claims to know the history of a diamond, or that it is in fact "new", either cut the diamond themselves or is speculating.

Lumera believes that the history of a diamond is irrelevant. What matters is that the certificate is reliable (which is why we offer only GIA certified loose diamonds), and that the diamond's present condition matches the certification (in other words, that it has not been scratched, chipped, or in any other way altered since being certified). To address the latter issue, every Lumera diamond undergoes an inspection prior to shipment to confirm certificate match.