GIA: What Does it Mean?

GIA: What Does it Mean?

So, it’s finally that special time in your life when you’re ready to get married and are looking for an engagement ring. Somewhere along the way you’ve probably heard the term GIA diamond. 

GIA stands for the Gemological Institute of America. This organization grades diamonds against its own test of quality so that you know exactly what you’re buying. A diamond having been graded by the non profit organization does not attest to its superior quality or cause for a markup in price. It simply means that the diamond was examined by a professional and its quality ( which obviously directly correlates to its price) was recorded on what is called a GIA report.

A large percentage of diamonds in the industry have been graded by the GIA, and when hearing that your selection has been, you should definitely ask to see its GIA report. While the document won’t outright declare the price it believes the diamond is worth, the report allows the transparency of the diamonds personal information that give you the security you need when purchasing.

How to Read Your GIA Report

While you may not have heard of the organization, you’ve most likely heard of its popular grading assessment- the four C’s. Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight are the main components that define a diamond’s uniqueness and quality, thus setting its price. Starting from the left section, you’ll find the unique report number given specifically to your diamond (which can also be used to get a digital copy of the report on GIA’s website). Next up, you’ll find the technical name for the shape and cutting style of the stone, with something like a “rectangular step cut” translating to an emerald cut diamond, along with the exact measurements of the stone.

In the following box on the left, you’ll see the score of the diamond with regards to the four C’s. On the right section of the report, is a breakdown of what each of the scores mean, offering you the range of quality so that you can see where your stone falls, from colorless/flawless/excellent, to light/included/poor.

Carat Weight- Simply put, the carat is reflective of the weight of the diamond, and not necessarily its size dimensions or its quality. The higher the carat, the heavier and generally bigger the diamond.

Color Grade- Believe it or not, while it may look that way to the naked eye, not all diamonds are exactly the same color. They range from completely colorless to a slight yellow coloring, from the letter D-Z as representations of their grade.

Clarity Grade- Under a microscope, and even sometimes to the naked eye, one can see what the industry calls “inclusions,” or flaws, if you will. While every diamond earth creates is perfect, when purchasing one, however, they range from FL (Flawless) to I (Included).

Cut Grade- This test represents how well a diamond cutter has cut the diamond, and is a reflection of the amount of light the diamond is allowed to take in because of it. This, in turn affects the brilliance and the sparkle of the stone, where it being cut too shallow or deep does not allow for optimal quality.

In “Additional Grading Information.” You’ll find “Polish” and “Symmetry,” two features that are correlated to how the diamond was cut and finished. The way that the diamond is polished also affects light transmission, and its sparkle by extent, while symmetry relates to the evenness of the stone to the eye. As a completely separate feature, Fluorescence refers to the rare presence of the diamond glowing when exposed to any form of UV light. There are varying degrees of Fluorescence, from light to strong blue.

The center column of the report provides you with the full breakdown of the proportions of the diamonds facets, from crown height to pavilion angle. These numbers represent a complicated relationship that deserve their own blog post, but are an extension and full breakdown of the cut grade. And with the clarity characteristic chart below, you can see the presence (or lack there of) of four different types of inclusions in the diamonds clarity that an expert can see under a microscope.

GIA grading can be upgraded with extra features including the microscopic imprinting of the GIA number on the girdle of the diamond and/or the inclusion of the origin mine sourcing of the diamond on the lab report.

So there you have it! Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of how the system works so that you can make an educated decision when buying a diamond. Whatever the case may be, we at Lamon Jewelers are happy to have a conversation with you about the in’s and out’s of your diamond.


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