April 30, 2019

The Anatomy of a Diamond Grading Report

A Diamond Grading Report is an expert analysis of a diamond’s characteristics. The reporting system was created by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in 1953 to establish a common criteria for understanding features and rarities in a diamond. Before that, there was no way to consistently determine its value. But how do you read a benchmark report explaining the important elements of your diamond?

While we find more relevance in the 3Ss — size, shape and sparkle, because they focus on what you can see with the naked eye — a Diamond Grading Report focuses on the industry-defined standard 4Cs of color, clarity, cut and carat weight. This has become the rubric by which the world grades diamonds — and for good or bad — it sets a standard for pricing.

Inside the report, the first section is where you’ll find basic information:

  • The date the the diamond was examined.
  • Report Number — a unique identification number assigned to the report.
  • Shape and Cutting Style of the diamond.
  • Measurements of the diamond.

The second section lists:

  • Carat Weight — This is measured to the nearest hundredth (1 carat equals 1/5 of a gram).
  • Color Grade — This is about how white a diamond appears. The absence of color, from D, to more color, Z — a notation here will expose any color treatment detected in the evaluation process.
  • Clarity Grade — This shows the unique characteristics of a diamond that nature has left behind. These are called inclusions and are evaluated using 10x magnification. Often the naked eye cannot detect the unique inclusions Mother Nature leaves behind. The scale is:
  • Cut Grade — Cut has the biggest impact on the sparkle of a diamond, focusing on appearance when viewed from the top, while also taking into consideration the design and craftsmanship of the gem.

The third section contains:

  • Polish — focuses on the diamond’s surface smoothness, which reduces light distortion.
  • Symmetry —defines how the facets of a diamond relate to one another.
  • Fluorescence — measures the intensity and color under UV lighting.
  • Inscription(s) — notes anything inscribed on the diamond’s girdle.
  • Comments — includes details not otherwise noted on the report, such as any treatments the diamond has undergone.

Typically there are also diagrams of the diamond, with proportions and maps marking any clarity information. For example:

  • Diamond Proportions — specific measurements of the actual diamond, including table size, girdle thickness, crown angle, pavilion angle, crown height, total depth, pavilion depth, and cutlet.
  • Clarity Characteristics — approximate shape and cutting style of the diamond, indicating inclusions (inside) and blemishes (outside) with a corresponding Key to Symbols explaining the diamond’s unique characteristics.

Finally, the report shows where the diamond falls in the Grading Scale by comparing:

  • Color Grade
  • Clarity Scale
  • Cut Scale
  • The bottom of some reports list the security features of the report itself, including a hologram, watermarks, and a QR code. These security features provide you with the assurance that your Diamond Grading Report is authentic and true. When the barcode is scanned, the report can be verified against its database.

We recommend purchasing only diamonds accompanied by a Diamond Grading Report. It’s the only way you can be assured you’re buying what you think you’re buying. And you’ll need the report for that oh-so-important jewelry insurance.

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