If you’ve done any research into buying diamonds you’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of buying a certified stone. This is extremely valid, and let me state that you should ALWAYS ask if the diamond is certified or not. NEVER buy a non-certified diamond from someone you don’t know. (Also read why you should not buy a diamond based solely on the certification)
That being said… there are certain cases where you can get a good price on a non-certified diamond from an honest independent jewelry store.
I’ve listed some criteria for buying a non-certified diamond, and ALL of these things must be clear before you purchase.
- You are dealing with a reputable independent jeweler you can trust.
This is by far the most important criteria to follow. If you don’t know one, ask around! If anything about the store doesn’t seem right, go to the next one! You could lose hundreds or thousands of dollars buying a diamond that is not what the store claimed it to be.
- Compare the non-certified diamond with certified diamonds that are graded the same clarity and color.
If a store is selling a non-certified stone they’ve graded as a SI1-G, compare it with a certified SI1-G (one that is certified by a reputable grading company, preferably GIA). All grading is subjective and there may be slight variances, but you shouldn’t be able to tell a significant difference.
- Determine how the stone was graded.
Any reputable jeweler who has graded a loose diamond they’re selling to you should have someone on staff that has been trained by a well-known diamond grading school, such as the GIA. This should also be the person who writes your appraisal.
- Make sure the exact quality of the diamond is stated in writing on an appraisal.
Also, make sure that the stone is graded in GIA terms (color and clarity scales). Some stores grade based on a scale they’ve created themselves, and if this is the case – do not buy. It should also say NATURAL diamond somewhere on your appraisal. Anyone who sells a clarity enhanced diamond MUST disclose this to you, and I would stay far away from these stones. Read our post on non-natural diamonds.
Let me stress again that it is so important to buy from someone you can trust. The problem is, even if you find out later on the store lied to you, your costs to take them to court will likely come close to or exceed what you paid for the diamond.
The only real (but significant) advantage to buying a non-certified diamond is that you can sometimes get a better price because of this. Who doesn’t want a better price?
(One last thing…if the price seems TOO good, this is another red flag – proceed with caution!)