The word ‘certificate’ tends to cause a lot of confusion to the general public when it comes to jewellery. Truth be told, I’d sooner never use the word because of the confusion it causes. A more correct term for a valuation certificate would be a “valuation document” while a diamond certificate really should be called a “diamond report”. They are two completely different things and are required for totally different reasons. In the interest of clarity I’ll attempt to differentiate the two in the hope of clearing up another grey area.
Those of you who have purchased an engagement ring will probably be aware of the existence of ‘certificated diamonds’. These are diamonds that, before being set into a ring or other type of jewellery, have been sent to an independent laboratory such as the GIA or the HRD for grading. There, a diamond grader (or group of diamond graders) accurately measure and assess the diamond. They take detailed measurements, including the dimensions of the stone to one hundreth of a millimeter, the weight to one hundreth of a carat as well as careful measurements of the particular angles of the diamond. They assess and grade the colour, clarity and quality of the cut. They also measure any fluorescence as well as making sure the diamond is of natural origin and free of any artificial treatment to improve the appearance. This is generally done before the diamond is sold to a dealer or a manufacturer who will then set it to the clients requirements. The diamond report will never state the monetary value of the diamond.
A Valuation for Insurance.
A valuation for insurance is generally carried out on a finished piece of jewellery as opposed to just the diamond (although they are occasionally carried out on unset loose stones). The weight, grade and dimensions of the diamond will be mentioned. If no diamond report exists the valuer will attempt to calculate these as accurately as he can, however will be restricted by the fact that the stone is already set. Therefore the weight and grade, while accurate can never be as precise as a diamond report (for this reason valuers assessing a diamond without a laboratory report will grade accross two grades, e.g E/F colour or VS1/VS2 clarity). But thats not what the valuation is for. It is primarily there to allow an insurance company to be able to supply a reasonable facsimile of the item in the event of its loss. Because of this, the details of the setting and photographs of the piece are just as important as the diamonds grade. It also provides a means of identifying the piece of jewellery in the event of its recovery by the police or in the unlikely event of a dispute over its ownership.
If a diamond has a laboratory report then the valuer is duty bound to include the details of this report in the valuation document. For that reason he will always ask to see the report. He’s not carrying out a valuation to make sure the diamond report is accurate. If he feels the report is not accurate he will certainly advise you but thats just part and parcel of his job. Fine differences in grade can make a difference to the value so its in the customers interest that their valuation includes details of the report in order to make sure they are adequately insured.
So the message is a simple one. If you own a ring with a diamond report and need it valued, always bring the report and show it to the valuer. Not only will you make his job a lot easier but you’ll also make sure your valuation is as accurate as it can possibly be.