GIA certified black diamonds

I have a customer who is interested in a black diamond. Appx. 1 ct.
size. Is there an industry source for this type of item. I see some
availability Google search results that come up. Also are there GIA
certified black Diamonds?

Thank you

Also are there GIA certified black Diamonds? 

Remember first off, that although they are often called “certs”, GIA
doesn’t actually certify (warranty, guarantee, etc) anything. What it
issues are grading reports, which describe their examination results
of the gem, including things like color, clarity, proportions,
weight, etc. Now, with a black diamond, you’ve got an opaque stone.
Or nearly so. Inclusions so numerous they occlude light passage. That
means the proportions are meaningless, since there is no optical
behavior to the stone at least in terms of internal light
reflections, refraction, etc. And since Opaque black is neither on
any color grading scale, nor considered a fancy color, there is no
potential color grade. And clarity? Well, opaque kind of says it all.
Again, no meaningful grade.

Just what would you expect GIA to report on in such a “cert”? Other
than identifying that the stone is indeed a black diamond, and giving
you the weight and measurements, there’s not much else they can tell
you. And you hardly need GIA to tell you those things.

Besides, the grading report might cost more than the stone.

Peter Rowe

1 Like

There are many reasons why diamond can appear black. GIA
certification is possible or course, but I would limit myself to if
client wants untreated black diamond. These are heavily included
with Magnetitie.

Most “black” diamonds are actually dark green and the result of
irradiation. Sometimes they annealed and inner graphitization could
give a rise to true black.

Another natural black is carbonado but it is impossible to facet, at
least to the level required in jewellery.

Leonid Surpin

Natural “black” diamonds (which are usually very dark green) get
their color from multitudinous inclusions, and are mostly opaque
rather than transparent. A full grading report would be a waste of
money, since cut and clarity don’t really apply. The only GIA
document that would apply would be an identification report.

Send me a personal email and I can give you source.

Jim Sweaney, CGA, FGA, GG

Sorry for taking this a bit off topic. I’ve noticed almost all
diamond sellers online mentioning “Certified Diamond”, isn’t that
actually incorrect?

GIA will issue a certificate for any diamond unless they determine
it has been treated or is a stimulant.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV

diamond sellers online mentioning "Certified Diamond", isn't that
actually incorrect? 

“certified. A, adjective. 1, certified. endorsed authoritatively as
having met certain requirements”

Therefore, a gem tested and identified as a natural diamond gets a
certificate, the document that notes the testing and the results, so
the diamond is certified.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


This subject reminded me an experience with black diamonds (so they
said) I had years ago. In my website I put a page comparing
moissanite and diamond. Maybe you like to see.

Kind regards,
F. Oya Borahan GG. FGA. DGA.

1 Like
I've noticed almost all diamond sellers online mentioning
"Certified Diamond", isn't that actually incorrect? 

The term “certified” when used to describe diamonds is not only
incorrect, it’s deceptive and misleading, even though some labs
actually call and label their reports “Diamond Certificates”. A
certificate, by definition, is a statement of universally verifiable
fact, guaranteed in it’s accuracy by the signing or issuing
authority. The operable word is “fact”.

The only certifiable facts concerning diamond grading are a stone’s
physical dimensions or measurements, it’s weight and the fact that it
is a natural diamond, things that when examined by any lab or
qualified person will be found to be exactly identical and
repeatable. Any form of grading past that point is subjective in
nature, and is dependent on someone’s judgment or opinion. A clarity
grade by it’s very nature is an opinion, so it cannot be certified.
The late Tim Russert once said, “We are all entitled to our own
opinion, we are not entitled to our own facts.” The two are not the

A specific well known gem lab’s reports are titled “Diamond
- Report Issued by XXX Lab” and include a fine print
statement at the very bottom that actually says, "this report
expresses an opinion at the time of examination… It is not a
guarantee, a valuation or an appraisal of any kind… XXX Lab has
made no representation or warrantee regarding this report or the
diamond described. Since diamond grading is not an exact science this
report represents only the best professional opinion of this company.
XXX Lab is in no case responsible for differences which could occur
by repeated expertise and/or use of other standards, norms, methods
or criteria… "

A document with such wording is not a certificate at all, regardless
of how it’s titled. By using the words “Diamond Certificate” in the
title, they have made “guarantee, representation and warrantee” by
the legal definition of the word “certificate”. It’s one or the other
folks, you shouldn’t get to have it both ways.

The better labs, like GIA and AGS call their diamond reports just
that, Diamond Grading Reports, and they contain very similar wording
as well, but do not use misleading or deceptive terminology in their
labeling, and in fact specifically discourage the use of the word

This is one of my pet peeves about the jewelry industry, that
diamond grading reports are called “certificates” or “certs” by just
about everybody, including many people that should know better.
Having a means of expressing diamond characteristics in an
understandable format is very important, but calling such a thing a
"certificate" I think is slightly to downright deceptive. It
encourages the consumer to believe that every 1 carat VS1 H is
exactly the same as every other 1 carat VS1 H, when nothing could be
further from the truth. Why shouldn’t the consumer believe such a
thing, the stones are “certified” to be exactly the same aren’t

Used car salesmen are held to higher standards than that. Let a
dealer try selling a used car with a "certificate of actual mileage"
with a statement like that on it and see if the FTC, the Better
Business Bureau and every other consumer advocacy group doesn’t come
down on them like hail from a Texas thunderstorm. Rightly so too, in
my humble and not certifiable opinion.

Dave Phelps


well, the point is that this is a produt and it needs to be
advertised. If you decripe it as a black diamond and nothing else,
it’s subejted to be a “minor quality” People like to see this
certificated stuff and then it MUST BE good. People write all kinds
of certificates in order to mark-up their products…it’s a common

Now, if you think about it if carefully and consider te 4 “C’s” you
should know that a black diamond is nut such a big deal. No color,
clarity and no cut need to be defined, this already gives you more
then enough about te value of the diamond. Black is black
no sparkling and flashing colors strikes ones eye. The cuts is usualy
made in proportion of having the bigges possible stone size. Who
cares about having the proper conditions needed by clear diamonds to
reflect the light. About the clarity…well, that’s a big deal with
black diamonds, isn’t it?

Merry Christmas with a very good health is wath I wish y’all


People like to see this certificated stuff and then it MUST BE
good. People write all kinds of certificates in order to mark-up
their's a common habit. 

A certificate is a grading report which can be used to compare
different diamonds to establish which is a better value for your
money comparing color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Anyone selling
diamonds who understands this and can explain in a
simple way to a customer is going to educate the customer so the
customer gets a sense of what they can afford for their budget. They
can then decide if what they can afford meets their need.

Someone who can look at a diamond and grade color, clarity, and cut
does not need a cert to mark-up their product. That is a function of
what the value of a diamond of a certain carat weight, color,
clarity, and cut sells for wholesale and what your mark up is.

I do not need a cert to sell a diamond unless the customer needs one
to satisfy their mind. If you establish trust with a customer, a cert
is not necessary to make a sale.

If I am making a sale of any significant amount for a diamond and the
mounting, I suggest to the customer that they get an insurance
replacement appraisal. The appraiser I use is a Gemologist and an
appraiser and can issue an appraisal that has all the a
grading report would have, so basically that is a certificate, just
not from G.I.A. Whereas a G.I.A. cert does not have a dollar
valuation, an appraisal has a dollar valuation and a gem or a piece
of jewelry can appraise for more or less than it was sold for.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

The term "certified" when used to describe diamonds is not only
incorrect, it's deceptive and misleading, even though some labs
actually call and label their reports "Diamond Certificates". A
certificate, by definition, is a statement of universally
verifiable fact, guaranteed in it's accuracy by the signing or
issuing authority. The operable word is "fact". 

The usage of the term is also incorrect because GIA has specifically
mentioned about it.


It is incorrect to state that students, graduates, their
businesses, or particular gemstones are "certified" by GIA. 

The Gemological Institute of America does not certify anyone or
anything. Neither a student nor a graduate who has been awarded
a certificate or diploma, nor a gem which has been graded or
identified by GIA has been "certified" by GIA.


Any form of grading past that point is subjective in nature, and is
dependent on someone's judgment or opinion. A clarity grade by it's
very nature is an opinion, so it cannot be certified. 

Are you a Graduate Gemologist? Sounds like… not. There is a point to
grading, and in my opinion there is more trust in the standardization
of grading by G.I.A. Gemologists than by any other grading standards
in the industry, and certainly more trust than for those who do not
have any training.

That is because a standard has been established, and mistakes have
been made, but in reality grading reports serve a purpose and it is
the customers best interest.

My understanding is that the G.I.A. labs have three Gemologists that
agree to the grading of a diamond. To me this creates a system that
takes out some of the subjectivity and of course it is an opinion,
but it is based on identifiable physical characteristics.

I would like to know if there is any on what percentage
of discrepancy has been found in G.I.A. lab grading reports? And how
about discrepancy between labs?

My opinion is that it would be unlikely for a Gemologist to grade a
VS as a VVS, and harder to grade a SI as a VVS. Subjectivity becomes
more of an issue between VS2 and SI1 and down. Practically in these
clarity grades the price difference is quite significantly less
between each than between Flawless and VVS and VVS and VS. I have
heard all the issues with grading, in class in 1977 by other
students, and ever since.

I am sure that any commodity like antiques, stamps, coins, there
would be a discrepancy in the valuation by different appraisers, but
that is the inherent in nature of the systems that we create to value

At some point in the future, there might be a device that will be
able to accurately measure how inclusions affect the return of light
in relation to the way it is cut when compared to another diamond
that has the same type of cutting and color and is internally
flawless, as that is actually the relationship that grading is
comparing. Then it would be a fact.

However at this time, if someone is buying a 5 ct. diamond, and there
is a D flawlwss and a G-H Vs, a “cert” from G.I.A. for each diamond
would be a far better basis for determining relative value than
without, or by any other standard available. Perhaps not based on
fact, but the best subjectivity available.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Hi Richard,

Are you a Graduate Gemologist? Sounds like.. not. 

My post in answer to the question Ganesh asked was not concerned
with whether I am a GG or not (I’m not, however I graduated the GIA
Diamond course in 1993, which is the portion of the GG course
concerning Diamonds and Diamond Grading) but whether it is correct to
refer to a diamond grading report as a certificate or not. You as a
GG should know that it is not, I’m a little surprised that you don’t
seem to know or care about the difference. Or maybe I’m
misunderstanding why you are calling my qualifications into question.

without, or by any other standard available. Perhaps not based on
fact, but the best subjectivity available. 

So what’s the beef with my comments? What did I say that you don’t
agree with or that makes you think I’m not properly educated or
informed enough to comment, Richard? I don’t think Ganesh’s question
was about discrepancies in GIA reports or whether a GIA Report adds
to the value of a particular diamond, rather he was asking if it is
correct to call a Diamond Grading Report a “certificate”, my post was
in answer to that question. The answer to that question is
emphatically no, it is not correct, by the GIA’s own standards. I
don’t have any problem at all with the GIA, in fact if you re-read my
post, you will see that I said that a method of expressing diamond
charactersitics in an understandable format is important, and that
the GIA and the AGS are the better labs, points you seem to agree
with, at least concerning the GIA. The GIA has come up with a good,
understandable and pretty consistent method of documenting diamond
characterstics, a format which has been adopted by almost all labs,
but neither the GIA nor the AGS call their reports “certificates”,
and further, they specifically say on their reports that they are are
opinion and may be subject to disagreement.

I would like to know if there is any on what
percentage of discrepancy has been found in G.I.A. lab grading
reports? And how about discrepancy between labs? 

I don’t know if any studies have been conducted or if statistics
concerning lab accuracy have ever been published, I rather doubt it,
it is an opinion-based subject after all, and as a result statistical
accuracy would be all but impossible to determine. I have seen a very
few discrepancies in diamond grades from GIA labs, as I’m sure you
have if you’ve been in the diamond business for any length of time.
Mainly the discrepancies have been in color grades, even on the same
stone from the same lab at different points in time. But there is one
lab in particular, the one from which I quoted the fine print
specifically, that is known throughout the industry to consistently
grade color one or two grades better when compared to GIA color
standards. I’m sure you know which lab I refer to. To call one of
their reports as they do, or any other report from any lab a
"certificate" is misleading to the general public, as that term has
the connotation of indisputable “fact” as opposed to “opinion” and I
think they should be called on it. When they call their report a
"certificate", they themselves place it at the same level of
accuracy as GIA and AGS. Few consumers would see a difference without
explanation. I see this as misleading and even deceptive, especially
when used in the context of Ganesh’s question concerning on-line
diamond retailers, where explantion of the standards of different
labs and the nature of grading reports is sorely lacking.

The GIA specifically discourages the use of the word "certificate"
in conjunction with their grading reports, again I’m surprised you
would seem to disagree on this point. I would refer you to the GIA.
The Gemological Institute of America specifically states that they do
not “certify” anything or anyone.

Dave Phelps

1 Like

Yes, you’re all correct. GIA doesn’t issue “certificates”, they
issue “reports”.

Every industry has it’s vocabulary that it’s initiates might argue
over just as we discuss soldering vs brazing, certificates vs
reports, etc., and yet we can still identify what we’re talking about
with reasonable accuracy.

Mike DeBurgh

I think it is also important for grading institutes to issue press
notices. The problems with these are everyone is trying to cash this
though they are technically incorrect and unethical. Since the
Institutes are aware of the problems, they are clearly mentioning
the same. But, the institute needs to be doing more than what it has

Hi Dave

You are correct. GIA avoids terms like “certificate, certified, etc,”
because those particular words have the connotation of endorsement.
As a former GIA staff member, I know from first hand that GIA works
diligently to avoid giving the appearance of any kind of approval or
endorsement, whether to a specific diamond, person or firm.

Of necessity, they do not want the GIA name to be linked to any
object, person, or entity for any reason other than their own narrow
definitions and uses of their reports, products or titles. Unlike
many of the profit making labs, a key part of the GIA mission,
particularly in the work of their labs, is to be a disinterested
party. The industry relies on them to show no bias or favoritism in
their grading-- that is why they are so careful to maintain “arms

And that is one reason why their reports are so well respected and
why stones with GIA grading generally sell for more than stones
graded by other labs.

Jim Sweaney, CGA, FGA, GG