What Is the GIA: What You Need to Know About GIA Diamond Certification

Alicia Briggs | October 16, 2023

If you’ve ever considered buying a diamond, chances are you’ve seen the name GIA. It’s rare to discuss the quality, value, or specifics of a diamond, without also mentioning GIA diamond certification. But what does it mean to buy a GIA certified diamond and is this the only diamond certification you should trust?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the GIA, GIA diamond grading, and how to buy a certified lab-grown diamond at VRAI.

What Is the GIA?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a nonprofit institute founded in 1931. They created the gold standard for diamond grading, which is now universally used. The GIA is considered the leading authority on diamonds and the primary resource for diamond and gemstone education.

History of the Gemological Institute of America

GIA was established in 1931 by Robert M. Shipley. It has continuously influenced the diamond industry since its creation. Below, we’ll summarize some of GIA’s most notable contributions throughout history.

Upon its creation in 1931, GIA introduced gemology courses in the U.S. This quickly led to the establishment of professional certified gemologists.

In 1934, gemology became officially recognized as a science. That same year, GIA created the first modern professional jeweler loupe. A loupe is a magnifier that gemologists use to measure and examine a diamond.

Soon after, in 1937, GIA manufactured another innovative device: the gemological microscope. This allowed jewelers to view and evaluate the interior details of a diamond.

By 1948, GIA had already published various authoritative and educational resources on diamonds and gems (Gems and Gemology, Handbook of Gem Identification, etc.). Shipley had also created the diamond 4Cs. But in 1948, GIA awarded the very first Graduate in Gemology certification.

Arguably the most notable event in GIA’s history was when the GIA established the International Diamond Grading System, in 1953. This became the leading, and first, global standard for diamond grading. GIA diamond grading reports were created and implemented by the majority of jewelers.

Shortly after, in 1960, the GIA Diamond Dictionary was published and became the universal reference book for the diamond industry.

From the 1960s to the present, GIA has continued to be influential in diamond education. They defined High Pressure, High Temperature lab-grown diamonds in 1999 and went on to identify CVD lab-grown diamonds in 2003.

In 2005, the GIA established a new cut grade for Round Brilliant cut diamonds, and by 2007 they had created the first diamond grading report for synthetic diamonds (now known as lab-grown diamonds and recognized as real diamonds).

As you can see, throughout history, GIA has led the way in evaluating and defining diamonds, as well as providing accessible information to consumers.

GIA Diamond Certification

GIA diamond certification is given to any diamond that is inspected and graded by GIA. GIA certification verifies that a diamond is real and informs its worth.

What Does GIA Certification Mean?

GIA certification is often used interchangeably with GIA diamond grading. Certified diamonds are essentially diamonds that have been assessed and authenticated via diamond grading.

Buying a “GIA Certified” diamond not only guarantees that your diamond is real, but it informs you of the diamond’s quality. The information provided on a GIA Grading Report will let you know if the price you’re paying for your diamond accurately reflects its value.

GIA’s diamond grading standards are highly regarded and trusted. A diamond that is graded by GIA is more likely to have a consistent and accurate diamond grade than diamonds that are certified by other agencies.

GIA Diamond Grading

GIA certified diamonds are thoroughly graded and evaluated using the trusted standards set by the GIA. Each GIA certified diamond comes with a GIA Grading Report that consumers can use to verify a diamond’s quality.

On every GIA Grading Report you’ll find the following:

  • Evaluation date
  • GIA report number (identification number)
  • Diamond shape and cut
  • Measurements
  • Diamond grades for each of the 4Cs
  • Polish, symmetry, and fluorescence grade
  • Any additional inscriptions or comments regarding unique characteristics
  • Proportions and clarity characteristics diagram
  • Corresponding symbols key and information on GIA grading scales
  • Hologram to authenticate the report and a QR scan to verify the information in the GIA database

GIA gemologists grade anonymously, so they are not given any previous information as to who owns the diamond in question, where it came from, or any prior diamond grades. Due to their objectivity, and consistent diamond grades, GIA diamond grading is widely trusted.

Understanding VRAI Diamond Certification

Our foundry experienced inconsistencies with third-party agencies’ results. So, we decided to do things differently when it came to diamond grading.

At VRAI, we utilize science-based technology and expertly trained gemologists to provide the most accurate and transparent diamond certification possible. Since we grow our lab-grown diamonds, and cut and polish them in-house, we’re able to collect over a billion data points on every carat of rough VRAI created diamonds. We use this data and cutting-edge technology to create our diamond certificate.

VRAI diamond certification includes everything found on a GIA Grading Report, as well as a guaranteed point of origin and Full Lifetime Warranty. These are two things that GIA and other laboratories cannot or do not provide.

How VRAI Created Diamonds Are Certified

All VRAI created diamonds are grown in our zero-emission foundry, 100% powered by renewable energy. Once our lab-grown diamonds are grown, they are cut and polished by our master craftsman before being evaluated by our trained and certified gemologists.

Through our advanced equipment, extensive scientific data, and complete knowledge of the production of every VRAI created diamond, we can comprehensively grade our lab-grown diamonds.

Each VRAI Grading Report includes the following:

  • Certificate number which corresponds to its unique inscription number
  • Diamond shape
  • Examination date
  • Country of origin
  • Diamond proportions: depth, crown height, crown angle, pavilion height, pavilion angle, table diameter, girdle, measurements
  • Diamond grades for each of the 4Cs
  • Polish, symmetry, and fluorescence grades
  • Gemologist certification and legal warranty
  • Carbon Neutral Certification
  • QR code to verify the report with VRAI’s diamond database

What to Look For in a Diamond Grading Report

All reputable diamond grading reports should include an assessment based on the 4Cs and the primary information included in a GIA Grading Report. We recommend researching the institution that graded the diamond in question to ensure they are reputable.

One important thing to look for in a diamond grading report is a warranty. Notably, GIA and most grading agencies do not offer guarantees. This poses a problem for consumers, as a diamond is an investment that is now largely unprotected.

All VRAI created diamonds have a lifetime warranty because we stand by our diamond grades. We want our customers to know that they can fully trust the value of their investment.

If you send your VRAI created diamond to the GIA at any point and their evaluation does not meet or exceed one of our 4C grades, you can return or replace it. You’ll be refunded the full original cost of the diamond, or given the option to replace it with a VRAI created diamond that meets or exceeds its graded characteristics.

Shop All VRAI Created Certified Diamonds

Explore our full inventory of VRAI created diamonds grown in the world’s first zero-emission foundry. With VRAI, you can trust that our Carbon Neutral Certified Diamonds are unmatched in sustainability and quality. But you don’t have to take our word for it, thanks to our fully transparent, vertically integrated supply chain, and warranted diamond certification.

GIA Diamond Certification FAQs

Read on for answers to the most commonly asked questions about GIA certification.

Why Is GIA Certified More Expensive?

Not all diamond graders are the same. GIA certification can be more expensive than reports from other labs, due to their diamond grading expertise.

Can You Trust a GIA Certificate?

You can trust a GIA certificate as they are the leading authority on diamond grading and an independent organization.

How Long Does GIA Certification Take?

GIA estimates that it can take up to a few weeks to certify a diamond. They also offer a same-day rush service for certain diamond types.

How Big Does a Diamond Have to Be to Be GIA Certified?

The GIA will only certify diamonds that are .15 carats and above.

Can You Sell a Diamond Without a GIA Certificate?

You can sell a diamond without a GIA Certificate. Not all diamonds are certified, and not all diamonds are certified by GIA. GIA is one of many options for diamond certification. We do not recommend buying any diamond that is not certified, however.

Can Anyone Send a Diamond to GIA?

Anyone can send a diamond to GIA for evaluation. GIA provides diamond grading for a fee to any person or company, regardless of their location.

virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer
virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer

Consult with a diamond expert

Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
  • In-depth diamond 4C education
  • Exclusive in-store fittings or virtual try-ons
  • Custom design options

Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
  • In-depth diamond 4C education
  • Exclusive in-store fittings or virtual try-ons
  • Custom design options