Many of us were first introduced to GIA, or Gemological Institute of America, when we set out to shop for a diamond engagement ring. Chances are we were told by someone we trusted (perhaps a savvy friend or even our parents!) to “get a GIA Report” from the jeweler when investing in that most important gem-of-a-lifetime.
GIA was established in 1931 as a nonprofit organization committed to protecting consumers of gemstones by setting universal standards for determining quality. But it is best known as the developer, in the 1940s and ‘50s, of the 4Cs – Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut, the International Diamond Grading System,™ by which experts and novices alike can objectively compare and evaluate diamonds.
Because diamonds are so valuable – and because no two are alike – it is essential to have universal standards of quality. Other laboratories issue grading reports, but only the Gemological Institute of America, developer of the 4Cs, is considered the worldwide authority.
The complexities of the 4Cs — Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut — can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming, especially to first-time diamond buyers. For a user-friendly tutorial visit the GIA’s website, http://www.gia.edu/, or click on: http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/about-the-4cs/index.html.
While you’re at it, be sure to download their free 4Cs iPad and iPhone app, to keep interactive tools for evaluating a diamond right at your fingertips. The app contains a D-to-Z color scale, information on diamond colors and their values, GIA’s clarity scale, and facts on diamond cut grading.
When it comes to selecting diamonds with confidence, this new app is a definitely a girl’s (and guy’s) best friend!
For more than 80 years, GIA has been the authority in gemology, the place where consumers, jewelers and precious gem importers turn to for advice. People from all over the world send their gems to a GIA laboratory for grading and analysis, and so can you. You can also consult the GIA Report Check online to confirm that the information on your report matches the Gemological Institute of America report database.
Lastly, if you’re really obsessed by jewelry, and you might want to make a career of it, GIA education is the place to begin. Check out the website for information on accredited courses and degrees in gemology.
Become and expert…or at least a well-informed consumer…by learning your way to GIA!
(Images courtesy of GIA)