Buying diamonds online or from a local retailer shouldn't be taken lightly. They can be very expensive and you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth. This is where GIA certification comes in, both in online purchases and at jewelry stores.
What is GIA?
GIA is a non-profit organization called "Gemological Institute of America". It is an independent laboratory and is considered the largest, oldest, and most reputable one in the world. You may have heard about the "4 Cs" (carat weight, cut, color, and clarity), a diamond grading system developed by GIA and used globally today.
Diamonds are usually sent to third party laboratories, like GIA, to be fully evaluated. Once a diamond is evaluated, the GIA provides what is called "diamond certification" or "GIA certification". This certificate is uniquely numbered for one specific diamond and contains all of the characteristics of the diamond. This allows professionals and buyers to understand the quality and to get a better picture of its value.
Once a diamond is certified, it's GIA certification will accompany it whenever it is sold.
Why is GIA certification important?
When you purchase a diamond with GIA certification, you know exactly what you're buying. Once a diamond is sent to GIA, gemologists thoroughly inspect it under a microscope, providing you with information about its clarity, dimensions, and even polish, among other things. The certification, however, is not an appraisal, and does not provide you with information as to the market value of the diamond. If taken to an appraiser, the information provided by GIA will allow him/her to give you a current market value.
Even if you don't have the diamond appraised and are simply purchasing it from a jewelry, buying GIA certified diamonds will ensure that you know what you're getting, regardless of what the retailer says. This makes purchasing diamonds online much easier since you can't actually see the diamond. You'll also be able to rest assured that the lab that provided the certification, GIA, is reliable.
Where do I find GIA certified diamonds?

GIA certified diamonds can be found with most reputable retailers and wholesalers. Not all diamonds are certified, and among those that are, not all are certified by GIA. When purchasing in a store, it is best to simply as what kind of certification comes with the diamond. If you're purchasing from online diamond wholesalers or retailers, you'll usually find information on their website about the certification they provide.