The devil is in the details!

Diamond certificate

Everyone loves a diamond certificate. However, they shouldn’t be called certificates. That’s a misnomer; they are, in fact, reports, but that’s a gripe for another day. So why do people love these things so much? Because we are told, they make a diamond quantifiable and tell you exactly what you’re buying. There is a modicum of truth to that, but you need to pay attention to the details.

For example, let’s look at this report; it states the diamond is a 2.60ct round brilliant. The colour is listed as D grade, the best possible colour, and the clarity grade is SI1, a nice commercial grade. But if we cast our gaze down to the bottom of the report, you’ll find the term ‘Clarity Enhanced’. This means that the stone has undergone a treatment designed to improve its clarity and appear more visually pleasing. Which in itself isn’t an issue per se. But that depends on the type of treatment, as some ‘enhancements’ such as glass or fracture filling are not stable and will degrade over time.

So what is this glass/fracture filling (FF), I hear you ask? It is the process of taking a diamond that is heavily included with one or more fractures that breach the stone’s surface and filling them with a type of glass. This masks the appearance of the fractures, making them harder to see and giving the diamond the appearance of stone with a higher clarity grade.

This is not a stable treatment and will degrade over time. Because of this, FF diamonds cannot be graded for colour and clarity, as it may grade as X on one day and Y on another. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find FF stones with a report indicating colour and clarity grades. And not all reports, like this one, indicate the type of treatment.

For the sake of this example, let us assume that this stone has been filled; therefore, the reported colour and clarity grades are inaccurate at best and irrelevant at worst, which poses serious issues. What if you’re buying and potentially paying D, SI1 money for a stone that, in reality, is several grades lower. What if you’re underwriting it in the morning, but that glass falls out in the afternoon, and the stone becomes a J, I1 grade? The difference between the two could be over £50K.

There is nothing wrong with fracture-filled stones; they have their market solely because they cost significantly less than stones that haven’t been treated. The key is transparency; you need to know what you are buying to pay the right amount and be aware of any limitations or special care requirements for that piece. For insurance brokers and companies, you need to know what you’re asking to be underwritten and what risks are associated with that piece.

You will also see an ‘insurance replacement value on the report, which you will never find on a professional and independent laboratory report! Always check the small print!

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