Going ‘Cert-Less’

Robert McCullough is so sure his customers don’t need grading reports, he wagers money on it. The owner of Golden Creations in McComb, Ill., tells customers with doubts about his grading to submit their stones to the Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Trade Lab in New York. If GIA’s grade is lower than his, they can keep the diamond and have their money back. So far, he hasn’t shelled out a penny. McCullough may be an extreme case, but he’s one of a group of stubborn holdovers who have resisted the industry stampede for “certs.” The “cert-less” retailers themselves admit they’re a dying breed. Today, even noted names like Tiffany’s and Harry Winston regularly cert bigger stones. “Many times the insurance companies want it,” notes Jim Haag, Winston’s marketing director. And now, with more options available—from the International Gemmological Institute

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