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Carlos R

Help getting diamonds graded by GIA

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Hi everyone,

I need advise on getting some diamonds graded by GIA. In the past year I have purchased several small diamonds (a few a little less than one carat and most smaller than .35 carat) from different small jewelry shops downtown, so I do not have an official invoice for them,  based on my knowledge these are good quality diamonds. I live in Mexico City and I am interested in getting my diamonds graded by GIA in order to sell them locally. The closest lab is in Carlsbad, California, so I am wondering what the best way is to get my diamonds to GIA. 

I have called FedEx and UPS and apparently they do not ship diamonds to/from Mexico internationally, and GIA does not ship to Mexico at all (I confirmed this by email and by phone directly with GIA), thus I am thinking that the best way is to fly them personally to California or to drive to Texas and ship them to GIA since it is cheaper than going all the way to California, even flying to Tijuana (city bordering with San Diego) and renting a car to go across the border. I have tried to do some research on the US customs procedures for loose diamonds and apparently there is no import duty into the US for loose diamonds, the thing is I really don't want to get in trouble with US Customs and getting my diamonds confiscated, or having them thinking that I am smuggling diamonds into the US when I only want to get them graded and return them to Mexico City. 

Can anyone provide advice on this procedure? I am unsure of how the customs part works, how to let them know that I am only taking the diamonds for grading, if I have to pay an import duty or not, if there is a limit on how many diamonds I can take or the maximum value of the diamonds (as you know diamond appraisal can be subjective when there is no grading report available). These are about 30 small sized diamonds, 25 of them between .20 and .30 carat, 4 of them between .50 and one carat and 1 1.3 carat.

Thanks in advance.

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See if Brinks or Malca-Amit provide services in Mexico and would do it for you. Or get in touch with GIA and they will advise the right procedure to ship the diamonds to them. 

Swanstar Diamonds.
Melbourne, Australia.

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As far as I know, there is no special procedure from the US side, since the diamonds are not dutiable; the problem - if any - may be at your re-entry into Mexico, where you may be asked to prove that you had the diamonds temporarily imported into the US for grading purposes or be subject to paying whatever taxes and duties Mexico charges.

The other thing to bear in mind is that even the cheapest single stone report from GIA is relatively expensive starting at ~$50; there are cheaper options including "online only" reports starting at $20 that may be more suitable for many of your stones.

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (

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Call Malca-Amit. I have used them to ship to Mexico in the past.

I"m curious at this whole plan.  Why are you doing this?

Depending on your market, a typical 20-35 pointer is going to bring something like $500-1500/ct.  That's $100-350 net. GIA is going to charge you $32-59 plus shipping depending on what you want. You don't have a LOT of stones and that shipping is going to be pricey. Say $500 for 30 of them, twice.  That puts you at something like $100/stone more into your costs, and maybe more.  That's going to end up doubling some of your prices!  That's the reason people don't usually get lab papers on smaller stones.  Given recent changes in the industry, you may not have much choice but I would sure be hesitant to go that route if you've got any sort of alternative.

As mentioned above, the US mostly won't care as long as your paperwork is straight and the shipper will help you out. I'd be more worried about the return trip home and dealing with Mexican customs and shipping risks. That's why a lot of the internet dealers, and GIA, won't ship to Mexico. 

I would start by carefully grading, or hiring someone else to carefully grade, every single stone and estimate what results you are expecting from GIA.  Decide what you can get for undocumented stones and compare that to what you can expect if you get the paperwork. You may find that you're better off leaving them alone, even if you sell at a discount. 

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty



There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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