If you are shopping for diamonds, then the biggest consideration is whether the diamond is graded or not. This documentation is very important and should be presented with any diamond stone you buy.
This document is the best way for you to understand the features of that stone. Additionally, you are able to compare the amount you are paying and the actual value of the stone.
These grading reports come from a third-party company with no affiliations to ensure fair and non-partisan grading.
To further attest to the authenticity of the diamond, the report should have the diamond blueprint.
Here we will thoroughly look at the different gemological labs and their certifications. We will also explore the differences between the gemological labs focusing on quality grading.
In this Guide
Why Should You Buy a Graded Diamond?
Certifying diamonds is very necessary since it gives the value of the stone. Diamonds are expensive stones and thus it is important to pay exactly what the stone is worth and not more. At times the properties of a diamond may be exaggerated and thus increasing their costs. To avoid this, certification and grading are done by a neutral party. The party is neither the seller nor the buyer. This ensures that the certification is genuine.
You must have heard of the 4Cs (color, carat weight, cut, and clarity). These factors are used to value a stone and in the absence of certification from a dependable entity, you may get a stone with different grades that are below the mentioned values. Certification entities include AGS, EGL, IGI, and GIA.
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The absence of a certificate also indicates that the stone may be treated. In this case, the seller is aware that if the stone is inspected the truth will be revealed hence the avoid certification. Treating is normally done to remove the excess yellowish look, inclusions, and fractures on a diamond.
Enhancing diamonds is not completely unethical. In fact, it is good that whenever you buy a piece you know all the treatments done. Treating clarity in stones is favorable if you want to buy big pieces at a reduced price.
Best Diamond Certification Labs
There are very reputable grading systems in the united states and Europe.
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)
- European Gemological Laboratory (EGL)
- American Gemological Society (AGS)
- Gemological Institute Of America (GIA)
All these entities are well known for a particular thing. GIA is a gemological lab in the United States. It is popular for being the industry standard system of diamond grading. AGS is known for its comprehensive scientific research into the diamond’s color grades. It is at times said to be superior to GIA.
IGI and EGL are not well known in the USA. They are dependable when it comes to comparing grades since they form solid proof. It however cannot be guaranteed.
Differences Between IGI, AGS, GIA, and EGL Certification Labs
Gemological Institute Of America (GIA)
GIA is based in Carlsbad, California, and has its branches in several other cities in the world. This lab is said to be the standard holder of gemological labs all over the world. GIA is extensively used for certifying diamonds. It has produced over 1000 certified diamond scientists, educators, and graders.
GIA is completely independent. As a result, it is hard to rig their grading system. Here, each diamond stone is inspected by four different experts in gemology making their report outstanding. The process of grading at GIA requires you to send your pieces to them and expect the pieces and the reports back after a few weeks.
Not only does GIA give certification but they are also involved in comprehensive researches. They research extensively in order to stay up to date with changing technology in the gemstone market. you can depend on GIA to accurately represent the quality of the diamond. It has a proven record of giving consistent results using its grading system. Popular online diamond retailers like Blue Nile and James Allen have a lot of their diamonds assessed by GIA.
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American Gemological Society
AGS, commonly known as the America Gemological Society is based in the United States and headquartered in Las Vegas. This scientific lab is well known and is often compared to GIA. This lab uses a scientific approach instead of alphabets in grading diamond cuts. Its certification uses a scale of 0 to10 diamond ratings. Here 0 is the best whereas 10 the worst.
AGS comes second in the popularity list after GIA in the US. This lab has offices in several parts of the world such as China, Hong Kong, Belgium, and India. AGS has superior as it uses the robust optical ray-tracing method. This method measures how the diamond behaves in light.
So if you are looking for certification precise in the diamond cut AGS is the lab to go to. This cut grading technique is what separates GIA and AGS. At Whiteflash you can get A CUT ABOVE diamond pieces certified by AGS.
European Gemological Laboratory
European Gemological Laboratory grades mostly in Europe. It not very popular like the other American labs, it is very reliable. It has two factions: EGL International and EGL USA. EGL International was banned from operating in the USA.
This lab has offices across the world including Tel Avis, Johannesburg, and Paris. This lab is well known for grading diamond stones weighing less than one carat. It was the first lab to use the SI3 rating for clarity in its certificate. it has nonetheless faced several lawsuits with regards to this grading.
At EGL most of its certifications contain some loose grading standards. This lab is a profit organization. Hence there is room for some loopholes in its certification. Therefore, in my opinion, AGS and GIA have better certifications.
International Gemological institute
IGI stands for International Gemological Institute. This lab forms one of the most popular household names in Europe. It is well acknowledged in the USA as well. Similar to EGL, IGI is a profit organization.
Other than real stones, the IGI grades lab-created stones. This is done on a commercial scale. As much as it is popular and credible, IGI has a few flaws. At times it may be down or up by some two or three grades. It may cost you a higher amount for stones graded with a couple of points higher. Hence avoid this lab.
Determine Whether a Diamond Certification Matches With a Specific Diamond
There is still room for being conned even with these certification labs in place. Before making the purchase, check to see if the certificate issued matches the diamond. To check the authenticity of your stone, check if there is a serial number written on the girdle of the stone. The number should be laser printed and should tally with what the certification report says. Con men normally remove the serial number then put another stone in its place.
There is another technique of comparing the certifications. Look for a third-party professional to appraise the report. This comparison should help you filter out any discrepancies. The discrepancies arise from the different levels of weight, measurements, angles, and proportions.
A good professional appraiser should at least be a graduate gemmologist commonly known as GG. They need to have all the equipment needed for evaluating a stone. To keep the assessor from duplicating results, send the jewelry without the original certificate. Appraisers can also be found at the local jewelers’ store.
Finally, inclusions are among the few things that are hard to influence. You can always check if the inclusions are presented and how they are plotted.
Difference Between Appraisal and Diamond Certification
The certification focuses on the properties of the diamond and not its value. It reviews details of the color, carat weight, clarity, and cut of the stones. It is normally done on loose diamonds but can also be done after a set is completed.
An appraisal, therefore, is done to determine the monetary value of a stone. It works best on a loose stone rather than those set in a ring. This is because flaws are not always hidden on loose stones. Over time appraisals become obsolete. The reason behind this is that stones are valuated with the prevailing market values.
At times, appraisals rely on the present state of the diamond and not the certification. If a diamond’s clarity has deteriorated because of tear and ware then recertification must be done.