GIA vs. EGL

Posted June 23, 2009 by Sharon 5 in Brilliance

Here at Brilliance, we want each customer to make an informed decision when choosing a certified diamond so that they will be completely satisfied with their purchase. Although a benefit of purchasing a certified diamond is that a consumer can compare diamonds based on the Four Cs and other factors, it is important to note that the grading standards of the various laboratories vary. This variation results in a discrepancy in the quality of diamonds graded in different laboratories, even when they are graded the same color, clarity, or cut.

Of the five laboratories that certify the loose diamonds we offer at Brilliance, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) are by far the most popular. When deciding which certification to go with, it is important to understand the vital differences between the grading techniques of the two laboratories.

First some history…

The GIA was established in 1931 and is considered worldwide as the leading authority in gemology. Their staff of 1,400 employees includes scientists, certified diamond graders, and educators. They currently have locations in all major diamond cities in the world, including Carlsbad, New York, Moscow, Florence, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Gaborone, Johannesburg, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, and Bangkok. GIA is credited with standardizing the grading industry by introducing the Four Cs and other widely used grading techniques. They offer diamond grading and laser inscription services, as well as a wide range of educational services for diamond professionals and consumers.

Founded in Europe in 1974, the EGL International and the EGL USA laboratories employ over 1,100 scientists, diamond graders and educators. Their EGL International locations are found in Antwerp, London, Paris, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tel Aviv. Their locations in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto are considered part of EGL USA. The EGL is known for introducing grading techniques for diamonds weighing less than one carat and for establishing the “SI3” rating for diamond clarity.

Comparing diamonds of the “same” quality

In general, Brilliance suggests choosing a GIA certified diamond over an EGL certified diamond. Loose diamonds GIA certified are graded using strict standards that are consistent among the various GIA locations. Each GIA diamond is carefully evaluated by at least four expert gemologists who are chosen at random to guarantee an unbiased evaluation. The EGL’s grading standards are more lenient and vary among the EGL locations, with EGL USA locations generally grading on a slightly stricter scale than its International counterpart. As a general rule, an EGL certified diamond will compare equally in quality to a GIA certified diamond that is graded two color grades and one clarity grade lower. For example, an EGL diamond graded G in color and VS2 in clarity is comparable to a GIA diamond graded I in color and SI1 in clarity. As a result, GIA certified diamonds are considered more valuable and provide the consumer with more confidence in the product they are purchasing.

GIA vs EGL

However, there is a benefit to choosing an EGL certified diamond. Due to the discrepancy in the grading standards used, an EGL diamond graded the same color and clarity as a GIA diamond will be less expensive. This is seen as an advantage to those who consider the ratings stated on the certificate a priority when choosing their diamond. If you are interested in purchasing an EGL certified diamond and would like to have an expert evaluate it, contact a Brilliance diamond expert at 866-737-0754.

Click here to see our GIA vs. EGL Infographic

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Comments

5 Responses to “GIA vs. EGL”

  1. The Diamond Guru believes it is in the interest of diamond consumers to be fully informed when making their purchasing decisions.

    The Diamond Guru believe it is our right to inform diamond consumers of the facts in order to differentiate between those ethical diamond vendors selling diamonds with independent recognised diamond certificates and those that do not.

    It has come to our attention that there are a number of certifed diamonds in circulation in Australia and overseas where the certificate overstates the colour and clarity by more than one grading difference.

    These stones are being offered mainly via the internet but we have seen cases of traditional retailers offering them for sale as well.

    The main laboratory issuing these certificates is the European Grading Laboratory (EGL).
    There are a number of EGL laboratories located around the world and it would appear that the EGL facility in Israel is the primary source of the over stated certificates.

    However the EGL certificates do not appear to list the address of the EGL facility that produced the certificate and so all EGL certificates should be treated with the greatest care.

    EGL USA begins with US
    EGL Antwerp begins with AO/AP/AQ/AR/AS/AT
    EGL Israel begins with year of certificate(eg 98/99) or a number 22, 23

    In addition there are a number of diamonds being offered on the internet at extremely low prices and which are accompanied by GIA grading certificates.

    We wish to bring to your attention that in many instances these stones are also over graded.

    Australia and some other countries are being used by some dealers to “dump” GIA graded stones which have been over graded in error.

    We would stress that the vast majority of GIA certified diamonds have the correct gradings and should not give rise for concern.

    Please be aware that no supplier or retailer can “hide” behind a diamond grading certificate. The certificate will afford you no protection if it is incorrect.

    As a diamond dealer or retail jeweller you are deemed to have the professional knowledge to be able to tell if a diamond has been over graded.

    If you do not have this knowledge then you are strongly urged to deal with professional and reputable suppliers.

    A jeweller using a certificate or any document or making any statement – written or verbal – to promote or sell a product must tell the truth.

    It’s as simple as that!

    If you do not, regardless of whether a customer has been deceived or not, you will breach the deceptive and misleading conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act and be liable for severe financial penalties as well as injunctive relief to stop the conduct, provide corrective advertising, provide onerous undertakings to the ACCC, set up a compliance programme, damages, etc.

    Please be aware that if you are offered a certified diamond at a price that looks to good to be true, it probably is.

    Ian Hadassin, CEO JAA

  2. Richard Butler says:

    Can you tell me if a consumer get receive a GIA rating and certification or mini-cert without going through a member jeweler?

  3. admin says:

    Richard, you do not have to buy a loose diamond from a jewelery retailer “member” to attain a GIA certification or diamond grading report. Most every reputable jeweler (including Brilliance.com) includes the GIA diamond certification when you purchase a GIA loose diamond.

  4. Abe says:

    Where does HKD (Diamond Labs Canada) stand in terms of quality of their certification with GIA and EGL?

    Thanks.

  5. Jonathon says:

    Abe,

    The HKD is a relatively new lab, founded recently and staffed by mostly GIA trained gemologists. I cannot really comment about the quality of their grading (how strict they are in comparison to other labs) because I have never encountered a diamond graded by them. Brilliance suggests that you purchase a certified diamond that has been graded by a gemological laboratory whose name is recognized by all jewelers and diamond traders around the world. Although the diamond may be beautiful, it has no value in terms of investment because should you ever want to trade the diamond in or sell it, the certification by HKD may mean nothing to the jeweler or buyer purchasing it from you because they do not recognize that laboratory as an authority on gemology. That being said, if the diamond is priced similarly to GIA certifed diamonds, I would go with the GIA. On the other hand, if you seem to be finding a great deal, and never plan to upgrade or change your diamond, certainly go with the lesser known laboratory. Always keep in mind, though, that in the diamond industry, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Feel free to post any more questions about diamond grading. Hope this helped you out.

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