Diamond purchases contain a great benefit: quality comparison. When the Four C’s of quality are determined, grading standards apply to determine a stone’s overall value. A variety of results has, historically, required inconsistency among laboratories, even when precious stones are graded upon similar clarity, color cut and carat.
A variety of laboratories can certify loose diamonds. Among these, the Gemological Institute of America (the GIA) and the European Laboratory (the EGL)USA are the world’s most popular grading agencies. While GIA and EGL USA graded diamonds can be exactly the same, different techniques are utilized throughout the grading process, and understanding these differences is important for potential diamond buyers.
The GIA was one of the first diamond branding and rating institutions. Its home to thousands of lecturers, scientists and diamond graders. The GIA conceptualized the four C’s of diamond grading, and they’ve been awarded with consistency and intensive grading scales.
Primarily, GIA-certified diamonds contain the following benefits imparted upon such a system. When compared to EGL USA-certified diamonds, GIA-certified diamonds contain the following aspects:
- Rigorous grading
- Non-bias to gem rating
- Grading conducted by at least four specialists
- American-based grading of globalized diamond sources
Often, EGL USA-certified diamonds maintain higher quality grades. For example, an EGL USA-certified diamond may be rated “G” for color, whereas the GIA would rate the same diamond as an “H”—a lesser grade. Primarily, EGL USA-certified diamonds are graded higher due to the EGL’s grading methods, as the EGL isn’t as strict. These methods often apply the following aspects to EGL-certified diamonds when compared to GIA-certified diamonds:
- Relatively lower priced
- Lenient grading
- Higher accessibility to worldwide consumers
- European-based grading for globalized diamond source
Certified diamonds explicitly state a stone’s grading and value. However, uncertified diamonds don’t have a matching paper stating their grading information. Technically, there’s no difference between certified and non-certified diamonds. However, grading, itself, is not known.
Non-certified diamonds can gain certification when sent to the GIA or EGL. While price and quality can be ascertained through the assistance of an appraiser, non-certified diamonds may experience similar trade and selling as GIA and EGL-certified stones. Additionally:
- Uncertified diamonds may be cheaper due to less quality “security”
- Often lack policies enacted by insurance agencies
- Cannot be identified if lost or stolen
For many, obtaining diamond certification is obtaining a diamond’s “birth certificate”. Simply put: Certified diamonds are more insured, and they procure quality information. However, uncertified diamonds are affordable for a higher consumer base, and their quickly accessible when certification isn’t obtained.