When shopping for your ideal diamond, it is important to check the diamond's certification before closing the deal and parting with your hard-earned money. There are many diamond grading labs out there and each provides data and information differently.
That said, not all diamond grading labs are equal and some are much more reliable than others. GIA is the most popular grading lab in the world. One of the main advantages of buying a diamond with a GIA certification is comparability. You can compare two stones from different locations around the globe and make the unbiased buying decisions.
That said let's take a look at some more diamond grading labs.
1. GIA –Gemological Institute of America
GIA is the most popular and widely used diamond certification lab in the world. It is considered the flag bearer for diamond grading. Moreover, many jewelers around the world will send their stones to GIA labs for certification. Here, they will be analyzed and evaluated by 4 top-notch gemologists before finally getting a grade.
It takes a few weeks before the jeweler can get back their diamonds with the GIA certification. Owing to its popularity, shoppers can buy their diamonds with confidence.
2. AGS – American Gemological Society
The AGS is the second most popular diamond grading lab in the US. It uses a number system to grade its diamonds, unlike the GIA which uses letters.
While many recognize the AGS for using a similarly scientific approach as the GIA to grade its diamonds, the diamond grading process is a bit looser to the GIA. What this means is that a diamond can have a higher grade than it deserves.
That said, many consider the AGS as superior in certain aspects to the GIA.
3. EGL – Europeans Gemological Laboratory
EGL is the most popular diamond laboratory in Europe. It is also used to a wide extent in the US. Note that there are two divisions of the EGL – EGL International and EGL USA. The Former is banned in the USA. This is because the EGL USA is more unbiased and accurate compared to the EGL international.
That said, the GIA is also ahead of the EGL US. It uses a much better and more scientific system of diamond grading.
4. IGI - International Gemological Institute
This is a highly popular diamond grading lab in Europe. Unlike the GIA, the IGI is for profit. It is also used prominently in the United States. That said, many top jewelers find that the grading system used by the IGI to be lax and lacking in many ways.
And just to provide a bit of perspective, diamond grading done by the IGI could be up to three grades away from the GIA.
There is no denying that while diamond labs such as the EGL and IGI have a good standing on the diamond industry, they are not as reliable as the GIA or AGS. If you are searching for the best diamond lab, we recommend sticking with the GIA.