Bottom Line Recommendations
- Always go for a certified diamond and avoid buying a diamond that is not been certified. It is the best way to get assurance on the quality of the diamond. What’s more, the value of the diamond will not decrease over time just in case you want to sell.
- Whenever you are buying your diamond, we recommend going only for GIA certified diamonds as you can see here. These have a much wider acceptance all over the world and the grading done by the GIA is consistent.
- Note that EGL diamonds tend to be cheaper than GIA graded diamonds. This is one reason why you may want to buy an EGL diamond.
- Even with the differences,it’s important to keep in mind that the color grading by the EGL is quite similar to the GIA.
- If you are on a budget and you want to go lower on the clarity scale make sure that first and foremost the diamond is eye clean. Take a look at the GIA SI vs EGL SI2 guide below.
- No matter the certification lab, the only way to best judge the quality and appearance of a diamond is by observing the diamond yourself. We recommend buying from James Allen, view here or Blue Nile. Find out more here, as they have the best in 360 videos and images of any diamond you may be interested in.
One of the main reasons why every diamond buyer should go for a certified diamond is because they are able to compare the 4Cs. That said, it is important to keep in mind that different diamond labs have different methodologies and standards for grading diamonds.
The downside of this is that there will be inconsistencies and discrepancies when comparing diamonds by different labs based on their reports.
Two of the most popular diamond labs are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL).
If you are planning on buying a diamond, and you haven’t yet decided on which of the two diamond labs to go with, then this EGL vs GIA guide will help you.
To start with, it is crucial that you understand the differences between the two in order to make the best and most informed buying decision.
A little history
The GIA is the most popular diamond laboratory in the word. It was formed in 1931 and is accredited for coming up with the diamond 4Cs. They have a staff of over 1400 employees divided between diamond educators, certified graders and scientists.
The GIA was set up by Robert Shipley. One of the historical accomplishments of the lab was grading the Hope diamond.
The GIA have offices in all the major cities including, Mumbai, Bangkok, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Carlsberg, Gaborone, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, Florence, Moscow, Beijing, and Johannesburg.
The GIA provides not just diamond grading services but also laser inscription. You can also get a huge range of information and education resources for both diamond buyers and sellers.
The EGL was formed in 1974. The laboratory has over 1100 employees that include scientists, diamond educators and diamond graders. The EGL has offices in Antwerp, Paris, London, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Seoul, Tel Avivamend Hong Kong.
The EGL offices in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Vancouver are all under EGL USA. This diamond laboratory was the first to provide a grading methodology for diamonds that weigh less than a carat. The EGL was also responsible for coming up with the SI3 diamond clarity grade.
Which one do I choose?
We advise going for a GIA certified diamond. The GIA is known for its consistency and strict standards are used to assign each diamond its grading. To make sure that there is no bias when grading diamonds, the GIA will pick 4 diamonds graders at random.
The same level of consistency unfortunately cannot be attributed to the EGL. In fact, the EGL standards may be different based on the location and are not as strict as with GIA.
Consider that an EGL diamond will be graded one clarity grade lower and up to two color grades lower than an equivalent GIA diamond.
Due to this very fact, diamonds that are graded by the GIA are more valuable than equivalent diamonds graded by the GIA. Customers also have more confidence in them.
There is an advantage to going for an EGL certified diamond. A diamond with similar color and clarity will be priced lower than one graded by the GIA. Diamond buyers can therefore get a great deal.
Why you should buy certified diamonds
For one, you are assured of getting a quality diamond when you buy one that is certified. Secondly, the diamond will maintain its value which is a great thing when you want to resell it. Shopping for a diamond is made easier as well.
If you are a first-time buyer, note that there is a difference between the diamond appraisal and the diamond certificate. The appraisal is gotten through the diamond seller and will show the value of the diamond in terms of its price.
On the other hand, the diamond certificate is given by a qualified, third party and unbiased diamond laboratory. The certificate offers a much more accurate picture of the proportions and value of the diamond.
Why diamonds are given grades
We’ve seen that the diamond certificate will be provided by the diamond laboratory. It has information on the carat weight, clarity, cut and color. Other information that will come with the certificate include the inclusions, the polish as well as the shine.
GIA vs EGL — Grading
The EGL and the GIA employs very different standards. Note that while these labs will agree on the physical characteristic proportions and weight of a diamond, where they truly differ is in the color scales and clarity scales.
This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to compare GIA and EGL graded diamonds. It is recommended to go for diamonds that are graded only by the GIA so as to maintain consistency. The GIA is also a more recognized diamond lab which is a great thing in case you want to sell your diamond.
Many diamond buyers prefer to go for EGL graded diamonds simply because of the lower prices of diamond certification and the much more inflated grading standards.
When you are buying your diamond online, we recommended doing so only from the best which are James Allen and Blue Nile. These two offer the best in 360-degree videos and images to help you make a better-informed decision.
It’s important to point out that both these sellers do not stock diamonds that have been certified by the EGL. They will only stock diamonds that are certified by the GIA and the AGS.
Why you may want to go for an EGL certified diamond?
One of the main advantages of using the EGL is the pre-cert options. A company can send in diamonds and have them graded. If the company wants to pay for the certification, they can choose this if they are satisfied with the grading
The EGL are also much more affordable. They are fast to certify diamonds compared to both the GIA and the AGS. They also came up with the SI3 clarity grade.
Also, the EGL certified diamonds sell at a discount.
When it is all said and done, you will be better off with a GIA certified diamond than an EGL diamond. Go for a diamond that is two grades lower than an equivalent EGL diamond. It will be much cheaper.
Choosing between GIA I1 and EGL SI2
Many diamond buyers especially those on a budget will want to find an eye clean diamond that is lower on the clarity scale.
The question becomes, is a GIA SI diamond which is cheaper, better than an EGL SI2 diamond?
When faced with such as question the first thing to do is inspect the stone. Note that most of the diamonds in this clarity scale are not eye clean. Preforming a good inspection is therefore crucial.
At the end of the day, it’s all about how a diamond appears. You want a good-looking stone and the lower you go on the clarity scale, the more important viewing the stone becomes. While the diamond certificate will give you information as to the proportions of the stone and the location of the inclusions, how the diamond performs in the light can only be appreciated by viewing the diamond yourself.
Ultimately it is far better to go for a diamond certification that is more recognized. This makes it easier in case you want to sell the diamond. The diamond is also easier to trade in at some of the best online sellers.
You can talk the same language with someone in the other end of the world if you want to sell the diamond to them. James Allen and Blue Nile offer the best in 360-degree videos of the diamond. The fact that they only stock GIA and AGS graded diamonds means that you can perform a much better diamond evaluation.