A question often asked is which is the ‘best’ certificate and why?
There are many diamond grading laboratories in the world but only a handful which wield any sort of international validity at all.
In the USA there is the GIA and AGS as well as EGL USA, in Europe there is the HRD, EGL (rest of the world) and IGI. The rest of the world shares all of these.
The market share of the AGS is extremely small so perhaps it is best not to include them and the EGL USA is really only present in the USA and supplies very few reports as well so it is possibly best not to include them either.
The remaining diamond grading laboratories are, therefore, the GIA, HRD, EGL Europe and IGI.
Before, therefore, I will answer the question as to which is the best diamond grading laboratory with the ‘best’ certificate I will endeavour to dissipate some of the myths surrounding these diamond grading laboratories and their certificates.
Myth & Fact 1/ Diamonds graded by the GIA re-sell better. In the USA this is a FACT, however, in the rest of the world this is a MYTH as HRD, EGL and IGI are internationally recognised and valued accordingly.
Myth & Fact 2/ The GIA is the ‘strictest’ laboratory in the world. This is a MYTH as some laboratories do grade stricter especially where the colour is concerned.
Myth & Fact 3/ EGL certificates are not worth the paper they are written on. This is a MYTH as some EGL graded diamonds are graded the same as both GIA and HRD ones, however, these are generally rarer so in general EGL certificated diamonds are cheaper at an equal grade.
Myth & Fact 4/ The GIA has the strongest international diamond brand. This is a FACT as they are very well known in all the world, the others are known mostly outside the USA.
Myth & Fact 5/ Is it safer to buy a GIA graded diamond. This is a MYTH as any diamond report is based on an opinion and is not a guarantee of the grade.
Myth & Fact 6/ The GIA invented the grading standards. This is a FACT as they were first to appear in the diamond grading game way back in 1936, the others came in the early seventies.
Myth & Fact 7/ The GIA certificate guarantees the grading accuracy. This is a MYTH as all the laboratories are consistent in their grading results, however, some are more consistent than others which in the end affects the price.
Myth & Fact 8/ Consumers should consider an independent evaluation by a qualified gemologist. This is a FACT as this can ensure correct evaluation and minimise ‘switching’ possibilities.
Myth & Fact 9/ Diamonds with GIA certificates trade for higher prices. This is a MYTH as HRD trade at equivalent prices as well. The EGL and IGI can be cheaper though.
Myth & Fact 10/ The GIA has trained more gemologists than all the others put together. This is a FACT as they have been on the market for near to 30 years more than the others.
Myth & Fact 11/ GIA graded ‘EXCELLENT’ are more beautiful than others. This is a MYTH as an ‘EX EX’ graded diamond can have ‘average’ proportions as the ‘symmetry’ and ‘polish’ have less of an influence on the beauty of the diamond than the ‘proportions’.
To answer the question of ‘which is the best certificate’, the answer is they are all good but some are more consistent than others and no grading laboratory will give a guarantee as to the given grade.
The information contained in this article is based on our consultant’s 45 year experience cutting and evaluating diamonds. George Zaidmann is an experienced certified gemologist and member of the Antwerp Diamond Beurs since 1972. You can find more on www.jewellerywebshop.co.uk/profilepage.htm