When buying certified diamonds it is very important that every customer make an educated decision to avoid regrets. Even if diamonds are graded similarly from laboratory to laboratory each is based on the 4 C's (carat, clarity, color, and cut), there will always be a variation in its quality.
Two of the most famous laboratories are European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It is best to gain an understanding of the differences between these two laboratories in choosing suitable certification.
In 1931, GIA was launched and now they are considered as the leading experts in gemology all over the world. They have 1,400 employees which consist of certified diamond graders, scientists as well as educators. They are located in most diamond cities such as Bangkok, Tokyo, Beijing, Mumbai, Moscow, New York and others. GIA utilizes credited grading standards based on the 4 Cs as well as other types of popularly used grading methods. Aside from diamond grading, they also offer laser inscription and a variety of educational services which can be helpful to consumers as well as diamond professionals.
EGL was first established in 1974. There are more than 1,100 diamond graders, scientists, and educators who are working for EGL USA and EGL International. EGL USA has locations in Toronto, Los Angeles, Vancouver and New York. While EGL International has locations are in Tel Aviv, London, Hong Kong, Paris, Hong Kong and others. EGL is best known for using "SI3" rating in identifying clarity. They were also the ones who discovered the grading techniques used for diamonds which are less than one carat.
Generally, most consumers prefer to buy a GIA certified diamond over an EGL certified diamond. GIA is uses strict standards when it comes to grading loose diamonds. The standards that they use are the same throughout all of their locations worldwide. In GIA, a diamond will be examined by four expert gemologists and each of them is picked randomly to be sure that their decision in not biased.
The grading standards used by EGL are quite lenient and these standards differ in each location. EGL USA is stricter in grading diamonds compared to the locations for EGL International. Actually, the quality of an EGL certified diamond is similar to a GIA certified diamond graded in two colors and lower by one grade for clarity. For instance, if an EGL diamond was graded VS2 in clarity and G in color then it is the same with a GIA diamond which was graded SI1 in clarity and I in color.
Overall, diamonds which are GIA certified are more valuable. Consumers feel more confident with the purchase of these diamonds but, due to the inconsistencies in the grading standards used it is more affordable to buy EGL diamonds.