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GIA vs EGL Certified Diamonds

May 15, 2013 3 min read

When purchasing a certified diamond, it is important to understand that there are a few competing gemological laboratories in the market and that they are not all the same.  deBebians offers both GIA and EGL certified diamonds in our loose diamond search.  Many customers ask us, “What is the difference between GIA vs EGL Certified Diamonds?”

Gemological laboratories serve to grade and evaluate loose diamonds, but their grading policies and standards may vary between institutions. The biggest problem with competing laboratories is that they communicate to the public using the same terminology but may actually grade differently from each other. It is confusing for those who rely on these standardized terms to evaluate diamonds they are interested in buying. Increased reliance of online retailers for loose diamonds puts the buyer at risk when he or she is unaware of the possible differences between a European Gemological Laboratory certificate and a Gemological Institute of America certificate.  The relative ease for a lack of communication is why it is imperative for the public to contact a gemologist about gemological certificates before buying a diamond.

Generally speaking, I prefer Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certified diamonds over European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) certified diamonds. Our team of gemologists is certified by the GIA, so we evaluate loose diamonds against these standards. Because GIA is an international organization comprised of 16 labs around the globe, they must provide reputable and consistent results across all locations. Maintaining its position as the utmost authority in diamond grading, each diamond that enters a GIA lab is evaluated by at least four random gemologists for unbiased grading. EGL laboratories are not standardized to this degree because they are individually owned from location to location. This difference can allow for EGL certificates to vary in their consistency from laboratory to laboratory. I find that EGL IL (international) to have the most leeway with their grading and EGL USA (US & Canada) to be slightly tougher. EGL certificates will vary between 1-3 color grades and 1 clarity grade lower than a GIA graded stone of identical specifications. For example, an EGL International diamond graded G color and VS1 clarity is comparable to a GIA diamond J in color and VS2 clarity. The result is greater value assigned to GIA certified diamonds and more consumer confidence in the purchase of a GIA stone.

The benefit of EGL laboratories is more than just to serve as competition among gemological certificates in the market place.  EGL graded diamonds, due to the discrepancy in its grading, are sold at more affordable prices. The lower prices create more room for increased carat weight, satisfying customers who desire to have a larger diamond. In addition, most people are not skilled at judging diamond color and are very happy at some of the mid to lower color ranges. Diamonds whose color grade are more obvious, typically falling within the medium color ranges of I-K are more likely to be EGL certified. There is less financial incentive to pay for the most expensive gemological certificate when the color grade does not command the most competitive prices.  EGL brings security to those who want an affordable gemologist graded certificate. Offering both GIA and EGL certified loose diamonds, deBebians has access to a broader selection of diamonds that we can match with the right customers.


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