unreliable diamond grading labs to avoid

Is the Grading Lab Reliable?

For most American consumers, you probably trust that the food you eat everyday poses no threats to your health. After all, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exists to enforce regulations and performs regular checks on everyday stuff we use. 

What about the diamond marketplace? In contrast, the industry isn’t subjected to the same level of scrutiny even though jewelry purchases are significantly large investments!

If you are a novice shopper, your best form of assurance comes via grading reports issued by grading labs. Yet, the dependence on grading reports works like a double-edged sword and leaves room for abuse.

Unresolved Problems With the Industry Most People Are Unaware Of

As mentioned on the earlier page, each lab applies different criteria and standards when performing an assessment. To add to the confusion, some gemological labs even use the same terminology inside their report. This gives consumers a false impression that all labs are the same!

When trying to sell low quality diamonds, unethical jewelers will feed bullsh*t excuses to unsuspecting customers by claiming it costs more to send the diamond to GIA. (That’s why the diamond in question has an EGL or in-house report.) After all, you are seemingly getting a better deal for a diamond that’s rated highly based on a piece of paper.

The sales pitch by the jeweler usually goes like this: Since both GIA and EGL diamonds are rated to be the same, why would you pay more for a GIA diamond just for a piece of paper?

But trust me, the choice of lab reports used are based on careful decisions to manipulate profits.

It’s no coincidence reputable retailers NEVER use labs which deliberately over-grade diamonds. In the trade, every jeweler worth his salt understands this problem. The same level of understanding couldn’t be said for the general consumer who probably has a hard time learning about the 4Cs, let alone the differences between labs like GIA or XXXXX gemological labs.

EGL and IGI Stones? You Better be Wary…

EGL and IGI are 2 of the international labs that have relatively lax grading standards. I singled both of them out because it’s very likely you would come across these stones in jewelry stores.

Typically, clarity and color grades of EGL/IGI diamonds are off by at least 2-3 ratings if the same diamond was to be graded by GIA or AGS instead. For example, a diamond graded to be G color by EGL/IGI might probably be graded as an I color by GIA/AGS. The same goes for diamond clarity grading. A stone that is graded as S12 might end up being an I1 grade when it is certified by GIA.

When you shop around for diamonds and compare prices with similar specifications, you will see find that EGL diamonds are less expensive than those graded by GIA or AGS. The point here is that you are NOT getting a better deal with EGL. You just appear to pay less because the diamond has significantly lower quality than it is described to be. In fact, if you buy the diamond, you are most likely going to overpay!

Why You Will End Up Paying More With An Obscure Diamond Grading Lab Report?

To illustrate this, an F color VS2 EGL ideal cut round with no fluorescence will retail around $5000. Compared to a similar stone from GIA, it would cost you around $7300 instead. Since both grading reports state the same ratings, it’s easy to be duped into going with the “cheaper” option. But do you really think you gotten the deal of the century with the EGL diamond?

Let’s say you purchased the stone and decide to send it to GIA for a re-grading. One month later, it comes back as an I color SI2. Guess what? That’s when you know you have been screwed by your jeweler. The retail pricing for a 1 carat GIA I color SI2 is around $4,600 and the jeweler had just profited an additional $400 because of your ignorance.

diamond grading scams

Click image to enlarge photograph for clearer view.

The 1 carat diamond above was graded as a VS2 by EGL. It’s a sham. This diamond would at best have gotten an SI2 grade at GIA because of its dark inclusions and multiple reflections within the body.

Wait, What About In-House Labs?

In-house grading labs are another can of worms better left unopened. You will usually see that diamonds graded by an in-house appraiser (if you are buying from XYZ Company and the diamond is graded by XYZ Company) are insanely cheaper. Most of the time, these stones are also graded significantly lower than what AGS or GIA would.

In my opinion, they are even worse than IGI or EGL for that matter. You see, nobody likes to buy an I2 clarity Q color diamond graded by GIA. However, if the diamond could be “magically” transformed into a K color SI1 instead, it will suddenly be more appealing.

With in-house certificates, jewelers can call the diamond whatever it wants so that it can be better marketed. Effectively, you are still paying for a lower quality diamond. Don’t get suckered into a deal thinking that you had made a very good purchase.

My advice? Stick with diamonds graded by GIA or AGS only. This way, you will know exactly what you are paying for and that the diamond has been accurately described. Nothing more, nothing less.

With over 30,000 GIA certified loose diamonds, James Allen is the ideal place to shop for your engagement ring. The 360° videos provided for each diamond lets you scrutinize and inspect even the smallest of details with ease.

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77 Comments

  1. JT-
    December 17, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Hi Paul
    Your website is informative and helpful, thanks! I recently bought some sapphires from Agra, India. I have a nagging feeling I overpaid but it’s meant as a Christmas present for my mum so I guess it shouldn’t matter. Nonetheless I do still want to know its approximate value before I give her the gift. I certainly don’t want to present her with less. You mentioned that an appraisal is not to be confused with certification. In this instance, what should I get done (appraise/cert) and where and how much would it (roughly) cost me? Also, if I got a cert, can I go back to the Jeweller and demand compensation if I was cheated?

  2. Paul Gian-
    December 17, 2014 at 8:04 am

    If you are based in Singapore, this link should help: http://beyond4cs.com/faq/appraisal-services-in-singapore/

    If you are based in other parts of the world, let me know exactly where you are and I’ll see if I know any appraisers I can recommend near your location.

  3. jen-
    December 22, 2014 at 11:28 am

    hi Paul
    Do u know of any jewellery shops in singapore that’s honest and will do a good job to ‘frame’ the diamond in their casing? means they have many casings to select from or will do one from scratch? budget < 2k exclude center diamond
    thank you

  4. Paul Gian-
    December 24, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I do know of a couple of jewelers. You might want to email me privately and also, let me know the kind of details you are looking for. e.g. solitaire, halo, custom work…

  5. Autumn Taylor-
    January 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Hello Paul. I had a quick question, if you paid premium prices for a diamond about 8 years ago, and the whole EGL rating wasn’t a concern then, but now, the diamond doesn’t seem to be worth 1/8th of what we paid for it. How can consumers get their issues resolved with the quality issues of their items? Is there legal course of action available?

  6. Paul Gian-
    January 2, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Unfortunately, I’m not the best person to turn to for legal advice. I know there were lawsuits filed over the use of EGL grading reports.

    http://www.jckonline.com/2014/07/23/tennessee-retailer-sued-over-grading-reports

    In my opinion, it is best to talk to the jeweler you bought your diamond from. If you can trade or upgrade it to a GIA or AGS diamond, I personally think that would be the best way to resolve this issue. A lawsuit may be a little extreme and not worth the trouble or mental stress it causes to you.

  7. Jon Chen-
    March 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for the article-super helpful! Do you happen to know of any sellers of lab-created diamonds that do GIA or AGS certifications? Brilliant Earth and PureGrownDiamonds seem to be the only reputable places I can find with lab-created diamonds, but both only use IGI certifications (while using GIA for everything else..)

  8. Paul Gian-
    March 17, 2015 at 1:18 am

    From my understanding, the major manufacturers in commercial lab grown diamonds only send their diamonds to IGI because they “claim” GIA isn’t providing a standard scaled grading service at the moment.

    In the trade, we all know who the more reliable grading lab is. I personally believe this is a weak reasoning and I think that the choice of grading lab is carefully chosen for a marketing standpoint.

  9. Lillian-
    April 30, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Hi Paul,
    Many jeewlers have told me to disregard any stone that was not GIA certified. Would you consider buying an AGS certified stone? I don’t want to rule them out if it’s unnecessary and AGS is is a reputable lab. Thanks.
    Lillian

  10. Paul Gian-
    April 30, 2015 at 8:12 am

    AGS is a reputable lab and their grading standards is as good as GIA’s. In terms of cut grading, AGS is more advanced and stringent. So, I do recommend AGS graded diamonds and I personally have no qualms about buying them.

    Here’s a post I wrote about an AGS 000 diamond which was purchased from White Flash a few months back:
    http://beyond4cs.com/2015/03/a-cut-above/

  11. May 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Great insight and article, but seems like the GIA also has a serious problem: http://www.gia.edu/gem-lab/laboratory-alert-may-2015

  12. Gary-
    July 24, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Hi Paul,
    Great website. Thanks. I’m looking at a Emerald Cut Leo Diamond. It’s IGI rated. Should I leave it alone and continue searching for a GIA?
    Thanks

  13. Liz-
    August 14, 2015 at 1:49 am

    What are your thoughts on GCAL grading reports? Trustworthy?

  14. Paul Gian-
    August 14, 2015 at 2:47 am

    No. I won’t place my trust in them. GIA and AGS are the only 2 labs I would recommend to readers.

  15. Paul Gian-
    September 2, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Keep looking. There is no lack of diamonds out there.

  16. WAYNE TAYLOR-
    October 5, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I have a couple of diamonds in ring settings that I purchased without certs. Is there anyone in the Toronto area that you could recommend to do theses?

  17. Paul Gian-
    October 21, 2015 at 5:39 am

    My advice is to find a jeweler or appraiser who would send the diamond to GIA to be graded on your behalf.

  18. SG-
    November 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m located in Ontario, Canada. Do you have any thoughts on or experience with Gemscan which is Canadian based? Thank you!

  19. Paul Gian-
    November 10, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I don’t put any weight on what the Gemscan report claims a diamond to be. Stick with GIA or AGS if you don’t want to end up overpaying for a purchase.

  20. Fabio-
    November 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Paul, I have recently been quoted an EGL Belgium 0.5 Carat D-Colour, Internally flawless diamond for approx. £1,900 ($2,700). What would you say the grading and the price be if it was GIA certified?

  21. Paul Gian-
    November 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Well, it could be anything. EGL is notorious for using unreliable grading standards. Their grading reports are so bad that the major trading networks had outright banned diamonds with these reports. To make matters worse, lawsuits are filed by disgruntled consumers who purchased EGL diamonds. All I can say is that you can expect disappointment when you find out the “real” specifications of your diamond.

  22. Fabio-
    November 19, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks Paul for the advice and the article.

  23. Rod-
    November 23, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Hi Paul.

    Came across an auction selling stones graded by Western gemological laboratories US. Anything to report on this company?

  24. Paul Gian-
    November 24, 2015 at 6:27 am

    You’ll only get ripped off and end up paying more if you get into such auctions.

  25. Veronica-
    December 15, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Paul,

    We just bought a tolkowsky diamond from Kay Jewelers. It is rated by GSI or Gemological Science International. The report done 3 years ago says it is 1 carrat, near colorless(g), SI2, Ideal cut, very good/excellent polish. Measurements are 6.51 – 6.45 x 3.92.

    Also comes with a Gemex report with Brilliance, fire, and sparkle all ranked very high.

    I want to make sure we didn’t get ripped off. Can I trust these? What’s is a good price for this?

  26. Paul Gian-
    December 16, 2015 at 1:44 am

    If the same exact diamond was sent to a reliable grading lab like GIA or AGS, you can bet that the diamond would return with SIGNIFICANT lower ratings. You basically paid Tiffany-like prices for a diamond that’s isn’t cut to ideal standards. Some people think it’s worth it; most don’t.

    This should offer some more insights: http://beyond4cs.com/reviews/leo-diamond/

  27. Veronica-
    December 16, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Paul,

    Thank you for sharing that article. I was curious if you had one specifically for the tolkowsky diamonds? I ask because I compared different tolkowsky diamonds to the Leo’s when I was in the store and immediately dismissed the Leo’s in comparison.

    Have you found the tolkowsky diamonds to be better?

  28. Paul Gian-
    December 17, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Nope. They are just the generic 57 facets diamonds that you can find anywhere. In fact, if you do proper comparisons using tangible data like ASET or Idealscope images, you should be able to see differences in cut quality easily.

    http://beyond4cs.com/2014/12/aset-reference-charts/

    The problems with Tolkowsky diamonds are that it is a branded line of diamonds with huge premiums (easily up to 2 times more) and they come with grading reports from labs that don’t grade to reliable standards like GIA/AGS. So, that’s a double whammy.

  29. dipu-
    December 28, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Hi Paul,
    thanks for the very informative site. I have got a diamond necklace 10 CTTW, IGL certificate with the following info. color – G-H, clarity I1-I2, 17inch, many stones, the main one 2CT 2.7×1.7x 2.2mm, round brilliant, with good polish and good symmetry. stones go from the big to small in both the direction and stay as one size towards the end. It looks good.
    the original price was 30K. I got them for 10K from a reputed retail store. it is a tennis necklace. I went for it because I get additional discount. do you think it is a good buy? please advise. Thanks for your help!

  30. Paul Gian-
    December 29, 2015 at 2:56 am

    All you are getting is a giant rip off.

    http://beyond4cs.com/engagement-ring/beware-of-cheap-diamond-deals/

    The details are fishy. A 2 carat diamond WILL NOT face up with a 2.7mm X 1.7mm dimension. You can expect cloudy and industrial like quality diamonds for uncertified I1-I2 diamonds. Which in reality, will more likely be I3.

    Is it worth paying 10K for a bracelet made with poor quality diamonds? Well, maybe (if you have lots of spare cash). If you foolishly believe what they claim, then you’ll be taken advantage of.

  31. KP-
    January 25, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Hi,

    Brilliant Earth sells lab diamonds graded with IGI certs. If I wanted to have it examined by AGS or GIA, how long would that take? Brilliant Earth only allows 30 days from time of shipping to return free of cost, but suspect it would take longer than that to be certified….? If it were to come back at a much lower rating through GIA, etc., what recourse is there from Brilliant Earth (I.e., would they price match? Perhaps accept a later return for free?).

  32. Paul Gian-
    January 25, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Depending on which GIA lab you send it to, the duration may vary from 2-6 weeks or sometimes even more. It’s best to call and check with the lab in advance. Also, with regards to this issue, you may want want to check directly with Brilliant Earth to see what they say.

    Personally, if I am expected to go through such a hassle to re-verify the diamond, I would simply avoid the lab created stones and buy a natural one instead. The cost differences may not outweigh the benefits of buying a naturally mined diamond.

  33. KP-
    January 25, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your insights.

    I wouldn’t “have” to get it regraded through GIA, but your article made me nervous about the quality of IGI certs. Then, I read your other post on lab diamonds from Brilliant Earth, which said they are of good quality and you would trust in purchasing a lab diamond from them. I’m confused, could you clarify your thoughts on BE lab diamonds?

    We went with a lab diamond so I could get close to my ideal stone of 1.5 carats at our budget – $7550, 1.46 carats, super ideal cut, H color, excellent table and depth proportions (according to GIA specs), but with an IGI cert. Diamond is set to arrive Thursday. Anything in particular we or our jeweler (independent store, who will be setting the stone in an ArtCarved band) should look out for? I just want to make sure we don’t get totally ripped off.

    Thanks!

  34. KP-
    January 25, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I don’t have to get it GIA certified, I just want to make sure I’m not getting ripped off. Would my local jeweler be able to verify a lab diamond is true diamond and not moissanite?

    You said in a previous post that Brilliant Earth lab diamonds are a good buy, but in this post you say anything with IGI certs cannot be trusted (though all lab diamonds have IGI certs). Could you clarify your position, is a lab diamond a good buy or not?

    We purchased a 1.46 carat, H color, super ideal cut, no fluorescence, excellent depth and table proportions (according to GIA standards) for $7550 from Brilliant Earth. Is this a good buy? Is there something in specific my fiancé and I and/or jeweler should be looking at to ensure we have a quality product?

    Thanks!

  35. Paul Gian-
    January 26, 2016 at 1:37 am

    I don’t trust IGI as much as I do compared to GIA. With lab diamonds, there’s really no choice. You will have to go with the lesser lab if synthetic stones are what you want. In a way, IGI is currently the “best” standards available commercially for lab diamonds.

  36. lis thorsen-
    February 9, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Paul – Would it be possible for you to grade my solitaire ring with a IGI certificate – and possibly price it too? I have certificate – and to be sure of the grade – I would appreciate your help.

    Thanks in advance

    PS! Bought the ring on Maui, Hawaii

  37. Paul Gian-
    February 10, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Nope. I can’t do that without seeing it in person. Even if I could, I don’t offer a direct service to readers. Your best option would be to bring it to an appraiser. But let me tell you upfront that you should be prepared for disappointment.

  38. gk-
    February 15, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Hi Paul could you pls suggest me where to get a V good quality diamond for engagement ring in Delhi India with full certification and quality

  39. Paul Gian-
    February 15, 2016 at 2:22 am
  40. Lauren-
    March 17, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Hi Paul,

    There is a new startup in California making lab created diamonds and they claim to be certified by their GIA gemologist. I live near this new company and would love to shop local AND have an ethical diamond (the fact that Leonardo dicaprio is backing them doesn’t hurt either), but I’m worried about the validity of their certification. The company name is diamond foundry. Have you heard of it, and if so what are your thoughts?

  41. Denise-
    March 19, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I am looking at a GIA .91 SI2 H brilliant cut diamond . The cut is very good, polish excellent , and symmetry is very good. Also no fluorescence and dimension are 6.23-6.25 x 3.88mm. The price is 3500.00 is this a good deal?

  42. Paul Gian-
    March 19, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Getting a diamond graded by GIA lab is different from getting it graded by someone who graduated from GIA. I don’t trust businesses who use inhouse gemologists. Period.

  43. Paul Gian-
    March 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Poor choice of stone. Very Good cut is akin to mediocre light performance. Why settle for less when there are literally thousands of better cut diamonds out there?

  44. Hisham-
    March 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Paul,

    No one here is talking about HRD. I agree with your thoughts on IGI diamonds and I would also avoid them, but I’ve done a lot of research and heard very positive reviews on HRD certified diamonds. There’s only one review which hasn’t agreed but they were completely bias and that’s another issue. I would be interested to know your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Hisham

  45. Paul Gian-
    March 30, 2016 at 7:25 am

    They are pretty decent and are popular in Europe. If buying fancy colored diamonds, I would only rely on GIA and no one else.

  46. Matt James-
    April 5, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much for your articles they’ve been very useful!

    I recently purchased an EGL international 0.80 H VS1 excellent cut diamond from 77 diamonds london with specifications of 5.89 x 5.83 x 3.74 52% 63.8% for £1400. I was initially concerned by the fact it was rated by EGL when offered to me as an alternative for a more expensive GIA diamond that they didnt have, I was wondering if this is a good deal?

    Is it possible to send you the pictures they sent me to check out, would be very helpful!

    Thanks

    Matt

  47. Paul Gian-
    April 5, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Nope. It isn’t. EGL diamonds are misrepresented in quality if you try to compare them to reliable labs like GIA or AGS. The have been in lawsuits and been taken off the professional trading network because of the problems they have.

  48. Carl-
    April 5, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all the information on the website.

    I was wondering if you have an actual case of a stone that has been graded by two of these labs (e.g. IGI and GIA), where I could look up the certificates and see these huge discrepancies in the classification.

    I have read a lot of opinions about this, but have not seen a single actual case that would serve as an example. As the process involves multiple experts independently comparing the color with a set of reference stones and a machine-based color evaluation, I find it hard to believe that such big differences are present on such a mass scale.

    NB, I am looking at 1-2ct stones of the color grade F-H, clarity VVS2 – VS1. I am from the Netherlands so there is plenty of stones in Antwerp graded by IGI, but not so many of GIA-graded ones (the closest lab is in London as far as I know)…

    Thanks!

  49. Paul Gian-
    April 6, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Would you not question the diamonds if I showed you them via an online screen? The best way to find answers to convince skeptics like yourself (I’m like you in many ways) would be to go to a jeweler. Ask to see EGL diamonds beside GIA diamonds with seemingly “identical” ratings on paper. The differences will be stark and obvious. You can make up your own sample sizes on how much to compare before arriving at your own conclusion.

  50. Matt James-
    April 6, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Hello,

    Thanks for the reply Paul, just thinking in some cases surely the reports may be more accurate than in other cases?

    Can I send you the pictures of the diamond via email, would really put my mind at ease!

    Thanks

  51. Paul Gian-
    April 6, 2016 at 3:20 am

    There’s no way to offer an objective grading of a diamond via photographs. If you bought an EGL diamond, you’ll have much to worry about. You can expect it to be severely off the grading standards of a GIA diamond.

  52. JP-
    April 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Dear Paul,
    I think your article is very useful.. I would like to have more info about the comparison IGI Vs GIA, because most of the diamonds I find are actually IGI. I am going to purchase one diamond in the coming days and I would like to have the right knowledge for comparing an IGI diamond Vs. GIA. I see you are mentioning that “Typically, clarity and color grades of EGL/IGI diamonds are off by at least 2-3 ratings if the same diamond was to be graded by GIA or AGS instead”. Is this applicable to both a D color or J color? Is this applicable to both IF and VS2? Is this gap reduced for “high quality” diamonds?
    Thanks

  53. Paige-
    May 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Came across your interesting article after a jeweler mentioned the stones in my ring were cheap, when I took it to him for a repair on a broken prong. 🙁 I went home and looked at my appraisal and now almost 18 years later I am thinking maybe the report isn’t even real. AGL is the company, downtown Los Angeles in the jewelry district. I just checked and the jeweler is still in business, but this must have been an in-house appraiser? Thier website says now they use EGLUSA, but even that website says to verify a report there is a number, which my report does not have. Do you recommend we go back to that jeweler and ask what is up? My ring is insured, so the insurance company accepted the report, it’s just not detailed like the modern reports I see online now. Any advice?

  54. Paul Gian-
    May 14, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I doubt you can find any recourse to a diamond bought 18 years ago. Of course, you can try bringing it in and see what they say. Ultimately, what do you want knowing that the diamonds this company aren’t certified by a reliable lab?

  55. Werner-
    June 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Hi Paul – Thank you very much for your excellent webpage, it has helped me a lot to make my decision for a beautiful diamond.
    Just one question – I have come across a diamond cert lab called “IGL”. You have not mentioned them here. What is your opinion about them? Thanks a lot, Werner

  56. Paul Gian-
    June 19, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Any labs that isn’t GIA or AGS is going to be unreliable in terms of their grading standards. It’s really that simple.

  57. Jason-
    July 12, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Hi Paul,

    Is blue Nile a legit source to purchase diamonds from? They seem to carry gia certified diamonds, and would their price point be a good gauge to look at? Thank you.

  58. Paul Gian-
    July 12, 2016 at 5:58 am

    They are legit but they may not offer sufficient information on their diamond listings.

  59. Yessy-
    July 14, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I live in Indonesia. Do you by any chance know any jewelers that can appraise my diamond ring? Thanks for the help

  60. Paul Gian-
    July 15, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I don’t have reliable contacts or people to recommend in Indonesia. Sorry!

  61. JRM-
    July 22, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Hi, Paul. Thank you for the wonderful service and insight you provide to readers.

    Curious about online retailer Natalie Diamonds, which sells diamonds certified by UGI. I cannot find any information online about UGI, so my automatic assumption is that this is dubious and these diamonds should be avoided. But I would like to know if you have even heard of UGI and have any opinion(s).

    Thank you.

  62. Paul Gian-
    July 23, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Yep. You are right. Avoid if you don’t want to get ripped off.

  63. Steph-
    August 4, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Paul, what do you think about an IGI diamond sold by James Allen? It scored under 2 when I used the HCA scale and the zoomed in picture on the James Allen website looks really nice. Does James Allen certify that the Depth %, Table %, etc. are accurate on the certificate?

  64. Paul Gian-
    August 5, 2016 at 12:50 am

    James Allen does not certify anything nor does IGI. I can tell you that the depth and table readings will be accurate (like the carat weight reading). Those are scanned by a machine in the labs. The ratings up for debate lies in color, clarity and cut.

  65. CHRISTINA CRUZ G.G-
    August 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    A little about me: I graduated from GIA IN 1990 and have been a practicing Gemologist since I was 18 years old at the Gemological Laboratory of America, Inc for over 14 years. I agree with most everything you stated. Although in my opinion IGI is in a higher class then EGL in terms of grading standards. GLA has the same standards in terms of diamond grading or colored gemstone identification as GIA. According to our records we have never been wrong and we have been tested alot. No law suits. We use to have an A rating for over 10 years with the BBB until we dropped them. Then they immediately issued us an “F” (very unfair). We use a Beverly Hills Marketplace Value due to our legal address so we get a bad wrap in terms of issuing high retail values but we do have to consider the jewelers overhead cost compared to a small town in Mississippi. I would like to point out though that you should discuss Flourescence with your followers because that is another way of getting a bad deal on a loose Diamond. The other major topic of discussion should be Synthetic Diamonds and Treated Diamonds. I will finish with a good word of advice. Make sure your Diamond has a gemological laboratory issued Laser Inscription on the Girdle. Thank you for making a great consumer advocacy spot on the web:)

  66. Cristal-
    September 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Paul,

    This is very insightful article. Thanks for sharing it.

    I am based in the UK, It would be great to have your opinion on the following Qs please:

    – Have you ever heard of Rox diamonds jeweller? if, so do you find this seller reliable?

    – As far as my research has gone, this one offers diamonds rings certified by GIA (according to their website), but to me the copy accessible online is quite unprofessional, e.i., see hyperlink below & click on “Diamond Report Issued by: GIA”, what do you think?
    http://www.rox.co.uk/yellow-diamond-radiant-halo-ring-1-30cts

    – Can you suggest me any reliable jewellers sellers of yellow diamonds by its-own or rings in the UK, please? also, is there any online seller which you trust at all?

    thanking you in advance

  67. Paul Gian-
    September 12, 2016 at 2:45 am

    I’ve never heard of Rox nor would I ever buy a colored diamond sight unseen. You are asking for trouble if you do that. I’ve recently bought a fancy yellow diamond ring for an anniversary ring myself here: http://beyond4cs.com/2016/08/cushion-cut-fancy-intense-yellow-diamond-engagement-ring/

    You can do a check on the authenticity of the report here: http://www.gia.edu/report-check

    Lastly, read this: http://beyond4cs.com/2016/01/best-online-diamond-retailers/

  68. Mark-
    October 31, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Paul, thanks for your article.
    I found a most excellent looking diamond ring on ebay which is certified by NYGL (NEW YORK GEMOLOGICAL LABORATORY).
    http://www.nyglab.com/
    It is S13, cut Very Good, total 1 ct.
    Seller has 30 day money back return policy. Perhaps I can have local jeweler confirm during that time.
    Any advice on how to proceed?

  69. Paul Gian-
    October 31, 2016 at 3:57 am

    All signs point to getting a good rip off.

  70. Woody Chen-
    December 9, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I wouldnt say all EGL gradings are bad/waaay off…

    Here’s my personal experience:
    1. EGL South Africa’s diamond reports are very close to GIA South Africa reports

    2. EGL HK rated diamonds are rated horribly, saw an 1ct H VS2 EGLHK had the same color as my DIA 1ct K SI1

    3. GIA also cant be trusted, saw a couple GIA India gradings from 2015 to now with very bad grading…compared to GIA SA or GIA US, the color was off by 1 or 2 (H looked like an I), and so was the clarity (VS2 same as S2)

    Most of the diamonds that were rated badly, either from EGL HK or GIA India, were mostly seen in China’s market, not sure if thats were all the crappy diamonds go but really changed my view on GIA…even they can be inconsistent.

  71. Liz-
    December 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks Paul for the informative article – I have some friends I know I will be sending it to! Most jewellers I’ve seen that push for IGI usually are scamming you in some way. It has happened to people I know (not me because I refuse to buy non-GIA) where they purchased a G VVS1 that turned out to be an I VS1 when re-certified via GIA! I would rather pay a bit more and know what I am paying for.

  72. Robert sr Tyrrell-
    December 27, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    You can send the exact same stone to two or more labs GIA GRS AIG etc and STILL get different reports from each one. Different clarity color and polish descriptions. Luster is truly still A MATTER OF OPINION ONLY. MONEY is what drives EVERY Lab. Some will even give you fancy names like “Royal blue”,” Pigeons blood red”. The GIA has actually created more problems than it solves. Grubin is fairly accurate but there again Money drives their agenda. The SOLE duty of a GEMOLOGICAL laboratory is to physically examine the gem using scientific equipment, release an informed discovery. You won’t get ANY actual test results or readings even in a detailed report. A Origin report should be and include an electron microscope scan for trace elements related to a specific region. EVER GET THE SCAN RESULTS with your report? Chances are if you are a large account having many stones graded per month /yr you will get better grades than should be given. and a fancy color description.Labs should NOT be in marketing. That’s the jewelers job. DIAMONDS are NOT RARE or even valuable. Until the viscious DeBeers campaign of 1946 MOST DIAMONDS were ground up for industrial purposes. Through Plate tectonic volcanism The earth creates metric tons of diamonds annually. WalMart sells diamonds. A 1ct GIA cert’d SI (You can see the dirt/inclusions) J-K color yellow grey. Is approx $2k wholesale. If it were ANY other gem of EQUALLY HORRIBLE GRADE You couldn’t give away for $20 on EBay..

  73. Suzy smith-
    January 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Hi
    Recently I chipped my diamond engagement ring it had a IGI certificate. It has now been replaced with a GIA certificated diamond. I am not sure if it has been replaced with a like for like diamond as my diamond was brought from a well known Jewellers and the one they replaced it from is a lower graded jewellers. My original diamond with the IGI certificate was:
    Pear shaped natural diamond, .56, measured 7.24-4.89 x 2.81 mm, VVS1, grade D, finish very good/good, cutlet Pointed, bridle thin to medium(faceted). The new diamond is GIA Certificated shape cut pear brilliant, measures 7.10 x 4.80 x 2.90 mm, .59, VVS1, D,

  74. Paul Gian-
    January 26, 2017 at 5:42 am

    With pear shapes, it’s hard to tell if its a “like for like”. There are too many details that goes into cut quality and light performance. In terms of the clarity and color ratings, GIA is definitely a lab I would trust over IGI.

  75. Heather Davis-
    January 29, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Gubelin gem lab in Europe is outstanding as well as CGL in Vancouver. HRD is also highly reliable. GIA and AGS may be the most well known labs but check out these others. I deal with all of these on a regular basis as a gemologist/appraiser. Their researchers have published peer-reviewed scientific articles and are reputable. I just have to say that recently I looked at an appraisal from the writer of one of your previous posts (an LA area-based lab) and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. One of my clients gave me a faceted, opaque ’emerald’ for appraisal, accompanied by her paperwork and the written valuation was $66,612.00 USD from this gem lab. I found comparables online for less than $1500 USD, same range of 1000 cts weight, inclusions, etc. Consumers PLEASE do your homework and research before buying…Some of these are mere paperweights and just because the paper is laminated and stamped, doesn’t mean it isn’t inflated and bogus. A lab report issued at point of sale should never–I repeat NEVER–have a valuation written. Otherwise, it is simply a seller’s tool.

  76. Howard Flanagan-
    February 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Hi,
    I’m looking to purchase a ring and the seller uses a lab to grade the diamond called NYGL or New York gemologist laboratory which they also claim to be an GIA graduate gemologist. Have you ever heard of this lab before and/or does it seem legit?

  77. Paul Gian-
    February 21, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Nope. I’ve never heard of this lab. I can tell you this – even if I’m a trained GIA graduate gemologist who’s shopping for an engagement ring, I won’t ever buy a diamond that isn’t graded by GIA or AGS. That speaks alot.

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