Fancy Colored Diamonds – GIA vs. EGL

gia vs egl colored diamonds

Diamonds Exist In All Types of Colors

Question: I’ve read some of your articles about the reliability of grading labs and I found them to be very informative. I know you would recommend GIA/AGS over EGL/IGI grading reports when it comes to “white” diamonds.

However, what about colored diamonds? I looked at my local store and found a nice looking fancy yellow diamond graded by EGL. Do the same “lax” standards apply for fancy colored diamonds too? 

Answer: In my opinion, GIA is the most respected lab when it comes to grading fancy colored diamonds. It’s no coincidence that the most valuable diamonds are always sent to the GIA lab and when it returns to the jeweler, they can charge a rightful premium on the stone.

For the other diamonds that goes to EGL/IGI, why do you think the jeweler would send them there? Well, I can tell you this – the choice of labs where diamonds get graded isn’t random. Diamonds are sent to be graded at EGL/IGI so that the jeweler gets a “bumped” grading report which allows him to sell the stone at better prices.

When it comes to fancy colored diamonds, the main factor that determines value and price is color. For example, you can expect a huge price jump for a faint pink to a fancy vivid pink diamond. Also if the diamond has a secondary color in it, the value of the diamond also changes. For example, a fancy brownish pink diamond have lesser value that a fancy pink diamond.

comparing prices of pink diamonds with different hues

Hue and saturation is the primary price decider in fancy colored diamonds


price comparison of colored diamonds

An intense yellow diamond costs significantly less than the pinks –

Since you had read my article on the differences between the grading labs, you would have known that EGL is really the “jeweler’s friend” and GIA is the “consumer’s friend”. The same exact stone submitted to GIA and EGL for grading would most likely come back showing different grades.

Stick with GIA. They are the industry leaders when it comes to objective grading of colored diamonds. When you are laying down a substantial amount of money on the table, you want to make sure you are paying the right amount for the quality you are getting.

Hey Paul,

It’s mike here. Thanks for answering my query and sharing your knowledge with the rest of the online community. My wife loves the diamond even though I told her about the potential lax grading that the diamond might have.

After reading your reply, I have my reservations on the diamond but my wife would be the decision maker on this. Is there any advice you can offer me to protect myself if I were to go ahead and make the purchase?

Mike S.

Hi Mike,

My best advice for you is to insist on a GIA grading report. You might want to request the jeweler to send the diamond to GIA to be graded. In such scenarios, you would usually be required to make a deposit on the diamond. Of course, this would incur a slight additional cost since there are grading fees and transportation fees involved. It is best to negotiate and get some of the following points down in writing.

1) If the diamond comes back with a GIA report that states the specifications to be similar to the current EGL report, I think it would only be fair for you to pick up the shipping fees and grading expenses. The jeweler shouldn’t bear the additional costs of an additional GIA grading of the diamond.

2) If it doesn’t come back as such; Color grading grossly inflated, diamond shows signs of artificial treatment and etc…, you should be entitled to a full refund and that the jeweler should pay the additional costs of the GIA grading. Of course, if you are still deeply interested in the diamond, the GIA report would be leverage for you to negotiate a better price for the diamond.

Hope this helps.

When buying fancy colored diamonds, choosing the right jeweler is the key to making a successful purchase. has more than 1,400+ GIA graded diamonds of different shapes and colors. More importantly, they have upclose 360˚ videos which enable you to see exactly what you will get.

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  1. Forest-
    October 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I understand that blue fluorescence might sometimes cause issues in white diamonds. However, when it comes to fancy colored stones, does fluorescence matter?

  2. Paul-
    October 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Hmmm, it depends on the nature of the fluorescence and there isn’t really a hard and fast answer on this.

    For example, in fancy yellow stones, a strong yellow fluorescence might actually improve the intensity of the color in the diamond. This ADDs value to the gemstone.

    On the other hand, if the yellow diamond exhibits a blue fluorescence, it might actually depreciate the value of the stone as it makes the diamond looks whiter.

    When it comes to colored stones, we want them to have an intense color as much as possible.


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