unreliable diamond grading labs to avoid

Is the diamond grading report (certificate) reliable?

For most American consumers, you probably trust that the food you eat every day 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 often involve large sums of money!

If you are a novice shopper, your best form of assurance comes via grading reports issued by gemological 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 reasons to unsuspecting customers by claiming it costs more to send the diamond to GIA or that you are “buying a diamond and not a piece of paper”.

The sales pitch by the jeweler will usually go like this: “Since both GIA and EGL diamonds are rated with the same grades, why would you pay more for a GIA diamond just for a piece of paper? You will get a bigger discount if you bought a non-GIA diamond instead.”

As an insider to the industry, let me be absolutely clear that the choice of lab reports used is based on careful decisions to manipulate profits. The fact is, it is not expensive to certify a diamond at a reliable lab GIA or AGS (fyi, it’s only about $100 for a 1ct diamond).

The real reason why a jeweler is pushing you towards a non-GIA diamond is to bank on your stupidity and to rip you off. On the surface, you are seemingly getting a better deal for a diamond that’s rated highly by EGL. But the truth is, you are buying a diamond with far lesser quality at higher prices!

And that’s why unethical jewelers want to sell diamonds with questionable EGL or in-house reports.

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…

diamond certificate report issued by egl round diamond

EGL’s grading report is unreliable and you cannot trust the grades.

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 diamonds with these grading reports in jewelry stores.

Typically, clarity and color grades of EGL/IGI diamonds are off by at least 2-4 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 S11 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 is of significantly lower quality than it is described to be. In fact, if you foolishly buy the EGL diamond, you are going to be overpaying for inferior quality!

Why You End Up Paying More With An Obscure 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 have 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.

Now, I want to show you how grossly inaccurate the grades of an EGL diamond can be. The 1 carat diamond below was graded as a VS2 by EGL and the inclusions under the table stand out like a sore thumb.

egl loose grading standards scam

How did this diamond receive a VS2 rating with obvious inclusions like these?

This is s a sham and you don’t need to be a professional to see that there is something wrong here. 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, the diamond can be “magically” transformed into a K color SI1 simply by slapping an in-house report that “certifies” it to be of higher quality.

Suddenly, this diamond looks a lot more appealing to unwary customers!

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 200,000 GIA certified loose diamonds, James Allen and Blue Nile are the ideal places 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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  1. Fabio-
    November 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I was looking through your article on the differences in diamond grading labs while doing some research on your website. Basically, I had shortlisted a princess cut diamond that is certified by EGL at a local jeweler.

    It is an E color, VS2, 1.34 carat diamond with slight fluorescence. In your article, you mentioned that clarity and color grading might probably be 1-3 grades lower if GIA/AGS had graded the same diamond. What about the grading for fluorescence? Are they lenient on this as well?

    Are there are differences in grading standards used by GIA, AGS and EGL when assessing diamonds for fluorescence?

  2. Paul Gian-
    November 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    That’s a very good question. Fluorescence is a common property found in the majority of polished diamonds (estimated to be around 30% of supply) and directly affects value.

    Like the generous grading for clarity and color, I think it is highly possible for an EGL diamond with faint fluorescence to be graded as a medium fluorescence. However, it is unlikely that the diamond would jump 3 notches to be rated with very strong fluorescence.

    While faint fluorescence has little impact on a diamond’s price, you should note that medium or stronger fluorescence would drive the diamond’s value down. Personally, I would stay away from diamonds graded by EGL because of the ‘questionable’ certification that comes along with them.

    Now, if you are still thinking about going into a deal that will likely result in you getting ripped off, the least you could do is to make sure the jeweler has a good return policy and get all the details down in writing.

    After buying the diamond, bring it down to a 3rd party appraiser/gemologist to get it examined. This way, you will get an unbiased 2nd opinion on the diamond and take things from there.

    The smarter alternative is to completely avoid EGL diamonds and buy only GIA or AGS graded diamonds. It will save you alot of heartache down the road.

  3. 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?

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

    If you are based in Singapore, this link should help: https://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.

  5. 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

  6. 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…

  7. 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?

  8. 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.


    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.

  9. 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..)

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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:

  13. May 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

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

  14. 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?

  15. Paul Gian-
    July 25, 2015 at 8:48 am

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

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

    What are your thoughts on GCAL grading reports? Trustworthy?

  17. 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.

    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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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.

    And FYI, this EGL diamond here was rated as a VS2 clarity and I disagree with it. Feel free to click on the image to enlarge the photograph for clearer view.

    diamond grading scams

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

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


    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?

  27. 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: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/leo-diamond/

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


    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?

  29. 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.


    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.

  30. 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!

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

    All you are getting is a giant rip off.


    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.

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


    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?).

  33. 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.

  34. 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.


  35. 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?


  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. 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

  40. Paul Gian-
    February 15, 2016 at 2:22 am
  41. 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?

  42. 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?

  43. 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.

  44. 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?

  45. 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?


  46. 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.

  47. 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!



  48. 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.

  49. 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)…


  50. 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.

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


    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!


  52. 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.

  53. 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?

  54. 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?

  55. 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?

  56. 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

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

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

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

  60. 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

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

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

  62. 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.

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

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

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

    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:)

  67. 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?

    – 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

  68. 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: https://beyond4cs.com/fancy-colored/cushion-cut-fancy-intense-yellow-diamond-engagement-ring/

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

    Lastly, read these links:

  69. 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).
    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?

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

    All signs point to getting a good rip off.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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..

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

    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,

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

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

    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?

  78. 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.

  79. Abby-
    March 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    We are currently looking to purchase a diamond, and our jeweler/broker offers both GIA and IGI certified diamonds. He explained to us that the IGI diamonds are typically overrated (i.e. G color by IGI could be an I color by GIA. S12 clarity by IGI could be an I1 grade by GIA.). We believe he is trustworthy and will be upfront with us in giving an honest IGI/GIA comparison and a fair price. If he shares that the diamond would not receive as good of ratings with a GIA certification and prices it according to those lower ratings, would you say we could purchase an IGI diamond?

    For example, can I be comfortable with an E, VVS2 IGI diamond, knowing that GIA would have only given it a G, VS2 (and being happy with the G, VS2 diamond)? Does that make sense?

    Thank you!

  80. Paul Gian-
    March 8, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Nope. That explanation sounds exactly like what I would warn readers about. If the vendor is selling GIA diamonds, why are you even considering IGI diamonds from him? The problem here lies in the true quality of the diamond being a question mark and let me tell you, if the jeweler could sell the same exact diamond with a GIA report, he would have sent that to GIA for grading. It’s a game jewelers play and the odds are in their favor you come out of it with the short end.

  81. Jessica-
    March 9, 2017 at 12:50 am

    So I recently had my EGL certified diamond reset with two new sapphires. The jeweler that did the new ring has informed me that the EGL cert isn’t accurate. EGL: color H and clarity VS2 and by GIA standards it is J in color and SI1 in clarity. The girdle thickness is also represented as medium when it’s actually slightly thick to thick. That seems significant. What do I do now?

  82. Paul Gian-
    March 9, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Get a refund from whom you bought the diamond from if you are still in the return period. If it’s way beyond that, go back to the jeweler you purchased from and asked to be upgraded to a GIA diamond. Either way, be prepared to take a loss because jewelers who are sell EGL diamonds are out to rip people off and chances are, you won’t get the problem resolved that easily.

  83. Truman-
    April 5, 2017 at 2:55 am

    What a heavy load of propaganda. IGI & the other labs this person dissed are just as capable grading a diamond exactly the same way GIA and all the others grade their stones. The more the slander is slung the more people repeat it, hoping they sound like they know what they are talking about. Afterall, if you pay 2 or 3 times more for a diamond report then it must be better right?
    GIA is for sale, eg. When they said Paraiba tourmaline are also from Africa. Paraiba is a place in Brasil. Those tourmaline go for a lot of money per carat, and the source in Brasil was limited, beautiful and sold for a whole lot of money. Need I say more? Why couldn’t the African blue tourmaline get its own name? My opinion of GIA changed that day. I guess that’s business, which is to loop to the beginning of my comment, let’s put the other labs down to prop up the bloated over priced political GIA institute.

  84. Paul Gian-
    April 5, 2017 at 5:24 am

    If that’s what you so strongly believe in, by all means go out and buy all the available EGL diamonds in the market. After all, they are at a “discount” to GIA graded diamonds right? Go grade them for yourself and try selling them to another jeweler. Technically, you should be able to make tons of money from the price difference since GIA is so wrong and “overpriced”.

    Let me tell you it isn’t GIA diamonds that are pricey. It’s because the diamonds from the other labs are overgraded for their material properties.

  85. Troy Langlais-
    May 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Really appreciate your information! Do you have any information on GSL as a lab?

  86. Paul Gian-
    May 5, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Nope. There are too many labs that claim to be “independent” and “accurate” in the industry. 99.99% of them aren’t. If you don’t want to get ripped off in a purchase and want to know exactly what you are buying, stick with only GIA and AGS. They are your assurance of accurate grading. It’s as simple as that.

  87. Alex-
    October 30, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I recently have seen reports from a lab I had never heard of before. It’s called IGA Labs (not GIA nor IGI). Wondering if they are reputable or some crap lab that is trying to confuse people by using the same letters as GIA. Here is their site:

  88. Paul Gian-
    October 31, 2017 at 3:34 am

    As I mentioned, if you want to buy diamonds that aren’t graded by GIA or AGS, expect to get ripped off and overpay. It’s as simple as that.

  89. Ralph-
    November 22, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Is the GGL lab a phony outfit? I’ve seen stones on eBay certified by them but I’ve never heard of them and when I look them up on google they sound rather “fishy”.

  90. Paul Gian-
    November 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    They are definitely NOT a reliable lab I would trust when making an expensive purchase. As I had mentioned in the write up above and I will restate: BUY ONLY GIA OR AGS GRADED DIAMONDS. That’s for your own good and prevents abuse.

  91. Jacky-
    February 19, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I’m looking for an oval diamond – seems like there are fewer labs that properly certify these. What would you recommend? I’m also considering a lab grown diamond from Brilliant Earth, which are either certified by IGI or GCAL. What are your thoughts on this?

  92. Paul Gian-
    February 20, 2018 at 6:59 am

    With lab grown diamonds, IGI would be the better gemological lab that grades them on a commercial scale. If you are buying a natural diamond, I don’t see a lack of GIA graded stones, so I’m not sure what you mean by fewer labs that “certify these”.

    This link should help: https://beyond4cs.com/lab-created-diamonds/

  93. louise-
    February 27, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Hello sir,

    Thank you so much for all these informations .

    I have to chose between these two diamonds. what is your advice ? and how can I change the creterias to get the best balance between size/4C and the price?

    Round Brilliant Diamond 0.35 cts E VS 1 GIA Certified, with laser inscription.
    Cut: Excelllent Polish: Very Good Symmetry: Excellent Fluorescence : None

    And a second one :
    Round Brilliant Diamond 0.34 cts E VS 1 IGI Certified, with laser inscription.
    Cut: Excelllent Polish: Very Good Symmetry: very good Fluorescence : None

    The second one is 100 dollars cheaper

  94. Paul Gian-
    February 28, 2018 at 2:24 am

    Neither. Both are not ideal choices and why would you be forced to choose between these 2 mediocre options? It’s silly.

  95. Loanne Pham-
    March 19, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I purchased a 1.36 carat diamond that was graded by DGL lab for $8,000 from an Asian store in San Jose, CA. Have you ever heard about this lab?
    It has inscription in the stone, the measurement is 7.17×7.2×4.23 mm. Clarity VVSI, Color E. Ultraviolet Fluorescence- None.
    After reading many of your comments, I am thinking about returning this. Please advise!
    Thank you,


  96. Paul Gian-
    March 20, 2018 at 1:22 am

    I can tell you it is not a reliable grading report and you most likely overpaid for a misrepresented diamond.

  97. Angela-
    May 17, 2018 at 12:25 am

    I’ve heard that a diamond graded by GIA can be different over seas like in Vietnam vs the US. I was comparing prices and a sales associate said to be weary of the GIA certificate especially if it’s coming from overseas. I researched the laser inscription on the GIA website and it seemed fine to me. Have you ever heard of this?

  98. Paul Gian-
    May 17, 2018 at 2:54 am

    There’s no official GIA lab in Vietnam and its a scam if someone claims or says anything about GIA diamonds graded in Vietnam. So, whoever has been feeding you the bullshit and misinformation about diamonds being graded in Vietnam is outright misleading you.

    Secondly, GIA is consistent. Regardless of diamonds being graded in New York or Thailand or Hong Kong in the OFFICIAL labs, the results are consistent. So, again, someone is feeding you the wrong information.

  99. Feby-
    December 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Are you familiar with GRS (Gem Research Swiss) Lab by any chance? How trustworthy is a report from GRS compared with GIA and AGS? What about the differences between GIA and AGS as well? I’ve heard rumours that AGS is less strict.

    Thanks in advance!

  100. Paul Gian-
    December 27, 2018 at 2:57 am

    No, I never heard of them. I personally will NEVER trust a lab that isn’t GIA or AGS. And that coming from a professional who is trained to grade diamonds should say alot. I’ve actually written a piece that compares GIA vs AGS here. Spolier*: their grading standards are on par.

  101. Eunice C-
    January 3, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Hi Paul,

    Greetings and Happy New Year! I’m going slightly off the diamond topic here. I’m interested in an Alexandrite that I’m contemplating with caution to buy. It is around 1.3ct, has rather a strong colour change from olive green to brownish-red for an equivalent of USD $780.

    I’m looking for a reliable and accurate gem testing lab in Malaysia, there is the Global Gemological Lab (GGL) that tests gemstones. However, while scrolling through the comments I’m now apprehensive on both the purchase of the stone and the lab test as I do not want to be ripped off by both ‘capitalistic’ parties. Are there any reliable testing labs for Alexandrites that you know of? Thanks.


  102. Paul Gian-
    January 4, 2019 at 3:19 am

    Unfortunately, I’m not an expert with Alexandrites and I don’t want to offer advice that I’m not certain about. Sorry!

  103. NAV-
    February 25, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Hey Paul,

    what about Canadian diamonds. Out here there are companies that sell Arctic Canadian Diamonds, and when asked about the report, they come with the Canadian Diamond Certificate, how does that compare up against the GIA standards? Thanks

  104. Paul Gian-
    February 26, 2019 at 12:22 am

    They are not a report I would trust and I will say this again, you should never buy a diamond without a GIA or AGS report if you don’t want to get ripped off. If you are looking for diamonds with Canadia origins, there are proper ones with reliable grading reports.


  105. VB-
    May 7, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the excellent report and write up. I am inquiring because i just purchased a diamond ring from an auction that has both an appraisal report from AIGL – American International Gemological Laboratories Inc out of Los Angeles, CA and it also comes with a GIA Report. The GIA report does not come with any value associated with it but the description is matched by the appraisal report. Of course, with all the reading above, I am super concerned that I overpaid despite the attached GIA report which I was able to locate my report on GIA — so that is authentic.

    Have you heard of AIGL? I am likely going to take the piece of jewelry and bring it to a local appraiser for a second opinion but to your point, there are a ton of scams out there. I trusted the purchase because of the appraisal report but mostly because the GIA report was also attached to it.

  106. Paul Gian-
    May 7, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Unfortunately I have never heard of AIGL and that is likely an appraisal report that they provided you with. The saving grade for your purchase is that the center diamond IS graded by GIA and that should give you assurance of what the diamond’s quality is. As for prices that you paid, I’m not sure how to gauge it given the lack of information in your comment but you should be able to get a rough feel of costs by searching for similar diamonds at Blue Nile or James Allen.

    May 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    You are correct. I bought a 2.40 round diamond for $4500 color is E, clarity is SI2 cut is very good. They provided me with this Antwerp Intl Gemological Lab report D90442328IL. My concern is nobody has heard of this AIG laboratories. Do they exist?

  108. Paul Gian-
    May 15, 2019 at 4:08 am

    It doesn’t matter whether they exist or not. What I can tell you is that your diamond is going to be far WORSE than an E color and SI2 clarity if it were graded by GIA.

  109. spiro andritsis-
    May 31, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Wow, for making your living in the jewelry industry you have no problem bashing the industry with “ripoff” and “misrepresented reports”. all over the place. The GIA and AGA lab reports sell at a premium while EGL and other reports are discounted for the difference in grading. Everyone in the business knows this including you. You act like any jeweler selling lab reports other than GIA and AGS are cheating people and that may not even be close to the truth. Reading though these comments shows you have everyone terrified. The truth is as you say, GIA certed goods are most definetly graded to a higher standard, but 90% of all jewelers are not selling EGL certed goods at the same price as GIA certified goods. Many jewelers sell both and explain the difference, and therein lies the rest of the story. All jewelers are not bad guys waiting to rip people off with lessor quality goods,

  110. Paul Gian-
    June 1, 2019 at 7:53 am

    I’m going to assume you are a non trade person and don’t know how the industry works. So, get this. I don’t sell jewelry and I have no skin in the game except to protect the consumer interests. Also, the scumbags who sell EGL certified diamonds are out to rip consumers off. It’s as simple as that. You claim their prices are lower and cheaper. The fact is, they are selling inferior stones at perceived “lower prices” when the TRUE GIA graded diamonds for that kind of inferior diamonds sell for less.

  111. spiro andritsis-
    June 1, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been in the industry for over 40 years and I know exactly how the industry works. I have traveled the world buying diamonds. In your world only Bentley should be sold and all the inferior models should be scraped. Hey Paul EGL certified goods sell 40 to 50 back of Rap while GIA certed goods only sell at about 18 to 30 back so yes EGL is substantially less. If you just said that buying the GIA cert is a more prudent choice especially when “cost” is not a factor, then so be it and I would agree; but to claim anyone selling EGL certed diamonds is a crook is reckless and untrue. If you said EGL certs are typically graded1 to 2 grades higher than they would be at the GIA , I would agree. Hopefully one day soon all stones will be graded by machine and the issue will resolve itself.

  112. Paul Gian-
    June 2, 2019 at 2:10 am

    In my world, Bentleys are sold as Bentleys and they command the premium for performance/branding. In my world, Toyotas get sold as Toyotas for a lower price and good utility. That’s perfectly fine. I like both Toyotas and Bentleys.

    In my world, I call salesmen who misrepresent Toyotas as Bentleys to be A**holes and scumbags for the consumer who doesn’t know better. That’s the case with EGL diamonds. Just having a paper certificate claiming a Toyota to be as good as a Bentley or Ferrari and saying that their performance and quality is the same is an outright scam. Just look at the number of lawsuits flying around over EGL diamonds.

    So, tell me, why would a jeweler choose to get a diamond graded by EGL instead of getting it accurately represented by GIA? There’s only one reason. To misrepresent the diamond to the consumer and for better marketability of the stone. And I’m putting that on the record. Jewelers who sell EGL diamonds DO KNOW what they are doing and they aren’t doing it in the interest of the consumer. So, anyone dealing with EGL diamonds gets onto my blacklist immediately. Of course, one could argue that these jewelers don’t know better about EGL diamonds and I give you that. But that’s just another reason for consumers to stay away. There’s no way I would ever deal with a jeweler who doesn’t even know the basics in the industry.

    It’s good riddance that Rapnet decided to outright ban these diamonds from getting traded and effectively putting EGL out of business.

  113. DLF-
    June 12, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you for your informative articles! We recently returned from a cruise to Cozumel, where my husband purchased a 1.01 carat CCRMB diamond from the Diamonds International store there. He was provided with a report by GHI Gemological Laboratory, together with an appraisal report by JGA. I haven’t seen reference to this lab in any of the posts. Are you familiar with GHI, and if so, your thoughts? Also, your thoughts on the reputation of Diamonds International?

  114. Paul Gian-
    June 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    You just got scammed and ripped off. Sorry, you have to hear it from me and the bearer of bad news. And it isn’t just you. There are plenty of naive customers who had been in the same shoes as you. There are plenty of lawsuits flying between clients and these companies. A simple Google search would have reviewed many horror stories.

  115. Jin-
    July 5, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Paul,
    How reliable is GS (Gem Scan) Laboratories in your opinion?

    Weight: 0.9 ct.
    Clarity: I-1
    Colour: G
    Cut: Very Good

    With 18k white gold halo setting I was quoted $5,000 CAD.
    Does this sound like a fair deal?

    Thank you

  116. Paul Gian-
    July 6, 2019 at 3:02 am

    If you had read any of the page or comments here, you won’t be asking this question. It’s a terrible deal.

  117. Adrian-
    October 23, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Hi Paul, first of all, thank you for the information. And as a background, I bought a GIA certified diamond from a jeweller. The jeweller also offered (for free, though I think he would have included into the final price) a Sarine light report.

    Is the Sarine light report reliable? I read about what you wrote on Sarine and how their equipments are being used extensively in the industry for grading purposes.

    Comparing the Sarine Light Report to ASET or Idealscope, will it be comparable?

  118. Paul Gian-
    October 23, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    The Sarine light report offers an analysis of the diamond under strong lighting conditions (much like a GEMEX report which offers analysis of the diamond under extreme LED spotlights). It’s a good to have but not one that I would rely on to make an analysis. The ASET/Idealscope provides data on discerning cut precision as well as light return. The Sarine light report doesn’t do that. If you are buying a super ideal cut diamond where precision is important, then the Sarine report is not useful.

  119. Tim-
    April 25, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Hey Paul

    First off, thanks so much for this website and everything you’ve shared. It’s become my go-to as I go about my search for an engagement ring. Thank you.

    I’m looking to get a lab-diamond from James Allen but they only offer certifications by IGI, GCAL and GSI. Reading through all the comments, it seems like IGI is the lesser of evils but still a poor choice. Specifically for lab grown diamonds, would you have any advice on this? Seems like my choices are limited and James Allen seems like as legit a site for lab diamonds as possible.

    Much appreciated!

  120. Paul Gian-
    April 26, 2020 at 8:56 am

    For lab grown diamonds, IGI and GCAL are the only ones that grade on a commercial scale. GIA doesn’t do it on a massive scale because of political reasons (hint* they don’t want to offend natural diamond clienteles.)

    I would shop within the GCAL diamonds as they offer an “ASET-like” analysis. With IGI stones, you can still find well cut diamonds and using the videos for analysis if you have experience. Most first time shoppers don’t. So, go with GCAL as the first choice.

  121. Peter-
    August 21, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Hi Paul,

    Bought some earrings for the wife. The seller included an AIG report. 0.5 ct, color F, VVS1-VVS2 and very good cut.
    The earrings were not very expensive, but when I received them they look very ugly through my Triplet.
    Verified the report and to my surprise, the report looked different on the verification site of AIG.
    I don’t know much about diamonds, but in my world, an authentication report should always look exactly the way it was produced. The report I received was obviously not the one I could see on the verification site of AIG.

    I can send them back and I will. I have contacted AIG on this matter. No word back yet.

  122. Paul Gian-
    August 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Well, looks like you’ve been ripped off. First of all, AIG is not a reliable grading report but that doesn’t seem to the most problematic thing in your purchase. The fact that you were sold VVS1-VVS2 diamonds meant that you should NOT be able to see any inclusions even under a 10X loupe. Looks like you are dealing with a scammmer and going to AIG will not help you out in anyway. Get in touch with your payment processor (i.e. Mastercard or Visa) or contact the intermediary in which you purchased the diamond earrings on. If you dealt directly with the seller, well, then good luck and treat this as a lesson learnt.

  123. David-
    March 10, 2021 at 12:50 am

    I just recently purchased a lab diamond from Brilliant Earth, and up sold myself to get the GIA certification with number laser in the diamond.. It was a 1.61 D, VVS1, ideal cut. GIA is now doing lab diamonds because they have to as everyone is buying them. The diamond I bought was $6890, that same earth diamond is about $23K. Why would you not buy a lab diamond? You can’t really protect the consumer without telling them lab diamonds graded by GIA is the best deal period. You are just throwing away money on an earth diamond. The price of lab diamonds will stay the same or increase overt time while earth diamonds will start to drop in price. I can’t see it going any other way.

  124. dorina-
    March 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Firstly, EGL is NOT an “obscure” diamond grading institution. Second, the one carat or so size of average engagement diamond renders a one or two grade difference undetectable. NO ONE WILL NOTICE, except the owner and a jeweler-or unless all of your friends walk around with a jeweler’s loupe. Third, the average engagement ring will never, ever resell for as much as a customer paid for it. Unless it’s a large and EXCEPTIONAL stone or has a famous provenance, it’s almost never a great investment. Fourth, buying a diamond engagement ring is not rocket science. People work themselves up in a frenzy for no reason. Decide on a budget, learn about the four Cs, shop around for a ring you love at a reputable jeweler and don’t worry so much about getting “ripped off.”

  125. Paul Gian-
    March 11, 2021 at 8:24 am

    What you said is just a sure-fire way to get ripped off and overpaying for misrepresented diamonds. There’s a reason why some jewelers choose to use EGL reports while some others use GIA and let me tell you that it isn’t to give the consumer a “great deal”.

  126. Patrice-
    September 24, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your informative sharing here! Really appreciate it.

    Would love to seek your advice as I’m considering a lab-grown round diamond from James Allen but noticed that for ~1 caret, there is none that is graded by GIA/AGS. Only 1 I managed to find is 1.85 caret (that also fits ideal requirements for round diamonds).

    I know that you do not recommend graders besides GIA/AGS but would still love your inputs.

    Also, for non-True Hearts diamond, there is no provision of idealscope images. What are thoughts on purchasing diamonds without idealscope images?

    Thank you so much!

    Best regards,

  127. Terry Eng-
    September 27, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Do you still recommend only comparing natural diamonds that are GIA rated? Looking at James Allen site, there are numerous natural stones with IGI certifications and your site has recommended James Allen numerous times.

    for best deal and comparisons should I only consider GIA rated?

  128. Paul Gian-
    September 29, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    For lab grown diamonds, IGI and GCAL are fine. They are the only labs that perform lab grown diamond grading on a commercial scale. Hence, most cutting houses will send their diamonds to IGI. For GIA/AGS, they do perform grading for lab grown diamonds too but on a much smaller scale. At this point in time, only some select vendors will send their diamonds there as far as I know.

    Do you have links to the diamonds you are looking at? The videos at JA actually reveal a lot about cut quality if you have the experience to analyze them.

  129. Paul Gian-
    October 1, 2022 at 7:23 am

    For lab grown diamonds, IGI is the only viable company that does grading on a commercial scale at this point in time. GIA and AGS does lab grown stones too but these are on a minuscule level by some select cutting houses and diamond vendors. IGI is fine for lab made diamonds.

    For lab grown stones, JA is the best place to buy for a round cut stone. Their True Hearts selection is very well curated and you can see diamonds with strong light return and superb cut precision. More importantly, you can collaborate the analysis with the idealscope/h&a images they provide.

    If you need help with a selection or a 2nd opinion, let me know again.

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