HRD Diamond Certificates – Is This Antwerp Based Lab Reliable?

HRD lab Hoge Raad voor Diamant

Is HRD Reliable?

When you head out to buy diamonds, “certification” is probably one of the first few concepts you will be introduced to. For most people, it is very likely that you had come across the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) report since it is the most widely used grading service in the world.

In today’s economy, the diamond industry is a huge booming business with rising demand from affluent countries. This has spurred the growth of jewelry related services like diamond grading and appraisals.

Besides the GIA certificate, there is a myriad of gemological labs who offer “similar” grading services. I consider most of them to be dubious (e.g. EGL) while a small minority are actually decent outfits (e.g. AGS) worthy of your attention.

Outside Europe, one of the lesser known gemological lab is the HRD and you may occasionally come across a diamond graded by them. Within Europe, things are vastly different as HRD is considered a powerhouse in the industry. For this reason, I want to bring special focus onto them to offer you a quick insight and review.

A Short Overview of the History And the Features of HRD

Even though Belgium and the Netherlands are small countries (geographically), they are famous for their imports and exports in the diamond industry. In fact, did you know there are a number of heavyweight diamond businesses associated with these 2 countries?

Apart from Belgium based Rapaport Group and the De Beers (coincidentally a Dutch surname) cartel, HRD is also located in Belgium and has a Dutch name – Hoge Raad voor Diamant. When translated to English, HRD literally stands for the terms: High Diamond Council.

Founded in 1976, the HRD established itself as one of the top global laboratories when it comes to accurate grading services. In the European market, many in the trade consider the certifications issued by HRD as a direct alternative to GIA.

HRD’s Diamond Certification Lab complies with requirements laid out in “The International Rules for Grading Polished Diamonds” provided by IDC – Independent Diamond Council. That is, they follow worldwide practices that are proven and accepted by any distributor and buyer.

Are Reports by HRD Antwerp Trustworthy And Reliable?

As the paragraph above nicely outlines it, the HRD diamond certificates come from an authority that is well established in the trade. The reports are definitely not “less valuable” than their counterparts issued by GIA.

hrd institute of gemmology

Loose diamond securely sealed after its grading at HRD

HRD thrives in their system of anonymity and objectivity when they grade diamonds. Each and every diamond is supposedly assessed separately by a number of professionals to ensure accuracy. Also, the owner of the diamond is never made known to the graders and this helps prevent any potential conflict of interests.

HRD vs GIA – Which Lab is Stricter?

hrd diamond certificate

Based on my personal experience with both labs, HRD and GIA are pretty much on par in terms of color grading. When it comes to clarity grading, I find GIA to be a little stricter than HRD when assigning ratings on border line cases.

Let’s say a diamond sits on the border between a VS1 and a VS2 because of a small feather found near the girdle, GIA would assign this diamond to be VS2 while HRD might assign a VS1 grading. In my opinion, I think the slight variance is still acceptable since they are within 1 grade of each other.

In essence, HRD provides everything you would expect from a lab report: credibility, accuracy and secrecy. Accompanied with sheer professionalism and good ethics, I would call their grading work reliable and trustworthy.

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  1. Lynne Champion-
    October 20, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I have purchased a diamond ring which came with a certificate from the British Diamond Institute,Antwerp office. In your opinion is this a reputable lab?
    Regards, Lynne

  2. Paul Gian-
    October 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Nope. It’s not a reliable lab I would trust.

  3. Mariah-
    November 8, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Hi Paul,
    I deposited 25 % of the diamond price that came with HRD Certificate…..And 4 days later, I found some articles said HRD graded their diamonds not as strict as GIA and said I could get better diamond in the same price or cheaper price from GIA.
    I’ve been tried to researched some more about it but could not find anything, most of people in The US. bought their diamond with GIA, AGS, and EGL cert.instead.

    this is my diamond information :
    Brilliant 1.65 CT. , L Color, VS1 (Non fluorescence)
    Proportion, Polish, Symmetry : 3Excellent

    Measurement : 7.53 – 7.55 mm x 4.71 mm.
    Girdle Medium 4.0 % faceted
    Culet Pointed
    Total Depth 62.5%
    Total Width 56 %
    Crown height (b) 15.5% (34.9 deg)
    Pavilion Depth (a) 43.0% (40.8 deg)
    Length Halves Crown 50 %
    Length Halves Pavilion 75%
    Sum a&b 75.7 deg

    Jeweler said I could change to the diamond with GIA Cert. but he won’t give me the deposited back or will not put into to the new diamond (GIA) because I already picked out the diamond with HRD cert.

    What is your opinion on this diamond?
    Should I still stay with this one or change to the diamond with GIA Cert. instead ?

    Thank you.

  4. Paul Gian-
    November 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    First of all, you should have checked the policies the jeweler has before making a deposit. I find it surprising that your jeweler won’t let you use the deposit towards a new GIA diamond. At this point, it’s too late to withdraw any purchases now since your money has been locked in.

    Anyway, I would say HRD one of the better labs apart from AGS and GIA and this diamond does have decent proportions based on paper. Beyond that, there’s nothing more I can tell you about the diamond’s cut quality.

  5. Mohamed El Ashram-
    December 8, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Ur article above is very informative and decent. Thank you for your illustration.

    May I ask you what do you think about the IGI certification ? I live in Dubai and IGI are more spread out in this region (Asia and the Middle East). I know they are more laxed than GIA and HRD but can I still say that they are a reliable lab ?


  6. Paul Gian-
    December 9, 2016 at 4:14 am

    I don’t trust IGI as much as I do in GIA and HRD.

  7. Ambreen husain-
    June 25, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I am going for a 3 ct stone j color triple X on proportions. Should I go for GIA or HRD certified stone if I have a choice?

  8. Paul Gian-
    June 26, 2018 at 1:59 am

    Definitely GIA. Now, I do have to warn you that triple X really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. You need to look at details if you are looking for performance and best sparkle.

  9. corrine Tavares-
    February 21, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    hello i have a certificate EGL and on the comments at the bottom of the plastic card it says inscribed and then a number what does this mean please?

  10. Paul Gian-
    February 22, 2019 at 3:43 am

    It means that the number has been lasered on the diamond’s girdle for easier identification purposes. Also, an EGL certificate doesn’t bode well for your purchase due to its loose grading standards and blatant misrepresentation.

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