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.
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.
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.
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.
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.