Tag Archives: GIA vs EGL

Is it safe to buy diamonds on eBay?

Is it safe to buy diamonds on eBay?  Yes, it is safe as long as you verify the eBay vendor you’re working with.  First make sure the vendor is “eBay Verified.”  Click on the user’s name and when you get to that user’s profile you should see a check mark next to the User ID.  This means the user is ID Verified, and eBay has confirmed the user to be a legitimate person and/or company.

Contact the Vendor:  Email the vendor and ask as many questions as you feel comfortable.  Find out if there’s a phone number you can contact.  If there is, take a moment to call and talk with the vendor.  You can learn more about your diamond and your vendor by talking to them.  Ask them to describe the inclusions (flaws) of the diamond.  Tell them to describe the color and clarity in detail till you get a comfortable idea of what the diamond will look like.  (If this diamond terminology is not familiar to you, skip the rest of this article and first educate yourself at our Diamond Education page.)  Ask them to provide you a picture of the actual diamond.  If they are a true supplier they will have the diamond on hand and will be able to quickly tell you availability and provide you with a picture upon request.  A picture will give you a better idea of what the diamond truly looks like.  Have the picture taken against a white backdrop (a white piece of paper will do) to show the true color of the diamond.  If the vendor can’t supply you with pictures they are probably not the owners of the diamond.

Compare Shopping: Don’t stop at the diamond vendor you find on eBay.  When you see a listing that catches your eye, copy the item and paste it right back into the eBay search field.  I’ll provide you with an example.

You find the following diamond on eBay: 1.33 Round E SI1 EGL Loose Diamond + Free Ring

                Copy and paste “1.33 Round E SI1 EGL Loose Diamond” leaving out the “Free Ring”

                Put it into the search field and hit Enter to see what comes up.

Now you should see all the listings with the matching criteria to 1.33 Round E SI1 EGL Loose Diamond.  If you see what appears to be the same diamond listed multiple times, do not be alarmed.  This simply means that one of those listings is probably the wholesaler and the others might be the distributors.  See every product has a chain (wholesaler – distributor – retailer) until it reaches the end consumer.  Usually the wholesaler will be the one with the best price for the same diamond.  But I still recommend you contact each vendor and ask them if they can provide you a picture of the diamond.  The true owner will be able to.  In case you saw the diamond listed cheaper with a distributor, let the owner know and I’m sure they will match the price for you.  After you’ve compared with all the vendors you will be better prepared to make your purchase with the vendor you were most comfortable with.   Check out this eBay Diamond Store to get an idea of what to expect from a reliable eBay vendor.

Paypal: When buying diamonds on eBay, make sure you are securing your transaction with an insured payment provider.  If you use your credit card you would be insured through them.  If you use Paypal, they insure both the seller and the buyer against any and all fraud.  This is the safest way to purchase anything from eBay.  Do not trust an eBay vendor who encourages you to make a purchase away from eBay and/or Paypal.  Fraud occurs less frequently when eBay and Paypal are used in combination.  When possible use Paypal at all times.

Is it safe to buy diamonds online?

Like most products, diamonds have made their way to the internet available to the masses and usually at much better prices than your local jewelry store.  With thousands of online diamond stores, it can be difficult to know which ones to trust.

Diamond Inventory: To start off there is no website that actually owns 50,000 diamonds or more in their inventory.  About 99% of websites have what is known as a virtual diamond inventory.  This means that all the diamonds listed on their sites are not owned by them.  They never carry it in house.  True diamond wholesale suppliers carry anywhere from several hundred diamonds to 5,000 diamonds in their inventory.  These suppliers give permission to websites to use the virtual diamond inventory as their own.  It’s possible that these diamond websites use 20 or so Diamond Suppliers in order to reach a virtual inventory of 50,000.

Diamond Pictures: One way to check if a diamond website is trustworthy is by asking them to provide you with an actual picture of the diamond.  If it really is their inventory, they should be able to take a picture of the diamond real quick and email it to you.  Just about everyone owns a smartphone that’s more than capable of taking a picture of the diamond and even one that’s magnified so that you can see the inclusions (or flaws) in the diamond.  If the sales person tells you they don’t have a camera that can take a picture of the diamond, tell them to take a loupe (a small microscope), that every Diamond Supplier has, and put it to the lens of the smartphone when they take a picture.  This will enhance the zoom and magnify the diamond 10 times to see the inclusions in the diamond.  If they can’t do something this simple they are not Diamond Suppliers, rather a website selling a virtual diamond inventory.

Diamond Availability:  If you call a diamond website company and ask them about a diamond you saw on their website, they should be able to tell you if the diamond is available or not right away.  If they need to call you back, then guess what: it’s not their diamond (virtual inventory).   Even the websites with a virtual diamond inventory should have no problem quickly getting an answer for you while you wait on the phone.  A true Diamond Supplier will quickly tell you if that diamond is available because they actually own it.  Worst case scenario the diamond might be unavailable and working with another customer, but that information should be given to you the moment you call and ask.

Reviews: If the website does not sell their own inventory and can’t provide you with a picture, that doesn’t mean you can’t trust them.  Check the reviews of the website by searching their company name in Google.  If they’re trustworthy they will have a good amount of positive reviews online.  Ask them for their company address.  A trustworthy company would provide you with that information.  Then look up the address online.  Avoid any addresses that come up as a residential address.  Most reputable diamond websites work from an office, not their home.

Paypal:  Finally, when you do pick a diamond vendor online, make sure they accept Paypal.  Paypal is most trustworthy payment method when it comes to purchasing diamonds online.  They are also the only company I’m aware of that protects and insures both the buyer and the seller.  As a buyer you can feel 100% comfortable with Paypal.  They will not release the funds to the seller until confirmation of delivery and even then the funds will be on hold a couple days to make sure the buyer received what they expected.  They will also protect the seller if the buyer ended up doing a fraudulent transaction and will still pay the seller in full after an investigation.


What is the difference between EGL certified and GIA certified diamonds?

In order to understand what kind of diamond you desire to purchase we first recommend getting acquainted with as much Diamond terminology as possible.  There is much to be educated in when it comes to diamonds.

There are many different diamond laboratories which certify diamonds in the diamond industry, but two main ones that we will focus on.  GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, and EGL, European Gemological Laboratory are the two.  The main differences between the two laboratories are their standards for grading.  GIA offers a certain strategy for grading which requires three Gemologists (diamond graduates) to independently grade the same diamond.  Each gemologist is unaware of the others grade.  The grade is achieved when the three Gemologists have given the same grading.  In case of the grades not being equal with all three Gemologists, there is a Master Gemologist that would step in to give a final grade based on the first three.  This assures a grading of highest standard in the trade.  An EGL certified diamond on the other hand only has to pass one Gemologist in order to achieve a grading.  This standard will create a difference between the two laboratories in their grading.  This means the same diamond can go to both laboratories and receive 2 different grades.  Let’s discuss this with an example:

Diamond: 1.00 carat Round GIA I SI2 loose diamond. 

This diamond when certified by GIA and sold wholesale in the trade would cost approximately

$4400.  Take the same diamond and have it certified by EGL and it might receive a grade of: 1.00

carat Round EGL G SI1.  This diamond certified by EGL and sold wholesale in the trade as a loose

diamond would cost approximately, $3600.

Again, the same diamond given to two different laboratories:
                                                                1.00 ct Round GIA I SI2   $4400
                                                                1.00 ct Round EGL G SI1  $3600

In the example above we see how different laboratories have two different standards in grading.  But because of prices set by the diamond trade and higher demand and regard for GIA certified diamonds, the prices are shown accordingly.  In fact the price increase on the same diamond given to GIA is simply due to a demand for one certificate over another based on reputation and image.  One buyer who has perhaps less budget restrictions will go towards the GIA certificate based on the image it portrays.  Another buyer who is more price conscience is going to pick the EGL certificate as the better buy.  People who sell only GIA will never admit to this, and people who sell only EGL won’t give you the truth about the different standards in grading.  Usually you would like to buy from a vendor that sells both and will most likely be unbiased towards either laboratory.

Let’s now go into detail of the different terms of the diamond industry and laboratories.  We will take the example above and dissect:

        1.00 ct Round GIA I SI2

        1.00 ct Round EGL G SI1

The 1.00 reflects the weight of the diamond or the number of CARATS (ct)
Round represents the Shape of the diamond.
GIA or EGL represent the laboratory or Certificate of the diamond.
I or G represents the Color of the diamond.
SI2 or SI1 represent the Clarity of the diamond.

Let’s define these terms:
Shape is simply the shape the diamond is cut: Round, Princess, Asscher, Cushion, Emerald, Heart, Marquise, Oval, Pear, Radiant, Trilliant
Certificate is the laboratory used to grade the diamond as we discussed: GIA, EGL…
Color is the grade of how white the diamond is and in the following order would be from the best color down: D – F (colorless) G – I (near colorless) J and lower (color)
Clarity is the grade of the amount of inclusions (flaws) a diamond has inside.  From best clarity and down: IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2 (eye clean), SI1, SI2, SI3 (eyecleanish), I1, I2, I3 (visible to the naked eye).

When selecting a diamond one has to think of a few factors.  Generally the first basis for buying a diamond would be to create the desired budget.  The budget is key in deciding what kind of diamond you would like to afford.  People always ask how much should my budget be for buying an engagement ring?  There is no one answer.  The budget has to do with many financial factors.  There is a common practice of setting the budget to equal two months of paid income.  This is not always going to work for every individual.  At the end of the day you have to be comfortable in the budget you choose.  Don’t go over your comfort zone.  Once a budget is set, the next factor to look at is the size or Carat weight of the diamond.  How big would you like to go?  This will usually be based on your future fiancé’s taste which by now you should hopefully be aware of.  Now that you have a budget and size the rest of the criteria will be easier to establish.  For most there will always be a sacrifice in one or some of the different characteristics of the diamond.   Let’s work with another example:

You’ve set your budget of $4,000 and a size of 1.00 carat.  You now can go with a couple options.  Say you chose to go with an EGL certified diamond. Your budget will allow you to afford the diamond from the previous example, 1.00 ct Round EGL G SI1, or go towards a better color with a lower clarity. Such as, 1.00 Round EGL D SI2.  The same budget gives you at least 2 options to consider.  This again would be a matter of taste.  One option is not necessarily better than the other.

Using the information above will better prepare you in deciding on that perfect diamond engagement ring you wish to purchase.  For more info, please feel free to email us at:  info@sg-diamonds.com or call us at 213-986-6636.

SG Diamonds