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