Only Buy a Lab Graded Diamond
If you stumbled on this blog post you are probably in the market for a nice diamond. You might be looking at getting an engagement ring, or upgrading one to a larger diamond. As you educate yourself, so you can make the best decision on which diamond to buy, it can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. What size of diamond, what color and clarity should I buy? How does the cut effect the sparkle and the price? Do I buy a lab graded (commonly called lab certified) diamond? The answer to that last question is a definite YES.
As you probably are aware, the color, clarity, cut grade and carat weight affect the value of a diamond. On a larger diamond, changing the color or the clarity just one grade can change the price dramatically. So itís imperative that you get a diamond that has been graded by an independent diamond grading laboratory - not the jewelry store selling it.
Buying a ďhouse gradedĒ diamond is a very bad idea for you. The grading always favors the house, and is typically not as accurate as it should be. Imagine buying a ďHĒ color, ďVS2Ē clarity diamond and then a few years later trying to sell it and finding out itís a ďJĒ color, ďSI2Ē clarity. This actually happens and itís heart breaking.
Now you have decided you better buy a lab graded diamond. There are quite a number of diamond laboratories out there. Some of them produce diamond grading reports that arenít worth the paper they are printed on. To protect your diamond investment you should rule out any lab not named GIA (Gemological Institute of America), EGL USA (European Gemological Laboratory) and AGS (American Gem Society). There arenít many AGS graded diamonds on the market, so we will just consider GIA and EGL USA in this conversation.
Which Lab is Better?
Simple, itís GIA. They have the best reputation for accurate diamond grading. A diamond with a GIA diamond report will command more money than a diamond graded by EGL USA. Not only when you buy it, but also should you ever decide to sell it, or trade it up. Youíll get much more for it.
Why are GIA graded diamonds worth more? Because, the diamond market knows that the grading standards for GIA are much stricter than those of EGL USA. Thus they are valued higher. For example, letís say you are shopping for a 1.50ct round diamond, G color, SI1 clarity, Excellent cut. And you are comparing a GIA graded diamond to a EGL USA graded one. You will quickly notice that the GIA will run you about $13,000 and the EGL USA will cost around $10,000. Thatís 30% more for the GIA! The jeweler isnít making a higher profit margin on the GIA. Itís that on the wholesale level, the diamond cutters charge more for the GIA one. Why? Because the two diamonds will not be the same grade - Even though the two reports say they are.
See for yourself. Go to our Modesto Loose Diamond Search and search for a diamond. At the bottom, make sure you click "GIA" and also "EGLUSA". Check out the price differences. Remember, you get what you pay for.
If you were to take that EGL USA 1.50ct mentioned above and submit it to GIA for a diamond report you will then understand the price difference. Iíve done it many times. It is typical for GIA to grade this ďHĒ color diamond one or two color grades lower - it would probably get a ďJĒ color. And the clarity would at least a grade lower, probably be a ďSI2Ē in this case. Even though the papers say they are they same, they are not. That is why the the EGL USA stone will cost less.
Itís not a horrible deal to buy the EGL diamond, just donít expect it to measure up to a GIA one of the same grade - because it will not. Figure that the color grade will be about 2 grades lower and clarity one grade lower than what GIA would grade it. Also, you should expect to pay much less (20% - 35%) for the EGL diamond.
If you get the chance it is fun to compare two identically graded diamonds side by side and see the difference between the two labs with your own eyes.
Stay Away from These EGL Locations
Very important information here. There are several international EGL diamond labs and they are all run as separate businesses. EGL USA is a reputable lab. However, EGL Europe, EGL Canada and EGL Israel all have a horrible reputation of blatant over grading. So bad they have been sued for fraud. Even jewelers selling these over graded diamonds have been sued as well, and our diamond buying community Polygon has banned diamonds with these reports from selling on this channel. Any jeweler that offers you a diamond with one of these reports isnít worth doing business with. Run.
If you are buying a diamond and donít care if the quality on the ďcertificateĒ is one or two grades off, then maybe EGL USA would be just fine. But if you are more quality conscious and want strict grading on your diamond you should stick with GIA. You'll be glad you did.