Diamond Pedigree: GIA, AGS, EGL

CertsA pedigree holds importance. A good pedigree comes with a reputation that can be summed up just by uttering the name, and in turn you will associate those with that pedigree with the same good qualities. If two people were up for the same job position, both graduating with top honors from an Ivy League school and a community college respectively, the Ivy League candidate would be chosen (all other things being equal). The employer is aware of the strict standards of an Ivy League school, so graduating with honors is an incredible achievement. Top honors from a community college does not hold the same amount of weight, as their standards are considerably lower.

When you buy a diamond, it also has a pedigree, in the form of a grading certificate. There are different associations or societies which have grading laboratories that diamonds can get sent to. Your diamond’s pedigree, or the grade it gets from each of these laboratories, determines its value. The better the lab, the higher the value. So which labs are the best?

The GIA (Gemological Insititute of America) is widely acknowledged to be the best grading lab for diamonds. They had developed and pioneered the 4 C’s grading method and the International Diamond Grading System in the 1940’s, and to this day this is the system used worldwide for assessing diamond quality. Their labs’ environment is strictly controlled to ensure uniformity in grading – no diamond can be more than one grade off for color or clarity from grader to grader.

The AGS (American Gem Society) is a close second to the GIA. They are also very strict on grading and have similar lab controls, but they are known to grade less harshly on color. Both labs are well respected due to the fact that they are both non-profit organizations – they are not controlled by anybody, which makes their grading impartial. They do not favor the interests of the jeweler over the interests of the consumer. For very high-value diamonds, you should always insist on a GIA or AGS report.

Another well-known and popular gemological lab is EGL (European Gemological Laboratories). They are a for profit organization that has two franchises: EGL International and EGL-USA, which has offices in the U.S. and Canada. They are completely separated entities and are run differently, EGL-USA is known to be more consistent and stricter than EGL International. However, even EGL-USA graded diamonds are not comparable to the grading standards of GIA and AGS, and this is reflected in the value of the diamonds – comparing two diamonds of the same 4C’s grading from EGL and GIA, the EGL graded diamond is worth less.

There are countless other labs out there but they do not have the same consistency in grading. You may get lucky and have an accurately graded diamond, but that is usually a rare case. If you have a diamond that is graded by a lab that you don’t trust, don’t worry. You can send that diamond to the lab of your choice to get re-graded, and use that certificate instead.

At Secret Sapphire, we can source diamonds with lab certificates from GIA, AGS, or EGL. Monica, our Graduate Gemologist, can evaluate a diamond’s grading can walk you through understanding its’ certificate. After choosing the perfect diamond for you, we can create a lovely setting to put it in. For more information, call us at 604-558-3638 or email us at info@secretsapphire.ca.