Currently there are a slew of diamond certificates offered by various companies. However, only a few are considered reputable and widely used. Among these, three certificates stand out the most: GIA (Gemological Instutute of America). EGL (European Gemological Laboratory), and HRD (Hoge Raad Voor Diamant).
Unfortunately, HRD certificates, as good as they are, are only offered in Belgium, hence, diamonds with HRD certificates are generally not available in the US.
This leaves only GIA and EGL to be considered most reputable and reliable. But are they equal ?
There is no question that every jeweler in the US agrees that GIA certificates are better than EGL certificates. The question is, how much better ?
While GIA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Carlsbad, California providing grading services only at two locations, EGLs are scattered all over the world. There are currently 9 different EGL companies( New York, Los Angeles, Belgium, South Africa, France, Israel, Great Britain, South Korea, and Canada ), each owned and operated independently of each other. In other words, there are 9 different companies, competing against each other trying to generate profit to survive.
It is widely understood that some EGL certificates are far inferior in grading than the other EGL certificates. Most jewelers in the US agree that EGL certificates from New York and Los Angeles are better than other EGL's in the world.
So what is the bottom line. We at
FIVE STAR DIAMONDS say, why bother to rate different EGLs, when GIA certified diamonds are readily available and undeniably better than the best of the EGLs. Can we prove this. The prices do. Prices of EGL certified diamonds are lower than GIA certified diamonds of equal quality. Also, most diamonds of very high quality (VVS-IF clarities and DEF colors of 1.00 carats and larger) are only available in GIAs, not EGLs.
So what would the profit motivated jeweler do. Offer EGLs and other certificates, because those diamonds cost them less than those with GIA certificates of the same quality.
What should you do as a buyer. You bet: insist on a GIA certified diamond.
If you are still not convinced that GIA certified diamonds are better, let's try changing perspectives. Say that you become a seller of two diamonds of equal quality but one is GIA certified and the other is EGL. If you offer to sell these diamonds, you will see that GIA certified diamonds will bring you a much better price than the EGL certified. Go ahead and test them or better yet, test us. FIVE STAR DIAMONDS will buy your diamond OVER THE PHONE if it's GIA certified. With EGL certified diamonds, we will offer a price only after we have inspected the diamonds.
Did you know that the vast majority of world-famous diamonds are GIA certified. Did you ever wonder why. Be a smart shopper.