Diamond Certifications Explained: GIA vs All Other Labs

When you’re shopping for a diamond to build a custom engagement ring or to upgrade to a larger one — it’s critical to do your homework and understand what factors influence the pricing element.

One of the most prominent factors is the accompanying diamond certificate showing which laboratory graded your stone and how accurately it was done compared to the world’s most conservative diamond grader and non-profit organization, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

In this blog, we’ll explain why a diamond certificate matters, how unethical jewelers may profit from your cluelessness and why not all diamond grading labs are created equal.

diamond certificate

What is a diamond certificate?

A diamond certificate or grading report from a reliable diamond laboratory is an analysis of the stone’s optical and physical properties. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the leading authority in diamond grading, which created the system evaluating these characteristics based on:

  • Origin (natural or lab-grown)
  • Carat Weight, Cut, Clarity & Color (4C’s)
  • Symmetry & Polish specs
  • Fluorescence
  • Additional Comments For Any Unique Traits

Here at Buchroeders, we believe couples deserve to get proper guidance and education about the above to protect their investment when shopping for an engagement ring and make sure never to buy a diamond without a certificate.

The importance of a diamond certificate

When you buy a Buchroeders diamond, especially a natural one, we believe that you are making a life-long investment.

For that reason, we deem you deserving of a diamond graded accurately, fairly, and conservatively according to its unique qualities.

Without a diamond certificate, it can be difficult to know the genuine quality of a diamond before purchasing it. 

Diamond certification provides a scientific breakdown of the diamond’s properties and unique characteristics while attesting to its authenticity.

With a legitimate diamond grading report (ideally from GIA), you have a detailed document that proves the liquid value of your diamond.

Who are the other labs?

The European Gemological Laboratory, or simply EGL, is an independent gem lab with a noteworthy global presence. They are famous for introducing the SI3” clarity grading scale for diamonds but have faced a lot of heat and controversy regarding over-grading diamonds. EGL USA is an American affiliate.

The International Gemological Institute, or IGI, is based in Antwerp, Belgium. In terms of popularity, they are probably second right under the GIA. The IGI has a high presence in Asian markets and is renowned for grading many synthetic diamonds on a commercial scale.

GGL stands for Global Gemological Laboratories, based in Mumbai, India. They are specialized in semi-precious gemstone grading but not the most accurate and reliable grading lab to certify a diamond. 

Why a diamond with GIA certificate is worth more

Why are GIA-graded diamonds worth more? Because the diamond market, including dealers and retailers, knows that GIA's grading benchmarks and level of transparency are much more stringent than those of any other lab on the planet.

With an unbiased grading, you get to protect the liquid value of your diamond, especially if you ever think of reselling it in the future.

To learn more about why check out this video:


Why do unethical jewelers usually avoid GIA diamond certification?

While the verbiage between laboratories is similar, the standards of grading are different. A diamond with GIA certificate will hold the most conservative grades, which are the true grades.

The choice of diamond certification presented by certain unethical jewelers when selling poor-quality diamonds is often done on purpose to hustle on your unawareness.

Because these for-profit labs are more liberal in grading color and clarity, diamonds are out of place by 2-3 markings when that same exact diamond is sent to the GIA. This results in having an inflated value on your stone that’s not in line with reality. 

For example, a diamond graded with VS2 clarity by the IGI or GGL can easily be re-graded as an SI2 by the GIA, which tremendously impacts the pricing factor.

Take the following statements as red flags if you hear a jeweler say: “GIA and EGL diamonds are rated using similar grades, why pay more for a diamond with GIA certificate? Are you buying a fancy piece of paper or a dazzling diamond?” Or even worse, “It will cost us extra money to send it out to GIA”.

When you buy under these grades thinking you’ve got a great deal — the truth is: you’ve overpaid for a perceived value that did not exist!

And that’s why unethical jewelers want you to sell with a dubious diamond certificate from other labs or, far worst than that, their own in-house appraisal report.

What’s the advantage of buying a diamond from Buchroeders?

We work in synergy with our sister company, Diamond Banc, which supplies loose diamonds from the recycled market.

One thing we take pride in is complete transparency in how we do business. When we get diamonds from the public through Diamond Banc, the diamond certificate that comes with it is often inaccurate.

Buchroeders will cover the associated cost to re-grade our entire diamond inventory with the GIA before we put them in a display case.  

A diamond certified by the GIA means what you read on paper is what you’ll get, plus the Buchroeders Advantage of obtaining a wholesale price on that diamond.

If you have questions regarding diamond certification or want to speak with a diamond expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.