The article below is to help you in your search for the right diamond. Hopefully this will clarify why there are such big price discrepancies between GIA and EGL diamonds.
Every cut diamond over .25 carat that we work with comes with a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certificate. The certificate describes the stone’s color, clarity and cut as well as its dimensions and other specifications. After it is carefully examined and graded by the GIA, the stone is also assigned a reference number that can be used to review all of its specifications through GIA (this number is also helpful in case the certificate is ever lost, so we advise customers to record a copy of the number). At Bario-Neal, we almost always choose the GIA grading certification rather than the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory). Before choosing a certified diamond, it is important to know the differences between the two most popular certifications, GIA and EGL.
Established in 1931, the GIA is considered the world’s most trusted certification on diamonds, colored stones and pearls. GIA is responsible for developing the universal grading system, the 4C’s, and the GIA International Diamond Grading System. The four C’s refer to the carat, clarity, cut and color of a diamond. As a nonprofit institute, the GIA upholds the highest standards of examination and grading. The GIA is very stringent and consistent in how they grade diamonds and is trusted worldwide.
A much cheaper certification, EGL was established in 1974. The EGL is known for developing the SI3 rating for diamond clarity as well as being the first lab to grade diamonds under 1 carat in size. EGL is much more loose with their gradings and because each EGL location is independently owned, the grading is not nearly as consistent as GIA’s.
Generally when comparing an EGL certified diamond to a GIA certified diamond, it is usually two color grades and one clarity grade lower. For example, an EGL certified diamond with G color, VS2 clarity is comparable in quality to a GIA certified diamond with I color, SI1 clarity. That being said, the EGL certification may seem to offer a higher graded diamond, though the stone may not necessarily be as valuable as its certificate claims. Furthermore, rings with GIA certified diamonds may be appraised for much higher values than rings with EGL certified diamonds. Because of GIA’s strict and consistent grading system, a GIA certified diamond is sure to be more valuable than an equally graded EGL certified diamond.