When buying a diamond, you want to always make sure it comes with an official grading of its quality. But there’s more than one organization that can grade diamonds. Many people wonder: does who grades a diamond make a difference? In this post, we’ll go in depth on two of the most popular grading organizations: EGL vs. GIA. We’ll talk a bit about the background of each organization, then go in depth on the potential differences in their grading reports.
EGL vs. GIA: The Companies Themselves
We’ll start by covering some basic background about these two organizations, starting with the GIA.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is one of the most widely known diamond grading organizations in the world. (Fun fact: they created the 4Cs.) The GIA is an independent, non-profit organization that has many different grading laboratories over the world. While they have many laboratories, their grading practices are guided by strict standards, so their labs offer highly consistent results. They also have strict objectivity standards. All GIA diamonds are graded anonymously, so the grader cannot be influenced by the person submitting the diamond for grading.
The EGL (European Gemological Laboratories) is an independent network of gemological laboratories. There are different branches of the EGL in different countries, like EGL India, EGL Platinum (Israel), EGL Canada, and EGL South Africa. The United States branch of the EGL is EGL USA. Because the EGL is not as centralized of an organization as the GIA, reports from different countries can often be quite different. While EGL USA has a better reputation for grading more strictly, other EGL branches (namely, EGL Europe, EGL Canada, and EGL Israel) are known to almost always overestimate quality on their reports.
EGL vs. GIA: Grading Differences
So, let’s get into the potential grading differences in EGL and GIA grading reports. As we stated in the last section, the GIA has rigorous standards and practices in place for their grading, which are streamlined across all their labs. As a result, their reports are considered to be highly accurate and strict. On the other hand, EGL often grades a bit too high. Even EGL USA, which is known to have stricter standards than EGL as a whole, can grade a diamond one to two grades higher than it should be graded.
Keeping this in mind, let’s talk a bit about what this discrepancy means for you, the shopper, when considering EGL versus GIA grades.
Differences in Color Grading
The color of a diamond is a measurement of how white it is, with D being the best and Z being the worst. So, say the GIA grades a diamond as a G. That same diamond may be graded differently by the EGL. The EGL has a reputation for grading up to two grades higher on color. Because of this, the same diamond could be graded an E by the EGL but a G by the GIA.
Differences in Cut and Clarity Grading
The EGL is known to grade up to one grade higher on both cut and clarity. For example, a diamond graded by the GIA could have a VS1 grading for clarity and a Very Good for cut. That same diamond could be graded by the EGL as having a VVS2 for clarity and an Excellent for cut, one grading up for both.
Differences in Carat
While color, cut, and clarity are subjective gradings, carat is not. Carat is simply a measurement of weight and is the one “4C” that is not known to differ between the EGL and the GIA.
What This Means When Shopping?
You should keep the differing grading standards of the EGL and the GIA in mind when shopping for a diamond. You might find that an EGL graded diamond with the exact same qualities as a GIA graded diamond is considerably cheaper. But remember that the EGL can skew high with their gradings. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy an EGL diamond, just that you should take their grading standards into account. If you’re buying an EGL diamond, you may want to consider buying a grade or two higher to get the quality you want.
EGL vs. GIA: Your Choice at Diamond Studs
While Diamond Studs carries both GIA and EGL USA graded diamonds, we understand that some customers may prefer one over the other. That’s why we offer our customers the ability to browse based on grading organization. On our GIA & EGL USA Certified page, you can always select either organization and browse only the diamonds graded by the one you prefer. This tool is available as a part of our diamond sorting feature, alongside the other sorting tools for color, clarity, carat, cut, and price.