5 Reasons why EGL and GIA Certified Diamonds Differ Dramatically in Price

These days you’d be hard pressed to find any diamond retailer who hasn’t gone through the onerous process of explaining to their clients all the reasons why their EGL certified diamond would not sell for the same price as a GIA diamond with the same specs. The reasons are numerous and yet still very complicated. If you’re one of those people who are still trying to make sense of it all, there are several things that you need to know about the two labs and the reasons why they operate differently. Here are five reasons why EGL and GIA certified diamonds differ in price.

1. Color

In 1931, GIA pioneered the grading systems used to describe a diamond’s characteristics. These systems are used by just about every lab in the world. While their color scale may seem relatively objective, it is this area where you can usually find the most variation in grading from one lab to another. In general, EGL will describe a diamond as having 1-4 color grades higher than will GIA. This discrepancy in color grading has become so standard that one cannot expect to ask the same price for an EGL (G) color as they would for a GIA (G) color, even if all of the other attributes were identical.


2. Clarity

One of the major reasons why many diamond merchants seek an EGL report for their diamonds is because of EGL’s additional clarity grade, SI3. Oftentimes, when a diamond comes back from GIA with an I1 grading, the merchant will send it to EGL so that they can get a grading of SI3 or higher, and thereby raise the price. The SI3 grade gives uninformed consumers the impression that the diamond has eye clean inclusions.


3. Pre-Certification 

Getting a GIA report can be expensive, and in the past it took a very long time for completion. Being a for-profit organization, EGL recognized that they could carve their niche in the market by offering a cheaper alternative, in what is referred to as a pre-cert. A pre-cert is just a report that describes color and clarity. This basically means that you can pay only for the grading service, and if you’re not satisfied with the results, you don’t have to pay for the full report.

4. Location

GIA is a nonprofit organization with 9 different laboratories that span the globe. Because their grading system is the most stringent and consistent, each of their labs is trusted equally. However, EGL’s labs produce highly varied results from one lab to the next. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by RapNet – which evaluated 6 different gem labs – ranked GIA as 1st in quality, EGL USA ranked 3rd, and EGL Hong Kong and Israel ranked 5th and 6th respectively. The staggering disparity in results produced from the study indicate not only a much higher level of leniency in most labs outside of the U.S., but that the degree of leniency executed by EGL Hong Kong and Israel is bordering on fraudulence.

5. Quality vs. Price

As you can see, the price of a diamond is dependent not only upon the details of its report, but also on the lab that has issued the report. That said, the results produced from RapNet’s study demonstrate that there is still much room for improvement in the industry. They found that while GIA ranked number one in both quality and price, other labs didn’t always have such a direct correlation. For example, EGL Israel ranked 4th in price, but 6th in quality, meaning that their leniency works financially to their advantage. It’s also safe to say that they benefit greatly from their association with their American counterparts. In conclusion, if you are wondering whether or not to buy a diamond with an EGL report, it’s important to know that due to the current climate of the diamond industry, there are many buyers who are not interested in taking the risk. For those of you who favor caution with such a large investment, GIA will always be your safest bet.

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