When it’s about precious gemstones like diamonds and emeralds, grading is key. The market is swamped with rare stones, laboratory made ones, poor quality stones, stones with bow-tie defects, stones that are shaved off bigger stones, chunky stones that are low on clarity, those that are au naturel colored, others artificially colorized and numerous other varieties. As a buyer, there is always the lingering consciousness to answer to – Are you expending on the right stone? This is why the diamond grading boards have come up to help the consumers figure out the differences and make wise purchases. Let’s take a look at the top diamond grading laboratories in the United States.
GIA or the Gemological Institute of America is the best the country has at this point. Trusted implicitly by the entire industry, they have the highest standard of grading among all the operating labs in the country. The lab has it’s headquarter in Carlsbad, California, and branches all over the country. About 1400 scientists serve the facilities of GIA across the length and breadth of the nation examining, grading and certifying some of the finest diamonds that are brought into the country.
The American Gemological Society seconds GIA in terms of popularity and trustworthiness. It is another US based organization that has it’s headquarter in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. The lab specializes in grading diamond cuts. However, its metric system of rating is different than others. It uses a numeric scale system instead of the standard alphabetical one that is commonly adopted by most. On a scale of 0 to 10, the best of the stones are rated towards the lesser side of the scale while the poorer quality diamonds are rated high as they deem suitable. The US market ranks AGS as the second most ethical grading laboratory in the country. They have offices in Belgium, China, Israel and India.
The European Gemological Laboratory is not an American organization as is evident from the name. It is a Europe-based lab that has presence across the globe. It has offices in different parts of the world starting with Paris to Tel Aviv, Tokyo to London, South Africa and elsewhere.The lab specializes in grading diamonds that are lesser than a Karat in weight. If you think the clarity of a diamond is synonymous with good quality, then don’t forget to thank EGL for they are the ones who introduced SI3 clarity rating in the scale.
IGI or the International Gemological Institution is the fourth largest the country has. Statistically, they come right after GIA in the popularity scale, but in terms of ethical grading, they are a little behind. Not because they have a spotty system, but because of the global presence of the predecessors. Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, this lab has exercised monopoly in grading rights in the whole of Asia.
Diamonds examined by these laboratories have a global standard of grading. So, they are accepted anywhere in the world, as long as you can produce the document.