Lab-Grown Diamonds Certification: IGI Vs. GIA

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When it comes to lab-grown diamond certifications, there is a range of labs that grade the quality of the diamond. The most reputable and respected certifications are done by the IGI (International Gemological Institute) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). These two labs use strict grading standards to determine how well a diamond reflects light, cut, color, size, and carat weight. In this blog post, we will cover what IGI and GIA certificates are all about!

Table of Contents

What is a lab-grown diamond certification?

Lab diamond certification is a document from an objective third-party lab that identifies and describes the characteristics of a diamond. The institute is entrusted with reviewing the quality and nature of the diamond and gives a fair verdict. It has no interest in the value the diamond gets sold at and will evaluate each stone and its merit credibly.

The report that the grading lab gives describes a variety of elements of the diamond. These features, first and foremost, the four c’s: carat, color, clarity, cuts, and many more. Finally, the experts in the diamond lab will scrutinize, measure, and evaluate the diamonds with tools such as a microscope or loupe and report their findings on the certificate.

There are many diamond laboratories in the world. Each of them describes and grades these precious stones differently, and at times the difference can be significant. Therefore, when buying lab-created diamonds, you need to know the kind of certificates that are most reliable.

Do lab-grown diamonds have a certification?

To be clear on this, all diamonds, both natural and lab-grown, can be certified if the seller sends them to a grading lab. Some jewelers offer uncertified diamonds for a discounted price, but such a diamond cannot be trusted. You cannot know the real source of the diamond and see if it’s real or fake. This is why getting a certified diamond is so crucial. You will get reliable information about the properties of the stone, like the carat weight, clarity, cut, and many more.

With the certificate, one can make an informed decision and effectively compare similarly graded diamonds and get to know which the best among them is. For instance, you can figure out if a 1.00 carat D VS1 with True Hearts cut for $2,850 offers more beauty than a 1.01 carat F VS2 with True Hearts cut for $2,229

The best certification for diamonds created in labs is the IGI. They give specific grading for certain qualities like clarity, color, and many more. Another reliable grading system is the GIA. It has begun grading lab-created diamonds recently as well, offering only digital certificates. The only problem is that it is hard to come across this certificate. In addition, the GIA certificate comes with a higher cost, so most retailers prefer to pay less and stick with the IGI.

What should you look out for with lab-created diamond certification?

One thing you need to be aware of is that diamond certificates from different labs are not equal. For this reason, the price of lab-created diamonds cannot be compared in terms of certifications alone. Instead, you need to go for a diamond with a reliable certificate and review the diamond closely by yourself.

Why does detailed grading matter?

For natural diamond certification, each lab gives out a single grade for features like clarity and color. This does not vary at all with lab-grown diamonds. What IGI does is that it gives detailed grades for lab-created diamonds. For example, the 1.21ct radiant diamond is given a grade E color and a VSI clarity grade. Therefore, when looking for lab-created diamonds, one should compare the IGI certificate to assist them in figuring out the diamond version that offers better beauty for a specific price.

Is the diamond grading system too subjective?

To be clear on this, all sorts of diamond grading are subjective. We do not have an organization given the powers of determining a “VS2” clarity grade or what an “H” color looks like. However, suppose a specific lab entity continually refers to a given color grade as “H” consistently, and another lab continuously refers to the same color as “I”. In that case, it does that invariably, then it becomes acceptable.

Having said that, you must understand that even when a lab is consistent with its grading, it does not mean that it should be fully trusted. Purchasing a lab-created diamond with an unreliable certificate at a high price can be risky. The IGI certificate is the most reliable for now.

How do you compare diamonds that have the same certificate?

Comparing diamonds that have been graded by the same lab is a good thing. If you are comparing two diamonds graded by IGI, you will not struggle in making the decision. Since they have been analyzed by the same third party, you will likely detect the difference easily and make an informed decision. For instance, you can be comparing the 1.27ct IGI-certified I VS1 diamond for a price of $1,840 to the 1.51ct IGI-certified I VS1 diamond for two thousand six hundred dollars and find out which you can buy.

F colorless with yellow and bluish tint
Comparing color grade

Consider the price over the certification

Despite the kind of certification given to a diamond, the price it is going for requires a lot of scrutiny and evaluation. The price must align with the diamond’s cut, quality, and true beauty, as indicated on the certificate. If you are not sure if the price of a lab-created diamond is too high, you can have an expert review it. It will help you make a good decision before you make a purchase. An expert will help you analyze whether the diamond is worth the money. You will not be short-changed at any point whatsoever.

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IGI lab-grown diamond certification

IGI (International Gemological Institute) was established in the year 1975 and currently has headquarters all over the globe. It is an independent laboratory that carefully studies gemstones and lab-grown diamonds to determine how authentic they are. Following the assessment, experts in the IGI lab compile a comprehensive report about the lab-created diamond. Jewelry shops will then display the IGI certificate along with the lab-created diamond. Thus, it allows those buying them to verify their authenticity and make an informed decision. Furthermore, it prevents buyers from being exploited as they can see the features of the diamond.

The criteria of IGI diamond

IGI hires a team of a qualified gemologist who scientifically determines the diamond quality. These gemstones are graded in specific criteria, and it is based on what is known as the 4 Cs. These are the carat, color, clarity, and cut.

Carat

The diamonds are assessed as per their weight, which is referred to as carat weight. It plays a significant role in determining the diamond’s value. While we can’t control the carat weight of earth-created diamonds, we have some influence over the carat of lab-grown diamonds since it’s produced in lab conditions. Usually, the larger the diamond, the higher its price, taking into consideration all other factors.

Color

Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z. The “Z” refers to a diamond with a yellow hue, and “D” is equivalent to a color-free diamond, completely colorless. Experts also look out for fluorescence. Fluorescence describes if there is an emission of light when the diamond is shone over light. The scale of fluorescence goes from “none” all the way to “strong”. Though lab diamonds are influenced differently by the environment from which they were created, there are still other variations and grades in color. They can be affected by the quality of the seed as well as other elements. These are elements that may be brought in during the creation process of the diamond.

Clairty

Experts use x10 magnification to get a close and clear look at the diamond’s clarity. It is a scale that runs from “I” which refers to (included) and indicates visible flaws, all the way to “FL” (Flawless). It describes that no flaws are visible even when the diamond is magnified. Inclusions also form similarly in both lab-created and natural diamonds.

Cut

The cut is one of the most critical factors in diamond quality. It determines how light is reflected from the diamond into your eyes, which impacts the brilliance of a diamond. A diamond with an excellent cut should have sharp edges that reflect all light back out through the top in straight lines, giving it ultimate sparkle or “brilliance.”

The six most important factors to consider when looking for diamond cuts are symmetry, polish (or lack thereof), depth percentage, table size and proportion ratio (the relationship between height/width), the crown angle relative to pavilion angles), and girdles roundness. Each factor affects diamond performance – if one thing goes wrong, you could end up with a dull stone! Pay attention to these things before making your purchase.

The grading reports of IGI

IGI diamond grading reports include some vital information in regards to the diamond in question. In the report, you will find the following;

Description

There is a brief description of the diamond type in terms of origin and material.

Cut and Shape

This is a description of the shape of the diamond and faceting style type. It tells you the shape of the diamond, whether it is round or comes with a fancy shape. On the faceting style, how symmetrical is the diamond, and what the proportions of the cuts are?

What exactly is an IGI Certificate for Lab-Grown Diamond?

IGI lab-created diamonds are produced carefully in labs that use advanced technology. They do a thorough analysis of the environmental conditions to make diamonds similar to those mined in the surrounding areas and thus bring out an incredible result. The process promotes the production of artificial diamonds. When it comes to high-quality production, regulation is vital to protect customers from exploitation. That is where IGI certification comes in.

Why is the IGI certification the best for lab-created diamonds?

IGI is an acro-name for (international gemological institute). This organization began as the blue-collar workhorse of the diamond industry. However, it gained popularity as a legitimate gemstone lab for major jewelry chains in the United States and Canada. These chains include Kay, Zales, James Allen, Brilliant Earth, and many others.


In different ways, the IGI functions in a similar way to a factory. They work pretty fast, and their price for certificates is fair as compared to that of GIA. For this reason, jewelry shops benefit from the fair prices of certificates but, this benefit does not necessarily reach the customer.
Even though GIA now has full certificates for lab-grown diamonds, you will not find them in plenty.

Many people like IGI for its clarity in its grading system. It will grade lab-created diamonds in terms of carat, cut, clarity, and color. These are aspects that are used by most retails to determine the price of the jewelry. The grading system enables you to compare diamonds and ensure you are getting precisely what you paid for. However, the IGI is not highly recommended for natural diamonds because its grading system is lux and does not have a consistency similar to that of GIA. Therefore, purchasing lab-created diamonds that are IGI certified is something that is recommended

GIA lab-grown diamonds certification

GIA is an acro-name for the Gemological Institute of America. This organization is the most recognized jewelry grading body all over the globe. People love it because it is consistent and gives customers assurance when buying natural diamonds, with a strict grading system.

A GIA extensive report is created for each natural diamond. It includes aspects such as clarity, color, and quality of the cut, polish grade, symmetry, and percentage of depth, table percentage, carat weight, and many more.

The good thing is that they have started doing the same thing for lab-created diamonds. However, there are still very few GIA-certified lab-created diamonds. Most certified lab-grown diamonds will trend towards IGI certification. Since GIA reports are more expensive than IGI, AGS, or GCAL, most sellers will prefer to pay the IGI and cut costs. In the end, the IGI is currently the most reliable for grading lab-created diamonds, and paying for a GIA certificate will result in a higher retail price for you, the end customer.

Can lab-created diamonds receive GIA certification?

If you do a proper search, you will find lab-created diamonds that are GIA certified. The reason we emphasized doing a good search is that they are not readily available. The most common certification for lab-created diamonds is the IGI. The IGI certificate report includes the properties and specifications to safely compare diamonds. Such a report helps you make the right purchase that gives you value for your money.

AGS lab-created diamonds certification

The AGS has announced that they are joining the game of grading lab-created diamonds. One thing about AGS is that they are a reliable organization that will give an accurate certification report regarding a gemstone. They will be offering absolute clarity and color grades for diamonds. It allows you to accurately ascertain the quality of a diamond. If a lab-created diamond has an AGS certificate, one can purchase it without fear.

GCAL lab-created diamonds

Lab-created diamonds have been GCAL certified since 2010. GCAL certification is a way for the lab to document their diamond’s quality and accurately assess its value. GCAL certificate does not supersede IGI or AGS grading. It offers another option for those who want peace of mind knowing that they are buying something authentic without paying GIA’s high price tag.

What is the importance of IGI Certification?

When one is spending their hard-earned money on diamonds, they need an assurance that they will get the value for every buck. Legal and well-known jewelry vendors will always have certificates that go along with their diamonds. Make sure you have checked the reports before making any purchase.

It is not worth taking the risk of buying non-certified diamonds that have not undergone any kind of testing. Furthermore, you should not buy any precious stone like a diamond unless you are comfortable with its authenticity.

Conclusion

Some people prefer buying lab-created diamonds that are IGI certified. It may be because of ethical, environmental, or financial reasons. Ensure that you are working with a vetted and trusted jeweler who will offer you a great shopping experience. Such a jeweler will also avail an IGI certificate to verify the quality of the diamond you are about to buy.

So what is your opinion? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below

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About the author: Yaniv Hadar

As a third-generation in the diamond industry, I’ve started my way in 2015 as a diamond photographer and seen hundreds of diamonds on a daily basis. Unlike other experts, I’ve had the opportunity to see any diamond you can think of: from the poorest to the rarest. Any size, any color. Using my knowledge and experience, I can show you how to pick the most valuable diamond for your budget while getting the most bang for your buck.

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