If you have been looking at diamonds online, specifically at James Allen you may have noticed that diamonds come graded by GIA, IGI, and AGS.
And perhaps you have been asking yourself “Should I buy an IGI graded diamond?”
They are often a little cheaper which makes some people view this with suspicion.
However, as this article will demonstrate, there’s no need to shun IGI graded diamonds.
An Unfortunate Consequence of Competitive Pricing
The problem IGI has had with their reputation is sadly a consequence of being cheaper. The stain on their reputation was an unfortunate consequence of charging less!
Since IGI diamond grading certificates cost less than GIA certificates this resulted in lower quality stones being sent to IGI for grading rather than to other labs such as GIA.
The IGI graded stones were therefore automatically deemed by jewelers to be inferior from the time they got them. And of course their suspicions continued to be confirmed as most of the IGI stones they had been getting were inferior.
The Big Change
When lab created diamonds began to become more widely available many in the diamond industry were slow to embrace the change.
It was at this stage that IGI made a very smart decision.
IGI accepted lab grown diamonds and began grading a large amount of these new stones. This resulted in IGI getting a huge influx of work when few other grading labs were accepting lab grown diamonds.
Over the few years that IGI was ahead of the others and benefiting from the increase in business they began to show their standards aligning more and more with the results provided by other gem grading networks.
The improved the consistency across the IGI network did not go unnoticed.
The big fear anyone has when buying a diamond is that the diamond has been overgraded. This results in a higher price being paid for the stone than would otherwise be the case.
A Direct Comparison
A few weeks ago ADA Diamonds conducted an experiment to find out if there was a big disparity between IGI and GIA by having a set of good quality lab created stones be subjected to grading by both labs.
They found that both labs were surprisingly close in how they graded the stones.
ADA Diamonds also sent a batch of stones to both IGI or GCAL and AGS to find that the results, again were extremely close.
Note: AGS grading these lab grown diamonds was part of an AGS pilot program. At present AGS is not yet accepting lab grown diamonds en masse.
While the above examples are lab grown diamonds the technology used to grade earth diamonds is the same so the ongoing results produced by these labs should be expected to also match the above results whether lab grown or earth made diamonds are being graded.