Lab-grown Diamond Certification
What are the 4Cs
- Diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language
- It allows diamond customers to know what they are purchasing.
These are the 4Cs of diamond quality certification:
Quality of the angles, proportions, facets, and finishing details
How colorless is the diamond? The more colorless it is the higher the price.
The cleanness of a diamond – the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes.
Weight of the diamond
GIA Lab-grown Diamond Certification
The 4Cs provide a more objective way to measure and assess the quality of diamonds. Sadly, they are focused on mined diamonds. So, can lab grown diamonds be certified?
Yes, they can. But to fully grasp the idea, it is necessary to go back to the immediate past.
Though lab-grown diamonds have been around since the late 1900s, they were considered the “new kid on the block” in the world of jewelry. Naturally, the GIA paid scant attention to them until 2007. Initially, the GIA issued certification reports for identification purposes only, not a full grading report for consumers. This proved to be problematic even for gemologists to tell the difference between mined diamonds and lab-grown. Consequently, some stones were sent back to the GIA to test and confirm their origin.
Another drawback to the original GIA certification is that it differs compared to mined diamonds. It only showed ranges for color and clarity.
Then a new chief executive came in, Susan Jacques. She brought with her a new breath to the certification body. So, starting in July 1, 20o9, the GIA started issuing comprehensive reports on color, clarity and cut. But they can only be accessed online. That ushered in the issuance of lab-grown diamond GIA certificates. The report also officially used the term “lab-grown,” not synthetic.
That development, however, was “too little and too late.” By then, lab-grown diamond certifications mostly came either from the IGI (International Gem Institute), or the GCAL (Gem Certification and Assurance Lab).
The certificates were pretty much like those issued for natural diamonds with slightly varied ratings to the 4Cs. In addition, they carry essential information on Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight.
IGI Lab-grown Diamond Certification
Some diamond dealers consider the IGI diamond-lab certification, overall, as the best. The reason for this is that the rating body gives more comprehensive ratings for qualities like Color and Clarity.
Bits and pieces of the IGI
IGI was established in 1975 from its laboratory in Antwerp, Belgium—the acknowledged diamond capital of the world. It is the largest organization of its kind, with 20 laboratories around the globe, grading finished jewelry, natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and gemstones. IGI also operates 14 schools of geology, producing new jewelry professionals every year.
Over the years, the IGI has become the industry world leader in these areas:
IGI provides industry-wide confidence by screening millions of carats of small diamonds, separating natural from lab-grown on behalf of leading jewelry designers and brands; by evaluating and grading finished jewelry creations and loose diamonds and colored gemstones.
The IGI is also the world’s first geological laboratory to commit to carbon neutrality joining pioneers like the Responsible Jewelry Council, International Precious Metals Institute, and Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, together with the SCS Global Services, This move was intended to mitigate the laboratory’s environmental impact.
Hearts and Arrows Diamond Grading
It also pioneered the grading standards for the Hearts and Arrows diamonds—diamonds cut so precisely that their facet reflections overlap when viewed in a reflective scope.
The precision of the Hearts and Arrows is typically associated with what Excellent-Ideal Cut and the IGI was the first to offer co-branded reports to manufacturers and sellers. This accomplishment made the IGI the preferred authority for Hearts and Arrows diamonds sold in Asia.
Lab-grown Diamond Grading
Then in 2005, IGI pioneered the full grading of lab-grown diamonds, providing the first foothold in authenticity and standardization for this growing industry segment.
Today, the IGI has more experience and expertise than any other organization in lab-grown diamond grading, instilling confidence in manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
Lab-grown diamonds are certified and graded using the same process for mined diamonds—samples are sent to laboratories that specialize in grading diamonds. Most of these labs use the 4Cs as the basis—cut, clarity, color, and carat.
Both the GIA and IGI follow the same process but their reports vary somewhat.
Do take note that both GIA and IGI are the most respected diamond grading institutions in the world. But their spheres of influence differ—the GIA is more popular in America, while the IGI holds sway in Europe and in Asia. And it offers faster and cheaper certifications.
This is the grading report that the GIA issues for a diamond after it has undergone its rigorous grading process.
It is the GIA’s honest description of a diamond’s characteristics, specifying essential information about the diamond based on the 4Cs.
This is the grading report issued for a diamond by the IGI after assessing a diamond’s characteristics using a strict process to ensure the achievement of the highest standards of accuracy and consistency.
Differences Between the Two
Both are the most trusted diamond graders. GIA and IGI certifications are the most trusted diamond graders. Grading reports issued by either of the two inspire confidence about the quality of a diamond. Both give the best lab-grown diamond certification.
A famous study titled “Grading the Grader,”—conducted by researchers of different grading labs—found that both are stricter and more consistent than other labs.
Being independent institutions, they have no stake in the diamonds they grade. They evaluate each based on merits and their description of the stone’s characteristics is honesty at its best.
However, they differ in some ways. For example:
- GIA uses the term “lab-grown diamonds,” instead of synthetic. While, man-made, cultured, or engineered is what is IGI-certified lab-grown diamonds called.
- The GIA is more popular in America, while the IGI is more popular in Europe and Asia.
- Certifications issued by the IGI have a faster turnaround than those of GIA.
- GIA certification is more expensive than that of the IGI.
- IGI certifications are generally respected for both mined and lab-grown diamonds.
- A diamond appraisal is provided by the IGI while the GIA does not.
GIA vs IGI: Which is Better?
Why for for IGI-certified lab-grown diamonds
Guaranteed authentic lab-diamond
Objective third-party report
IGI doesn’t sell or make diamonds. It only grades them, making them the third party in any diamond transaction. diamonds. This means it can grade diamonds with unquestionable objectivity since they have nothing to gain or lose in such activity. And it has the expertise, the technology, and the reputation to do the job.
Makes comparison easy
Shopping for diamonds is like shopping for any item—you want to see as many options as you can to make sure you get the right one that fits your budget.
Great shopping experience
The above features of an IGI certificate naturally result in your having a great shopping experience. A typical diamond buying process is complicated. An IGI certificate makes it as easy as possible.
How to Do Your Own Lab-grown diamond report check
The above process seems simple and uncomplicated. But reading or checking a grading report can be a challenge. It features a lot of terms you may not have encountered before. You may need the help of a jeweler or you can do your own lab-grown diamond report check.
You can do that by following these simple steps:
Visit their website
Their website provides vital information such as the diamond number, and other information you can verify against the actual item.
Check the certification number
Using a microscope or other magnifying tool, check the certification number (this is found on the girdle of the diamond) if it matches that on the certificate.
Check the weight of the diamond
You may also need to use the weighing scale of the jeweler you are buying your diamond from. Check if it matches what is indicated on the certificate. While doing that, you may also want to check width, length, and height. See if they all check out against the values on the certificate.
Look for flaws