IGI vs GIA Certification: Which is Better?

When you are purchasing a diamond, there is going to be some kind of grading done on it to ensure that the quality and cut are legitimate. There are two main types of grading systems that you can choose, namely the IGI and the GIA. Both are reputable and great options to choose, but what is the difference between these two grading systems?

The IGI and GIA are both reputable labs for you to receive your diamonds from. However, they will grade the diamonds differently. The IGI is known to not be as consistent or strict when it comes to grading the diamonds compared to GIA. The GIA is more strict when grading a diamond, so they will offer the most accurate grading report for your diamond. IGI is more common in Europe and Asia, while GIA is the primary standard in the United States.

Both of these labs are going to provide you with great diamonds that you are sure to enjoy. The quality is high, no matter which grading scale you decide to go on. Let’s take a closer look at both of these grading scales to see how they will work when you choose a diamond.

What is GIA?

First, we need to take a look at the two companies and explore some of the ways that they are the same and some of the ways that they are different. We can start with the GIA. This stands for Gemological Institution of America and is a non-profit institution from 1932 dedicated to the education, grading, and research of natural gemstones.

GIA wanted to come up with a standard that is usable by everyone in the industry to help grade diamonds on the same scale. This took out some of the guesswork and made it easier for professionals and customers to know more about the diamond they are purchasing.

Due to some of the hard work that they put in, the GIA introduced the International Diamond Grading System. This is known as the 4Cs and will grade the diamond or gemstone based on their carat weight, color, clarity, and cut. This is a standard that even IGI is going to use today as well.

What is IGI?

Now it is time to take a look at the IGI standard and how this works. The IGI stands for the International Gemological Institute. It is one of the largest independent gem labs in the world. It is found in the heart of the diamond trade, which is in Antwerp. The company also has many offices in some of the biggest diamond centers around the world.

This organization has more than 650 gemologists and other jewelry professionals that go with them. This has helped them to position themselves as a reliable diamond grading lab so that they can have their own name within the industry as well.

What is the Difference Between IGI and GIA?

Now that we know a little bit more about the two organizations, it is time to take a closer look at how these work. If you plan to travel abroad to Asia and Europe, then the IGI grading reports are going to be some of the most common options you are able to find. In the past few years though, GIA diamond ratings are gaining more of the market share as well. If you are in the United States, then GIA is going to be the lab that you should choose.

For the most part, both of these are going to be similar. If you are looking to get a really strict standard with some of the diamond grading that you have, you will need to go with GIA. This does not mean that IGI is bad, it just means that they grade things a little bit differently and the quality of the diamonds can fall a little short on occasion. You may be able to see some differences in some of the diamonds based on their ranking in each one, but the difference is not that big and both are great grading scales to use.

Grading the 4C’s with IGI and GIA

These two organizations are going to grade a diamond based on the 4C’s and there will be some inconsistencies between the way that they do things. In the lower color ranges, this is not going to be much of a difference, though the GIA is going to be a little harder on their grading so you will have fewer problems when it comes to the diamonds that you need.

The higher the quality of the diamond, the more stringent you will want the grading to become. This is where the GIA grading scale is going to thrive compared to some of the others. They have more requirements to rank the diamonds at some of the higher levels and you will be able to tell the difference between some of the IGI diamonds and the GIA diamonds and the quality that they provide. You should shop around to find the best quality for the diamonds that you want.

For those who are really worried about the quality of diamond that they are able to get, it is a good idea to look for ones that have gone by the GIA standard. This will ensure that you are able to get the best diamonds out there. If you are only able to find diamonds that are ranked by the IGI, they are still a good option and you will not be disappointed either, but the GIA is more consistent and will provide the top in quality with some of the diamonds that you are able to get.

Choosing the Best Diamond for Your Needs

There are a lot of great diamonds out there for you to choose. Knowing the right one for you is going to make a big difference in the quality and type of diamond that you are able to get in the piece of jewelry that you get.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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