IGI Diamond Certification

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Not only is diamond certification vitally important for finding the right diamond, it’s also crucial for ensuring the diamond retailer you’re working with is trustworthy and worth doing business with again and again. Diamond certification itself is where diamonds are analyzed for their qualities, and then creates verification for said diamond that can be communicated to buyers so that they can trust what they’re getting.

The International Gemological Institution (IGI) is one of the independent organizations that provide this type of certification. They mainly operate within Europe and Asia, where you’ll find their certification more often than that of the GIA or the AGS. They’re well known for their cheaper certification prices and their fast turnaround times.

In the world of diamonds, certification is everything, so here’s all you need to know about the IGI.

The Diamond Certification Industry Today

In today’s diamond certification industry, the pressure to provide favorable reviews regarding the quality of diamonds is high. With multiple competing organizations and the progression of certification technology, there is the chance of certification organizations inflating the quality of diamonds in order to continue making worthwhile revenue. Unfortunately, we’ve found this to be the case in previous analyses of the IGI and their work. While their work is good, it is often not comparable to other diamond certification organizations, such as the GIA and the AGS.

This is important to realize because, as a consumer, obtaining a diamond with an inflated grade will mean you’ve been lied to. While the diamond in question could still be an impressive diamond, it won’t be valued at the same amount. Plus, you may have even paid far too much for the diamond itself. Overall, you should opt for a diamond that’s been certified by an independent organization that lets nothing influence their final decision.

IGI’s History

The IGI was founded in 1975 in Antwerp, Belgium. Since then, they’ve branched out and their certifications and certification centers can be found the world over, with 18 labs and 14 certification centers, including:

  • Belgium (Antwerp)
  • India (Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Surat)
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai)
  • China (Shanghai)
  • Italy (Rome, Cavalese, Ascoli Piceno, Trecastagni, and Marcianise

Their commitment to fast-paced diamond grading and lower prices have made them a firm favorite with small to medium-size diamond retailers. But the IGI doesn’t only do grading, but also provides laser inscriptions for diamonds that act as identification marks. Alongside this, they also offer engraving, repair, branding, and photography services.

Grading Standards at the IGI

As I’ve alluded to, consistency and reliability is the aim of the game for diamond certification. If consistency is guaranteed, then this makes the job of comparing and contrasting diamonds so much easier, which is the best way to find the right diamond to fit your specifications. If certification standards differ across an organization, it means buyers aren’t getting the right information they need to make an informed decision.

This is the inherent challenge with the IGI. It’s been shown that, across their various certification centers, consistency isn’t to be found. Some branches inflate diamond grading scores, and unfortunately, others have been shown to pursue recertification in line with previous inflated scores. This means that even a stricter certification center will give the OK to an inflated score.

How Does this Affect Price?

Certification doesn’t lead to a specific value being placed upon a diamond. Rather, the certificate verifies that the diamond can be ascribed a specific value (as long as the certification is accurate). It’s essentially a quality that justifies the prices of diamond retailers.

Buyers must trust that the certification they’re viewing accurately represents the qualities of the diamonds they’re interested in. If not, it means they will end up being overcharged and suffer from a lower resale value should they decide to sell that piece.

Ultimately, a diamond with an inflated certification will have an inflated price tag.

Finding Diamonds With Trustworthy Certification

When buying diamonds online, certification is almost more valuable than the diamond itself. It’s the ultimate protection against a bad investment. So where do you go for the best certification?

In my opinion, there are three trustworthy diamond retailers to purchase diamonds and diamond jewelry from: Whiteflash, James Allen, and Blue Nile. These organizations set the standard for incredible diamond offerings and industry-leading customer service.

Don’t believe me? Head to my retailer reviews section for more information.

What do IGI Grading Reports Include?

Like other gem labs, the IGI includes a wide variety of information in their reports. Not only will a size reading be included, but also present will be:

  • A diamond’s proportions;
  • The color of the gemstone;
  • The clarity grading;
  • A diagram of the diamond that shows inclusions or blemishes.

These are formally known as IGI Jewelry Identification Reports. The IGI was the first lab in the world to introduce these, and each one provides the documentation that matches the diamond to its described characteristics. Ultimately, these reports show the skill of craftsmanship that might not be obvious to the naked eye.

Why is Certification Important?

The right certification is incredibly important for diamond buyers because it proves what you’re receiving is both legitimate and described accurately. I’ve known cases where unknowing buyers have spent thousands of dollars on what they think is a high-quality diamond, only for it to turn out that what they received was actually much less impressive than what was promised. This is one of the worst scenarios for buyers—especially first-time buyers—who not only lose money, but also time and trust.

Is IGI the Best Diamond Certification Service?

As we’ve previously mentioned, various IGI centers have been known to inflate their diamond grading, so diamonds come out being as a little higher quality than they actually are. Evidently, this doesn’t happen all the time, as it would mean no reputable diamond retailer would ever turn to the IGI again. That being said, it’s worth making sure the retailer you’re buying from is reputable themselves, and so is less likely to stock grade-inflated diamonds. Cheaper jewelers may stock these stones, so be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

The IGI tend to work very closely with retailers, which also can affect how impartial they are when grading diamonds. In the perfect scenario, you want a diamond that’s been certified by an organization that is completely independent. Impartiality, stringency, and consistency are key.

Overall, I would recommend choosing diamonds that have been certified by either the AGS or GIA whose work is commended the world over, being a paragon of consistency and quality. That said IGI are the main organisation that certify lab diamonds currently. So how do we know we’re getting a high quality diamond? The answer lies within light performance images, they enable us to accurately audit the quality of a diamond. Whiteflash supply light performance images and videos on all their IGI lab diamonds, but they specialize in AGS/GIA high quality cut natural diamonds. James Allen may supply some light performance as well, as do Blue Nile.

Discover the Four Cs

If you’re looking for the perfect diamond, you need to do your research. It’s fairly easy to find companies that offer the right certifications, but how do you know exactly the right diamond characteristics to search for?

These characteristics—Color, Clarity, Carat Weight, and Cut—are known as the Four Cs. Developing a good working knowledge of these will stand you in good stead when looking for a diamond. For example, if you know the Four Cs, you’ll know why a VS1 E Ideal Cut Diamond is better than a SI1 K Fair Cut Diamond. Having that kind of knowledge not only narrows down the kind of diamonds you know are worth buying, but it also means you can make the most of your budget, whatever its size.

At Your Diamond Guru, I’ve developed a handy guide to all the Four Cs, which you can explore here—plus lots more.

Richard Jenkins, The Diamond Guru

Get free assistance from the Diamond Guru today. You’ll be glad you did!

  • Secure the best quality diamond for your budget.
  • Don’t pay over the odds for your diamond ring.
  • Have piece of mind that you didn’t get ripped off.

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