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Are all diamond gradings the same?

Magnifying glass over diamonds

If you think a diamond report guarantees that you are getting a good diamond, you need to read this. This is a report made by two TV stations recently and published in a jewelry trade magazine. It points out that your jeweler needs to be able to determine if a diamond report is accurate and if not, be able to tell and show you what the discrepancies are. I’ve seen GIA reports I do not agree with.

This also points out why there are many diamonds being sold at 60% off some price when it turns out even with a huge mark down, you are paying too much.

As a diamond professional, I never buy a diamond based on a piece of paper or sight unseen. If I don’t like how the diamond looks, I will not buy it and you can only tell how a diamond looks by seeing the diamond.

Diamond Lab Issues Land on Local Newscasts

By JCK Staff – December 17, 2013

For a long time, the industry has complained about different diamond grading labs using different standards. Now, consumers may become aware of this as well, with two ABC affiliates slamming the trade for its “dirty little secret.”

The two stories—one broadcast on a Denver station on Nov. 25, the other broadcast in San Diego on Dec. 16—were similar, with both using testimony from Denver appraiser Neil Beaty.

In the stories, Beaty showed a diamond that was graded J-I1 by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), with poor cut. But EGL International graded it H-SI2 and did not list a cut grade.

“Shoppers are not shown both certs when examples like this come about,” explained Beaty, complaining the lab business is “ a completely unregulated industry.”

“The price a jeweler could charge for that same one carat diamond was nearly doubled if they used EGL International’s report instead of the one provided by GIA,” the broadcast added.

“I’ve seen these examples…hundreds of times,” Beaty added. “The usual reason to choose a lab is because it produces the most money for a stone.”

When the Denver station queried local sales associates about the differences, they received some different responses.

“What matters is what’s prettiest to you, what sparkles the most, what you like, not what is printed on the paperwork,” one said.

Another said that when diamond grading, “The standard, the scales are the same…[t]he Diamond Council…has a standard.”

However another associate said exactly the opposite: “Not all HSI1’s or HSI2’s are going to be the same. It depends on who they are graded by.”

On the broadcast, Beaty recommended consumers look for GIA reports.

Beaty is not the only trade member to talk about this publicly. A Florida jeweler started a campaign called Diamonditis, with radio ads and local news appearances.


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