Top 3 Lab-Grown Diamond Certifications Available in the Market (IGI, GIA, and AGS)
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
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The diamond is an exceptional gemstone that is featured in the most beautiful jewelry and ornaments. To recognize the quality of this gem, one must look at its certification. A trustworthy diamond certification is very important when buying a lab-grown diamond.
What Is the Purpose of a Diamond Certification?
A diamond certification is an official document, issued by an independent gemological laboratory and recognized worldwide for its competence in this exercise which requires precision and method. The certification of a diamond is thus obtained after a precise and pointed analysis of the gem. As the diamond's identity card, it presents all its own characteristics.
The certification of authenticity of the diamond makes it possible to guarantee 100% the authenticity, origin, and quality of the gem. It is said that nearly 99% of the world's diamond production is certified since the signing in 2003 of the Kimberley Process by several countries (Canada, USA, European Union, Angola, and South Africa...).
This international certification system for rough diamonds prevents the trading of conflict diamonds or "blood diamonds'' on the international market (i.e. diamonds linked to the financing of military activities, war, armament, etc.).
In short, the role of diamond certification is to: guarantee and identify the gem, add value to the diamond, facilitate negotiations on the world market, and compare several diamonds with precision.
The Top 3 Trustworthy Diamond Certifications When Buying a Lab-grown Diamond
Among the institutions of public notoriety, authorized to deliver the certification of diamonds:
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) Certification
IGI is a Belgian Institute with its headquarters in Antwerp. They are represented by over 14 offices across the world. The IGI certification is believed to be the best certification for lab-grown diamonds. IGI works very fast and its certification prices are lower than that of the GIA. IGI gives specific grades like color and clarity for lab-grown diamonds. Most synthetic diamond manufacturers get their certification from IGI.
An IGI-certified diamond helps you compare diamonds and helps ensure you get exactly what you paid for. When you buy a lab-grown diamond that is IGI-certified, you are assured that your diamond is the same standard and quality claimed by the manufacturer.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Certification
In the diamond market, the GIA is the most respected and renowned diamond certifier. They are believed to be incredibly consistent with their grading. At GIA, lab-grown diamonds are subjected to the same process of grading as natural diamonds. When the GIA receives a diamond for grading and certification, they test it to determine its identity and to also detect potential treatments.
The GIA uses observing inclusions, fluorescence, and phosphorescence as their methods for analysis. If the diamond is discovered to be lab-grown, the GIA will issue a Laboratory Grown Diamond Report.
The GIA also inscribes the diamond's girdle with a report number and a statement that identifies the diamond as lab-grown; this is done as an added precaution to protect consumers. A lab-grown diamond that is certified by the GIA is trustworthy and reliable as you are assured of the quality and identity of your diamond.
The American Gem Society (AGS) Certification
The AGS (American Gem Society) is the original lab to provide diamond cut grades. Long before the GIA introduced its cut grade a few years ago, the AGS has been offering its unique cut grade scale from 0 to 9 (with 0 being termed “ideal”). The AGS recently announced that they are resuming the certification of lab-grown diamonds.
The AGS is a reliable laboratory. To date, the grading system at AGS is unique and in fact, their cut grade is the only one of its kind in the industry. The AGS will offer color and clarity grade certifications for lab-grown diamonds. This will help you to determine the quality of your lab-grown diamond. A lab-grown diamond with an AGS certification is one of quality. It is important to note that AGS standards on color and clarity grading are somewhat looser than those of GIA.
Other grading laboratories worthy of mention include the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL), Hoge Raad Voor Diamant (HRD), and Gemological Science International (GSI). The certifications from these labs are not as trustworthy and reliable as the certifications from the top three laboratories.
Other Things You May Want to Know About Lab-grown Diamond Certification
A diamond certification is a document issued by a third-party laboratory that describes the qualities and characteristics of a diamond. Laboratories that issue these certifications are not involved in the sale of the diamond. Their job is to evaluate the diamond based on its merit. The lab certification issued will grade the diamond using the 4Cs - Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.
Professional jewelers evaluate, measure, and observe the diamond with instruments such as a microscope or a loupe whatever they find is then reported in the certification. Diamond laboratories around the world grade and describe their diamonds differently, and sometimes these differences stand out. When you are buying a lab-grown diamond it is important that you know which certifications are reliable and trustworthy.
Diamond Certification Contents
For the lab-grown diamond you’re considering, you should receive and review its lab certification. This lab report or certification will be issued by a grading entity and describes various elements of the diamond, such as color, clarity, length, and width. The fact that diamond certifications are not the same, the price and value of diamonds are not comparable across varying certifications. Make sure that you are purchasing a lab-grown diamond with a certification from a highly reputable grading entity and that you review the diamond closely.
Most laboratories include the following content in their certifications:
The unique report number
Date of examination
Exact measurements of the diamond
Cut style and diamond shape
Diamond plot displaying the diamond’s inclusions and blemishes
Explanation of grading
Diamond Grading and Certification Are Subjective
Diamond grading is subjective and contrary to popular sentiment no grading organization can categorically establish what a “G” Color is or what an “SI1” Clarity looks like.
If a grading lab consistently reports one color grade as “G” while another lab consistently reports that same color as “H”, it’s perfectly acceptable and reasonable as long as they do so consistently.
It’s important to note that consistency in grading, doesn’t necessarily mean the entity is reliable and trustworthy. Buying a diamond with a weak certification at a high price point is not economical even if the laboratory consistently grades diamonds this way because you are not getting the quality for the payment you are making.
Every lab has its peculiarities. Some labs are focused on grading Color, while others are focused on rating clarity. Some labs will always enhance specific color ranges, while others favor specific arrangements of inclusions. Most lab-grown diamond companies know this and use that knowledge to their advantage by sending thousands of diamonds to different labs each month to maximize their results. When you know which grading labs are trustworthy and consistent you avoid purchasing a lab-grown diamond worth much less than what the certification is stating to be accurate.
There are various producers of lab-grown diamonds and they all present some of the certifications mentioned above with their diamonds. One particular company that creates lab-grown diamonds is LONITÉ™. LONITÉ™ is a memorial diamond company and they provide certifications from both the International Gemological Institute (IGI), and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), as well as in-house certification.