Guide to Diamond & Gemstone Certificates & Laboratories

Buying a Certified Diamond or Gemstone?

Here's a guide to help clarify the mess of certifying labs.

Many eBay buyer fall for "Fake", "Home-Made" or "No-Name" type of certificates.

Additionally, some gem laboratories are good for diamond grading but are poor for gemstone grading. Others are mainly for gemstones and a few can actually grade mounted jewelry as well.

Top Diamond Laboratories:

  • GIA, EGL-USA are the 2 most prominent certified laboratories. Both can grade gemstones as well, but they lack a bit of detail (nothing serious, but still...)

Secondary diamond laboratories:

  • EGL Israel, EGL Europe and EGL India (EGL India is the worst I've seen, the rest are OK)
  • HRD, AGS, AGL, IGI these are smaller laboratories and should be OK, but small business means that they might sway their grading for the benefit of the owner. Such practice has been seen in the secondary EGL labs as well, but not as much as AGL, HRD and AGS.

Top Gemstones Laboratories:

  • AGTA is an American based organization and laboratories. They are great for all types of gemstones and their certificates are very detailed. (Grades accurately)
  • GRS & Gubelin are both European laboratories, but they do not fall from AGTA and sometimes even look more presentable with a very high end certificate. (Grades accurately).

Secondary Gemstone Laboratories:

  • GIA & EGL both grade gemstones, but they are not seen as the best at grading gemstones. Personally I have seen and even sent gemstones to GIA, but the information was not as detailed as I hoped it to be. Other then that, they hit it right on the money.
  • AGL is probably the worst but maybe the most reliable gemstone lab I have ever seen.
    It's run by a mean aging jeweler who many times "kills" a gemstone, so it's bad in one sense but good in another. AGL are only good for natural untreated gemstones this way they can not "kill" the stone.
  • AGA & AGS are small laboratories, jewelers seldom use them and there is not much info about them. Use some caution with their certification, why use them and not AGTA or one of the European labs?

FAKE CERTIFICATE!!!

Just about anyone can make up a certificate. All you need is a camera and a printer to start. There are tons of made & no-name certificates using variation of the top laboratories. Many are simple scams and many should only be considered as opinions and not certificates.

Many scammers use names that sound like the top labs. Such names can be UGA, GL or Gemlabs etc...

Another scam certificate I have just found is USGL - United Service Gemological Laboratory. Well, they are real in a way but sellers get away with using them b/c they do not certify origin which means you are buying treated stones without knowing so.

The rule is simple.....

IF IT'S NOT ONE OF THE TOP OR SECONDARY LABS, THINK TWICE AND ASK QUESTIONS, A LOT OF QUESTIONS AND CHECK THE NAMES OF THESE LABS. OTHERWISE, IF IN DOUBT DO WITHOUT!

Cheers!!!

 


 

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Last modified: 11/09/12