IGI, or the International Gemological Institute, is one of the most famous diamond certification organizations, especially in the Asian market. The entity was established to guarantee concise expertise in diamond grading. Specifically, the institute offers educational programs and fine jewelry examination.
In general, those IGI specialists that certify diamonds have a good reputation. Let’s check how this diamond certification institute works and what are its key advantages.
IGI diamond certification: The basic information
The first time IGI certified diamonds happened in 1975 in Antwerp, Belgium. Many people remember it as an innovative happening for the diamond industry. In particular, IGI certified diamonds as part of jewelry grading and offered diamond certification education. The list of its exclusive services included diamond repair and re-cutting, protective sealing, and comprehensive cut measuring. Besides, IGI diamond certification documents are known for their clarity and clearness. Finally, IGI has established a unique co-branded certification these days. It’s a stable network of partnerships with various jewelry brands.
Among all, IGI diamond certification specialists are known for being eager to share their knowledge. The institute created the first public school to introduce classes on evaluating rough diamonds. These days, IGI certified “Polished Diamond Course” is its most popular program, aimed at helping people to identify the diamond grading by themselves.
How does IGI certification work?
IGI diamond certification institute has 18 laboratories, along with 14 certification schools of gemology, all over the world. The IGI geography includes Belgium (Antwerp), India (Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Surat), United Arab Emirates (Dubai), China (Shanghai), and Italy (Rome, Cavalese, Ascoli Piceno, Trecastagni, and Marcianise).
IGI certified diamonds can get a report of different types:
- The Diamond Report, or a traditional certificate mentioning diamond 4C’s,
- The Jewelry Report, or a revolutionary invention of IGI that evaluates finished diamond jewelry pieces,
- The Colored Stone Report, or the certification designed by IGI especially for colored diamonds,
- IGI Laboratory Grown Diamond Report, or a diamond certificate for a man-made diamond. IGI issues this document on the yellow paper.
Additionally, IGI diamond certification may work with the Hearts & Arrows report. This is a branded certificate for premium-cut diamonds. In it, IGI experts certify the symmetry of all the diamond facets to validate its Hearts & Arrows title.
IGI certified diamonds: Key characteristics mentioned in the report
The Diamond Report from IGI has the following sections:
- Carat weight,
- Diamond color,
- Diamond clarity,
- Diamond finish (includes polish, symmetry, and proportions).
As you can see, IGI-certified diamonds do not have a specific grade in the “Cut” section, in contrast to GIA and AGS certificates. However, you can get the idea of this diamond certification parameter after checking the “Finish” section in IGI Diamond Report.
Let’s investigate how IGI specialists certify each diamond grade in detail now.
To certify the number of carats, IGI professionals use highly calibrated instruments. Measuring the diamond weight is extremely important since the cost of a diamond is calculated with the diamond price per carat formula. And IGI gemologists certify this parameter pretty accurately.
When it comes to color grading, IGI-certified diamonds mostly receive a stricter or looser parameter than GIA. That’s the reason why many observers accuse IGI for manipulating with this diamond parameter – especially those who prefer GIA laboratories to certify their diamonds.
The diamond price heavily depends on the precise grade in the color category. Compared to GIA’s reputation, IGI certification is frequently accused of prescribing inaccurate grades. This trick makes jewelers benefit from the diamond price, in the end.
IGI-certified laboratories evaluate clarity under a 10x magnification glass. Like GIA, IGI uses the scale with parameters from IF (internally flawless) to I3 (severely imperfect).
The most problems come with distinguishing SI1 and SI2 grades in IGI diamond certificates. Many experiments proved that IGI laboratories in different countries make mistakes here and certify the same diamond differently. In particular, they prescribe SI1 grade and SI2 grade to this jewel without any strong reason. The situation deepens because the GIA laboratory may certify this diamond with an even lower grade than in those both IGI laboratories.
Thus, there’s a strong indictment of IGI in favoring diamond prices for jewelers.
Finally, IGI diamond finish is the parameter that includes polish, symmetry, and proportions. Here, the IGI diamond certificate assigns a grade from Excellent to Poor, similar to the diamond cut grades in GIA and AGS certificates. For proportions, IGI specialists certify table, crown, girdle, and culet for their depth, height, and width.
Diamond certification institutes: Is IGI the best?
The question of high-quality certification is sharp in the diamond industry. In this discussion, IGI has a doubtful reputation, especially when it comes to the accuracy of clarity and color grades. Independent experts often notice that specialists from this institute certify wrong grades and favor prices for jewelers. Thus, they recommend asking for a GIA certificate instead.
Let’s study out the validity of these accusations.
Among all, diamond certification from IGI is known for being cheaper than the one from GIA. This factor has its logical outcomes: the low certification price attracts jewelers like Kay and Zales. In addition, IGI certificates are issued fast, which increases the chance of making a mistake and assigning inaccurate grades. In return, this destroys IGI‘s reputation. So, its laboratories have turned into the factories that certify diamond grades that serve the price policies set by jewelers.
Also, diamond experts don’t recommend IGI certificates because the institute collaborates with retailers. The closer IGI works with them, the more it ruins its image of an independent third-party that can certify the true quality of a diamond. In this situation, the introduced idea of co-branded certification deepens this problem even further. Actually, that’s the main reason behind the mixed reputation of IGI diamond certification, especially in the USA market.
One more important factor that downgrades IGI reputation is the inconsistency between its various branches. Frequently, one laboratory assigns a diamond a one set of grades for clarity and color, while another one puts different numbers there. The whole situation complicates the fact that GIA may have a completely different vision on its color and clarity.
In the given circumstances, many observers tend to rely on more consistent and stable GIA grading methodology. And Diamond Registry experts affiliate with this recommendation.
Diamond Registry works with GIA-certified diamonds to ensure our clients get the most accurate diamond grading. Also, we consult people on how to read and get certificates for their diamonds. Feel free to submit the quote through the form below!