When you browse for diamonds in any reputable online store, whether it was James Allen (The ultimate shopping experience), or Blue Nile (The widest diamonds collection store), or Whiteflash (The premium quality diamonds store), you will find that ALL their diamonds collection comes with certificates.
These certifications come usually from one of the three most reputable diamonds labs:
1- GIA: Gemological Institute of America.
2- AGL: American Gemological Laboratories.
3- IGI: International Gemological Institute.
You will never find one of these retailers selling diamonds that are certified by low quality labs (Anyone mentioned EGL?!)
What are Certified Diamonds?
One might have heard of people buying fake gems; especially fake diamonds. Many times, these people paid greatly for the diamonds, but after testing, they discover the diamonds are fake.
We all know what are the 4Cs, right? Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight!
When a gem company works with a laboratory to grade diamonds based on these four characteristics (and many others), they are considered certified diamonds.
The image you see here is a sample of a certificate that comes with a diamond, this certificate is issued by a grading lab (in this case GIA, the highest reputable lab):
Certified diamonds are the best kind to buy when you are trying to buy quality. There are lots of fake gems out there, one has to be careful when selecting.
What is EGL Diamond Certificate?
EGL stands for European Gemological Laboratory, EGL started back in the 70’s, and they have labs around the world, which every lab of them has their own rules to grade diamonds, you can safely say that it’s a “franchise” company, rather than a reputable lab.
More on this shortly.
If you’re from Europe, you might have heard of EGL more than people in the US, since EGL is very prominent in Europe compared to the US, though there are two factions; the EGL USA and EGL International.
EGL claims to have more a thousand scientist and graders in all their labs around the world, the thing is that we can’t find one official resource to know more about the company, there is a website for EGL USA, another of Israel, third for India, but not a reference one.
There is a website that claims it’s theirs, but it looks like a website from 1995, which we can’t take as a reference (it doesn’t have any information anyways)
While some EGL labs are known be a better than others (like EGL NY compared to EGL Israel), but still EGL grading system is known to be less strict than GIA or AGS, that’s something not to negotiate with anyone.
Quick Overview on EGL Diamond Grading System
We are aware of SI grades, which are SI1 & SI2, but ever heard of SI3?
That’s a grade “invented” by EGL, so instead of stamping a diamond with I1 (included) grade, which no one will ever buy, this grade was created to make it look like a higher level, in the SI category.
We never recommend going lower than SI1, seeing an inclusion with your naked-eye isn’t something you want in your diamond, so why would someone need such a grade?
Simply because this grade is good for the sellers, not the buyers, check our EGL vs. GIA for details on this.
Previously and before inspection tools evolved, it was a unique thing about EGL is that the diamond certificate can be gotten in 72 hours or less after diamond submission, they are one of the fastest jewel graders.
This was considered an advantage for EGL, but is this true at that time? Of course no!
Grading a diamond shouldn’t be that fast, it’s not just looking at it and grade it accordingly, to have a reliable certificate, diamonds must go through an extensive process, inspected by very high quality tools, compare them side-by-side to known-graded daimonds in order to get a final grade.
In the past years, GIA & AGS tools & methods used to inspect & analyze a diamond evolved a lot, and you can even get a report in the same day of submission, but this wasn’t possible at the time when EGL getting reports in 2 or 3 days.
Why There is More Than One EGL Lab?
Unlike GIA, EGL is a for-profit company, which started back in 1974 in Europe, then many other independent labs have opened their offices, following the same mother company name, but in different locations.
Every lab is different from the other, and some of them are known to be a bit stricter, so an EGL certificate for a diamond originated from EGL Israel is much worse (and different) that a certificate originated from EGL New York for example, for the same diamond.
Generally-speaking, EGL lab in NY & LA are known to be better than any other EGL lab (Europe, Israel, South Africa, India, you name it), but still, EGL certificate in general will give higher grades (specially in Color & Clarity) for a diamond over GIA certificate.
Overview & Review of EGL Diamonds Labs
To be straight forward, and not to compare it with other labs like AGS or GIA (if it stands for a comparison), let’s just take a look at EGL website (the original one), here is a screenshot for it:
First, the website reminds you of 1990’s websites, it hasn’t been touched for ages (we won’t mention the awful typo on its left bottom notice).
Second, the website last update was in 2014:
Third, they didn’t even bothered themselves to install an SSL certificate (to use HTTPs), and Chrome is showing “Not Secure” as you see in the screenshot (They managed to get it a free one later).
Forth, let’s ask Google about this site:
SelectingaDiamond.com: Google, how many pages does this site have?
Not going to say more, this website has 4 pages only, while GIA for example has around 45000 pages on their website, and AGS got 6500 as well.
I’ve even tried this with EGL India site, and got inappropriate results honestly.
Moreover, out of ALL reputed diamond labs, EGL is the only one that doesn’t have a Wikipedia article.
These are not be direct signs on their diamond certification process of course, but they definitely give you an idea about how “professional” these labs are, how come a certification lab has ZERO knowledgebase articles about diamonds? Weird.
EGL Certificate Sample
As every other certification lab, EGL has its own certificate (or certificates as we will see below), and each one has its own layout & details, here for example is a sample for a diamond full report issued by EGL USA:
And here is another report issued by EGL International, as you see, every lab has its own report style, which makes it a bit harder to verify a report genuineness:
Types of EGL Diamond Certificates
- EGL USA Diamond Certificate: This is a certificate issued for analysis done on a diamond to evaluate and certify the color, clarity, carat weight, cut & inclusions of any diamond sent to their laboratory.
- EGL USA Diamond Analysis Report: This type of certificate is issued for the analysis of round diamonds only. It is also called the Cut Grade diamond report.
Its components include carat weight, carat grade; the FL grade, the IF grade, the VVS grade, the VS grade, the SI grade, and the I grade, color grade, cut; shape and style, cut grade, finish, fluorescence, and plotting. The report comes in different styles.
- EGL USA Colored diamond Report: This certificate is exclusive to the EGL USA. It is also the most popular certificate issued for colored diamonds. It is a certificate that shows the unique characteristics that can only be exhibited by a colored diamond.
- EGL USA Colored diamond origin Report: This certificate is usually a document that explains the details of the origin of colored diamonds. It includes detailed description of the color foundations; natural, enhanced, high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) treated.
- EGL USA Envira diamond Report: This certificate is a report that combines the usual elements of any diamond report with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.
It shows the sustainable environmental-friendly source of the diamond, and if applicable, its related jewelry materials. The reports are usually issued for heirlooms, reclaimed items and newly mined diamonds. The report will tell if it’s conflict-free and ethnically-sourced.
- EGL USA 3600 Diamond Report: This report gives more information about technical details of a diamond, it uses twelve criteria and innovative light performance evaluations. The evaluations are table and depth percentage, pavilion angle, crown angle and height, culet size, girdle thickness, finish, brilliance, contrast, and radiance.
- EGL USA Lab-Grown diamond Report: This certificate is issued for man-made diamonds, also known as lab-grown diamonds or synthetic stones. Though these diamonds have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, lab assessments will show that they are HPHT, i.e. made by high pressure and high temperature. The report has a section named Lab-Grown identification which is a report from the laser inscription done on the diamonds.
- EGL USA Hearts and Arrows diamond Report: This certificate is issued for the documentation of the precise cut and unique facet pattern of a hearts and arrows diamonds like James Allen’s TrueHearts™, while Blue Nile names them Astor By Blue Nile. The document describes the signature design; a circle of hearts seen through the stone’s pavilion and arrows, revealed through its crown.
Is it Good or Bad Idea to Buy EGL Certified Diamond?
After seeing all what’s above, it’s necessary to highlight that you shouldn’t have an issue with the diamond itself, so a diamond certified by EGL might be an amazing one, but the thing here is how to measure correctly the diamond characteristics for it.
If you are looking for a diamond with F or E color & VVS1 or VVS2 clarity, you can find that one with a GIA certification that costs $8000 for example, while a diamond with the same exact characteristic in the report (not the diamond itself) that’s issued by an EGL might cost you less than $6000.
Because the EGL one is around 2 or 3 levels lower, you might end up with a diamond with J or I color & SI1 or VS2 clarity if you send it to GIA to certify it.
Vice versa, if you want an SI1 & J color diamond, search for an EGL one with 3 levels higher, but we don’t recommend that for sure 🙂
EGL Certified Diamonds Summary
After seeing all the above information about EGL diamond certificates, we believe you have already made your decision, but to make sure we are all aligned, our final word on EGL diamonds is:
NEVER buy a diamond if it’s only EGL certified.
Always look for GIA or AGS certificates, GIA is known to be the best lab diamond ever, and we covered that in details in our article. Buying an EGL diamond is a big waste of money, you will paying much more for a diamond than what it really costs.