IGI Vs. GIA: Everything You Need To Know About Diamond Certifications

IGI vs. Gia Diamonds
source: icononicjewelry

When it comes to the grading system of diamonds, an IGI vs. Gia argument almost comes up. Buying Diamonds is expensive, so it is only right to fuss over the quality you are getting for the price. Both institutions have been sought after for being reputable labs over the years.

However, IGI does not live up to the hype of GIA because they have not been consistent in grading diamonds. If you know your diamonds, you are aware of the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds. Even then, you need a certification to ensure that your diamond is genuine, top-quality, and gets an accurate grade.

Although IGI and GIA are both trusted, they do not grade the same way, so most people regard one more than the other. This article will discuss everything you need to know about these institutions and their relevance to help you decide for yourself if you are wondering which certification is better for an IGI vs. GIA grading.

What is GIA?

The full mean of GIA is Gemological Institution of America, and it came into existence in 1931. The institution is a non-profit focused on the grading of natural gemstones, education, and research. They could develop a standard and method to check and grade gemstones, including diamonds.

After years of research and hard work, they came up with the acceptable grading system we have all come to know as the 4cs of diamond testing. The 4cs, an acronym for Cut, Color, carat, and clarity, was founded in 1953, 22 years after the GIA started its operations.

In addition to their outstanding contribution to the gemology industry, they have spread and established 11 campuses, four research centers, and nine laboratories where they train gemologists and still find ways to contribute positively to the study.

What is IGI?

The whole meaning of IGI is The International Gemological Institute, an independent gem lab founded in 1975 that has made a name for itself for being the largest in the world. Although they have their headquarters in Antwerp, Germany, which is regarded as the heart of the diamond trade, they have been able to open branches in some major cities.

They follow the 4cs of checking for diamonds that the GIA put in place; that’s why most people don’t regard IGI so much in an IGI vs. GIA debate. The standard is very effective in checking for diamonds; since it is not broken, there is no need for the IGI to fix it and make wrong assumptions.

They have over 600 gemologists working with them in the jewelry business, which has been pivotal in pushing them to where they are now. Millions worldwide trust their certifications because they are professionals and more of an extension of GIA.

IGI vs. GIA: What is the Difference

Most jewelers believe that the IGI grading system is not as rigid as that of GIA, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t do an excellent job telling you if the diamond is natural.

It is a matter of preference; GIA came into existence before the IGI, so there is always a sentiment attached to their judgment, coupled with the fact that they were the ones that set up the standard methodology.

On the other hand, most people have concerns that due to the different labs set up by the IGI, there may be loose structure and lapses among them. Despite the widespread preference for GIA certification in the United States and most other countries, IGI has built an even stronger reputation in Asia and Europe, amongst others.

Here is how they typically grade their diamonds to understand better how different IGI vs. GIA grade them using the 4cs. Below is a detailed explanation.

How to Read & Interpret a GIA Diamond Certificate IGI vs. GIA
source: deBebians

IGI vs. GIA: Color

When comparing the color test between IGI vs. GIA, there is an inconsistency with D-I color diamonds using the 1-grade color system. This discrepancy is minimal in the J to the junior-grade color diamond range.

IGI vs. GIA: Clarity

For clarity, you might notice a uniformity of a 1-grade diamond that the IGI and GIA graded. The difference is more evident in the flawless, investment-grade, D-F to VVS clarity diamond range. So, whenever you are about to buy an IGI-certified diamond, ensure you ask questions as regards the clarity of SI1 and SI2 diamonds.

You also must ensure that you get any diamond graded for low clarity eye-cleaned, so you don’t end up with a diamond with visible inclusions.

Regardless of how different the grading of IGI vs. GIA diamonds might be, during circulation, jewelers have recorded that about 20% of IGI-graded diamonds have the same rating as that of GIA. It goes a long way to tell on the inconsistent standards of different IGI locations and the professionals who check the diamonds.

In addition, it proves that the diamonds’ differences might be the gemologist’s incompetence. The diamond that made it to the 20% of diamonds that match the ranking o GIA standards also shows that the IGI is on track and have some strict professional gemologist.

Despite this bright side for IGI-certified diamonds, you still might not get a good deal when you want to sell them; GIA gets more highly regarded. The GIA brand reputation and their higher grading price affect the price.

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IGI vs. GIA: Their Grading System Report

The IGI issues two types of grading reports, which are the mini and full report grading systems. In contrast, GIA gives two types of grading reports: the diamond dossier for small diamonds and a full description for other sizes of diamonds.

Although GIA gives a dossier for small diamonds, it contains ample information that leaves the buyer satisfied. Compared to IGI mini grading information report, it has fewer facts to keep a buyer met; that’s why it is usually issued in shopping malls.

Reputable jewelry stores with IGI certifications are supposed to give buyers a full report for any diamond purchased, so always ask for it. Asides from the clarity and cut information on the report, you should check for extra facts like the properties and fluorescence of the diamond you want to purchase.

IGI vs. GIA extends discounts to members of The Jewelers Circle
source: IGIGemBlog

IGI vs. GIA: Diamond Appraisals

If you’ve never heard of a diamond appraisal before, you might wonder how it differs from a certification. An assessment of a diamond gives insight into the monetary worth of your diamond. In contrast, certification focuses on the quality and features of the diamond.

The GIA frowns upon giving diamond appraisals, and organizations have exempted themselves from giving any price range for your gem. They focus on providing clients with an in-depth analysis of their gems instead of meddling with the stone’s worth.

Most people find their stand notable because it prevents conflicting interests, where the GIA could use that opportunity to increase the diamond grade so it sells for a higher value.
In comparison, the IGI tries to help you know the value of your diamond after its grading report.

The institution partnered with various brands that offer third-party appraisals to help you see your diamonds’ worth. They put this structure in place for jewel insurers who only trust the inspection of trusted organizations, especially if the stone is expensive.

In the diamond business, it is not advisable to trust the appraisal of the organization that certified it or the person that plans to buy it. You should search for established jewelry appraisers and ensure they are professionals before taking your jewelry there.

When you get their opinion, it is also best to go for a second opinion to be sure before you sell.

IGI vs. GIA: Which Certified Diamond Should You Buy?

Even after seeing all the differences, you might still get confused about which grading report to trust when shopping for diamonds. From a technical angle, both institutions are up to the task, but when it comes to lab-grown diamonds, experts prefer a diamond with an IGI grading report.

Cost-wise, the IGI certification is a great option, regardless of the GIA certificate’s market leverage. Undoubtedly, GIA has a good standing for starting first and establishing itself as the go-to lab for everyone in the gem industry. Even though GIA’s a head start over IGI labs, they have earned their place in the same industry.

So, the key takeaway should be if you are shopping for a lab-grown diamond, go with an IGI grading report, but for naturally mined diamonds, a GIA certification is your best bet.

brilliant earth engagement rings IGI vs. GIA
source: ciriondo

IGI vs. GIA: Is it Essential to get Your Diamond Certified?

Since the beginning of the article, we have been talking about certification, and you might still be wondering if a certification is that important. A diamond certificate is a trusted document that gives all the information about the diamond you are buying.

You can sell or buy diamonds legally without certification. Although the buyer will check for the authenticity of your diamond, you need to have basic information about the piece of diamond. Without a grading report, there is no other way to know a diamond’s color, cut, and overall quality.

It also assures you that the stone is durable and worth your money. The certificate also affects the price of the diamond; whatever quality the stone is ranked at determines the price.


The IGI and GIA are established diamond grading institutions, but the GIA is preferable to most people. That’s because, over time, several people have noticed a difference between the grading reports issued by the IGI vs. GIA on the same diamond using the same 4cs metrics.

You hardly find anyone in the U.S that advises you to go with an IGI report, especially if you are new to the world of diamonds. This is not to say that an IGI report cannot be trusted because it most certainly can if you get issued with a complete notice.

It would help if you knew the seven factors to watch out for when buying diamonds so that you can contest a false grading report.

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Fanti Tukuwei
I'm a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle enthusiast, and the ultimate curves queen. Here, I share beauty, fashion, and lifestyle tips to teach, inspire, and give confidence to all women.