Diamond Certification Advice about GIA vs EGL
A diamond engagement ring retailer contacted me the other day asking me if I would be interested in featuring their site to the readers of Wedding Spend. I’m always interested in vendors that can help readers save money and get more value so I looked over their site and reviewed it. At first glance, their prices appeared to be extremely competitive even compared to Blue Nile. Looking more closely, however, I realized their lower-cost diamonds were EGL-certified rather than GIA-certified.
GIA vs EGL
A lot of people may not know about diamond certification labs (I certainly didn’t at one point), but it’s one area that should not be glossed over, as it can significantly impact the price and value of a diamond. The most common diamond certification comparison you will probably come across is GIA vs EGL. GIA stands for Gemological Institute of America while EGL stands for European Gemological Laboratory (USA), and you should be aware of some key differences between the two.
Firstly, EGL certification is cheaper for diamond merchants than GIA certification, which is good for diamond merchants but probably not good for you, the diamond buyer. Secondly, EGL certification is not comparable to GIA certification, because EGL has different (lower) grading standards. To make it confusing for consumers, however, EGL uses very similar terminology as GIA! As a result, someone new to buying diamonds may see a EGL-certified diamond with the same specs as a GIA-certified diamond and incorrectly conclude that the EGL-certified diamond is a much better deal since it’s substantially cheaper.
To illustrate this point, I want to show you a mock purchase of a round, 1 carat diamond with an ideal/excellent cut and a F color and VS2 clarity. Blue Nile only stocks diamonds certified by GIA and AGSL, and here are their prices:
If you didn’t understand the difference between GIA vs EGL, you may incorrectly conclude that diamonds from this other site are a much better deal. I mean, look how much cheaper they sell their diamonds.
If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the above are EGL-certified diamonds. When you change the criteria to GIA-certified diamonds with the same specs, the prices jump to much higher than that of Blue Nile’s prices.
I’m no diamond expert by any means, so here are a couple resources that may help you better understand the difference between GIA vs EGL:
The Main Point
GIA vs EGL can be a confusing topic, which may or may not have been designed that way to trick consumers. To protect yourself, the best step you can take is to do proper research and arm yourself with more information. I can’t tell you whether or not you should buy a EGL-certified diamond (although most people say do not buy one), but there is probably a reason top diamond retailers, such as Blue Nile and James Allen don’t sell EGL diamonds.
And while I can’t guarantee Blue Nile has the absolute best prices on diamond engagement rings, I truly do believe they offer some of the lowest prices without the need for negotiation, especially when you add on the cash back from Top Cash Back and Amex Sync Blue Nile deals. As a result, if the prices you see from another online retailer or your local diamond store are substantially lower than that of Blue Nile’s prices, I would get very suspicious.
Until 12/31/13, the Amex Sync Blue Nile deal for $30 off $100 is back so if you are in the market for a diamond engagement ring, make sure to take advantage of that in conjunction with Top Cash Back. You will need an American Express credit card, and I recommend the American Express Starwood credit card both for its great signup bonus and for the superior customer service provided by American Express, which is important for large purchases if something goes wrong.
Disclaimer: I may receive referral credit for some of the links above, which I appreciate
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