I have heard many jewelers complain that EGL International certs are often embellished. They are upset and frustrated. I think it’s time we addressed this issue.
Honesty is the best policy. When dealing with clarity enhanced or drilled stones, the problem occurs when the jeweler does not properly disclose the treatment. It’s the same with EGL International certs. It is fine to sell them, but be up front with the customer. Tell the customer that EGL International uses a different standard of grading than GIA.
Different is not always bad! EGL invented the SI3, which almost the whole world, including the Rapaport price list, recognizes as necessary. There were too many diamonds that were falling between SI2 and I1. Change is good! AGS invented the cut grade.
Competition is good! I am glad there are many labs. If there was only GIA then they could raise prices and essentially charge any price they want for certs.
Diamond grading is subjective
There are traits of a diamond that are objective, like depth, and there are traits in diamond grading that are subjective like color and clarity. There is no master set for clarity. Clarity is complicated. You must look at the total volume of the stone and the location of the inclusions. What is the scientific basis for clarity? All labs seem to have different scales. There will always be a gray area.
I have been all over the country, and I have seen different jewelers and appraisers grade diamonds differently. It is impossible to have one standard. Even GIA has variations. I have seen many labs give different grades to the same stone – multiple times!
Diamond grading labs have so much to look for, especially now with clarity enhancement, synthetic diamonds, and HTHP treatments. They have to check for all these and yet the price of certing a diamond has not gone up.
One day a laser might be able to grade clarity, but until then, they are graded by humans with opinions and it will remain subjective. If you look, it says right on the cert, this is not a guarantee. It is just the opinion of a gemologist.
The problem occurs when a jeweler pretends GIA and EGL International certs are the same. The wholesale and retail market proves they are different by pricing. Just look at what each are selling for. All EGL International graded diamond sell for less than GIA’s.
Consumer communication is always best. Show your customer multiple diamonds with different certs or even un-certed diamonds and explain the differences. Earn their trust by telling them the truth. You are the jeweler. You are the expert – you owe it to them to tell them what you know. If you only sell GIA’s you might be pricing yourself out of the reach of many customers. I think when you bad mouth EGL’s, or the jeweler down the street who sells EGL’s, it makes YOU look bad.
Instead of putting down EGL International just explain that there are different standards. Say to the customer lets compare! “Here are different certs from different labs and yes, GIA is more expensive, because they have higher standards…. Now which one looks prettiest to you?”
I would be happy to discuss this topic more if you like.
Aleah Siegel is a 3rd generation GIA Graduate Gemologist and a 5th generation jeweler turned loose diamond wholesaler. Selling diamonds on the road lets her share great ideas from hundreds of different jewelers from all over the country. Sign up for her Jewelry Sales Tips Newsletter by e-mailing her at Aleah@olympiandiamonds.com or calling 800-882-8900. We are all in this jewelry business together lets help each other!