Diamonds are rated for quality on the four C's: carat, color, clarity and cut. These factors are of such importance to a diamond buyer that most won't touch a diamond that doesn't come with a certification. That certification covers the four C's and other information that affects the stone's value. One organization that certifies diamonds is the European Gemological Laboratory, or EGL. An EGL certification provides a potential buyer with a level of reassurance about the quality of a diamond.
Origin and Purpose
The European Gemological Laboratory, or EGL, is an independent organization that was founded in 1974 and has operated in the United States since 1977. As of 2012, EGL USA has four labs in the states, while other EGL labs operate internationally. The company certifies diamonds for manufacturers, dealers and retailers. It also holds educational seminars, and conducts advanced research in gemology.
EGL can give you a full certification, or grading report, on a diamond. It can also give you a simple analysis of the gem or supply an origin report. The certificate itself includes statistical information on the four C's, as well as details like proportion and symmetry. Because EGL is an independent lab, its report can stand as proof of a diamond's quality. EGL will even laser-inscribe a diamond to link a particular stone to its certification report.
What Certification Means
A certified diamond has been measured and graded by an independent laboratory. As a result, the buyer isn't relying on the seller to evaluate the stone and doesn't have to worry about ratings inflation. In addition, EGL certified stones can be compared with one another, because they are evaluated against the same industry and laboratory standards.
Not all diamond merchants have bright, shiny opinions of the EGL. Some prefer rival rating labs such as the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA. The EGL tries to make a profit, and it has several sites. In 2012, diamond sellers such as Brilliance and Five Star Diamond both claimed this led to inconsistent ratings and a lower standard than the nonprofit GIA. The website The Diamond Pro says EGL offers lower prices and better customer service than other labs. However, it also says some dealers prefer the other services to the point of exclusivity.
Eric Strauss spent 12 years as a newspaper copy editor, eventually serving as a deputy business editor at "The Star-Ledger" in New Jersey before transitioning into academic communications. His byline has appeared in several newspapers and websites. Strauss holds a B.A. in creative writing/professional writing and recently earned an M.A. in English literature.