Hi there! If you’re new here, welcome. I’m re-posting a few of my old favorites for the new (and growing) audience here. I’m so happy you clicked over from Insta or Pinterest or Tumblr, and I hope you enjoy an insane amount of engagement ring eye candy and rambling advice about how to score a great deal on them.
Well if that’s not a trick question I don’t know what is! Asking “Should you ever buy an EGL Diamond?” Implies several other questions. Is an EGL diamond superior or inferior to other diamonds? Is this because it’s certified? or certified specifically by EGL? What’s EGL? What’s certification? What kind of wormhole have I opened?
Well, the short answers are:
A reasonably sized one.
EGL is one of the major gem grading labs. They issue a large portion of the certificated for diamonds in the trade, along with GIA.
While their US labs are well respected, their international labs have a reputation for inconsistency at best and ahem, leniency at worst. There are jewelers who will send certain diamonds to EGL, rather than GIA, to secure a better grade on a certificate, and therefore charge more. This practice, and other diamond grading games are one of the big reasons why I’m always yelling at you to shop for the diamond, not the certificate.
EGL diamonds aren’t inherently shady though. In fact, a diamond with an EGL cert might be significantly less than a GIA diamond of lesser quality. This could, of course, be due to the aforementioned diamond grading games. But if you’re a smart shopper, who’s looking at the diamond and not a piece of paper, you’ll be able to spot the better diamond. Or, you won’t – which in some cases can be preferable.
Let’s say you have a GIA certified diamond that’s 1.18 carats, G color, and VS1 clarity. It has a respectable cut grade of Good, and a price tag of $10,400.
Next to it, you have an EGL certified diamond that’s 1.17 carats, G color, and SI1 clarity. It has no cut grade because EGL doesn’t include them on certs, and a price tag of $8,476.
You’ll take into account that perhaps EGL color grade isn’t exactly the same as the GIA diamond’s – though factors like lighting, the color shirt you’re wearing, the amount of caffeine you’ve consumed that day and in which direction the wind is blowing will also affect that. And you’ll know that even if the grading standards were the same, performed by the same gemologist, in immediate succession, the VS1 clarity is the better grade.
But you know you really can’t tell the difference between color grades in any normal scenario. And you know that the SI1’s internal marks are off to the side and difficult to spot in this particular diamond. And so you, pocketing an extra $2,000, happily purchase that EGL diamond!
So, even after you’ve looked at certificates ’til your eyes bleed, you’ve discerned the merits of both major labs, and you’ve boned up on your research…your ultimate decision came down to your own diamond expertise – not the gem labs. You relied on your own eyes (boosted by the loupe) to realize that yes, these diamonds are very similar looking, and asked yourself “Am I willing to pay $2,000 for microscopic reassurance of quality?” You relied on your jeweler to point out the things you didn’t see, or realize, and trusted that they priced both diamonds fairly. In short – the certificate, be it EGL, GIA, TLC or LOL didn’t matter as much as your own eyesight and instincts. And that answer shouldn’t surprise you in the least.