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Relaxed Diamond Grading or a Billion Dollar Diamond Deception?

DiamondMartin Rapaport The well-known diamond advocate and expert has just issued a statement expressing concern that the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) is ‘providing grading reports using GIA terminology while applying alternative standards that overstate diamond grades.’

In other words, providing grading reports using GIA grading terminology whilst, at the same time, applying a different grading standard that overstate diamond grades.

This would result in a diamond being sold for much more than its value and, according to Rapaport; there are a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds affected this way.

The Rapaport Group provides a broad range of added-value services to the diamond trade. These services include GIA LabDirect service that provides take-in and delivery window access to GIA diamond grading laboratories for clients in Israel, Belgium and India. Similar services are provided to HRD Antwerp. Rapaport has worked with GIA for over 20 years and has handled millions of GIA diamonds for clients.
Rapaport states in a recent press release that there has been a systematic over grading of a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds by the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) by promoting the diamonds as being graded according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) yet the grade is lower in either color or clarity.

This is illustrated by a recent law suit in which it was claimed that diamonds graded as G color were in fact M and N colors. EGLs explanation for this apparent deception was that “there is no single, international standard for diamond grading that has national or international status or acceptance.” It did not explain, however, why EGL promoted GIAs grading other than their own,

This appears to be a systematic deception practiced that has, so far included about a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds. When you consider hat the difference in grading can amount to a thousand or more dollars for the consumer, this is big biccies.

Diamonds are graded according to a set criterion known traditionally as the four Cs. Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight. Each affects the value and therefore the price of the diamond as it flows through from extraction to the consumer.

The color is divided into 13 colors or tints with pure white at the top of the range to a poor yellow being at the bottom. The Clarity of a diamond refers to the imperfections or lack of them to be found in a diamond. This is important for two reasons. The more imperfections a diamond has the less sparkle it will have and secondly it offers up the diamond more prone to fracturing. The Flawless commands the highest price. There can be marked difference in price of a thousand dollars or more between grades. More on the 4 C can be found at

EGL USA is one of the largest and oldest independent gemological institutions focusing on gemstone certification and research. Originally part of an international network founded in Europe in 1974, EGL USA opened its first U.S. lab in the heart of New York’s international diamond and jewellery district in 1977. Their website is More on EGL at

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) was established in February the 15th 1931 by A jeweller, Robert and his wife Beatrice Shipley. The GIA is a non-profit organisation and is considered by many to be the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones and gems. The website is According to their website, when most jewelers knew little about the gems they traded, Robert Shipley decided to professionalize the industry through education, research, and gemological instrumentation. The Institute, initially based out of their home, offered mimeographed mail-order courses and provided gem-testing services using borrowed microscopes and other equipment. More on GIA at

Rapaport is calling for recognition that it is an unfair trade practice to sell diamonds using GIA terminology while applying alternative grading standards that overstate the quality of a diamond. Also that over-graded diamonds be defined as diamonds graded using GIA terminology that, when verified by the GIA, are more than one color or one clarity grade lower than the original grade. And finally make suppliers responsible for what they sell and requiring them to provide a full refund in the event that they sell over-graded diamonds. Failure to provide the refund, or the continued sale of over-graded diamonds, should result in the member’s suspension.


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