IGI Certification – How Do They Compare To Other Gem Labs?


Hi Liz,

I subscribed to your website. I’m looking forward to all the tips!

My boyfriend and I are hoping to get engaged soon so we’re looking to buy a diamond in the next couple of months.

Here are the specs of what we’re looking for:
cut – excellent
carat – 2 or better
color – I or better
clarity – VS2 or better

We came across the following diamond on the JamesAllen website and would like to know your thoughts. Would you recommend buying a smaller diamond with better color and clarity? This diamond is above our budget but we thought it was a good deal due to the carat size.

Also, do you think the inclusions will be visible to the naked eye?





Hello Karen,

Welcome to ODBA! I’m more than happy to assist you.

I clicked on your link to the 2.76ct James Allen diamond and the first thing that I thought was that this diamond shows a LOT of body color for a near coloreless ‘I’. This had me perplexed until I looked at the lab report which is from IGI Labs. Unfortunately, diamonds with an IGI certification are typically upgraded in terms of color and clarity. IGI itself is known as a ‘soft’ grader; meaning that they often bump color up 2 grades or more to make a diamond appear as if they are a great deal. This is exactly what is happening in with this IGI certification. In my opinion, this diamond is more of a K/L color grade. So unfortunately, no diamond deal here.

IGI certification vs GIA certification

From left: a 2.75ct I VS2 diamond from James Allen with IGI certification. On the right is a 1.97ct I VS2 from Blue Nile with GIA certification (grade report). Although diamond images cannot be 100% relied on for color accuracy it does give sufficient information pertaining to color saturation. In this case, the diamond graded by IGI clearly has more body color and looks more like a K/L colored diamond.

There are generally no diamond deals despite what many jewelers or dealers want the consumer to believe. Diamonds are generally priced accurately with the only exceptions being overpriced and lower quality stones typically found at lower quality jewelry stores. If you limit your search to loose diamonds online, you’ll find most retailers are on par with each other in terms of pricing.

Diamonds that command a extra premium are typically the high end precision cut high performance diamonds like Brian Gavin Diamonds or Victor Canera. Interestingly, you’ll find that high quality diamonds are often sent to AGS Labs for their grading. This is because AGS is well known for it’s technical expertise in light performance technology and assessment thereof.

As you are looking to purchase a diamond in the next few months, it might be worth it to sign up to my Diamond Deal Friday list. I handpick diamonds that have been searched for through my Diamond Genie search tool. Here’s more info in case you are interested: ODBA’s Diamond Deal Friday

I did a search for you and can recommend this beautiful 1.80ct H VVS2 for $19,506.00: http://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD06401455

Another gorgeous option is this much larger 1.97ct I VS2 for $19,526.00: http://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD06812523, and yes this VS2 is perfectly eye-clean! The grade making inclusions are tiny crystals that are along the girdle which is great since you can easily cover them with prongs. You will never see them when set in a ring. I think this diamond is perfect for you as it fits your specs exactly! As you can see from the HD video, the diamond faces up bright white with lots of sparkle!

Let me know if you have any questions!




Hi Liz,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review the diamond.  That’s exactly what I thought but wasn’t aware of IGI certification. I wanted to make sure in case it was a good deal or not. I really appreciate your help!
I’ve signed up for your Friday emails and am looking forward to your recommendations!
Thanks again!

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