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How do appraisal certification organizations compare?

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treatherlikeaqueen

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
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3
I would like to be educated a little about the different ceritfication organizations and how they compare. I have heard of GIA, GSI, IGI, and someone on ebay shows certificates from Labtrade Laboratories. My local jeweler says he is GSI certified. I know GIA is one of the best certifications to have. How do the others compare? Are there ones to avoid?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Mark
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
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4,924
The two "kings" of the (American) gem trade laboratories are GIA and AGS. Their grading is stringent, reliable, and virtually identical except for the more extensive cut info which AGS gives.

On the next level, you have EGL (a worldwide franchise), followed by IGI. In my opinion, the EGL LA lab tends to have pretty stringent grading, followed closely by the NY lab. However, neither of these labs carries the credibility of the GIA/AGS certs, so therefore they trade for a greater discount on the market, usually 5 to 10% less. This can present an opportunity for a bargain if the grading is correct, but usually you end up getting exactly what you paid for.

The IGI lab in the past had pretty loose grading, and lost a lot of credibility within the industry. Cognizant of that perception, it seems the IGI in the last several years has made a concentrated effort to tighten up their grading. It seems to be paying off, with the IGI certs now beginning to gain ground with the EGL certs in reputation, although in my opinion they've still got a long way to go.

Then there's always the red herring, such as the EGL franchise lab in Israel, whose reports seem to be questionable at best.

Those are the "big" lab organizations. Rivaling the best of these you have the smaller labs such as Tom Tashey's PGS lab in Chicago, and Dave Atlas' AGA lab in Philadelphia, which although smaller, have excellent nationwide reputations and rock solid reports. Once in a while you'll run across reports from labs out of the country, some of which are quite excellent. The HRD lab in Belgium comes to mind.

I've never heard of GSI, nor Labtrade. I'd be curious regarding any info you might have about them. The fact that I haven't heard about them doesn't necessarily mean they're bad nor good, but possibly that they are a smaller, less well known organization.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory
 

treatherlikeaqueen

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
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3
Thanks Richard!

You provided a lot of helpful information. When you talk about the different labs does it mean that to get the trusted results you have to send to the specific labs or can local people who are "certified" provide the similiar results? For example how does it compare to send something to one of the main GIA labs and to a local person who is GIA trained and ceritfied?

The Labtrade one I mentioned is one I see on Ebay all the time. There is a regular seller called RJM that displays a Labtrade certificate with their adds. I wonder if this is something of their own creation. I will see if I can find out more about GSI. I am taking some rings to a local jeweler tomorrow and he says he provides a GSI certified appraisal.

Thanks again for all your help.

Mark
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
15,320
Sounds shonky - we hear some horrific e-bay stories!!

There exists plenty of real labs.
You may need the help of a local appriaser - check the list out on the link up in the top left :)

BTW you got an excellent answer from Rich. You can distinguish the better EGL-USA certs from the others that do not add USA on the banner of the cert.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
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4,924
-----------
For example how does it compare to send something to one of the main GIA labs and to a local person who is GIA trained and ceritfied?
-----------

It depends on your purpose. If your purpose is to have something double checked for authenticity, quality and value a good local appraiser can tell you that. Make sure to locate an experienced GG independent appraiser with a good rep.

If your purpose is to document the stone with a certificate that nobody in the industry will question, send it to GIA or AGS. The plus with them is twofold- (1) they have several gemologists grade each stone, and (2) their reputation is known and respected nationwide.

The minus with them is that it will probably cost you 3 times as much as your local appraiser.

Usually, a major lab report is a good idea with a high quality or valuable stone which you intend on selling. It helps to sell the stone. If that's not your intention, a local appraiser should do the job for you. Bear in mind, even if you have your stone certed by a major gem laboratory, your insurance company will send you right back to a local appraiser in order to get a value assigned that they can use for insurance. The major labs don't assign values.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
15,320
Shady, not trust worthy etc.

Problem - we get all your US garbage and slang via TV and Movies. You are quaranteened (just as well?) from ours.

e.g. Movie 'the castle' - the cars all had to be given US car names and dubbed in. Many Aussie terms were changed and I believe they did not translate well.
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
I am looking at a diamond that seems to be a good deal in the sense that its price is coming in for 29% less than what an online-price predictor thinks, even though the cut/polish, and sum are all excellent. Other stones I compared this way would typically be offered for sale for 8 or 9% below that the predictor program suggests.

This diamond is EGL certified, and I got a fax of the cert and it does not appear to say EGL-USA, so I am worried it is not accuratly graded. What should I do? Ask the dealer to get it AGL certified and then buy it if it matches and perhaps offer to pay for the new cert if it matches?
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
The dealer said he trusts EGL-IS for color but it is possible that the clarity would rate SI1 on the AGL scale. He also said even if it did, the price was still good. I had sort of set AGL-standards of clarity VS2 as my lower limit, but if I saw the stone in person under my microscope and I did not find the inclusions objectionable I suppose I would buy it anyway.

But it scored a 2.0 on the HCA. Should I be bummed about that and move on?

The dealer said I can look at it for 10 days, and if I don't want it he would be happy to keep as stock.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
R, I have not had good experiences with EGL-Israeli graded stones. I would suspect that is why it is such a "good price", because it is over graded.

If you have a return privilege though, there is no way you can lose. Get it in, check it out, and make a decision. Piece of pie.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory

or is that cake?...
 

kohala

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Messages
2
Aloha I am thinking stongly about buying a pr of emeralds from a guy on ebay that also has labtrade Lab giving high appraisal value to the stones.

I checked online to see if I could find anything out & came upon this site.
I know its been a while but have you found any more out if these guys are on the level or con artist?

I did email vegas bbb but havn't got a response yet.
thanks Liona
 

kohala

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Messages
2
aloha I've been strongly thinking about buying some emeralds from a guy on ebay that is also using this labtrade outfit. have you heard any more on them if they are legit or con artist?
thanks LIona
 

in_need_of_help

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
103
Here is a thought, sorry if it was already mentioned.

First, see what the return policy is. The more time the better.

If you have a ready good deal with a non GIA diamond, bring it to a GIA lab and have it graded. I called the GIA lab in NY and they said that it would cost, if I remember correctly $190, and would take ~5 business days.

I also called AGS, and they said that it needs to be sent to them from someone "in the trade."

May be easiest to send it to GIA and get a Sarin elsewhere for all the info you need to make a decision.

GOOD LUCK!
 
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