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Is IGI really that bad?

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waterlily24

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Hi, All

I found some IGI certified diamonds at discounted price even factor in two grades lower on color and clarity than GIA certified ones. Is IGI really that bad? Why I cannot even see any IGI certified diamond in the pricescope diamond search? How to find out the crown and pavilion angles for IGI certified diamonds?

Thanks for your help!
 

Gleam

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I''d love to hear people''s opinions regarding EGL International versus IGI. Is even EGL better than IGI?
 

denverappraiser

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Disparate pricing is a pretty good clue of a problem on the specific stones you’re considering. IGI service is anywhere from $25-$50 less expensive than GIA service. The rest has to do with the differences in the grading. It’s safe to guess that the people upstream from you, meaning the cutter, importer and your retailer, are all fairly well educated in terms of grading and that they are interested in maximizing the prices. They chose the lab they chose because they thought it would bring the best price at the end of the chain, meaning you. Mistakes happen and a stone will slip through that should have gone to a different lab but, as you are noticing, the difference can be quite a bit of money and this decision (which lab to use for that particular stone) was made by an expert who had the stone in hand at the time. Too many mistakes and someone is going to get fired. It was then repeated by every pair of hands it’s been through since who have the potential to increase their own margin by changing the pedigree. If it’s priced well below similarly graded stones from other labs and from the same dealers, you can bet that the dealer or their supplier has decided the best way to maximize the price is to leave it alone and sell it at a ‘discount’ from the grade provided rather than get a more respected brand of paper and sell for a premium.

Is IGI wrong? No. They have several different labs and some are well regarded in their markets. Each stone and each deal should be evaluated on it’s own merits. It’s not the lab that makes it beautiful.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

oldminer

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IGI is not "bad", but it is different. IGI-USA is best suited for the mass market chains in the USA. These firms tend to sell diamonds which are distant from ideally cut and have customers who assume one lab is the same as any other lab. It works for IGI-USA and its clients. You won''t find many IGI diamonds on Pricescope in the USA because the client demographic is a different one and their documents just won''t suit most on-line shoppers when it comes to better cut diamonds. Let the price of a diamond be a good reference to the quality, regardless of the color and clarity grade a report may state. Reports do vary from lab to lab although we have much faith in AGSL and GIA reports. I can buy, sell and appraise diamonds with no reports all day long, but consumers feel they are most comfortable with documents and I agree that a report can bring a comfort factor to a transaction.

IGI-India is hgihly regarded in their domestic diamond market. It is owned and operated separately from the US facility, I believe although I am sketchy about the details. I never needed to know more. IGI trains many young gemologists in India and throughout the rest of the world and does an excellent job. You just can''t paint with a broad brush with such global firms or brand names.

I think one day we may see the US lab named GCAL located in NYC also come onto the main stage for accuracy and consistent grading. They may have missed their opportunity when Collector''s Universe pulled back, but the current owner is a super gemologist and does a superior job. It is very difficult for relatively new or small player to break into the big leagues, especially in this slow economic period. Time will tell if there is room for a third legitimate opinion.
 

waterlily24

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This is a IGI graded Ideal cut F VS2 diamond image. I cannot tell the color without seeing it in person, but the image looks really good. I cannot find the inclusions without anyone point them out. Looks like the VS2 grading is very reasonable, right?

85450_1263195 PIC.jpg
 

Stone-cold11

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Could be good but no way to tell from the just the image. Request an IS image and maybe a sarin scan of the stone and then if those check out, then an appointment with JA''s gemologist is the best bet I think.
 

Lorelei

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Date: 10/24/2009 4:04:41 PM
Author: waterlily24
This is a IGI graded Ideal cut F VS2 diamond image. I cannot tell the color without seeing it in person, but the image looks really good. I cannot find the inclusions without anyone point them out. Looks like the VS2 grading is very reasonable, right?
Looks promising, ask for an Idealscope image and if you could get all the proportions of the stone too that would help. If the proportions aren''t listed on the report ask James Allen to run a Sarin scan to get them.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Going back to your questions, what the other posters are trying to tell you in a very nice way boils down to the following:

We cannot say that IGI is bad, because they have many different products, all with other emphasis, and in the end, it boils down to a case-by-case assessment. So, IGI is not bad, it sometimes is different, and in some products, it is even very good.

But what needs to be said, is the following: If a stone seems relatively cheap, without any visible reason, you can be quite sure that there is a reason, not immediately visible in the paperwork. Professional sellers of diamonds are not stupid, and in this very competitive world, they need to fight for every dollar, so the likelihood of finding a ''bargain'' are close to zero. You generally get what you pay for.

Live long,
 

waterlily24

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I''m trying to get the Sarin report from JA right now. They said they cannot get the idealscope image for this one. A gemologist has inspected the diamond and say it is a great diamond. It is complete eye-clean and looks quite wite. That''s all they say about it. I did check it out on IGI website, and on the report, they say:" grain lines present". Will that affect the apperence of it? I guess there is no way to tell at this moment.

I know there must be something there is affecting the price, I just want to find out what it is and whether I can live with it. My goal is not to find a supper deal, I just want to find relatively the most sparkle and most colorless diamond with least $$ possible. (I guess that is everyone''s goal here :). I don''t see diamond as investment, so if there is something affecting the value but doesn''t affect it''s apperance, I''m okay with it.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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So, you want colorless and would accept ''quite white''?

If you settle for ''eye-clean and quite white'', why would you not consider an I-SI1 or SI2? I just want to make clear that ''eye-clean and quite white'' does not mean anything on a supposed F-VS2.

Live long,
 

Lorelei

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Date: 10/27/2009 12:23:53 PM
Author: Paul-Antwerp
So, you want colorless and would accept 'quite white'?

If you settle for 'eye-clean and quite white', why would you not consider an I-SI1 or SI2? I just want to make clear that 'eye-clean and quite white' does not mean anything on a supposed F-VS2.

Live long,
Ditto Paul. There is also the possibility that the stone could grade lower depending on various factors and in actual fact be of lower colour and clarity than stated, I colour can still be white and some SI clarities eyeclean.
 

Regular Guy

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Not sure how the ship is being run, and by whom specifically for JA. For example, what does it mean here above where it says: "They said they cannot get the idealscope image for this one..."

Used to be some years ago, at least in his previous incarnation as Dirt Cheap Diamonds, that Jim had AGS, GIA, & EGL. Then, moving to JA, he dropped EGL entirely, and even now, his FAQ suggests this with this text:

"How can I make sure the diamonds I receive are actually the diamonds I ordered?
We ship every loose diamond and diamond engagement ring with an independent GIA or AGS lab report. This report can be examined by a qualified gemologist and compared against the unique characteristics of your diamond."

But, clearly, at least now he carries IGI. Hopefully, there''s not too much confusion consequently. On his page, you can sort by certificate, if you like. Seemingly, only, primarily (I think) True Hearts eliminate them. But, you would hope to not to need to specify True Hearts to constrain these away. Obviously, if you have a mind to look to eliminate these options, you can. But...they may cause confusion for some.
 

YoungPapa

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Folks,

Here is a short blurb that I just sent to all my CSR''s and will be adding to the Pricescope FAQ on the JA website.


Beginning in the summer of 2009, JamesAllen.com began listing a limited number of IGI diamonds. All of these diamonds are available for immediate purchase and include a scan of the IGI report and a magnified image on the website. These diamonds are not located in New York, however, so additional images or analysis are not available prior to sale.

IGI grading for color and clarity is less stringent than GIA or AGS, so the pricing of these diamonds has been discounted to reflect those softer standards. It is our opinion that IGI diamonds still represent a good value, even after consideration of the grading differences. One of our gemologists can inspect any IGI diamond and share our opinion of how the diamond might have been graded by GIA, but this analysis can only take place after the order is placed and the diamond is shipped to our New York office for inspection.


The short answer is that we have the opportunity to carry an inventory of IGI diamonds and we''re listing them on the website to see how they do. We''re very upfront with our clients about the different standards between the labs, just as we were years ago when we carried EGL. Outside PS we don''t get requests for sarin reports or IS images, so those customers are not bothered by our inability (or unwillingness) to ship diamonds to the NY office for additional analysis. For the PS crowd we''re willing to do the extra work, but not until the customer has made the purchase. If the IS isn''t up to par or the color/clarity ratings are off by more than we expected we can cancel the order, do a refund or exchange. It isn''t the best solution, but it works.

Hope this makes sense and I''m glad this thread came about so I had a place to clarify the policies.

All the best,
 

simonwiser

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GIA are at the top of the game when diamond grading and certification is concerned. In other words, you know exactly what you are getting if the diamond has an accompanying GIA certificate. Occasionally, when a non-GIA pieces of diamond jewellery are sent for an independent appraisal/valuation, the valuer will not agree with the certificate. It happens, but rarely. This problem however never seems to arise with GIA certified diamonds.

The bottom line: there is nothing ''wrong'' with non-GIA certified stones - though GIA are considered the best by the industry - so if your budget will allow and for your own peace of mind, try acquire GIA stones.
 

Rockdiamond

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HI Waterlilly,
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that for readers of PS ( or any people that truly love diamonds, and want a correctly graded stone), yes, IGI is that bad.

Jim's explanation is very complete.
IMO there is no problem with a seller offering stones graded ( these stones are not certified or guaranteed to be correctly graded) by IGI as long as they are up front about the shortcomings.

Why I say that IGI is that bad is that many, if not most of the places selling these misgraded stones know they are not graded correctly, but conveniently forget to tell the buyers this fact.
The grading inconsistencies of these non GIA labs is not linear. In other words, there's no formula to figure out if it's a good deal.

For those who need to sell a diamond, the IGI report is again worthless- where a GIA report might help a far better recovery of funds in the event a consumer needs to sell the diamond.
 

John Pollard

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Gents,

While I agree with the comments about IGI''s softer standards in the USA I''d suggest a clarification when considering Pricescope''s global audience:

The IGI loose diamond reports generated in Mumbai and Hong Kong are considered as strict, and in some cases more consistent, than other local options - including the world''s foremost lab. While this may not reflect the situation in your US locations the forum does have consumers reading from that side of the world, and I know our colleagues in those locations have worked very hard to win the reputations they enjoy there.
 

Rockdiamond

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Hi John,
Are you saying you prefer IGI Mumbai or Hong Kong to GIA?
 

John Pollard

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David,

There is sentiment in China favoring IGI right now. It''s due to strong reputation - anyone who knows IGI''s Marc Brauner will understand that - coupled with complaints from jewelers about inconsistencies in GIA''s HK take-in window. I''ve heard & seen this firsthand. The same has been reported to me about India but I haven''t interacted with people at trade shows there, as I have in China.
 

Rockdiamond

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Interesting to hear John.
What does " inconsistencies in GIA''s HK take-in window" mean?
How would this affect the grading.

I don''t know Marc- but I do know the folks here in New york.
They are very good people....but I still stick by my statement......
 

kenny

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I''m in the US.
I boycott IGI.

Why support a lab with non-standard "standards".
Imagine if they had their own carat weight scale.
GIA says it is 1.01 carat but the same stone from IGI is 1.2 carat.

That would be shocking and unacceptable to everyone.

Their own clarity and color scales are just as fradulent AFAIC.


Vote with your money.
Boycott IGI and those other scam labs.
 

waterlily24

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Date: 10/27/2009 12:23:53 PM
Author: Paul-Antwerp
So, you want colorless and would accept ''quite white''?

If you settle for ''eye-clean and quite white'', why would you not consider an I-SI1 or SI2? I just want to make clear that ''eye-clean and quite white'' does not mean anything on a supposed F-VS2.

Live long,
Why would I not consider I-SI1 or SI2? That is exacly my question: Is IGI really that bad? At lease with the picture above, the diamond looks cleaner than any SI1-SI2 pictures I saw, although I admit that I haven''t see many compare the folks here. I cannot tell the color by looking at the picture, but if they grade an I as F, that is bad to me! I am not expect it to be the same F VS2 as GIA neither. I would say if it is a G, eye-clean SI1, and IDEAL cut of course, I would consider it is a good value.
 

waterlily24

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Date: 10/27/2009 1:09:09 PM
Author: James Allen Schultz
Folks,

Here is a short blurb that I just sent to all my CSR's and will be adding to the Pricescope FAQ on the JA website.


Beginning in the summer of 2009, JamesAllen.com began listing a limited number of IGI diamonds. All of these diamonds are available for immediate purchase and include a scan of the IGI report and a magnified image on the website. These diamonds are not located in New York, however, so additional images or analysis are not available prior to sale.

IGI grading for color and clarity is less stringent than GIA or AGS, so the pricing of these diamonds has been discounted to reflect those softer standards. It is our opinion that IGI diamonds still represent a good value, even after consideration of the grading differences. One of our gemologists can inspect any IGI diamond and share our opinion of how the diamond might have been graded by GIA, but this analysis can only take place after the order is placed and the diamond is shipped to our New York office for inspection.


The short answer is that we have the opportunity to carry an inventory of IGI diamonds and we're listing them on the website to see how they do. We're very upfront with our clients about the different standards between the labs, just as we were years ago when we carried EGL. Outside PS we don't get requests for sarin reports or IS images, so those customers are not bothered by our inability (or unwillingness) to ship diamonds to the NY office for additional analysis. For the PS crowd we're willing to do the extra work, but not until the customer has made the purchase. If the IS isn't up to par or the color/clarity ratings are off by more than we expected we can cancel the order, do a refund or exchange. It isn't the best solution, but it works.

Hope this makes sense and I'm glad this thread came about so I had a place to clarify the policies.

All the best,
Thanks for the clarification, Jim. I'm waiting for the sarin report right now. If the numbers come out good, I'll do what you described above: order it to have your staff to give me their "opinion of how the diamond might have been graded by GIA". Let's see how it goes.
 

Stone-cold11

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Image it not a good representation of what you will actually see because of the setup when the image is taken, some inclusions are hidden in that prospective that a slight tilt of the stone, different lighting or different focus depth will bring forth. Color, no way to judge from image.
 

Rockdiamond

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HI Waterlilly,
It''s not possible to grade the clarity of a diamond by looking at a photograph.
There might be things that are visible in person that the photo does not show- or things that might be visible in a photo that are impossible to see naked eye.
 

waterlily24

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I guess I'll have to rely on Jim's staff to inspect it in person to see exactly what is the quality of this diamond.
 

John Pollard

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Date: 10/27/2009 3:08:03 PM
Author: Rockdiamond

Interesting to hear John.
What does ' inconsistencies in GIA's HK take-in window' mean?
How would this affect the grading.
David,

GIA enjoys a great reputation in China, as they do the world-over. Significant business knowledge and management has come into China from GIA's schools in HK and Taiwan; bringing their positive reputation with it. Their reports are seen as coming from the “American lab” and enjoy a position of prominence. But they do not have a laboratory in HK, just a take-in window, and in the past months complaints have been voiced about inconsistencies in grading results.

IGI has a full laboratory in HK. Since being established this site has used their proximity to mainland China to build advocacy and reputability. The loose diamond grading results there (not the finished jewelry appraisal-reports seen in the US) are widely considered on par with GIA, with no complaints of inconsistency. It would be nice if other labs followed their lead.

In the China equation there are other factors at play. One is what's happening at the NGTC; a Chinese lab with great presence especially in cities near the coastline. That agency has been escalating grading strictness to make "foreign labs" seem soft by comparison. The dichotomy being created is a rising issue and a larger potential concern, in my opinion.


I don't know Marc- but I do know the folks here in New york.
They are very good people....but I still stick by my statement......
I agree. In fact the GIA people are not just good, they're great. An organization with such global reach benefits us all and is typically the yardstick. I'm simply reporting the news.
 

Rockdiamond

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Interesting and thought provoking stuff John!
Since GIA is an American lab, maybe it''s sheer volume that puts GIA heads and shoulders above the competition.
This could have a lot to do with domestic usage.
Although China is poised to make strides in international, and domestic commerce, the Chinese domestic market for diamonds is a mere fraction of the US.

If the demand rises in China for diamonds, as the world economy shifts, maybe IGI, and other labs, could eventually make inroads. This will take years. Many years.
But today, for those people reading this, my advice is still the same:
If you want an accurately graded diamond, stick with GIA.

Waterlilly- my comments are in no way directed towards you, as you''re obviously in good hands.
 

Rockdiamond

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To late to edit: but if there are folks in China reading this, I''m sure John''s advice is sound.

John, I never knew you''d been to China - that sounds very exciting.
I know that some of the super fine made melee we buy is cut in China.
 

Wink

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. Decided I did not like my post. This is my next best thing to deleting it.

Wink
 

John Pollard

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Date: 10/27/2009 7:18:36 PM
Author: Rockdiamond

To late to edit: but if there are folks in China reading this, I''m sure John''s advice is sound.

John, I never knew you''d been to China - that sounds very exciting.
I know that some of the super fine made melee we buy is cut in China.
I was asked to speak at this year''s Jewellery Shanghai Conference. Great show - the economy is booming there.

My presentation was done with a translator (the young man pictured). He was with me for the entire stay so I could interact with local jewelry pros, media and others. Really great reception and treatment.

IMG_91132-400.jpg
 
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