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GIA vs EGL vs AGS

When shopping for a loose diamond to complete one of our beautiful engagement ring or anniversary ring settings, one of the first decisions a consumer must make is the certification. Adiamor’s loose diamond selection is currently exclusively made up of certified diamonds evaluated by the GIA – Gemological Institute of America or AGS – American Gem Society.  We currently don’t offer EGL or EGL-USA – European Gemological Laboratory.

GIA vs EGL vs AGS

The result of your decision between a diamond from GIA or AGS vs EGL has a major effect on the characteristics of stones available to you, how much you spend, and how universally accepted your certification will be.

Who They Are

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL or EGL-USA) are the world’s two leading gemological analysis laboratories.  AGS is a highly respected gemological lab, but not as commonly used as GIA.

All follow a rubric of diamond assessment that measures stones against an ideal version, but it was the GIA that first developed the “Four C’s” concept most people know of noting and ranking the four major traits of a diamond that make it the most attractive, strong, and valuable: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Once reserved only for the round brilliant diamond, over the years all three labs have opted to extend certification and grading services to include other popular diamond shapes such as the princess cut and cushion cut.

The GIA and the EGL are large diamond grading and certification labs but are markedly different in some key ways that often prompt jewelers and consumers to choose diamonds certified by the GIA.

What Makes GIA Different

GIA is known for having the most stringent and precise diamond grading standards in the world, granting high ratings to only the most superior diamonds that other labs including the EGL issue much more freely. This means that when two diamonds that receive comparable grading for cut, color, clarity, and other determinations of quality,  one from the GIA, and one from the EGL, the stone graded and certified by the GIA is invariably of higher quality than the stone receiving the same marks from the EGL.

GIA’s operations are broad in scope and geographically, featuring locations in all of the world’s major diamond-trading hubs. The organization also boasts educational campuses in 12 cities where educational certificate programs for aspiring gemologists, designers, and professional jewelers are offered. The best known of these is the GIA Graduate Gemologist certificate program, as many independent jewelers complete the course to develop proficiency in identifying all the factors making up a diamond’s quality according to GIA standards.

AGS was started in 1934 and has since grown to approximately 3,400 jewelers and other companies related to the jewelry industry.  AGS began offering diamond grading services in 1996.

EGL has fewer locations than GIA, operating labs or offices in a few European and Asian metropolitan areas and, independently through the EGL-USA, select major American cities. Formerly two branches of one organization, the original EGL, and the EGL-USA ended their association and began operating as unaffiliated organizations in the early 1980s.

Which Lab is Right for Me?

Adiamor’s customers ultimately typically purchase GIA certified diamonds compared to AGS due to the larger GIA inventory.  Both GIA and AGS Laboratories have excellent records and multiple methods in place to ensure transparency and accountability in all processes, so which lab certification an individual chooses depends mainly on which diamonds fit their criterion.

While GIA offers similar services in the way of grading, certification, and security, GIA has a much longer history than AGS or EGL. GIA was the pioneering agency in many techniques, processes, and innovations that served to make all competing diamond labs what they are today.

Additionally, the GIA operates as a non-profit while the EGL is a for-profit organization. This is an important distinction for many diamond buyers as the GIA’s non-profit status adds another layer of accountability and makes objectivity on the part of the gemologist much more likely. The general acceptance of GIA’s quality standards as superior to other laboratories may even be a direct result of operating this way; the outcome of each non-profit lab certification is the same for the gemologist regardless of his or her findings, and without the possibility of kickbacks, there’s no incentive to exaggerate or overlook a diamond’s defining characteristics during the analysis.

If simply having a certification and report attached to an aesthetically pleasing diamond or saving money is your priority, the EGL may be the way to go. Without the same history and resources the GIA can offer, the cost of EGL certification is slightly lower and allows consumers to purchase a more affordable certified loose diamond. The downside to this is that obtaining insurance or an appraisal for the diamond consistent with the information given on the EGL report can be challenging as the more critical GIA, or AGS standard is widely preferred.

Selecting a Certified Diamond

If you’ve chosen which certification you prefer and wish to proceed selecting a diamond, or if you have additional questions about the benefits and drawbacks of choosing a diamond from a specific lab, contact Adiamor. Our certified diamond specialists can guide you through the selection process, answer more specific inquiries not addressed above, and match you to the perfect certified loose diamond for the jewelry you’ve selected.

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Radiant Diamond Custom Ring

We recently completed this gorgeous custom ring for a stunning 2.20 ct square radiant cut diamond. The ring is a three stone style with tapered baguette side stones. The style is timeless yet modern, with the classic design accenting the geometric modern diamond.

Custom Built Engagement for Radiant Diamond
Custom Built Engagement Ring for Radiant Diamond
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Styles We Love for Valentine’s Day!

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we are loving romantic jewelry. Vintage touches like engraving and the warmth of rose gold are our inspirations of the season!

Check out some of our favorites for a dreamy Valentine’s Day!

R2932, the twisted pave halo, and the wedding band R2941 in rose gold.
R2932, the twisted pave halo, and the wedding band R2941 in rose gold.

Combining the golden blush tones of rose gold with a twisted, vine-like design, this set of rings is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Custom Men's Band with Black Diamonds paired with R2929 in rose gold.
Custom Men’s Band with Black Diamonds paired with R2929 in rose gold.

This matching set includes a split shank engagement ring, R2929, and a custom built men’s band with black diamonds, which add a touch of masculine edge to the rose gold design. What a great pair!

Stay tuned for more of our favorites!

Shop all rose gold rings here.

 

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Best of 2013

As 2013 drew to a close we enjoyed looking back at all the rings we made during the past year. It was a great year for us when it came to custom rings, allowing us to produce some beautiful, unique designs. Here is our list of our top custom rings of 2013:

BAM
R2940 Round Version in yellow gold

 

We made R2940 with a round halo to create this ring. In yellow gold with double wire prongs, it turned out beautifully!

 

 

 

 

look at that blue
Sapphire and Diamond Halo Ring

We used several of our settings for inspiration for this stunning sapphire ring; it has french cut pave diamonds like our R2834, but we added a beautiful halo like R2898 and double claw prongs inspired by the prongs of R2952.

I want!
Custom Three Stone Trellis

We customized R2814 by removing the pave diamonds on the shank to create this ring. Classic, elegant and timeless!

pretty pretty
R2829 Pear Halo Ring

 

 

For this ring, we scaled down R2829 in rose gold to fit to a 1 carat pear shaped diamond. The pave diamonds and hand engraving on the shank added beautiful detail to the ring.

 

 

 

this was seriously heart stopping in real life
Custom Three Stone for a Rectangular Cushion Cut Diamond

This was a completely custom ring we built for a 5 carat rectangular cushion cut diamond. We used elongated tapered baguette side stones and double claw prongs to accentuate the center diamond.

 

customer favorite
Custom Rose Gold Men’s Rings

These custom men’s wedding rings in rose gold look good with either white or black diamonds!

Here’s looking forward to a wonderful 2014! We can’t make to make another list of top custom rings for next year!

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Three Stone Rings: Modern Versions

A three stone ring can be very modern. There are many three-stone options for those who want a more contemporary, edgy look.

Adiamor has created some great modern three stone rings with geometric side stones like trilliants and tapered baguettes.

Bam!
Marquise center stone with trilliant side stones.

 

 

 

 

 

Love it
Three stone ring with radiant center and tapered baguette side stones.

 

 

 

 

This ring features double claw prongs holding the center radiant cut diamond- we loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

Adiamor also has three stone styles for fancy shapes other than round:

Three stone with princess cut diamonds.
Three stone with princess cut diamonds.

 

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The Perks of Designing Your own Diamond Engagement Ring

You no doubt have some idea what you would like your engagement ring to look like. After all, every woman not only has her own style preferences and aesthetic, but most of us have been planning our dream wedding since the time we were kids (ring included). And of course, you’re the one who’s going to be stuck wearing this rock for the rest of your life, whether it’s a 3-carat, dazzling white diamond that embodies timeless class, or a solitaire you need a magnifying glass to find that comes in a trendy color that will be out by next season (and worse, doesn’t even look like an engagement ring). So if you want the right ring, you may just have to design it yourself. There are several good reasons to choose this course of action.

For starters, you’re going to get exactly what you want. You won’t be limited to a stone you love that’s in a setting you despise or a beautiful and ornate band that is crowned with completely the wrong stone. You choose the stone (cut, color, clarity, and carat) as well as the setting (type of metal, style, ornamentation). The style is all you and the piece is one of a kind, uniquely symbolizing the special bond between you and your significant other. Plus, you know it will fit the right finger when you get it.

In addition, you don’t have to depend upon your partner to figure out what you like. It’s always a crapshoot. Just because you love each other doesn’t mean that he (1) has any idea what your preferences are or (2) has the taste and sophistication required to pick a ring that’s going to remain classically beautiful and appealing until you hand it off to your daughter or grand-daughter. Some men have a penchant for choosing the right jewelry (or a fantastic jeweler to advise them), but most are pretty much in the dark. And you know they want you to be happy, so rather than dropping hints here and there, spell it out for them (visual aids are even better).

Finally, designing your own ring allows you to make a statement. Many girls are happy with the standard Tiffany solitaire. But not you! You need something that is going to act as an extension of yourself. To that end, having more options will allow you to create an engagement ring that looks and feels like it was meant to be on your hand. And considering how much you’ll be wearing it, you and your honey will both agree that this is the best method of proceeding.

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How Well Does Your Partner Know You?

When it comes time for that special person in your life to get you the ring of your dreams, the one that bears the promise of a lifetime to come, you want to be sure that your partner knows exactly what you want. As callous as it may sound, you’re the one who has to wear it for the rest of your life, so it had better be something that suits your taste and sensibilities. For example, not every girl wants a Kardashian-sized engagement ring. But you definitely want a diamond that you don’t need a microscope to see. In short, you might be asking yourself just how well your partner knows you when it comes time to start looking at engagement rings.

The funny thing about significant others is that most of them are not mind readers. This means if you want something specific, you’re going to have to ask for it. There are a number of ways to go about doing so. You may want to drop subtle hints by leaving photos lying around or your computer desktop open to a pic of a ring you love. You could also enlist the aid of family members that your partner is likely to ask for advice (tell them exactly what you want). Or you could simply let your soul-mate know, in no uncertain terms, that when it comes time to pop the question, there is a specific ring you have in mind (and leave it at that…no pressure!).

On the other hand, you’re going to have to trust this person at some point, and maybe leaving the engagement (and the ring) to chance is just the way to see how your partner performs (as in, how well your loved one actually knows you). You might be pleasantly surprised to see that the ring awaiting you is just what you would have picked for yourself. And if you’re not fussy, you might find that even a ring that you wouldn’t necessarily choose is even better because your future spouse picked it with you in mind. If, however, you are just a bit picky when it comes to your personal style, your best bet is to simply come out with it so that you don’t end up disappointed (and disappointing your fiancé).

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Jay Leno Torches Kim Kardashian’s Engagement Ring

Viewers of The Late Show may have been shocked a few days ago when Kim Kardashian was a guest. Not only did Leno propose to test Kardashian’s gargantuan engagement ring (which contains 20.5 carats of diamond), but she agreed to go through with it. At this point she handed over her ring, which Leno proceeded to mount on a stand and then set aflame with a match. And the stone lit up like a Christmas tree before puffing out, leaving a blackened lump. Leno proclaimed it a fake and suggested that she get a pre-nup.

Of course, the whole thing was a set-up (as if you couldn’t tell by Kardashian’s willingness to hand over her huge bauble). But it begs the question: can a flame tell you if your engagement ring is real? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. The only problem is that cubic zirconia doesn’t burn; diamonds do. So while you could certainly set fire to your precious gem to test its veracity, proving that it is a real diamond will mean that you have destroyed it.

Also, you couldn’t do it with a match. As you may know, all natural matter contains carbon and diamonds, in particular, are super-compressed carbon. Because of this, they are subject to the effects of fire. In fact, diamonds are so combustible that if they were in a hot enough fire, there would be nothing left. But strictly speaking, they are not exactly flammable, at least not in our atmosphere. In order to actually set a diamond alight and burn it up, thus proving it real, you would have to place it in an atmosphere with pressurized oxygen. In short, this experiment isn’t exactly feasible for the average person.

Plus, if your diamond is real, you probably want it intact. Luckily there are several other ways to test your engagement ring in order to determine whether or not it’s real. Leno’s shenanigans were meant as a joke, and Kardashian played along knowing full well she’d get the real deal back at the end. But you shouldn’t try such a test at home (especially since the fire test would prove your diamond real but ruin it in the process). Look for ways to verify the value of your stone that don’t lead to its ultimate destruction.

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Why Not a Diamond Ring for a Push Present?

If you’re wondering just what a push present is, you’re not alone. Although this type of gift is far from unheard of, the term may be unfamiliar to you because it is one that has spread largely by word of mouth rather than corporate advertising. In essence, it’s a gift that is given by a father to a mother either before or after she goes through labor (sometimes even during) as a way to commemorate the birth of a child. Although some see such a present as materializing what would otherwise be a non-gifting occasion, the truth is that it’s no different from any other type of celebratory gift. And the traditional item chosen for the mother is diamonds.

In most cases, a push present is diamond earrings. This trend started just a few years back with a jewelry company that ran a campaign with the slogan, “She delivered your firstborn, now give her twins.” And while every woman can certainly use a pair of diamond earrings, you have a lot of latitude with what you choose to give the woman that brings your child into the world. Tennis bracelets are also a favorite for this occasion. The reason for this is that a diamond bracelet is not necessarily linked to any particular event, traditionally. In addition, whereas a diamond necklace would be impractical for a woman with a baby (for obvious reasons), a tennis bracelet can be worn daily without having to worry that the baby is going to tug at it or put it in his mouth.

However, earrings and bracelets are not the final word for diamonds when it comes to this intimate gift. You clearly don’t want a necklace, but if you’d rather flout tradition, why not go for a diamond ring? Certainly she already has one on her ring finger, from the day you got engaged. But in the same way the engagement ring symbolized your union as a couple, you can offer her a complimentary piece to represent your new status as members of a larger group: a family. In this respect, you could go for a ring with a solitary stone, for your child, you could get a three stone ring (one for each of you), or even an eternity band to symbolize the everlasting love created by the familial bond. Whatever you choose, she’s sure to love it.