IGI grades more diamonds, gemstones and finished jewelry around the world than any other organization, with specific procedures for each gemstone variety.
IGI was the world’s first gemological laboratory to receive ISO 17025 certification for natural and laboratory grown diamonds. The 17025 certification is widely considered the single most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories across the globe.
The 5th C: Confidence
Diamond grading at IGI follows a strict sequence of intake, analysis and reporting to ensure the highest standards of security, anonymity, accuracy and consistency.
Anonymous Unique Report Number
Diamond grading is entirely anonymous. Upon arrival to IGI every diamond is removed from packing and placed in a generic IGI container. A unique IGI identification number is generated and applied to the container. To ensure neutrality and objectivity all owner information is masked. The IGI identification number, exclusively, is seen by graders. The diamond returns to central control following each stage of grading, to randomize the gemologists who examine it. After grading the unique report number becomes the official IGI grading report number, accessible with the Verify Your Report feature.
IGI performs the industry’s most advanced screening and detection services on every diamond, gemstone and jewelry item submitted for analysis. State of the art technologies are used to determine naturally occurring, laboratory grown or simulant origin. The world’s most prestigious brands rely on IGI as their authoritative resource for authenticity and quality assessment of diamonds and gemstones of all categories, classifications and weights.
1. Carat Weight
The first stage in diamond grading is weighing the diamond. Carat weight is the standard weight unit for gemstones. Diamond grading scales are calibrated to four decimal places to ensure accuracy. Carat weight is reported to two decimal places.
The diamond’s measurements are established using a gemstone-specific optical measuring device. The scanner creates a 3D digital sculpture of the faceted stone’s total geometry, including all proportions, measurements and facet angles. Key measurements are printed on the diamond’s grading report.
2. Color and Fluorescence Grading
Diamond color is graded in a standardized viewing environment. IGI gemologists analyze color in the D to Z color range with the diamond placed upside down, viewed through the side, to facilitate a neutral view. Grading color from the top is not practical because of three factors which may influence color appearance in normal viewing.
- The diamond’s shape
- The way the diamond was cut
- The presence of fluorescence
Color is graded using calibrated master color stones. The color grading process involves multiple graders submitting opinions independently, with no internal communication or collaboration. The color grade is determined when there are sufficient agreeing opinions.
Fluorescence is a measure of the diamond crystal’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. Around 35% of all diamonds emit fluorescence when subjected to UV light. If fluorescence is present, the strength and color of the fluorescence is recorded.
3. Clarity and Finish Grading
IGI grades clarity according to internationally accepted standards at 10X magnification, according to the visibility, size, number, location and nature of internal and surface characteristics at that magnification. Diamonds with characteristics which are immediately obvious or noticeable are likely candidates for the lower grades, whereas diamonds with characteristics which are minor, minute or extremely difficult upon initial analysis at that magnification may qualify for the higher grades.
The gemologist will use a step by step wedge technique, examining the diamond in segments, to note the location and nature of all relevant clarity characteristics. A map of the diamond’s internal and external clarity characteristics, as observed at 10X magnification, is provided for purposes of information and identification on a diagram representative of the diamond’s shape and faceting style.
4. Cut Grading
IGI provides a cut grade for diamonds which fall into the D-Z color range.
Round Brilliant Cut Grading: The overall proportions, measurements and facet angles are compared with IGI studies of brightness, fire, scintillation and pattern to determine the Cut Grade. If the polish and symmetry assessments are lower than the grade according to overall proportions they may cause the overall cut grade to be lowered.
Fancy Shape Cut Grading: Diamonds are assessed using a four-step system combining polish and symmetry assessment with proportions qualifications, shape-specific requirements and light return grading.
- See a video overview of the Fancy Shape Cut Grading process
- View and download IGI Guidelines For Excellent
All shapes and colors will have craftsmanship grades for polish and symmetry noted on the grading report.
In the areas of color and clarity analysis multiple gemologists take the diamond through the grading steps and provide opinions, completely independent from the others. Color and clarity grades are only finalized when a consensus is reached.
6. Grading Controls
Between each grading step, a diamond returns to central control, ensuring that its distribution to various gemologists is completely random. Every diamond is electronically tracked so that central control knows its location at any time and may review each step in the process.
7. Laser Inscription
IGI’s LASERSCRIBESM, combined with the standard of excellence and recognition of IGI’s Diamond Grading Reports assures you of both the quality and identification of your diamond. In fact, every laboratory grown diamond IGI grades will have an inscription identifying laboratory grown origin automatically applied. For natural diamonds the laboratory will apply laser-inscriptions by owner’s request, typically the diamond’s grading report number. If the diamond belongs to a brand or specific store, the owner may also have a logo inscribed. These inscriptions will be noted on the diamond grading report. If the owner requests a dossier report, which doesn’t include a clarity plot, the diamond will always be laser-inscribed, for correlation and identification purposes.
8. Grading Report Printing and Security
Diamond grading reports are printed on advanced security paper with no less than five security features. These include tear proof paper, micro printing, holographics and other security features. The diamond is weighed, verified as matching the report by central control, cleaned and prepared for return to its owner along with the new diamond grading report, which is placed in a protective sleeve or binder.
9. Digital Grading Report Posted
Once the diamond and report have left the diamond grading laboratory premises a digital copy of the report will be posted online. This report is accessible using the IGI Verify Your Report feature. The QR (Quick Response) code on the printed grading report can also be scanned by a QR code reader and will take the user to the corresponding grading report, posted online.