IGI vs HRD: A Comparison of Gemstone Certifications

When purchasing a diamond, the four Cs (carat, cut, clarity, and color) are essential, but don’t overlook the fifth factor i.e. “diamond certification”. Certification such as GIA, HRD, and IGI plays a very crucial role in trading loose diamonds. 

This article compares HRD and IGI certifications, outlining their differences and impact on prices, helping you to make a better decision.

What are HRD Diamond Certifications?

HRD, based in Antwerp, Belgium, is strategically located near major diamond sources. Since its establishment in the 1970s, the organization has been providing various essential services to the diamond industry.

These include:

  • Jewelry reports
  • Diamond price-lists
  • Education and online courses
  • Screening and detection for HPTP, CVD, and natural diamonds as well as HRD Jewelry Report

HRD is renowned for its grading reports, which provide certification of diamonds’ quality based on essential characteristics.

Their examination process closely resembles that of competitors like GCAL and the GIA. HRD’s gemologists determine the diamond’s weight and verify if it’s natural or lab-grown. They also measure its diameter and height to assess proportions.

Subsequently, HRD conducts thorough analyses of fluorescence, color, cut, and clarity.

All these grades are compiled into a comprehensive report, furnishing the buyer with essential information about the diamond. While the report doesn’t assign a monetary value to the gem, these measurements significantly influence how retailers determine its price.

The HRD report for a round-cut diamond is mentioned below:

HRD Diamond Report

The HRD report contains valuable information about the diamond, organized into different sections. On the left side, you’ll find the color and clarity scale, with color grades ranging from D-Z and clarity grades starting from LC (loupe-clean) and going down to P3 (Included).

The cut grade is divided into three sections: proportions, polish, and symmetry.

In the middle of the report, you’ll find additional technical details about the diamond, including its:

  • Total depth and width
  • Crown height
  • Pavilion depth
  • Girdle thickness

It also gives reports for treated, colored, and lab-grown diamonds.

What are IGI Diamond Certifications?

IGI prides itself as the world’s largest organization for certifying the quality of gemstones. With 20 labs worldwide, they grade finished jewelry as well as lab-grown and natural diamonds.

In addition to diamond certification, IGI offers gemologist training in 14 schools and online learning opportunities, and hosts trade shows across various countries.

Their labs are strategically located near major diamond sources like HRD. You can verify a diamond report on their website to confirm that the retailer had it graded by the IGI.

The IGI assesses diamonds using a method similar to HRD.

IGI Diamond Grading

The gemologist will ascertain whether the diamond is natural, lab-grown, or a diamond simulant. If any treatments are detected, such as clarity enhancement to remove inclusions, it will be noted in the report.

Next, the diamond is thoroughly examined based on the four Cs.

For instance, let’s take a look at the IGI report for this round-cut diamond.

The IGI report format closely resembles HRD’s certification.

On the left side, you’ll find crucial information about its quality, including: 

  • Shape and cutting style
  • Measurements
  • Polish and symmetry
  • Fluorescence
  • A clarity characteristics plot (indicating the locations of inclusions).

The diamond certificate provides valuable information that helps you comprehend its worth and determine an appropriate price to pay.

What is the difference between two diamond certificates?

HRD has built a strong reputation for its expertise in color and clarity assessments. Their cut system is similar to GIA’s, being proportions-based, but with a slightly broader range. They also offer a Hearts & Arrows grading system for round brilliants, independent of the strictness of their proportions grading.

IGI has an extensive global presence, with multiple locations worldwide. In Europe and Asia, IGI’s loose diamond reports are highly regarded for their credibility. Notably, the grading results from IGI’s Hong Kong lab are considered on par with GIA, boasting stronger consistency. Additionally, the IGI HK “Hearts & Arrows” grading report is esteemed as cut-elite, similar to an AGS Ideal report in the US.

Here are three key distinctions between HRD and the IGI:

  1. IGI is Highly Regarded for Grading Lab-Created Diamonds.
  2. HRD Might Exhibit Slightly Lower Stringency Than the IGI.
  3. HRD Certifications Are Prevalent in Europe.

Should We Buy an HRD or IGI Diamond?

Numerous diamond retailers offer HRD and IGI-certified diamonds, both renowned for their meticulous gem assessments. While their grades often match with GIA standards, it’s essential to carefully examine how the report aligns with the diamond’s quality.

Our recommendation is to opt for a diamond certified by the GIA or AGS, as they are regarded as the most trustworthy and consistent in their grading. This assessment is also supported by the largest underwriter of jewelry, which considers them “the most respected labs.”

However, an IGI report is sufficient for lab-created diamonds.

Regardless of whether you choose an HRD, IGI, or diamond graded by another lab, being well-informed about your diamond’s characteristics is crucial.

If you are looking to buy certified loose diamonds, visit Uniglo Diamonds. They are one of the most reliable and trustworthy diamond sellers in Belgium. 


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