Is the IGI certificate as reliable as GIA or HRD certificate?
The International Federation of Diamond Bourses in their 1978 report accepts IGI as an equal to the longer existing GIA or HRD. Being a newcomer in those days, IGI was being looked at with suspicion, and that is why - even nowadays - some people still refer to IGI as a lab too young to be good. Ironically, IGI today faces more discussions with dis-satisfied diamond dealers than HRD or GIA does, for it is their feeling that IGI's grading system has become too severe, both for colour as for clarity.
According to some diamond websites, the impression is given that GIA is the 'only' consistent grader: however, GIA's main share holder is Mr Robert Mouawad who is involved in many a diamond company. This has given some people in the diamond community more than once the feeling that a conflict of interest could arise from this potental mix of diamond selling with diamond grading. The recent GIA scandal in 2005 of diamond misgradings for some very large diamonds will do nothing to quell such concerns.
Neither HRD, nor IGI houses share-holders that operate in commercial diamond activities. This emphasizes their status of independence.
As for consistency of IGI grading:
August 26, 2003 IGI Becomes First International Gemological Lab to Become ISO 9001:2000 Certified
IGI Awarded Certification in Both the United States and Canada
NEW YORK – The International Gemological Institute (IGI) today announced its Los Angeles and Toronto labs were granted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 certification for operating a quality management system in the scope of independent third party analysis of diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry articles.
ISO is a network of national standards institutes from more than 140 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives to more directly link business objectives with business effectiveness.
ISO 9000 is a generic name given to a family of standards developed to provide a framework around which a quality management system can effectively be based. The ISO 9000 family of standards was revised in December 2000.
According to IGI North America President, Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A., "This is a milestone for IGI. The ISO 9001 certification emphasizes the Institute’s continued commitment to provide clients with the highest quality of services available. It demonstrates that IGI is dedicated to excellence in every phase of its business operations."
To be certified to the standard, companies must implement a quality management system that accounts for a range of company activities, including staff training, meeting customer requirements and delivering services. This is done using Plan-Do-Check-Act principles and Process Management, which outlines the steps taken to provide customers the services pledged by the company.
As part of the ISO process, a third party auditor performed on-site assessments in both the Toronto and Los Angeles labs’ documented procedures, and audited its overall operations. To ensure continued compliance with ISO 9001:2000 and to provide feedback internally on process effectiveness, IGI business operations will be independently assessed by periodic routine surveillance audits.
The International Gemological Institute, the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and valuating gemstones and fine jewelry, was established in 1975 and is located in New York City, Antwerp, Toronto, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Mumbai (Bombay), Dubai and Tokyo. IGI can be reached at www.igiworldwide.com.
For further information see Diamonds Glossary.