GCAL vs IGI Grading Reports

In order to purchase a diamond, the first step is to find a reputable jeweler, but since you will be making a substantial purchase, it is even more important to make sure the diamond is graded by an accredited laboratory.
Neither the quality of a diamond nor the seller's claims can be verified by any other means. Diamond grading reports allow shoppers to compare qualitatively their diamonds with other diamonds available.
Contemporary Solitaire Engagement Ring
Contemporary Solitaire Engagement Ring
Two acronyms you might see next to a diamond are The Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL) and The International Gemological Institute (IGI). IGI and GCAL both certify diamonds via comprehensive grading processes that document the diamond's characteristics in a detailed report.
In the case of GCAL vs IGI Diamond certifications, which one is the better for diamonds? Although both labs have slightly different positions in the market, the bottom line is that both have established reputations for evaluating diamonds. Take a closer look at the differences between the two so you can make an informed decision if you are deciding between the two.

As a prelude:

The official document attesting to the authenticity of a diamond is often called a 'certificate,' but most laboratories do not refer to them that way. They are most commonly called grading reports, clearly stating that grades are merely opinions.
It is possible that some may interpret the lab's certificate as an endorsement and a guarantee rather than a diagnostic description of the diamond. Despite the fact that the term certificate is not used by most laboratories (including GIA), many in the diamond trade still use the term.
GCAL certifications are an exception. They represent their document as a certificate - a guarantee of accuracy with some remedies for any errors.
It is strongly recommended that you do not buy a diamond without a Grading Report.

What are GCAL Diamond Certifications?

GCAL Natural Diamond Certificate
GCAL Natural Round Diamond Certificate - Click to enlarge
Donald Palmeiri founded The Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL) in 2001, which has been based at 580 Fifth Avenue in New York City ever since.
The GCAL offers a range of services for the gem and jewelry trade, such as grading and certification of natural diamonds and lab grown (synthetic) diamonds, diamond cut analysis, colored stone and pearl identification, precious metals analysis, and video and photography.
GCAL also offers diamond jewelry reports and valuations.
It is important to note that cut grading methodology varies widely among labs, with some not having a cut grade at all. GCAL's recent announcement of the 8X® cut grade indicates that they are making a strong bid in the diamond evaluation market. GCAL says their new grading system includes all aspects of diamond cut quality assessment, including:
This lab maintains ISO 17025 certification, which is highly regarded as an international quality management system. Achieving ISO certification is an impressive achievement for any business.

What are IGI Diamond Certifications?

With a history dating back to 1975, the International Gemological Institute (IGI) is one of the most recognized brands in the diamond and jewelry industries worldwide.
It tests, identifies, and evaluates diamonds, gemstones, and other jewelry as part of its service to the jewelry industry. Besides offering education courses to train tomorrow’s gemologists, it also offers degree programs in gems and jewelry.
IGI maintains a robust global presence with 20 laboratories strategically located throughout the world. Even though many of these labs are located in India, a center of diamond cutting and processing, IGI's global reach extends to key diamond trading and jewelry markets, strengthening its ability to serve international jewelers and gemologists.
As a leading identifier and evaluator of lab-grown diamonds, IGI has played an important role in this new and emerging market. A specialty of theirs is evaluating and appraising finished jewelry pieces.
IGI Grading Reports
IGI's diamond grading process is similar to that of GIA and GCAL in regards to grading color and clarity, as well as reporting basic dimensions and proportions. This way, shoppers are able to make meaningful comparisons of diamonds based on this essential criteria.
Inclusions found inside diamonds are graphically illustrated in IGI and other grading reports in what is known as a stone plot. GCAL reports do not include a stone plot. Rather, they include both a photomicrocraph of the diamond at 10x magnification and a Gemprint. Between the two there is an accurate record of the inclusions that would enable positive identification of the diamond.
As with GCAL, IGI offers evaluation and appraisal of finished jewelry pieces in addition to diamond certification. In addition to offering valuable insights into the quality, materials, and craftsmanship of jewelry items being offered, these appraisals assist shoppers with obtaining personal jewelry insurance.

GCAL vs IGI Diamond Certifications: How Do They Differ?

Both organizations follow several rigorous protocols to ensure accurate and reliable diamond grading, but each has its own strengths. Listed below are some of the differences between the two.

Reputation and Recognition:

GCAL: In the Diamond District of New York, GCAL operates a small, high-quality gemological laboratory.
As a result of their extensive experience and technical expertise, they can provide a wide range of services to help consumers choose the right diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls, and fine jewelry. Continuing to stay on top of industry trends is evident in their recent venture into comprehensive cut grading.
Although they serve primarily the diamond and jewelry trade, over time they have established their own market presence alongside other established grading labs.
IGI: IGI is an international professional organization with a highly skilled workforce and advanced technical capabilities.
With the influx of different laboratories into the jewelry trade, IGI has been successful in carving out an important niche for itself. As of today, they screen millions of melee diamonds and issue grading reports on individual diamonds, both natural and lab grown. In order to supply this service to the diamond trade, IGI has developed a cost-effective and efficient business model.


When everything else is equal, you'll usually pay less for a GCAL diamond or IGI diamond. There is nothing wrong with GCAL or IGI's assessments of diamonds. As a result of GIA's long-standing reputation, buyers and industry are willing to pay higher prices for GIA grading reports.
It is important to note that most Diamond Grading Reports don't include value or price. It is only quality that is reflected in grading reports. The report is intended to remain valid for a long time even if market prices change after publication. In order to verify the current value of a property for insurance purposes, an appraisal is the primary method.
The full value of a diamond comes from its enduring qualities, its capacity for capturing hearts, and its ability to symbolize emotions beyond generations. Embracing the journey alongside an experienced jeweler is undeniably the key to uncovering a diamond's intrinsic value.
Despite not carrying GCAL graded diamonds in our collection, Whiteflash takes pride in providing the highest quality diamonds, carrying diamonds graded from world-renowned labs GIA and IGI.


GCAL: Diamonds are not their only specialty; they also specialize in colored gemstones, pearls, and fine jewelry. Under one roof, GCAL operates as a compact yet high-quality gemological laboratory in New York's Diamond District.
In conducting a jewelry appraisal for a client, GCAL is able to customize it according to their needs. For insurance purposes, the GCAL can provide Retail Replacement Value, Fair Market Value for charitable donations, or Marketable Cash Value for legal and personal settlements.
GCAL is the only diamond certification that includes guarantees that offer some protection to shoppers from any concerns regarding the accuracy of the grading of their diamonds, gems and jewelry.
Besides providing diamond identification, GCAL also provides evaluations on pearls and gemstones.
IGI: One of the few gem laboratories to earn ISO 9000 certification (technically ISO 17025) is IGI. The ISO standard is an international system and standard for quality control and continuous improvement. Due to our status at Whiteflash as one of the few retail jewelers in the world to be ISO certified, we appreciate this dedication to best practices.
Aside from screening loose diamonds of all sizes for synthetics, IGI also screens jewelry.

GCAL vs IGI diamonds: Which Should You Choose?

There is no doubt that both IGI and GCAL provide high-quality diamond grading services.
GCAL's history may not reach as far as some peers such as IGI, but their unwavering commitment to precision and integrity has earned them industry accolades. The importance of IGI and GCAL to the industry is further illustrated by the rise of lab-grown diamonds, in which both organizations provide screening and grading services.
Regardless of which organization one chooses, both provide clear, understandable analyses of diamond attributes. With a reputation for reliability, they deliver exceptional results with natural diamonds as well as lab-grown diamonds.
GCAL operates solely from its lab situated in the Diamond District of New York, while IGI has multiple locations - and is the largest independent gemological laboratory worldwide. GCAL also utilizes some technologies in their analysis that distinguishes it from IGI.
The IGI receives submissions from their trade clients, such as chain jewelry stores and the manufacturers who produce for them. As a result, they usually grade a high percentage of commercial-grade diamonds, as well as some proprietary cuts promoted by large retailers.
If you want to make an informed diamond purchase, you should consider your specific needs, your budget, as well as the characteristics of the diamond you desire.
Ultimately, both IGI and GCAL offer diamond grading services of high quality. But choosing a diamond goes beyond certification. There are several factors that might influence your decision, including the expertise of the jeweler, the size and quality of the diamond, and the overall purpose and value.
Understanding these factors can be challenging, so it's best to seek guidance from a seasoned expert. With the help of a knowledgeable jeweler, such as Whiteflash, you can easily and effectively navigate through these subtleties.
Choosing the right professional to guide you through the process will allow you to make an informed decision that suits your needs, and provides you with a stress-free buying experience.

Do You Need Help Choosing the Right Diamond Certification?

Staying on top of the diamond industry's evolution, development, and innovation is our priority. In order to make an informed buying decision, we encourage you to conduct your own research. Not everyone possesses the depth of expertise we've cultivated over decades with our dedicated team of experts. That's why we're here to offer our knowledge and guidance to you.
We offer a comprehensive diamond education resource that is at your fingertips on our website, and you can contact us directly for expert personal advice. Our team can assist you in determining what certifications are right for your needs, as well as finding the right diamond for your taste and budget.

Be Inspired By Our Designer Engagement Rings

Find the perfect Designer Ring for your special diamond by clicking the links below, and let us build the ultimate ring for the love of your life!