GCAL vs. IGI Diamond Certifications

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
GCAL vs. IGI Diamond Certifications

When it comes to certifications, you want the most reliable and trustworthy. Diamond certification is often what people are looking for when they are purchasing jewelry or diamonds. The Diamond Grading Certificate is one of the most important documents that you should look for when buying a diamond from a professional jeweler or online seller.

GCAL and IGI are programs that were designed to educate jewelers on how to buy diamonds with confidence. This blog post will cover everything you need to know about GCAL vs IGI diamond certifications.

What Is A GCAL Certification?

GCAL is the acronym for Gem Certification and Assurance Lab. The certification program was designed to provide jewelers with a better understanding of how diamonds are evaluated by professionals around the world. 

GCAL grading reports can be used as reliable references in many areas including diamond purchases, gemstone investments, and insurance claims. This certification levels the playing field between professional jewelers and inexperienced diamond buyers.

The GCAL certification provides independent, unbiased grading reports that can be used to verify the authenticity of diamonds being sold by many different sellers around the world. This is a very important document that you should never purchase from a seller who is not willing to provide it.

The History Of The GCAL Diamond Certification

The GCAL program was created in the year 2000 and is one of many different diamond grading certification programs that can be trusted. It offers a level of transparency to diamond buyers which protects them from false claims, misleading information, or over-priced diamonds. 

The GCAL originally introduced its Diamond Grading Certificate as an independent assessment for evaluating diamonds being sold by jewelers around the world. The GCAL program was created in response to consumer demand for an unbiased certification report that could be trusted when buying diamonds.

What Is A IGI Diamond Certification?

IGI Diamond Certification falls under the umbrella of the International Gemological Institute (IGI). This diamond grading certificate does not come with a separate appraisal, but it can be used as a reliable reference for many types of diamond purchases. You can use this certification to verify the authenticity and type of diamonds being sold by jewelers around the world.

The History Of The IGI Diamond Certification

IGI Diamond Certification has been in operation since 1975, with offices located all over the globe including New York City (NY), Hong Kong (HK), Mumbai (IN), and many other cities around the world.

What Are The Similarities And Differences Between GCAL And IGI Diamond Certifications?

The Differences Between GCAL And IGI Diamond Certifications

Before we highlight the differences between GCAL vs IGI diamond certification programs, it is noteworthy to identify that both of these institutes are competitors. However, this does not mean that one certification is better than the other.

 It just means that each institute has different strengths and weaknesses depending on how they grade diamonds. Here are some of the differences between GCAL vs IGI diamond certifications:

IGI Report Comes With An Inclusion Plot

This is a graphic illustration of the inclusions found inside the diamond. GCAL reports do not include this information because it does not affect the clarity grade of diamonds.

The Clarity Grading System

The IGI grading system uses its unique language to describe the overall quality and appearance of diamonds. There are many different diamond clarity grades including F, VVS-SI, and VS.

The IGI does not use letters to grade the overall appearance of diamonds but uses a range from 0-100% which offers more detailed information to clients.

GCAL Includes Guarantees In Their Reports

GCAL is the only diamond certification program that includes guarantees to protect consumers from any concerns regarding their diamonds. However, IGI reports do not.

GCAL Offers A Separate Appraisal Document

The document allows you to get an estimate on how much your diamonds are worth if ever needed in the future. This is a big advantage that IGI certification lacks because it can be difficult to get an accurate appraisal of the value of your diamonds if you need one.

The Similarities Between GCAL And IGI Diamond Certification

Regardless of the differences, there are many similarities between GCAL vs. IGI diamond certification programs which include:

  • Both certifications offer grading reports that can be trusted when buying diamonds online, in auctions, or at retail stores around the world. 
  • Both provide a level of transparency to protect consumers from false claims and overpriced diamonds. 
  • The language used for both is understandable by laymen. This means that you can easily understand the grading system and it will not be a barrier to buying diamonds.
  • Both certifications offer reliable services which are accepted by many jewelers around the world for diamond purchases.
  • There is no significant difference between GCAL vs IGI Diamond certification programs in terms of how they grade, display information, or guarantee authenticity. Sure, there are some small differences between the two but both offer accurate and trustworthy information to consumers that need it.
  • Both GCAL and IGI Diamond Certification are well-known in the industry, which means consumers can have greater trust in diamond grading reports issued by both institutes. 

How Long Does It Take To Become Certified?

The time taken to process the certification depends on the certification service provider. Generally, it takes around four weeks to receive a diamond grading report from IGI Diamond Certification Services and six weeks for GCAL certifications.

Is The GCAL Or IGI Certification Better?

As mentioned earlier, the answer to this question depends on your needs. For example, if you are a diamond retailer that wants to offer clients accurate and trustworthy information regarding their diamonds, then GCAL is an excellent choice for you. 

Does It Matter Who Certifies Your Diamond?

Yes! However, it depends on what you are buying and who is certifying the diamonds. For example, if you want to buy a diamond from an unknown source, then GCAL or IGI Diamond Certification might help protect consumers from fraud. Both offer detailed information that can provide peace of mind when making important purchases online. 

In general, it is always better to buy from reputable jewelers who have physical stores because they can provide accurate diamond grading reports without any issues.

What Are The Best Diamond Certifications?

Stuck in between GCAL vs. IGI Diamond Certification? We suggest you do further research before buying diamond reports for GCAL or IGI certification programs because there are other options available too! Such options include;

  • GIA; the Gemological Institute of America Diamond Grading System
  • AGS; American Gem Society Diamond Grading Report
  • EGL; European Gemological Laboratories Diamond Certification. 

All of these certifications are globally recognized and provide accurate information regarding the clarity, cut, color grade of diamonds to consumers.

The Pros And Cons Of Diamond Certifications

Pros of Diamond Certifications

There are a lot of benefits that come with buying diamond reports for GCAL, IGI Diamond Certification, or any other certification program. Some of these benefits include:

  • Diamonds are expensive so it is important to have information regarding the quality before making a purchase decision. 
  • For consumers that buy online, having diamond grading reports can be extremely beneficial because they save time due to not having to visit a retail shop and physically check the quality of their diamonds.
  • Diamond certification reports allow customers to feel secure when making purchases; regardless of whether they are buying from an auction, online, or at physical stores around them since such reports provide trustworthy information which can be relied upon. 
  • Consumers will not have any worries about overpaying for low-quality diamonds.

Cons of Diamond Certification

There are some disadvantages too;

  • The biggest disadvantage that comes with buying these reports is the lack of confidence if you do not feel like spending extra money on them for your diamond purchase.
  •  Diamond certification reports can be costly depending on the type of report you want to buy for your diamond. 

How Can You Become A Certified Gemologist?

It is important to note that certification programs for diamond grading reports are designed specifically for professionals in the industry. And to become a certified gemologist, you need to have years of experience in the industry and thorough knowledge of diamonds. 

You also need a degree from an accredited institution to be qualified for GCAL diamond grading reports, IGI Diamond Certification, or any other certification program.

People who are looking to become certified should consider taking courses that teach gemology basics at universities around them.


In conclusion, both GCAL vs IGI Diamond Certification reports are effective and accurate ways to grade diamonds which provide consumers with the information they need before making diamond purchases. However, you must choose one certification program over another depending on your specific needs as a consumer or retailer of diamonds.

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