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Bottom Line Recommendation:
We do not recommend buying a diamond that has a GSI certificate. We have found that their grading is not only looser than the gold standards (GIA and AGSL labs), but weaker than than the next level down (IGI and HRD) as well. Unfortunately, they don’t have the consistency to say “adjust the grades down 1 or 2 qualities and calculate the value.”
You should only buy diamonds that have a GIA or AGS certificate. This way, you actually know what you are getting and you can compare apples to apples. Retailers don’t use inaccurate certificates like GSI in order to give the consumer a better deal; they do it to make more money off of those consumers.
The Gemological Science International Organization
GSI are the new kids on the block. They have only been around for a few years. Unfortunately they didn’t come to the industry with fresh ideas or innovative technology. They built their business by appealing to the big retail chains in America (Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, Kay and Zales).
Scoring those major companies means millions of dollars in business. The Capital Forum claims that GSI took Sterling’s (parent company of Kay, Jared, and Zales) business away from IGI by opening up a laboratory down the street from their headquarters to make it easier to cooperate and to undercut their pricing significantly.
At best, their goal is to be as good as IGI. Even if they attain that goal (which they have not), those are not the standards a laboratory should be striving for. Unfortunately, this is what you get when for-profit labs desperately need the big retail chains to satisfy their business model.
It’s hard to view them as independent and caring for the end consumer when they opened a laboratory just to accommodate the big diamond retailers.
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