Certifying your diamonds might seem like a load of bureaucracy when you get into it – and that may as well be true when you don’t know what you’re getting into when you start the process.
But if you know the differences between the certificates and the institutions that give them out and validate your diamonds, it will be much easier for you to understand this process. And you will definitely find it much easier to go through, as well.
That’s what we’re doing today – answering the question, “Is GIA better than HRD – and why?”
In addition to that, we’ll do our best to refer you to the best possible organization for you to get a certificate for your diamond so that you don’t feel like you’ve made a mistake by going with one or the other.
If you don’t know who or what GIA or HRD is, we don’t blame you; the majority of people don’t. But if you’d like to find out and learn about them, we highly recommend that you stick around – and find out!
What Are The GIA And HRD?
Okay, we might be stating the obvious here, but:
To compare something to something else, you first need to get to know the two – or potentially more – things that are involved in that comparison. That’s the only way to get the full picture and the most accurate information possible from it.
It makes sense, right?
So, that’s why we first need to tell you about the GIA and the HRD – what they are and how they operate. That way, you can understand the things that we’re comparing here and the results we will get from that comparison.
In addition to that, it’s also imperative to point you in the right direction when it comes to what it means to verify your diamonds.
But, you are not to worry!
We’re here to solve all your diamond-related problems – including this one. So, leave it up to us!
Okay, let’s start with GIA or Gemological Institute of America:
GIA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and the jewelry arts and is based in Carlsbad, California.
That might not be of value to you as much – but give us some time to work our way to the more important info!
GIA is one of the most respected and well-known institutions in gemology – and their say is quite decisive in the world of diamonds.
Many people prefer to get their diamond certificates from GIA based on their reputation alone – and we don’t blame them. Getting a GIA certificate is deemed prestigious in the world of gems, and, well, people tend to choose “prestigious” when it comes to their precious stones.
Nonetheless, the question of is GIA better than HRD still stands, and we are going to answer it shortly. But, we first have to look at HRD as well to get the complete picture.
The Hoge Raad Voor Diamant, or HRD for short – which translates to “Diamond High Council” – was established in Antwerp in 1973.
The HRD was created as the European counterpart to GIA, and that’s one of the most important things to remember from this comparison.
In other words, the HRD strives to be in Europe what GIA is in the US.
While we’re at it, does that mean that HRD is less reliable because it was created later?
The short answer is no. The fact that it’s younger than GIA doesn’t make the HRD any less of authority in the diamond industry.
The overall quality and reliability of these two organizations shouldn’t be compared just by the sheer amount of time they have been around – but the quality of work they do and the authority they have in the world of diamonds.
With that said, there are countless other aspects that need to be considered when it comes to comparing these two to one another.
Also, it should be noted that GIA’s field of jurisdiction is the US, and the HRD’s is the European continent – although we think we’ve made that clear earlier. So, these two organizations’ “fields of jurisdiction” are entirely different and don’t overlap.
The Differences & The Similarities
These two organizations operate on two completely different continents. There are, inevitably, some differences and similarities between them – and that’s something we need to discuss in order for you to get a better picture of which one you’d prefer.
You should keep in mind that if you live in the United States, you should probably go with GIA regardless of which one you find more reliable. Why?
Well, there are some diamond dealers that only recognize diamonds certified by GIA, meaning other certifications might not be considered “legit.”
That is a product of functionality primarily and nothing more, though.
Verifying the integrity of the documents you bring with you (alongside your diamonds) should be easily checked. But doing so over the Atlantic ocean can sometimes be a pretty tedious, lengthy process.
It’s not always the case that diamond dealers or jewelers can’t authenticate an HRD certificate, but just to be sure – we recommend going with GIA instead. Doing so may save you some time, prevent frustration, and shorten the time needed to sell the diamond – if that’s what you’re going for here.
That’s something we felt was essential to mention before we get into the similarities. It’s simply one of those specific situations that makes you prefer one over the other – but without reasons based on quality or excellence.
The most significant technical difference between GIA and HRD is simple:
Now, this may not seem as vital as we make it out to be, and we don’t blame you if you think so – but the difference is considerable.
A completely separate grading for symmetry and polish is quite nice to have since the certificate with individual grading groups tends to look more professional and is easier to navigate.
When a diamond dealer looks at the GIA certificate, they can find and learn about the symmetry and polish qualities of your diamond – which isn’t the case with the HRD certificate.
With that said, all of these pieces of information are still found on the HRD certificate – but in a different spot.
When someone looks at the ”Finish” part of the HRD certificate, they’ll find the same values. But people that are used to looking at GIA certificates – mainly on the US market – might have some problems finding the necessary information due to the different layout.
On the other hand, HRD includes one clarity grade termed “Loupe Clean,” which is not offered by the GIA. So, if you’re looking for that specific clarity grade, we’re afraid you’ll have to go with HRD instead of the GIA.
The biggest thing that makes these certificates similar is that they grade and certify diamonds – well, that part is pretty obvious.
But all jokes aside, there are some similarities between those two. Let’s have a quick look:
- The color grades they use are the same
- They use the same method to determine whether it’s a natural or a lab-grown diamond
- Both feature weight displayed in carats
- Their clarity scale is nearly the same
In essence, all of these similarities are technical. The way that both of these certificates look indicates that the diamonds examined by GIA and HRD are inspected similarly.
The color grades and clarity scale are practically identical – with one exception, though:
On the clarity scale, where GIA makes the difference between Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds, the HRD looks at those two as one level of clarity.
All other similarities lie in the looks of the certificate and the technical data they display, such as the dimensions of the diamond, the cut of the diamonds, and the like.
Which One Is Better?
At the end of the day, we – as well as you – are only interested in which one is better, or, as we said already: Is GIA better than HRD?
Well, to answer that question plainly isn’t doing any of us any good. The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than a plain “Yes” or “No.”
These two similar – and, at the same time, different – diamond certificates have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what makes them unique.
Depending on the situation and what you’re looking for when certifying a diamond, one may be better than the other. But generally speaking, there’s no universal rule saying that one is better than the other 100% of the time.
Keeping this in mind, we’d say that our readers in the US should aim for GIA certification – for apparent reasons.
Firstly, it’s much less complicated to validate the certificate and be done with the process. The HRD certificate is also well-known in the US, don’t get us wrong – but it’s not as common as in Europe.
In addition to that, GIA provides you separate grading for symmetry and polish that we’ve talked about a bit earlier.
Now, this may seem like a tiny detail, but you’d be surprised at how much this could affect your diamond’s value in the long run. Sometimes, buyers and sellers prefer to see the two treated as two distinct characteristics on the certificate – instead of how it’s done on the HRD one.
Because of these two primary reasons, we’d recommend you stick with GIA for the time being.
For people reading this from the European continent, the comparison between these two and the question of which one is better is – well, a bit unnecessary and, dare we say, unfair.
The significant majority of European diamonds have the HRD certificate. It’s the most prominent and well-known certification you can get for your diamond in that part of the world, after all.
In theory, you could get a GIA certification and validate your diamond in that manner. Still, most certification-related cases you’ll see in Europe will involve a diamond that’s verified with an HRD certificate.
We recommend that European readers go with the HRD certificate for convenience’s sake. You won’t lose much – if anything at all – by doing this, and you’ll get the clarity grade termed “Loupe Clean,” which you’ll miss out on if you go with the GIA certification.
Is GIA better at the end of the day?
We can’t say it’s better, but we can say that it’s probably used more since the diamond market in the US is more extensive (at the moment, anyway) than its counterpart in Europe.
Summing Up Our Thoughts
You now know that there are very few differences between these two certificates. So, let’s give you a clear and definitive answer to our main question:
GIA is not better than HRD. HRD is undoubtedly as good as GIA, or even better – but only in certain situations. Neither one is more validating or has more credibility, so you shouldn’t compare them in that sense.
Both of these certificates are entirely acceptable when trying to validate your diamonds – and there are significant strengths to both of these.
So, depending on the situation, the part of the world, the dealer, and the circumstances you’ve found yourself and your diamonds in, GIA may be better than HRD, or it may be the other way around.
Generally speaking, the US market tends to value the GIA certificate a bit more since they’re USA-based, but HRD certificates are valid in the significant majority of the situations.
Our final piece of advice is to go with whichever certificate is more accessible in your particular situation – and save yourself some time and effort.
Related Read: Is IGI As Good As GIA?