Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, on an expansive campus that serves as the world’s premier college for gemological studies, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the United States’ leading gemological body and world’s premier gemological organization—at the very least in terms of gemological training and research.
The institute was founded in 1931 in Los Angeles by a jeweler from Kansas, Robert M. Shipley, and it grew to include a college, a research institute and diamond and gemstone grading labs in 15 centers worldwide, of which the most well-known is in New York. GIA research centers are located in Antwerp, Bangkok, Carlsbad and New York.
In the 1950s, GIA created the international standard for describing diamond quality: the 4Cs (color, cut, clarity and carat weight) and the GIA International Diamond Grading System is the most used and emulated standard in the world. It includes the D-to-Z color scale, the Flawless-I3 clarity scale and the Excellent-Poor cut grading scale.
Each Diamond Grading Report from GIA provides an analysis of the quality of a diamond based on the 4Cs, and also includes a plotting diagram that depicts the diamond’s unique clarity characteristics, such as inclusions. Diamonds weighing 1.99 carats or less can be issued a GIA Diamond Dossier, which the same information as the GIA Diamond Grading Report, but does not include the plotting diagram. The GIA Diamond eReport service, delivers GIA grading results online, and is available for natural, D-to-Z color diamonds from 0.15 to 2.99 carats
Since the 1930s, GIA researchers have made numerous breakthrough contributions to the industry’s understanding of gems, including developing the first gemological microscope with darkfield illumination; distinguishing synthetic from natural diamonds; detecting high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) color-treated diamonds; detecting synthetic and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds; and creating a comprehensive grading system for round brilliant-cut diamonds.
Since its founding, GIA has educated more than 365,000 professionals worldwide and today operates 10 teaching campuses around the world, including Bangkok, Gaborone, Carlsbad, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York, Seoul and Taipei. The Graduate Gemologist (GG) diploma, which focuses on gem grading and identification, is the industry’s highest professional credential.
When shopping for diamonds, there are many grades, descriptions and phrases thrown around. In fact, it can be quite difficult for the average person to know what they are purchasing and to know whether it is of the best possible quality. Luckily, there is one non-profit organization that sets the standard for grading and describing diamonds—making it easier for consumers to understand what they are buying or wearing.
GIA stands for Gemological Institution of America, which is the most common laboratory used to examine and grade diamonds. GIA was established in 1931 and since then has set the standard for diamond grading. This organization now employs over 900 diamond experts around the world who have the important job of grading, rating and analyzing diamonds of all sizes, shapes and descriptions.
One of the common phrases you hear in the world of diamonds is that you should examine diamonds for the “Four-C’s.” The four C’s include Color, Cut, Clarity and Caret Weight. This method of diamond grading was established by GIA and you will always know where GIA diamonds stand in regards to these four important areas. Therefore, a GIA certified diamond is one that you can trust is of the stated quality.
GIA loose diamonds are highly sought after by jewelry makers of all kinds. Additionally, GIA cut diamonds are utilized for rings, earrings, necklaces and other pieces. GIA inspects more than just your average stones—this organization is responsible for grading and analyzing some of the best-known diamonds anywhere. This includes the Hope Diamond, Incomparable Diamond and the De Beers Millennium Star. If the owner of the Hope Diamond trusts GIA, shouldn’t you?