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An Open Letter By Debbie Azar: Universal Standards For Diamond Grading

An Open Letter By Debbie Azar: Universal Standards For Diamond Grading 1

Debbie Azar is the president and co-founder of GSI.

Dear Industry Friends, Colleagues and Members,

When we started Gemological Science International (GSI) nearly twenty years ago, our goal was to create the most modern and technologically advanced gemological organization in the world, all while maintaining the highest level of standards and integrity. We were not afraid to utilize the latest breakthroughs and as the only major laboratory established in the 21st century we embraced technology. It also brings a higher level of integrity and transparency to diamond grading.

Gemological laboratories are essential to the integrity of the diamond, colored stones, and jewelry industry. Consumer confidence as well as trust throughout the industry is built on a universal expectation of integrity and ethical behavior within gemological laboratories. Without a set of grading standards and procedures among laboratories to demonstrate integrity, that trust is jeopardized.

Without diamond grading standardization for all laboratories, the industry is subject to an underlying issue of laboratories selling reports that are purposely inaccurate for financial benefits. Unfortunately, over the past few years, gemological laboratories have been accused of mis-grading and overvaluing diamonds.

Diamond manufacturers and jewelry retailers must have confidence that when a diamond receives a grade, it is accurate. The industry has made several attempts at bringing attention to the allegations of systematic over-grading by certain gemological laboratories, but so far, that has not been achieved.

That’s why GSI is stepping up and calling for universal standards for the grading of diamonds—both natural and laboratory grown. We must establish an accurate, unbiased assessment of a diamond’s qualities that is implemented globally. It’s really the only way to maintain integrity and transparency in the industry. And it’s the only way to protect the diamond manufacturers and jewelry retailers that have put their trust in us.


Debbie Azar
Gemological Science International
President and Co-Founder

The open letter is published on JCK – April 2022.

About GSI:

Gemological Science International (GSI) is the only major gemological organization established in the 21st century. Founded in 2005 in New York City, it has grown to become one of the largest gemological entities in the world with laboratory facilities spanning four continents. Utilizing cutting-edge processes and proprietary technologies, along with a commitment to the highest ethical standards and practices, GSI provides manufacturers and retailers globally with a wide range of gemstone identification and grading services. The company is committed to advancing gemological research and offers gemological educational programs for trade professionals and the general public through its state-of-the-art research center.

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Where is Gemological Science International (GSI) located?

GSI is headquartered in New York, NY. It has 13 laboratories on four continents and in a number of countries: the United States, India, Dubai, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Botswana. This makes GSI one of the largest independent gemological organizations in the world.

Is there a difference between grading reports issued by different GSI laboratories?

All GSI laboratories grade using the same methods and adhere to the same standards. Every laboratory is staffed with highly trained professionals who have years of grading experience and an extensive gemological background.

What does it mean when a sales associate tells me my diamond is “GSI Certified” or is accompanied by a “GSI Certificate”?

The phrases “GSI Certificate” and “GSI Certified” are industry shorthand for GSI grading or identification reports. What this means to you is that expert gemologists and trained professionals meticulously evaluated the item. When your diamond, jewelry or gemstone is accompanied by a GSI grading report, you can be completely confident in the accuracy and objectivity of the evaluation.

Where can I find “GSI Certified Diamonds”?

GSI diamond grading and identification reports can be found in jewelry stores worldwide and online. Insist on a GSI grading report when shopping for a diamond, jewelry or gemstone.

What do I do if I lose my GSI Diamond Report?

Every GSI grading report is available on our website. Please visit and go to “verify your report”. Enter your GSI report number and you’ll instantly have access to a digital copy of it. You can also email us through the website to request a copy.

What are the 4Cs

A beautiful diamond is one of nature’s most mesmerizing creations. But how do you objectively judge the quality of the gem? The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – are the universal standard for doing this.

Is there anything beyond the 4Cs?

The 4Cs are an essential and important description of a diamond’s characteristics. But there is a considerable amount of detailed information behind each “C” along with other qualities of a diamond that affect its beauty, such as fluorescence, light performance and more.

How much do you need to know? That’s up to you, but knowing the 4Cs is almost essential.

What does a GSI diamond grading report look like?

GSI offers a number of grading reports (often referred to as “GSI Certificates”). You can see samples of them by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI colored diamond grading report look like?

You can see samples grading reports by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI Colored stone report look like?

You can see samples of Colored stones reports by browsing Grading Reports page on our website.

How does a GSI grading report compare to other laboratories that issue grading reports?

It is our policy not to comment on other laboratories. However, know that GSI adheres to the highest ethical standards. We do this in a number of ways:

  • Rotating gemologists to our different labs
  • Continuously upgrading our proprietary grading software to ensure full compliance with international grading standards
  • Having our gemological research department constantly investigate new developments in the industry, which informs the grading process

What’s the difference between a “GSI Certificate” and a “GSI Diamond Grading Report”?

GSI issues a variety of grading and identification reports. Consumers and industry professionals often call these reports “GSI Certificates”.

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