• The Diamond High Council
• International Gemmological Institute
The Diamond High Council
The Diamond High Council (Hoge Raad voor Diamant, HRD) is a non-profit organisation at the service of the Belgian diamond trade and industry.
The HRD not only acts as the representative and mouthpiece of the diamond sector, the various departments also offer the diamond community a wide range of services.
One of these is the HRD Certificates Department, founded in 1976 to meet the growing demand for reliable diamond certificates. At that time, a large number of diamond laboratories existed. Concerning nomenclature and grading methods, confusion reigned, which made it very difficult for the consumer and even for the professional diamond dealer to judge the value and meaning of a certificate.
The official opening of the Certificates Department was preceded by extensive research. Already in 1972, a study of the norms and working methods for grading the quality of polished diamonds was set up in cooperation with the Antwerp University (Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerpen, RUCA).
The HRD was not the only organisation to realize the importance of good quality descriptions. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (lDMA) also felt that a clear and well-founded system for grading polished diamonds was urgently needed.
In 1975, WFDB and IDMA appointed a Joint Committee to create an international standard for rules, working methods and nomenclature.
The results of the study made in Antwerp and, starting from 1976, the practical experience of the HRD Certificates Department, significantly contributed to the work of the Committee. In this way, a comprehensive system of rules and methods was built up, combining the practical experience of professional diamond people with scientific facts and figures.
The Joint Committee later changed its name to the International Diamond Council (IDC). In 1978, the IDC presented the result of all these efforts at the world congress of WFDB and IDMA : the International Rules for Grading Polished Diamonds.
The system was unanimously accepted, and since then the HRD Certificates Department is working according to these IDC Rules. In the following years, the system was adopted by other major diamonds labs.
In February 1996, the HRD Certificates Department was the first diamond lab in the world to be officially accredited according to the standards EN 45001, ISO/IEC Guide 25 and the relevant clauses of ISO 9002 for the quality examination of polished diamonds (Beltest certificate Nr. 047).
According to the definition of ISO (the International Standardisation Organisation), the accreditation of a laboratory is a formal recognition of the competence of a laboratory in performing certain tests or types of tests or the application of techniques.
ISO 9002 is an international standard concerning management and quality systems.
The European standard EN 45001 and the international ISO Guide 25 go much further. In addition to the quality system, they evaluate the technical competence of a lab. In Belgium, the application for these standards are dealt with by Beltest. Beltest not only evaluates the quality manual, it also performs a detailed audit in the lab itself.
The items of such an audit are, amongst others, the practical application of the quality system, the procedures and work instructions, reference materials (masterstones), the expertise of the personnel, the technical expertise and equipment, the scientific validation of the methods applied and so on. Beltest is run by the Belgian Ministry of Economy and is a member of the European Corperation for Accreditation of Laboratories (EAL) and a member of the Multilateral Agreement (MLA) of EAL. This body entered into mutual recognition agreements (MRA) with a number of national accreditation institutes in non-European countries. All this entails that, since 28/02/1997, the HRD Diamond Certificate is officially recognized in a large number of both European and non-European countries.
The accreditation fits within the framework of the HRD Certificates Department's continuous efforts to offer the diamond community a reliable and top quality diamond certificate.
Diamond High Council-HRD
B - 2018 Antwerp
Tel: (32) 3 222 05 11
Fax: (32) 3 222 07 24
Member Number Fortrez: 7953
International Gemmological Institute
Established in Antwerp, New York, Bangkok, Mumbai and Tokyo, IGI has now developed into the largest independent gem certification and appraisal institute renowned for its quality services, extensive experience and know-how.
The International Gemmological Institute (IGI), the oldest institute of its kind in Antwerp, was set up in 1975 and along with its sister laboratory in New York, is one of the leading gemological institutions in the world.
Today, a staff of just 3 has grown to over 250 professionals dedicated to a standard of excellence second to none in Antwerp, New York, Bangkok, Mumbai and Tokyo. Today IGI issues more than 400.000 reports a year.
Ten years ago, only the diamond dealer was using gemological reports. Today, consumers in general have become more demanding and quality conscious about the products they buy. A jewelry buyer seeking an explanation of why two similar diamond rings are priced $1.000 apart will not be satisfied with being told simply that one is a 'better' diamond. He or she will want to know why it's better. Consequently, today's jewelry consumers are more familiar with the 4C's than their parents would have been. Jewellers now consider supplying such information as an integral part of any sale and modern retail training programs stress the importance of providing independent gemological reports for gems and jewelry in addition to educating the consumer.
All this has led to an increase in demand for reliable grading or appraisal reports from credible organizations such as the International Gemmological Institute (IGI).
Thousands of jewellers, retail stores, insurance companies, internet sales organizations, catalogue companies (mail order), accounting and securities firms and consumers are relying on the IGI reports.
Today the majority of good quality gem and jewelry items are sold with gemological reports.
Besides exceptional stones, a gem has no name, no history. It's a Gem! The final user doesn't know where the stone was found, who extracted it, who polished it, or the name of the dealer. The only document that travels around the world with the gem is the Gemological Report. It is The Passport for your Gems and Jewelry.
Gems have existed for millions of years. When men first discovered them, they soon developed a systematic approach to distinguish, cut and trade them. In the course of this century, the quality criteria became more and more demanding, new cutting methods were developed and with the advent of new scientific dimensions, the need arose for independent gemological reports for diamonds and colored stones.
IGI The Inside Story
Highly prized throughout history, diamonds and gemstones have been universal symbols of eternal life, love, beauty, wealth and power. They have been used as good luck charms, as the most portable of currencies, and simply as "a girl's best friend."
Today, diamonds and colored stones are more coveted than ever for their beauty. Five cities have achieved preeminence in the international diamond and gemstone market: Antwerp, New York, Bangkok, Mumbai and Tokyo. As early as the XVI century, Antwerp was already a center for commerce and today, is synonymous with a tradition of superb craftsmanship in the art of cutting fine gemstones. New York, of course, is a leading international marketplace and financial center, Bangkok is Asia's most important fine gems capital, and Mumbai is the world largest diamond polishing center. It is in these four cities that IGI - the International Gemmological Institute - has established its bases of operation.
IGI Past and Present
IGI was founded in Antwerp in 1975. Situated in the heart of the diamond district in this major hub of the diamond industry, IGI Antwerp has earned a reputation as an international authority in the scientific analysis and certification of diamonds and other precious stones. In 1980, IGI opened its laboratory in New York City to meet the increasing demand in the United States for gem certification.
Just one year later, International Gemmological Information, a division of IGI New York, was formed specifically for issuing independent gemological appraisals and identification reports for precious metal and gemstone jewelry.
In 1982, IGI started its own gemological school in Antwerp in order to share its knowledge and experience with other professionals and gem enthusiasts. The intensive diamond and colored stone courses have been attended by students from all over the world. Seminars are also organized in New York.
Today, IGI with its operations in Antwerp, New York, Bangkok, Mumbai and Tokyo is the largest independent, internationally established gem certification and appraisal institute in the world offering a full range of services for professionals, businesses and individuals throughout the world.
Our experts in the laboratory and experienced staff in the classroom are all dedicated to meeting your professional needs. Our wide variety of services include:
Diamond and Colored Stone Certificates
Gem and Jewelry Appraisal Reports
Diamond and Colored Stone Courses
Gem and Jewelry Seminars
Cutting Advisory Services
Every day, more and more professionals and consumers are taking advantage of our services. Why?
Because at IGI, we know how important it is for you to buy safely, assured that your diamonds or gems are genuine. We are also sensitive to the fact that you must inspire confidence to your clients by being able to answer authoritatively their most probing questions.
IGI The Authority
The International Gemmological Institute, the largest independent grading and appraisal organization in the world, is dedicated to serving the diamond, colored stone and jewelry industry in all its facets. Our standards of excellence have earned us an international reputation for integrity, accuracy and reliability.
Combining our research and development activities with the skills and expertise of our laboratory staff, we are meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow through our commitment to traditions of quality and the technological progress of the future.
IGI Belgium - World Head Office