Earlier this month, a Tennessee TV station slammed a local store for using reports from EGL International, a lab that it claims has lower grading standards. (EGL International did not return a request for comment on that report.)
That report found a receptive audience in EGL USA, which has been engaged in an eight-year legal battle with other EGLs stemming from its attempts to have overseas EGL reports banned from U.S. shores. That case went to trial in June 2013, but no decision has been issued.
While all the particulars of this fight over trademark and licensing of the EGL name are not really of interest to readers, the issue of lab standards has played a role. Appearing before the court last year, EGL USA’s lawyer claimed that his evidence shows evidence of overgrading by overseas EGLs.
He said that when labs regularly rate a gem two or three color or clarity grades higher than the GIA standard that is a “fraud on the public” because “you are telling people that they are receiving a product, a diamond, that has certain characteristics when, in fact, it doesn’t.”
The difference in labs is one of the reasons the case was set forth, director of the EGL USA’s New York branch Mitchell Jakubovic tells JCK.
“I wish people would understand that EGL International is not affiliated with EGL USA,” he says. “We have done everything we can to differentiate ourselves.”
He says that the lab considered changing its name, but that the name EGL was known in the United States.