HRD Certification: What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Diamond

HRD Antwerp, short for Hoge Raad voor Diamant, is one of Europe’s largest diamond certification laboratories. It is based in Antwerp, Belgium, a city renowned for its longstanding history in the diamond trade. Their certification offers detailed information about a diamond’s 4Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight—along with other characteristics like fluorescence and finish.

However, it’s worth noting that HRD is generally considered to be less stringent in its grading than other labs like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In our experience, they usually average about two color and/or clarity grades above the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)’s grading. HRD-graded diamonds are usually priced much higher than equivalent diamonds graded by the GIA. For these reasons, our expert opinion is to stick with diamonds certified by the GIA when making a purchase.


Bottom Line Recommendation:

If you’re located in Europe and are considering buying a diamond that is certified by HRD, we suggest reconsidering it. In almost every case, you’ll receive better value by purchasing a diamond certified by GIA from the United States and having it sent to you (prices are lower there). Even if you have to pay VAT, the price you’ll pay locally already has that incorporated into the price anyway. James Allen and Blue Nile offer free overseas shipping and great conditions for overseas buyers.

History of HRD

Founded in 1973 as Hoge Raad voor Diamant, HRD issues certificates for diamonds and gemstones primarily in Europe. HRD is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium and its chief shareholder is the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). Not generally regarded as a legitimate alternative in the United States, HRD still claims to be the authority for diamond grading in the world.

Over the years, we’ve experienced incredible inconsistency with HRD grading. They usually average about two color and/or clarity grades above the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)’s grading. HRD-graded diamonds are usually priced much higher than equivalent diamonds graded by the GIA. This allows for significant profits to be made by diamond companies at your expense as a diamond buyer.

HRD Diamond Grading Report

HRD provides a full report, evaluating each diamond on various qualities and components.

Grading Results

When it comes to grading diamonds, the most important aspects to consider are the diamond 4 Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat). Each C is graded on a scale to help determine the quality and beauty of a diamond.

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Cut and Proportions

HRD grades cut on a scale from Excellent to Poor. They also provide three subgrades: proportions, polish and symmetry.

Proportions help describe the level of brilliance and fire a diamond will exhibit.

Polish indicates the finish on the diamond’s facets.

Symmetry describes how proportionate a diamond is in certain areas and parameters.


A diamond’s color is graded based on how white or colorless it is. HRD grades diamonds from D to Z, with D being the most colorless and Z carrying noticeable brown or yellow tint.

The naked eye is usually unable to tell the difference between two adjacent color-graded diamonds, although the price difference can be significant. It’s important to review the diamond closely as well as review the diamond color grading.


A diamond clarity chart describes the options of how clean a diamond can be from blemishes and inclusions. The HRD grades clarity on the following scale:

  • LC (Loupe-clean)
  • VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
  • VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
  • SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
  • SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
  • P1 (Piqué (or Included) 1)
  • P2 (Piqué (or Included) 2)
  • P3 (Piqué (or Included) 3)


Carat, which indicates the weight of a diamond—not its size—is measured and reported on an HRD certificate.

Carat weight measurements are standard across all grading entities. While carat weight is important, the other C’s (cut, color, and clarity) play a larger role in the diamond’s overall beauty.

Additional Grading Information

In addition to information about the 4 C’s, an HRD report will include details on fluorescence, girdle size, culet, table width and finish grade.