The 4Cs of Diamond Quality and Why They’re Important

Hands Jewelers
Explore the four criteria used in the diamond industry and at Hands Jewelers to judge the quality and value of diamonds.

The diamond industry has established four basic criteria for judging the quality and value of precious stones, commonly known as the “Four Cs:” cut, color, clarity, and carat. However, to ensure identical across-the-board diamond grading and appraisal, the GIA similarly created grading systems for each category.

Hands Jewelers’ certified gemologist hand-selects the finest Lazare diamonds—as well as an assortment of diamonds from outside the Lazare family— from the top of each GIA grade, ensuring customers receive the highest-possible quality stone.

Let’s learn more about each of the Four Cs as they relate to Lazare diamonds.


The single most important and identifying feature of a diamond is its cut. Too shallow and it becomes flat and lackluster; too deep and it absorbs light instead of refracting it. This is what makes Lazare Diamonds’ “ideal cut” so impressive—it uses a mathematically precise formula designed to return the maximum amount of light to the eye from the chiseled edges of the stone.

Though non-ideal cuts or industry ideal cuts make greater use of the raw diamond, a Lazare ideal-cut stone sacrifices size for achievable beauty and quality. What makes these stones even more impressive and rare is that only a small percentage of diamonds are cut in this manner.


The GIA grading scale for color ranges from D-Z, classifying a stone based on its translucency and amount of natural pigmentation. A D diamond, for instance, is at the apex of transparence, while a Z diamond is almost entirely yellow in coloration.

Although visible color is a matter of personal preference, the ideal diamond falls within the D-M range. At Hands, we offer only D-J diamonds from the top of each grade. Why? When you carry a larger range of gemstones, there’s more room for descending gradations of quality within it—while a diamond in the D range is brilliant and colorless, a diamond in the M range will take on more of a yellow color. The proportion and cut of a diamond can also impact its color.


The flawlessness of the diamond is what has made this aesthetically unmatchable stone so coveted for centuries. When it comes to gauging the clarity of a diamond, the simple GIA grading scale extends from one level of “flawless” to three levels of “imperfect.”

Many inclusions in a stone can only be seen with a microscope, which further heightens the importance of buying from a trustworthy jeweler whose stones have been appraised using the GIA scale. We often warn against purchasing diamonds graded by the for-profit European Gemological Laboratory, as they tend to falsely inflate classifications and include a mysterious “SI3” grade. Inclusions, however, are natural occurrences in most diamonds; each raw stone is cut to minimize the number present.


This categorization simply refers to the size of a diamond. When dealing with Lazare diamonds, as opposed to other cuts, carat becomes the matter of least concern. Due to the diamond’s glittering intensity, the visible difference between a 0.75 and a 1.75 carat diamond somewhat diminishes. And despite popular trends toward ever-larger stones, it is integral that your gemological investment be, first and foremost, of the highest possible quality. Size varies; timeless beauty doesn’t.

To learn more about how Hands grades the quality of our diamonds, visit our diamonds page, or stop by the store so we can show you our process up close.