4Cs of Diamond Quality



A diamond, like the one you choose to spend the rest of your life with, should be carefully chosen. More than just a stone in a setting, a diamond is a lasting symbol of your commitment. To make sure your love shines forth in the most brilliant way possible for years to come, Leeds & Son offers a wide selection of GIA-graded diamonds and settings.

As a premier jeweler in the United States, Leeds & Son works to answer all of the important questions that arise when choosing the perfect diamond. To make an educated selection, consider the four characteristics that determine the quality of a diamond.


Insist on a GIA Lab Report

When shopping for diamonds of 1ct or greater, our simple advice is this, insist on a GIA Lab Report. While there are many diamond grading laboratories in the world, GIA has demonstrated the strongest level of consistency in its grading standards. To avoid confusion and being misled with deceitful advertising, just keep it simple, buy GIA-graded diamonds.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. They set the bar high on grading to ensure that you, the consumer, are able to buy with true knowledge and at a fair-market price. For this reason, Leeds & Son specializes in GIA-graded diamonds and has the largest selection of GIA-graded diamonds in the Coachella Valley.

GIA Lab Report


Understanding the 4Cs of Diamond Grading


The way a diamond is cut determines how the stone will display light. The cut is the critical factor contributing to the brilliance and fire of a diamond, in addition to the diamond’s final appearance in the setting.

A brilliant-cut or fancy-shaped diamond usually boasts 58 reflective surfaces known as facets. Each of these facets, no matter how large or small, affects the overall brilliance of the diamond. If a diamond is cut to correct proportions, light is refracted off each facet in the stone's pavilion and eventually dispersed in a prismatic effect through its crown. The light is also reflected off the surface of the facets, producing brilliant flashes of white light.

Light can escape from the stone’s pavilion without reflection if a diamond is not cut deep enough. Similarly, light escapes from the opposite side of the pavilion if the stone is cut too deep. If either of these two situations is present, the stone may look dull and will not accurately display its color.


The body color of a diamond in its purest form is colorless. A colorless diamond is very rare, as traces of yellow or brown are usually present. The color of a diamond is evaluated by the unaided eye using a 23-letter grade scale, starting at D, the highest grade, and continuing through to Z, the lowest grade. The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it becomes.

While colorless gems are the most sought after, other diamonds with colors of red, pink, blue, green, and amber, often referred to as fancies, are options as well.


Unlike the seemingly misleading term “colorless,” the word “flawless” is truly the most accurate way of describing a diamond’s clarity.

A flawless diamond, classified as FL, has no surface markings or inclusions and allows light to pass through it cleanly. Such diamonds are, in truth, both exceptionally rare and highly expensive.

However, many diamonds have inclusions so minute that they are not visible to the naked eye and classify as IF diamonds. Other classifications include VVS1VVS2 for stones with tiny inclusions, SI1-SI2 for those with small inclusions, and I1-I2-I3 for stones bearing inclusions visible to the naked eye. The greater the visibility of a diamond’s surface markings and inclusions, its value decreases.

To grade a diamond’s clarity, highly trained experts carefully study it under 10x magnification to ensure a complete understanding of a stone’s quality.

The number, size, and location, called inclusions, determine the clarity grade of a diamond. Inclusions can be external, as in the case of cavities and chips, or internal such as feathers and smaller crystals trapped within the main diamond crystal. The clarity grade derives from an 11-grade scale from FL to I3. The fewer the inclusions, the higher the grade and the greater the value.

Carat Weight

All diamonds (and all other precious gems) weigh in carats. A carat comprises 100 points. For example, a diamond weighing 50 points is half-carat or .50 carats.

Carat weight is essential in determining a stone’s value, and larger diamonds are difficult to find. However, size does not equate to quality, as three other factors of cut, clarity, and color grades are also considered.