Beyond the Four Cs

While most diamond buyers focus on the Four Cs to evaluate their diamond purchase, an exclusive focus on the Four C’s can easily lead you astray in evaluating a diamond. There are many more factors that determine the quality and value of diamond than simply for the traditionally marketed “Four Cs”.

Two diamonds with identical color, cut, clarity and carat weight can have over 1,560 different value classifications. If you take into account other important factors, such as florescence and symmetry, there are over 20,000 different diamond value classifications, each with its own market price. Even within these classifications, there may be additional sub-classifications such as borderline colors, position of an inclusion within a diamond, and grading subjectivity.

As experienced professionals, we can help you determine and evaluate these obscure factors, concentrating on the ones of greater importance. We go beyond the standard diamond identifiers (the Four Cs) to deliver diamonds of far greater value and appeal.

Diamond Florescence:

Diamonds with florescence exhibit a bluish glow in many different types of lighting. This characteristic, in the strong blue category, can dramatically reduce the value and appeal of a diamond.

Bow-Tie Effect:

Fancy-shaped diamonds, such as radiant, marquise, pear or oval-shaped diamonds, may exhibit a dark, bow-tie shaped area in the center of the stone. This area will appear less brilliant and darker than the rest of the diamond. This characteristic is not reflected on the certificate and can only be judged and evaluated by actually viewing the diamond.

Presence of “Windows”:

In radiant and princess shaped diamonds, an effect called “windowing” may occur. This is an area in the diamond with little to no faceting, allowing light to pass straight through the diamond and drastically reduce brilliance.

Nature/Type of Imperfection:

There are several types of “imperfections” such as carbon, feather, and wisp imperfections. All imperfections fall into two primary categories: white imperfections and black imperfections. White or transparent imperfections are far more desirable than black or opaque imperfections.

Size and Location of Diamond Imperfection:

Imperfections can occur anywhere in a diamond. The most desirable imperfection is located on the edge or side of the diamond and can be easily hidden under a prong.

Internal Brilliance/Fire of Stone:

Each individual diamond can exhibit a fabulous amount of brilliance based on its inherent characteristics of light refraction. This characteristic is determined by the depth and table of diamond. This trait can only be determined by actually viewing the diamond.


Symmetry refers to the exactness of the shape and arrangement of facets. This includes naturals, misshapen facets and extra facets, off center culets and tables, wavy and out of round girdles, misalignment of crown and pavilion facets.

Millimeter Measurement:

The overall look of the diamond should look like the weight it is supposed to be. Without the proper depth and table percentages, a diamond could look significantly smaller than a perfectly cut diamond with the same carat weight.

Diamond Certification:

A diamond certificate, or a diamond grading report, is a report created by a team of gemologists. The diamond is evaluated, measured, and examined using expert eyes, a jeweler’s loupe, a microscope, and other specialized tools. A completed certificate includes a summary of the diamond’s dimensions, clarity, color, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics. Many round diamonds will also include a cut grade on the report. Shapiro Diamonds sells diamonds graded by the (GIA) Gemological Institute of This laboratory is the most respected laboratory in the diamond industry, known for its consistency and unbiased diamond grading systems. Diamonds that are accompanied by a GIA grading report are the most highly-valued diamonds in the industry.