Diamond Guide

The reasons for buying diamonds are as different as the people who desire them. Through the years, diamonds have provided fulfillment for emotional and practical needs. They are sought after gifts, status symbols, tokens of romance, and even long-term investments. Most of all, the physical character of a diamond is unparalleled in the natural world and more unique than any other gemstone.

Learn about the key characteristics of diamonds—carat, clarity, color and cut— to make your purchasing experience smarter, easier and more enjoyable.

More than 50 years ago, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) created a universal standard for determining and describing diamond quality: the 4 Cs (Carat, Clarity, Color & Cut) and the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, which today includes the D-Z color scale, the Flawless-I3 clarity scale, and the Excellent-Poor cut grading scale. This standard is accepted by virtually every professional jeweler and used by every knowledgeable diamond buyer in the world.*

At Benji’s we have introduced two additional Cs: Certificate and Cost. With our expert advice, you will have the education and confidence you need to make this important decision.
* Provided by GIA

Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats.

One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats.

Because diamonds are naturally formed under extreme heat and pressure over thousands of years, they often contain unique birthmarks.

These birthmarks are either internam (inclusions) or externam (blemishes). Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and effect a diamond’s value.

Flawless (FL)

No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. Exceptionally rare.

Internally Flawless (IF)

No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.

Very, Very Slightly Included (vvs1 & vvs2)

Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

Very Slightly Included (VSI & VS2)

Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.

Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2)

Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.

Included (I1, I2, & I3)

Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

The most widely used color grading system is the one developed by GIA.

This system identifies colors with alphabetical letters ranging from D (colorless) to Z+ (a diamond with a light yellow or brownish shade). Stones with a grade from D to J are sometimes referred to as white diamonds. Many of these color distinctions are subtle and are nearly invisible to the untrained eye. These slight differences make a difference in diamond quality and price.

For example, the nuances of color are so fine between the grades that the average consumer cannot tell the difference between a D and F color. However, the price difference between D and F color diamonds many be as much as a 10% to 20%, depending on their size and clarity. The GIA color grading scale above applies only to white diamonds and not to fancy color diamonds.

Cut is an essential factor in determining a diamond’s value, fire, sparkle and brilliance.

Relative to its long history, only in modern times have cutters been able to successfully harness a diamond’s potential beauty. If the diamond cut too deep or too shallow, it will not reflect light nor fiery brilliance in the most optimal fashion.

In 2004, GIA unveiled a diamond cut grading system for standard round brilliants in the D-to-Z color range. This system, the product of intensive research and testing, assigns an overall diamond cut grade as one of the following: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The diamond shape you choose is a matter of personal preference. Benji Jewelers carries many different shapes and sizes of stones. Your consultant will assist you with additional information to help you make a decision.

Benji Jewelers offers and prefers the best GIA Certified Diamonds.

Staffed by expert diamond graders and gemologists, Gemological Institute of America laboratories set the standard for grading practices used worldwide. Known for its strict impartiality and benchmark grading services, GIA is entrusted with grading and identifying more gems than any other lab, including some of the world’s most famous diamonds.*

Not all certificates are created equal. Because of their outstanding reputation of having the strictest standards, a GIA Certificate with your purchase is highly respected by your insurance company and solidifies your investment.

A certificate thoroughly describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not place a monetary value on the gem. You will receive a complimentary appraisal with your purchase.
* Provided by GIA

Ethical Guarantee
Benji Jewelers is committed to the ongoing global efforts to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.

In January 2003, governments, non-governmental organizations and the diamond industry created an intergovernmental agreement called the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (“KPCS”) to eradicate conflict diamonds from the world’s diamonds supply. Benji Jewelers participates in a voluntary program of self-regulation to complement the KPCS in cooperation with the leading organizations in the jewelry industry, including the World Diamond Council and Jewelers of America. Through these joint efforts and as announced by Kimberley Process authorities in 2004, well over 99% of the world’s diamond supply is certified to be from sources that are free from conflict. Benji Jewelers continues to do its part to ensure the diamonds we sell are certified from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with the United Nations resolutions.