Interested in a gemstone but don't know what the Quality Rating means? This page has a description of each rating we employ. Essentially, we use a simplified version of GIA's 4Cs Clarity ratings for diamonds. Credit for creating this benitoite rating scale goes to Capistrano Mining. You can view their website here.
IF - Internally Flawless
We do not use this mark often, since there are no truly flawless gems, it all depends on the level of magnification, but industry standard says it must be loupe clean at 40x magnification. A standard loupe is only 10x power.
VVS - Very Very Slightly Included
These stones are loupe clean under 10x magnification or might have a very well hidden inclusion in the girdle of the stone. We consider this the best possible clarity.
VS - Very Slightly Included
These stones are either 'eye clean' or have one small area of inclusion seen using a 10x loupe.
SI - Slightly Included
These stones have inclusions that are visible to the eye, but not as heavily included as 'I' stones.
I - Included
These stones are heavily included. Very visible inclusions can be easily seen throughout the stone.
These stones are not cut, they are polished into a smooth shape. This is called a cabochon (cab for short). We do this usually if a gemstone is so completely included it would most likely not survive the faceting process. These stones are almost always extremely included.
The Importance of Gemstone Quality for Jewelry
The quality rating plays an important role if you are looking to get a gemstone for a piece of jewelry. The higher quality rating, the better (IF, VVS, VS). This is because inclusions can increase the chance that a stone could break during the setting process.
Make sure your jeweler knows that benitoite is a soft stone and must be set delicately. Benitoite's Mohs hardness is 6.5, as opposed to sapphire (9), or diamond (10). Please consult your jeweler on what they think the best setting would be for your specific stone.