This week, we are dissecting another “C” of the Four C’s of Diamonds, and this time we focus our analysis on Carat Weight!
A few days ago, the world’s second largest diamond, after the famous Cullinan Diamond (3,106 carats), was discovered in Botswana. It weighs 1,111 carats and is the largest gem found in the past century. It is rare for miners to find 1-carat diamonds, so to uncover any diamond of such a large size is truly remarkable. But what does the number of carats actually mean?
What Is A Carat?
Many people think carat is a measurement of size, but it actually measures weight. Diamonds can range from a fraction of a carat to thousands of carats.
- 1 Carat = 200 Milligrams
The carat weight of a gem is not to be confused with the word “karat” which is a term used to describe the purity of gold.
Total Carat Weight vs. Carat Weight
If a jewelry item has more than one gemstone involved in it’s design, it will most likely be weighed in Total Carat Weight (TW).
- Total Carat Weight – The combined carat weight of all the diamonds in a single piece of jewelry. For example, if you have an engagement ring with a 1-carat diamond flanked by two 0.50-carat diamond melees, the total carat weight of that ring would be 2 carats.
- Carat Weight – The carat weight of a single gemstone.
Why Do Carats Matter?
The more carats a gem has, the more rare it is in nature. Think about it, the chance of finding a rock deep within the mines that isn’t crumbled into tiny pieces is extremely rare. Finding one that also has good clarity and color is even more unique. Therefore, the greater the carats, the higher the price.
This chart below provides a rough outline as to how diamonds of different sizes might measure in carat weight. As you can see, a 10-carat diamond covers almost the whole width of the finger.
What You Should Know
- Carat Weight Does Not Indicate Quality – Two diamonds with the same carat weight can have extremely different costs. This is because the other three C’s come into play and may be more important in determine a specific diamond’s value. Of the Four C’s, carat weight is the last thing you should consider when finding the right diamond.
- A Fraction of a Carat Can Make a Big Difference In Price – Here’s a little trick of the trade, if you see two diamonds that look very similar in size, color, cut, and clarity but one weighs .92 carats and the other weighs 1.01 carats, the 1.01 carat will cost significantly more. And yet, the two diamonds could look exactly alike to the naked eye. Often times, buying a diamond that is just a fraction of a carat smaller than your desired carat weight can cost you 20% less. Keep this in mind when you make your purchase.
- The Most Popular Engagement Ring Size – 0.75 Carats.
When buying your diamond, remember that a diamond with many carats does not mean it’s a good diamond. A larger diamond of less quality, might be big, but it might also lack the sparkle and shine of a smaller, better quality gem. Overall, pay attention to the carat size, but don’t make it your focus..