What you should know about Diamond Carat Size

What Is A Diamond's 'Carat' Size?

When considering a diamond to purchase for yourself or that special someone, you may have encountered talk of carat size, abbreviated as 'ct'. This is one of the many factors that go toward determining a diamond's value, so it is important to understand it. It is a common misconception that a 'carat' refers to a diamond's physical size. Simply put, a carat is a unit of measurement used to determine how much a diamond weighs.

In metric terms, a carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. The use of this system allows for extremely precise measurements, all the way down to the hundredth decimal place. The price of a diamond increases along with the carat weight, as larger natural diamonds are harder to find and are rarer. However, diamond prices increase exponentially with carat size, not linearly. So a 1 ct diamond will cost more than two 0.5 ct diamonds, even if each diamond has the exact same quality. 

When a diamond is larger than 1 carat, jewelers use a decimal system along with carats to denote the measurement. For example, if a diamond weighs 1.38 ct, it will be said to weigh one-point-three-eight carats. Diamonds that weigh less than 1 carat are referred to by decimal points alone. So a diamond weighing .82 ct will be said to weigh point-eight-two, or it may be called an 'eighty-two pointer' depending on your jeweler's preferences.

A diamond's cut grade is an important factor that goes hand-in-hand with the carat measurement. Well-cut diamonds allow the light to reflect better, which can make a diamond appear larger. This means that a smaller diamond can appear larger if it has a cut grade of Very Good or better, which makes carat weight a crucial part of determining the right diamond size for you. 

Carat Vs. Karat

When purchasing a piece of jewelry, it's imperative to know your 'carats' from your 'karats'. They are not alternative spellings of each other, as many believe they are. A carat is the measurement of a diamond's weight, whereas a karat is a measurement of gold purity. The lower the karat, the more base metals or impurities are mixed into the gold. Knowing this, you can possibly distinguish between the quality of your diamond and the quality of your setting. 

The Origin Of The Carat System

Our modern carat system began in the ancient world. The word carat can be traced to the Greek word for carob, a flowering evergreen tree in the legume family. Before the invention of precise scales and units of measurement, merchants would balance the weight of carob seeds against the weight of diamonds. By the time more accurate methods came along and were standardized in 1907, the name carat had already stuck, and it's been in use ever since.

Choosing Your Perfect Diamond

No matter the occasion or reason, there is a diamond out there for you. Knowing all the factors that go into diamond quality will help you in your journey to the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one. To help you choose that perfect gift, contact us today!