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Jewelry Education

Carat Weight

Carat weight is the standard metric measurement of a diamond's weight. The word carat originated from the carob tree, whose tiny seeds were well known for their uniformity and consistent weight. Traditionally diamonds and gemstones were weighed against these seeds until the system was standardized, and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams.

One carat is divided into 100 points. A diamond weighing one quarter of a carat can also be described as weighing 25 points or 0.25 carats. Points are generally not used to describe weights over one carat.

Most people compare carat weight to size. The larger the diamond the more it weighs. The weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. The rarity of a 1.00 carat diamond is much greater than twice that of a .50 carat. Although it only weighs twice as much, the 1.00 carat is statistically much more difficult to mine. Thus, if the .50 carat diamond costs $3,000, a one carat diamond costs considerably more than twice the price of the smaller stone, or approximately $6,150, so rarity directly affects value.

Unfortunately, in today's world, many diamond suppliers try to maximize their return by cutting the rough crystals into the largest returnable carat, without careful regard to the quality of cut (please also see cut). Many of the diamonds offered on the market may actually weigh a full one carat, but actually look around 0.80 carat, or small compared to other carat size stones. Size is the most obvious factor in determining value in a diamond, but now you know the two diamonds of equal size can have very unequal prices.

Keep in mind, bigger isn't necessarily better. A two-carat diamond that is cut poorly is not nearly as beautiful as a smaller diamond, cut by a skilled diamond artisan. Or, it may be cut well, but have poor color and clarity. All 4C's are important to factor in when deciding on a diamond. Every person has a unique preference when deciding which diamond to purchase, therefore, determine what you value most and you will certainly not be disappointed.


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