Diamond Carat Weight
Diamond carat is an often confused for diamond size, but carat refers to the diamond’s weight, not its physical proportions. It’s also sometimes confused with gold karats but the two are entirely different. While gold karats measure the purity of the gold, carats are a weight measure.
1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. So, a 1-carat diamond for an engagement ring correlates to a 0.2-gram diamond. Another method of measuring carats is to subdivide carats to “points” with 1 carat equaling 100 points. Often, when jewelers talk about diamonds that weigh under a carat, they will call a 0.95-carat stone a “ninety five pointer” and a 0.30-carat diamond a “thirty pointer”.
How important is the diamond’s carat weight?
Diamond carat weight is extremely important and has the most significant impact on the overall price of the stone. Large natural diamonds are very rare, which is why the bigger a diamond is, the more expensive it becomes. Diamond prices rise abruptly above 2 carats and can reach astronomical prices from there on.
If you take a closer look at how diamond prices are formed you’ll notice that there are clear price “jumps” at every standard carat weight. For example, there is a significant price jump between 1.95 carats and 2 carats which is much greater than the jump between 1.90 carats and 1.95 carats.
Carat weight and physical dimensions
The fact that a diamond is heavier doesn’t mean that it will always look bigger. Several factors impact a diamond’s size and appearance including:
- Cut - Different diamond cuts and shapes giving diamonds different visual parameters. For example, some diamond cuts, like the emerald shape, have larger tables, which make them appear bigger than a different cut diamond of equivalent carat weight. This usually comes at a reduced diamond depth, which, in turn, limits the stone’s brilliance.
- Ring Setting – Some ring settings can emphasize the diamond’s size, making it appear larger than it is. This includes the halo and pave settings.
- Band Width – The width of your band can add to or detract from the diamond’s size. A thin band makes the diamond look larger while a thicker band can have the opposite effect.
More isn’t always better
Diamond carat has become a way to exhibit status and wealth, but a larger diamond isn’t always the best option. Look for the perfect combination of the 4Cs to get the best value for your money.
For example, the bigger the stone is, the more noticeable its inclusions are. While a 1 carat diamond with an average SI2 clarity grade usually won’t have any inclusions noticeable with the naked eye, SI2 diamond may very well have noticeable inclusions. The same applies to color as this too is more visible on bigger stones.
What’s the right diamond carat weight for an engagement ring?
As with most other things in the jewelry world, this is also subjective but it’s important to keep in mind that size isn’t everything here. Opt for what suits your lifestyle, budget and preferences. At the end of the day, a dazzling, excellent cut .70 diamond may look much better than a dull 1 carat diamond.